This morning’s BBC NI news website has a summary of how the editorials in local newspapers reacted to the murder of PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr on Saturday.
On the way out of Belfast International Airport this morning, I picked up a free copy of the Irish Daily Mail which contained a comment piece by Suzanne Breen. [Update – Nevin’s turned up the original article on Nuzhound. Thanks.]
Headlined “Destabilising any normality in the North is the aim” Breen offered her analysis.
Ronan Kerr was the softest of targets for republican dissidents. Having graduated as a PSNI officer only three weeks ago, he was taking no security precautions despite living in nationalist Omagh. His car was parked outside the house, not in a garage. There were no CCTV cameras to alert him to the fact that someone had tampered with it. He didn’t check underneath as veteran police officers learned to do during the Troubles. Planting an under-car bomb has always been low-risk for republican paramilitaries.
She went on to list the three main groups who might have been responsible before turning her comments to Catholic PSNI recruits.
Kerr’s murder will send shockwaves among young Catholic PSNI recruits, some of whom still are unfortunately under the illusion they can choose such a career without moving home and cutting ties with their own community. Although Catholics leaving or not joining the PSNI out of fear would be a ‘success’ for dissidents, they are targeted primarily because they are easier to kill.
Breen suggested that political and community solidarity won’t make a difference to the dissidents.
Neither the passionate denunciation of Sinn Fein leaders, nor the condemnation of wider Irish society, will affect the dissidents one iota. For decades the Provisional IRA campaign was hugely unpopular in the nationalist community. All the pleas from SDLP and Dublin politicians, and all the massive peace rallies, didn’t stop the murders.
Concluding the piece, she returned to strategy.
[The dissidents] strategy is hit-and-run sporadic attacks aimed at disrupting normalisation in the North, drawing the security forces into an openly combative role, and aiming – as they Provisionals once did – to destabilise any settlement short of Irish unity.
Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about cinema and theatre over at Alan in Belfast. A freelancer who writes about, reports from, live-tweets and live-streams civic, academic and political events and conferences. He delivers social media training/coaching; produces podcasts and radio programmes; is a FactCheckNI director; a member of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland; and a member of the Corrymeela Community.