I’ve been fairly busy with other matters so forgive my tardiness in picking up Stephen Dempster’s Spotlight documentary which highlights a number of abiding realities of our so called post conflict era, for example, how more than 20 years after the Belfast Agreement there are some 12,500 people who are members of loyalist paramilitaries.
The numbers are part of the rivalry game these organisations play to get one up on each other. Often they signify very little in themselves. The piece exposes the difficult (if not impossible) position the unwillingness of politicians to even own up to the fact that there are real and ongoing problems arising from the fact these organisations still operate puts the PSNI in.
The core story revolves around a family effectively booted out of their community for crossing a paramilitary: a recurring theme in the era of the peace processing. Ian Ogle’s story features prominently in the piece, for whose murder there are at least witnesses willing to come forward. In parallel Republican cases, like the murder Paul Quinn’s, witnesses rarely emerge.
If the UVF and the UDA haven’t gone away, nor according to a recent report, have the Provisionals:
…the new assessment says this is still the position and the IRA is in a much-reduced form and not recruiting or training. But it also says the organisation still has access to weapons.
Photo by TheDigitalWay is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA
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