Has IRA/UDA terrorism become irrelevant?

News of the London subway bombings reminded me of In Name of the Father (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107207/), the 1993 film about the 1974 IRA bombing of the Guildford Pub in London, and its aftermath. So far as I can recall, that was the last time London suffered direct terrorist attacks, by the IRA or anybody else. And come to think of it, I haven’t heard much news lately about Irish Republican Army – or Ulster Defense Association – terrorism even in Ireland. Have Irish extremists given up terror as a tactic? Is it still going on, but the new threat of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism has taken away the media’s attention? Or has Ireland’s newfound prosperity simply made the nationalist-unionist feud seem less relevant to the people?

Here in the U.S., the right-wing militia movement seemed really big and scary at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. But after that, the militias suffered a massive drop-off in recruiting – most of these people thought they were signing up to fight UN troops, not to murder American civilians. And since the 9/11 attacks they seem to have faded to insignificance.

Paramilitary organisations, on both sides, are still very much in operation. The only thing that’s changed is that they’re not making bombs and not shooting policemen & taxi drivers.

Many of these groups are morphing into ‘regular’ criminal gangs. Some are taking the role of drugs barons, and there’s all sorts of protection rackets, backhanders, etc.

In short, yes, plain-vanilla-terrorism is hopefully a thing of the past. But the power of the organisations, and the sectarian divide, is as real as ever.

It would seem that the UK has been dealing with terrorism all through the last few decades:

Frome here:http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,12780,1523526,00.html

OK, but nothing in the past five years is mentioned. That seems like a long time (to an American’s short attention span; maybe it’s just yesterday to the average Brit or Irishperson).

Just because there were no bombs in the last 5 years, does not mean that terrorism has gone away, or bombing attempts.

You only need look at the number of anti-terrorism arrests over the last 5 years to see that, they just haven’t managed to get it together until now.

We’ve been dealing with terrorism of various sorts for the better part of 40 years now.

I do think that Irish terrorists are astute enough to know that it would be a very bad idea to start anything, one would expect their support to dissappear especially in the US where there has be a certain amount of support in the past.
It would also bring on top a great deal of pressure which would somewhat dent their illegal money making activities.

As for them not being relevant, that’s far too complacent an attitude to adopt, at any time something could rear up that could change things completely, things that may seem too unlikely to consider now may happen, for instance a Protestant pogrom to ‘ethnically cleanse’ some area, or a armed revolt at some Orange order march, where the IRA open up with m/gs on the marchers killing dozens.

They are still there, and they still have their weapons.

Tell you what, ask the pople in NYC next year if 5 years ago is a long time, and see what they think. Five years is nothing; nothing at all.

From what I see on the news, here in Ireland:
The loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland are having a bit of internecine shooting between themselves, at the moment.
Hardly a day goes by without someone being assaulted “where the assault bore all the hallmarks of a paramilitary punishment shooting” That’s the languae they use on the news.
The IRA are on a ceasefire, but that didn’t stop them offering to shoot the men they knew had murdered Robert McCartney. (In case you don’t know, McCartney was a republican who was killed outside a pub by other republicans in Belfast at Christmas. McCarteny’s family declined the offer.)
There are far more bank robberies on the news now than I can ever remember, both in NI and in the Republic. Organised crime in Northern Ireland is owned by the paramilitaries. It probably is here, too. In my opinion. So it seems that their usual sources of funding have dried up.

So if you’re asking if any of the loony paramilitary terrorists who live on my island are still bombing innocent people indiscriminately, I’d say not at the moment. If you asked if they were still exerting overdue influence on the people they purport to represent, I’d say yes they are.

Yep, they’ve pretty much given up on bombs and such, but they’ve still got guns and they’re not afraid to use them…but it’s on their own people so no-one can be bothered to care any more.

Google Robert McCartney, Jim Gray and the Spice Boys (don’t ask)

or the murder of Jameson Lockhart, a week ago.

My friend worked as an intern in the orthopaedic ward in the Royal victoria hospital in Belfast for 3 months. He says the new thing is the “crucifixion” style punishmnet shooting:both hands, both knees, both feet. Often they’ll call the ambulance before they actually do the shooting, since they don’t atually want to kill the victim :rolleyes:

Since most of the victims don’t report the shootings to the police, most are never made public. it happens more than you’d like to think. In his 3 months he saw several.

How is it that shooting victims aren’t automatically reported to the police? I believe in the U.S., if someone comes into the emergency room with gunshot wounds, the police are automatically informed. I could be misinformed, though.

They may never go to the hospital. And if they do, there’s a right to confidentiality (I think there’d be an exception with children). And irrespective of this, the medical staff aren’t stupid, and know as well as anybody that involving the police will only put more people in danger of further retribution.

Patient confidentiality is stricter in the UK. No victim of any kind of assault (including sexual) is obliged to inform the police, and hospital staff have to respect their patient’s wishes.

Usually the assumption with an unconscious patient is that they would like the police informed, however Northern Ireland being what it is, doctors there will wait until they receive express permission from the victim of a paramiliaty style attack before informing the cops. 99% of the time they don’t get it.

Reporting the assault is asking for serious trouble, and since the arrest and conviction rate for these attacks is so low (even if the victim reports, witnesses are unlikely to come forward) it’s seen as not worth it.

Seeing as it’s the “Glorious 12th” in the 6 counties, true to form, the UVF and the LVF are having another good aul ding dong. The murder of Jameson Lockheart by the UVF was in retalliation for a couple of assaults, so yesterday the LVF decided to attempt to kill 2 (one attack resulted in a fatality). If things aren’t calmed down there is the risk of a full scale internecine war breaking out.

Aside from that, the decision of the Parades Comission to allow some of the disputed parades through the Ardoyne means it will be an interesting evening ahead.

That is why I have only ever spent one 12th of July in Northern Ireland in my life. my family, like most other families with no interest in Marching, take their summer holidays during July.

It’s much more enjoyable to watch the roadblocks and carnage from a TV somewhere hot, rather than out your window.

What’s the situation with reagard to children?

Those of us with longer memories would note that this activity has been going on for the past three decades or more. Less a 'orphing’and a ‘taking the role’ than a continuation of the same WRT crime and banditry.

Does this mean the IRA and UDA have completely lost their political agendas? Are they simply crime-gangs now?

Also – does any violence connected to the unionist-nationalist feud (or associated criminal activities) happen in the ROI? Or is it limited to NI?

roger thornhill: Children are different, reporting any violence twards them is mandatory, I think however, in this case “children” means under 16s…although I could be wrong. Paramilitaries do not make children a target for punishment beatings…except joy riders. The odd time when a house is petrol bombed there will be kids inside, which is tragic.

Not all of the punishment beating are for failing to pay up or give respect to the big bosses. Sometimes they’re enforcing their own style of “justice”. That means joy riders, drug dealers who deal in their neighbourhoods and petty criminals are often the ones targeted. You will find many people from those housing estates who will claim that without the paras the crime rate would be much higher.

BrainGlutton-of course the political aims and ideals are still there. For these people their political ideals are at the very core of their identity. The crime is just how they fund their lifestyles, keep their communities in “order”, and raise funds for advancing their political agenda.

Political violence (and when you’re talking about extremism, it’s Loyalist/Republican, not Unionist/Nationalist) is not common in the ROI. There are IRA training camps, shooting ranges and weapons bunkers south of the border, which are occasionally found by the Gardai, but almost no sectarian violence. Dublin, Cork and Limerick have their own gangsters, but only a few of them will be associated with the IRA. Most shootings here are between drug dealers and gangsters, not politically motivated.

Most recently the big thing was the £30 million robbery of the Northern Bank in Belfast at Christmas time. It was widely believed to be the work of the IRA.

The reasoning of most people went like this:

  1. You don’t rob a bank in Northern Ireland without paramilitary connections, because even if you get away from the cops, the Paras will kill you.
  2. The gang was well-organised, got away with the money, and nobody got shot…so that rules out the Loyalists.
  3. The money had to be sent overseas to be laundered, meaning big connections in Eastern Europe…so that rules out the smaller Republican groups.
    So…it had to be the work of the IRA.

Except for one Dublin taxi driver, who told me he thought the British Army did it to frame the IRA and recoup some expenses they’ve lost in Iraq, but I think we can safely discount that theory.

Its something you could laugh at but its probably true (sadly)

I suppose Northern Irish terrorists are like the Yakuza in Japan. Tolerated by the authorities if they keep things clean and avoid killing too many by standers. If the terrorists stop bombing and shooting at random, keeping relatively quiet, no-one will care much.

Sucks doesn’t it.
In my opinion the only good thing the paras have ever done is preventing heroin from gaining the foothold in Northern Ireland that it has done in Dublin. Whatever else they may have, they have a very strong NIMBY (Not In MY Back Yard) mentality.

Approx 17,000 IV heroin users in Dublin, 90% of whom have Hepatitis C, at least 25% of whom are HIV positive.

Approx 1000 heroin users in Northern Ireland, pretty much all of them in Ballymena. Hep C and HIV almost unknown.

Good idea, unfortunately my girlfriend is right in the middle of a Loyalist estate in Belfast so she can’t really get away (she has 4 cats, a dog and a daughter to look after) She asked if I would stay out for the “holiday” as her neighbour is quite possibly a UVF member and will be having more people from his little club round to stay and she didn’t want any trouble.

Then she has to keep all the animals inside and put up with all sorts of Ulster-folk songs being blasted out of houses from all sides by tattooed sorts off their heads on Harp lager (another stereotype crushed for me, I expected them to be quaffing Tennents)

And of course there’s the tidy up operation. Never mind that the estate is a mess already, now there’s a tonne of empty beer cans and the scorch marks all over the grassy areas :rolleyes: