It’s worth noting that the influential Financial Times has homed in on whether there is an economic dimension to the rise of dissident repulbican violence. T he timing is interesting, coming in the midst of the NI budget wrangle and on the eve of the Irish general election. The paper’s excellent Ireland correspondent John Murray Brown has been to the Kilwilkie estate, a centre of dissidence.
The paper also carries an overview which is sympathetic to the view that for the sake of stability, public spending should not be cut too quickly. Coming from the FT, this is quite something, to give Northern Ireland and public spending this treatment. It suggests that the arguments against simplistic ideas of a zero sum choice between boosting the private sector and reducing the public are being taken seriously . With what result, we wait and see. The reports come on the back of the decision to award the PSNI an extra £200 million over the next four years to combat the dissident threat.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London