230 armed gangs in Ulster…

It’s not often I dare read anything in the Sunday Telegraph, but the last paragraph in this piece by Jenny McCartney is worth considering.
There are 230 armed gangs in Ulster: is that peace?

“One message must run right to the heart of any Northern Ireland deal: that every politician – whether republican or loyalist – must make an irreversible end to links with organised crime and paramilitary intimidation. Why? Because while England was wringing its hands last week over the propriety of David Blunkett transferring a government first-class train ticket to his lover, Northern Ireland heard Gerry Adams demand a direct say in policing and justice matters while retaining links with a group that carries out smuggling and armed robbery. And you can call that peace, if you like, but it sure as hell isn’t democracy.”

  • Henry94

    “Just because something is in the Daily Telegraph doesn’t mean it’s not true” -Orwell

    Despite the fact that she writes from a unionist perspective I always find Jenny McCartney’s articles interesting (she’s a reliable film reviewer too) and she does raise an important issue. But she misses the most important point, which is that you can’t have effective policing with out consensus.

    If as part of a deal next week we have agreement on policing then we will be in a position to address the issue of criminality in a normal way.

    On the two issues she raises, smuggling and drugs, we will have two different sets of problems.

    Smuggling is an artificially created activity caused by the border. We could waste millions trying to stop it but the reality is you can’t stop it. The answer is tax-harmonisation with the rest of the island. Not only would it save millions in policing but more millions lost revenue would no longer be lost.

    On drugs the sad reality is that drug gangs bring crime to every part of the world and it would be foolish to think we will have any more success than anywhere else.

    Experience shows that when the police smash one gang another steps in to meet the demand.

    It is reported that the renewal of massive production in the Afghan poppy fields is going to unleash a major heroin crisis onto the streets of Europe. It can’t be stopped by policing. We need a re-think at EU level to deal with this.

    Or we can just keep doing the same things in the hope that they will lead to a differnt result.

  • Davros

    I suppose we could always appoint one of these 😉

    Conflict Of Interest Commissioner

    What odds SF would scream as loudly as they screamed over the Ceasefire Monitoring Commission ?

  • aquifer

    What we have now is open plan internment for householders and small businesses, afraid to tackle even anti-social behaviour as the offenders are likely to be ‘connected’. And which politicians have enough personal security to sustain a political campaign against these armed gangs?

    Consensus can also be rebuilt by the fair and fearless application of one law for all.

    Expanding robber baronies are not on, especially as turf wars will become sectarian killings, probably after the killing of some ‘same identity’ witnesses and informants, real or imagined.