The threat is greater now than it has been for the last ten years…

Excellent piece from Newsnight the other night, in which Liz McKeen draws out some of the moral and political dilemmas facing the dissident Republicans who are backing a return to armed struggle. Gary Donnelly, formerly of Sinn Fein, now of the 32 County Sovereignty Committee: “‘It would be perfectly legitimate to target anyone who is promoting British rule in Ireland’. But when I asked him about targeting their families, after a long pause, he described that as a ‘thorny issue'”.

MacKeen notes there is now an average of one terrorist incident per day… and there is speculation but respondents like Norman Baxter in the piece that sooner or later they will turn their attention to Britain. But on the political question within Republicanism, Lorna Brady, sister of John Brady who died in PSNI custody in Derry recently is worth quoting: “People could say that Sinn Fein are the real dissidents because they moved away from their original opinion. To call other people dissidents because they didn’t change their view. Sinn Fein changed their opinion and other people didn’t”.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty