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In response to North Belfast: A Resident's View

Thomas Mitchell


I agree with Ms. Totten that sectarian intimidation works on both sides and that it has a strategic dimension in the case of the Republicans. Anyone who has looked at the IRA's policy of killing UDR members even years after they have left the regiment would understand that. But there is another factor as well. Protestant housing is simply not as well constructed as Catholic housing due to the need for contractors to pay large sums of money to loyalist paramilitary protection rackets. Such rackets have been exposed on a number of BBC "Spotlight" programs. While similar rackets are also present on the republican side, they are worse on the loyalist side. Loyalist terrorists thus hurt Protestant residents doubly: by both provoking retaliatory violence from republican residents and by eroding the quality of housing built in Protestant areas. In fact, I would argue that unlike Republicans who use racketeering as a means of financing their terrorism, loyalist paramilitaries use terrorism mainly as a justification for their racketeering and other illegal activities.


Thomas Mitchell



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