Loyalist paramilitaries: they haven’t gone away you know…

A useful corrective from Bea Campbell to the consistent focus on the dissident Republicans and their potential for bringing back civil disorder. When it comes of lower level violence, loyalist paramilitaries still out perform their republican counterparts

The 22nd report of the IMC confirms that the most responsibility for violence in Northern Ireland lies with loyalists. And yet this week’s story is the usual republican threat. The devil is in the detail, however. The report shows that casualties of violence by loyalists – shootings and assaults – number 38 in the past year, a 245% increase on the previous year. Casualities of republican shootings and assaults number 25, up by 56%.

These figures indicate some very worrying trends: loyalist gangsterism is rife, dangerous and productive, and dissident sects have murdered members of the security forces at a time when diplomats and politicians in Washington, London, Dublin and not least Belfast are desperate to get unionists and republican parties to sign up to “normal” policing.

Though it should be noted that on kill rates, it is the republican dissenters from the Belfast and St Andrews Agreements who pose the greater threat…

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

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