Is There A Real Dissident Republican Threat In Northern Ireland In 2014?
As Christmas of 2013 approaches in Belfast and Northern Ireland, dissident Republican threats have certainly stepped up. In the space of just a few days there have been two gun attacks on the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). These have been made using military grade weapons and also automatic weapons.
Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr of the PSNI said,
"They fired what we believe to be military grade weapons, Kalashnikov-type weapons, in a highly built-up area.
In addition to this there was a bomb placed outside the prestigious Victoria Shopping Centre. The detonator did explode but the actual bomb did not. Nonetheless, when all of these are combined, the message appears to be clear that there remains a threat.
The PSNI were quick to point out that they were trying to measure their response to these attacks, but it is noticeable that police checkpoints in the city of Belfast are certainly on the increase on the lead up to the Christmas season.
Who Are These Dissident Republicans?
When the peace process started there were some Republicans, and no-one knows how many, that disagreed with what was being agreed in their name. In fact they viewed what Sinn Fein were doing as a sell out of the principle of a United Ireland. These people have now formed various different groups and have commenced on a military solution to the long problem of Irish unification.
|Image Courtesy of Wikipedia|
The main problem is that there are groups, not one single organisation, and they do not appear to have a spoke's person. That makes it difficult to speak with them if indeed anyone wanted to. The general feeling is that they do not want to engage in any talking process.
The Response to the Dissident Republicans
I would best describe this as being predictable. The main stream politicians condemn this type of behaviour as you would expect them to do. This of course includes Sinn Fein the main Republican party. The PSNI have intercepted many of their attacks using intelligence and surveillance. The big worry though is that it just takes one attack to be successful and no security measures can realistically prevent that.