In Post Conflict NI, Touts Are “The Bravest Of The Brave”

Living in the shadow of gunmen, from Jim McDowell…

Whether they live in loyalist or republican enclaves still bedevilled by the bully boys of the rump of the IRA, the UDA, the UVF, the INLA, or, now, the deranged dissidents, the courageous corps of decent folk who speak, even anonymously, to the newspapers, or the police, are dicing with death, or serious injury.
Being burned in their beds at night with a petrol bomb hurled through a window. Or petrol poured into their letterbox and set alight.
I still know one man who sleeps with a fire extinguisher beside his bed every night, and who is still prepared to expose the bogeymen on his doorstep.
And still, just round the corner from his house, is a massive paramilitary mural.
And that, literally, paints another picture of how the paramilitaries are empowered by another almost subliminal threat in the areas where they still operate with impunity.

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