Saturday, 2 January 2010

Trouble Brewing Across The Irish Sea

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, the Irish Republican Army were at their height and blowing up the English and Northern Irish with alarming regularity. Rather than take the Blair approach to terrorism which involved invasions and dropping a massive amount of explosives from a great height, the ruling Conservative Party held meetings with the IRA which resulted in the Good Friday Agreement and the laying down of weapons for a political solution. Although Tony Blair is quick to take the plaudits for it, it was actually John Major who did all the spadework and Blair just stepped in to cross the t's and dot the i's at the tail end after Major lost the 1997 election.
After a decade of relative calm it seems that the IRA, or rather splinter groups from the IRA, are keen on a return to the bad old days with news that a 1000lb van bomb was discovered under a flyover in South Armagh, three months after the find of a 600lb bomb in the border region.
The Real IRA, as they call themselves, recently staged a show of strength in Meigh where they patrolled the village with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket launchers.
There was a marked increase in republican terror attacks last year with attacks on police and army personal escalating and officials warning that the three splinter groups, the Continuity RA, the Real IRA and Oghlaigh na hEireann, have come together to intensify their campaigns. They have been blamed for a series of 'punishment attacks' on young men with 18 shot in Derry City during 2009.
The worry is that soon, one of these huge bombs will be discovered too late and the massive loss of life will spark the Unionists into retaliation and we will slide back into those dark years of the troubles when the Government did not need to play up the threat of terrorism on the street of Britain, it was very much here.
We could find ourselves in the same situation as Iraq and Afghanistan where to remove the forces will result in a bloodbath but to stay will only provide a justification for further violence.
I don't know the answer but the politicians had better start paying a bit more attention to events across the Irish Sea.


David G said...

It's hard to believe that the Irish problem still exists, Lucy. It certainly illustrates the truth that all religion is divisive.

Here we have two versions of the same religion fighting each other!

Anonymous said...


the problem isn't religion. religion is nothing but concealment. the problem is people.

point us to a time in human history when there wasn't violent conflict between humans. if it isn't nation-on-nation, or religion-on-religion, then it is at the local level (clan-on-clan, gang-on-gang) or even household level.

the root cause of the problem is two fold: (1) people are self-interested first and foremost, (2) people are driven by their fears (specifically humans fear the unknown). mix the two traits and the result is violent human conflict.

it is not a solveable problem. the best one can hope for is to manage the problem. religion has effectively managed some violence. ditto government.


David G said...

But q, Christians, like those who belong to other religions, are not supposed to be self-interested! They are supposed to give up their possessions and go forth to spread the word of God, and love everyone.

But I do agree with you about the fear issue. The American Government is a world leader in fear-mongering. it keeps Americans in a state of constant panic and allows politicians and the vested interests to herd them at will!

How come Americans take the bait so easily?