the real danger that loyalist criminality, not republican,
in the form of Protestant paramilitary feuds could
derail the peace process this autumn.
Protestant jungle drums are sounding the beat of
rival loyalist groups engaging in another bloody
turf war over drugs and racketeering.
that sectarian tensions are always heightened during
the traditional Marching Season anyway, another
tit-for-tat loyalist bloodbath, especially in the
mid Ulster region, will plunge many Protestant working
class districts into dens of fear.
Northern Secretary Peter Hain needs to get his finger
out and put more cops on the streets, otherwise
we could see a return to the 'bad auld days' of
internment and alleged 'shoot to kill' tactics.
Northern Ireland Office is treading a very thin
line. Hain, his fellow ministers and their senior
civil servants need to urgently pour resources into
they don't, they could create a set of circumstances
which tragically force Chief Constable Hugh Orde
into a security corner, leaving him with no other
option but to introduce selective internment of
known loyalist mobsters.
to deal effectively with loyalist crime lords and
their underlings could see a series of serious fist
fights being sparked at numerous traditionally peaceful
loyalist band parades.
loyalist 'blood and thunder' marching band scene
- especially in urban areas - has always been a
quiet haven for Protestant extremists, ever on the
look out for new, young recruits.
it will take is a few bloody punch-ups and mini-riots
at band parades and the Parades Commission will
start cracking down not just at contentious parade
routes through nationalist areas, but also in Protestant
districts to prevent loyalist turf wars.
such band bust-ups are not checked by the security
forces, it is only a matter of time before they
erupt at Loyal Order demonstrations and Orange Order
church parades. This will give the anti-Loyal Order
activists in the London and Dublin governments all
the ammunition they require to eventually ban the
the Brits, internment is a dirty word after the
blunders in the early Seventies when it was used
largely against the nationalist community based
on inaccurate or outdated intelligence.
- next to Bloody Sunday - became one of the biggest
recruiting agents for the Provos in their history.
However, there is no chance the selective internment
of the mafia thug elements from the LVF, UFF or
UVF will see a massive influx of young Protestants
into the ranks of the paramilitaries.
the longer the Brits leave it to support the PSNI
with more manpower against loyalist criminality,
the closer the day beckons when an alleged 'shoot
to kill' tactic could be implemented against feuding
will bring the North back to the controversial days
of the 1980s when the secret police unit E4A was
allegedly involved in a series of incidents when
unarmed republicans were shot dead.
not forgetting the Gibraltar incident when three
unarmed IRA members were shot dead by the SAS whilst
planning an attack on British forces.
again, this raises the spectre of some desk-bound
strategists within the English establishment viewing
having to deal harshly with loyalist criminality
as an opportunity for the security forces to return
we to witness scenes of known LVF activists dying
in mysterious circumstances at PSNI checkpoints?
English overlords were prepared to tolerate an acceptable
level of violence during the Northern Troubles.
get Stormont up and running, is the English establishment
of the new millennium prepared to look the other
way as those loyalists involved in vicious internecine
feuding are either interned or die in 'unusual'
terms of public opinion, would there really be such
an outcry if a few leading loyalist criminal gang
leaders and henchmen were either interned or 'executed'
by the security forces so that the overwhelming
majority of the North's 1.7 population could enjoy
a return to legislative, democratic government?
the South, the Garda has flexed its muscles against
criminal gangs, and especially in the recent 'Wild
Western'-style shootout. Many Northern Unionists
would be highly commending of the Garda in its fight
against organised criminal gangs.
the time has come to form an all-Ireland joint Garda/PSNI
unit with 'hot pursuit' powers to root out the criminal
gangs who are strangling the poverty-line or tax-paying
communities across the island.
use a Hollywood film cliché, has the time
come for a specialist all-Ireland anti-mafia police
unit to be given the powers of 'extreme prejudice'
when dealing with ultra-violent crime lords?
situation must be created that there is no hiding
place - north or south - where organised criminals
can feel safe from the firepower of the Garda/PSNI
Untouchables' may have been a Hollywood blockbuster
which highlighted the extreme methods which a special
American cop unit took against crime lord Al Capone.
need to see the same determination in our police
forces north and south of the border if the cancer
of criminality - whether paramilitary or gangland
- is to be permanently eradicated from our society.
we don't adopt tough tactics in this decade, our
children and grand-children will pay the price for
a 'softly, softly' policy in the next decade.