Limited troops call

Following a series of attempted attacks in Fermanagh UUP MLA Tom Elliott has called army personnel to return in a support role to police. He criticised security evaluations of dissident capabilities in the area and speculated:

“Obviously they’re getting help and support which is a huge concern and I’m afraid that maybe some of that support is from coming over from mainstream republicanism.”

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Any evidence on offer or just the UUP yearning for the good old days?

  • George

    As Mr Elliot and his party don’t want to be responsible for policing and justice issues right now they’ll just have to trust the judgement of HMG on this.

    I’m sure the army boys are dusting off their flak jackets and ordering tickets to Fermanagh as I type.

    After all, Mr Elliot has certainly produced a cogent and well presented argument. It’s “obvious” that they are needed, he says.

  • Big Maggie

    I’m afraid that maybe

    I’m afraid that Tom Elliot may be a ten-foot-tall green monster with reptilian forefathers who eats little children and uses the wrong fork at table, but you don’t hear me telling that to the BBC do you.

  • the future’s bright the future’s orange

    realistically, it’s a matter of time until a police officer is murdered. I guess the question is what is the best way of preventing this from happening? Army personel in Fermanah would be like showing a red rag to a bull. Not a good idea…
    But certainly cops in border areas do need more protection.

  • Rapunsel

    Tom Elliott [edited by moderator – play the ball], look at his recent ourbursts over the Fermanagh GAA. Looks to me like the pSNI are dealing with the threat pretty well to date . [edited by moderator]

  • lorraine

    the IRA may have gone away, you know; but the boggie-man of the IRA is still very much alive and kicking in poor Tom’s wee head.

  • Alan

    From some of the comments on here you would think that there was nothing happening in Fermanagh. As someone who lived there during the 80s and 90s I can assure you that no-one in their right mind would want a return to those days. This threat cannot just be wished away however personal the insults thrown so easily at Tom Elliot. Would be more interested to hear from contributors just what they think should be done in response to this threat. Only last week we had a Sinn Fein spokesman in South Belfast criticising the PSNI for poor crime clean up rates in South Belfast. What about South Fermanagh. Is the answer to ignore what happens in Fermanagh because it is far away from Belfast?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Obvious job for the Gardai

  • Alan

    I think the Gardai are indeed on the case and have considerably more resources than the PSNI in the area, the Irish Army too. I think though that people in the north should perhaps have some input

  • George

    Alan,
    you say “this threat”.

    I think we are all agreed there is a threat but there’s a threat in Limerick too but we don’t have soldiers on the streets.

    You and Mr Elliot need to present a cogent argument for taking such drastic action. Where is it?

    It’s a big move to return the army to the streets so let’s hear something that you can back up.

    Otherwise, it’s just playing politics with policing or playing the populist with the unionist gallery.

  • Driftwood

    I think the army may have committments elsewhere, they barely have the troops to cover. The MoD wouldnt even countenance such action even if it were politically feasible. The spooks at Palace Barracks should be concentrating here.

  • Alan

    George,

    I did not say in my posting that I supported Tom Elliot in his call for the return of soldiers to the area. I was simply asking the question..what is to be done? The word ‘threat’ was used by Sir Hugh Orde recently and also the Garda Commissioner when talking about dissident republicans. If, God Forbid, someone gets injured or indeed killed then perhaps there will be comments on here that something should have been done sooner. My hope would be that mainstream republicans in the area might find some way to co-operate with PSNI/Garda and also to help bring over-riding community influence to bear on those involved. Party politicing will not not help in this but neither will pretending that it is not happening

  • ulsterfan

    Too soon to bring the troops in but when it becomes necessary there will be no delay.
    After all there is little opposition.

  • circles

    Then why bother bringing in the troop ulsterfan?

    Its a daft statement with the poor fella just trying to prove his unionist credentials. You have to feel sorry for him. I think he should read George’s remark in post 2 and have a wee think about things before engagin his mouth again.

  • ulsterfan

    The troops will be brought in to support PSNI.
    They had great success in dealing with terrorists in the past.
    Lets hope it does not reach that stage.
    There are over 5000 stationed in NI and their services can be given at a few hours notice.

  • PeaceandJustice

    Last year the Sinn Fein PIRA MP for the area said she would not give information to the police about dissident guns. Why have the DUP not requested a clear statement from Michelle Gildernew as to her current position given the terrorist threat in Fermanagh?

  • Alan

    Is P & J claiming the the MP is a member of PIRA?

  • Billy

    “PeaceandJustice”

    Why didn’t the DUP ask the “loyalist” terrorists (you do remember them don’t you) about their guns when they met recently?

    You know – the ones who are up to their necks in drug dealing, prostitution and racketeering in “loyalist” areas.

    Apparently their guns have been put “beyond use”. Funny how Unionists still don’t accept IRA decommissioning even though it was witnessed by a internationallly respected group.

    Yet, I don’t hear you or any other Unionists crying out about ‘loyalist’ terrorist arms even though the UVF or UDA haven’t handed in a single bullet yet.

    Nothing like consistency eh!

    Ulsterfan

    What will happen after the “troops are brought in”? Perhaps the return of the RUC or UDR – even the B Specials.

    Dream on – the UK govt is struggling to meet it’s commitments in parts of the world it cares about. In case, you hadn’t noticed, they don’t give a shit about NI.

    That’s what the policy of “Ulsterisation” was all about – people in Britain weren’t that bothered about RUC/UDR men getting killed but they don’t like “their boys” coming back in coffins.

    The UK govt would love nothing more than to get their reamining troops out and deployed somewhere meaningful.

    There isn’t a hope in hell of them deploying more troops here despite the eloquence and beautifully argued case (LOL) of Mr Elliott.

  • Cahal

    Billy, to be fair to the unionists, they may need those guns in the future, should democracy not work out for them (again).

  • Alan

    Billy and Cahal you really add so much to the cerebral nature of this discussion

  • Why did Elliott not simply ask for police resources in the area to be reinforced? Surely that is what happens in a normal society.

    Is he a member of the DPP? If not, his party can raise the issue for him.

    Asking for the BA to be brought back into the borreens of Fermanagh is deliberately inflamatory, designed on the one hand to ‘reassure’ those unionists who (like Molyneaux) felt (politically) safer during war than during peace, and on the other hand to discomfit nationalists by showing them some British ‘military muscle’. He is trying to turn the clock back.

  • PeaceandJustice

    To Billy – Do you have anything to say about the Sinn Fein PIRA MP for the area who said she would not give information to the police about dissident guns?

  • Niall Gormley

    Tom Elliot’s logic is constrained by his unionist outlook. Bringing back British troops would only be bringing more targets for the dissidents.

    It would make more sense to call for joint Garda/PSNI patrols on both sides of the border. While the dissident ideology finds support for targeting ‘british’ police and soldiers among its small base, there would be a strong resistance to targeting gardai. We know that dissidents are sensitive to their own supporters because they quickly went to ground after the Omagh bombing.

    Such patrols could be achieved by having a number of gardai and PSNI officers dual-qualified and able to operate in the jurisdiction that they were operating in. Perhaps Tom wouldn’t relish the sight of Police/Garda marked cars in Fermanagh?

  • Alan

    Niall, do you think those same marked cars would be welcome in Cavan/Monaghan ?

  • Driftwood

    No need to bring any troops ‘back’ as the garrison here is pretty strong. Army technical teams already operate widely, and were at the scene in Fermanagh. Be a hell of a political risk to operate foot patrols though. They are a blunt instrument without effective intelligence and an admission of failure by the PSNI. MI5 should have this well covered.

  • Niall Gormley

    Alan,

    Wouldn’t see any problem. Various types of police operate in different parts of the state, like the airport police and the harbour police. It might look odd for a day or two.

    One of the unspoken features of the peace process has been the need for each state to keep manners on their own side. Only recently has it emerged fully that Harold Wilson wanted to pull out of Ireland but the Irish Government took fright. The point is that we (the Irish) need the British to ‘mind’ the unionists.

    Equally, the British need the Irish to put pressure on the republicans. Having gardai (albeit as PSNI officers) patrolling nationalist areas of the border would queer the pitch for the remaining combatants.

  • Alan

    Niall, interesting thoughts but the problem is that it is not simply different police for different operations but legally there are two jurisdictions involved and I am not sure how this would work in practical terms. Also I am sure it would not be a runner politically… can you see the DUP agreeing to this or indeed an Alliance Justice Minister getting involved in policing issues in the Republic?

  • Steve

    They could declare a certain area on either side of the border as a special security zone and have mutual patrols through the are and only when it came time to press charges would it matter what jurisdiction you were caught in.

    it would probably necesitate that one member of each force present in every vehicle