Sunday, 3 April 2011

Death of a Peace-Maker

Yesterday's bombing in Omagh, County Tyrone, likely by republican dead-enders, killed Ronan Kerr, a catholic police officer. That the republicans should apparently target someone who has been described as "a peacemaker" shows yet again that the worst enemies of extremism are those within the group that they claim to represent who take a less extreme path.

After the last such attack was roundly condemned by all sides of the dispute in Northern Ireland, a friend of mine said over a few beers in a London pub that this meant that the terrorists were finished. I was not, and cannot be so optimistic.

The guns and bombs that flowed into Northern Ireland during the troubles have not all been handed over, and can be refreshed at a moments notice. The history of Northern Ireland has seen long lulls in terrorists activity in the past, particularly during the 50's. Splinter groups can also blossom into fully-fledged movements of their own. Indeed, the organisation that we called the "IRA" in the 80's was in fact only the "Provisional IRA" - a splinter group of the organisation which called a ceasefire in 1972. The only real hope of lasting peace is in the kind of reconciliation between Northern Irish Catholics and protestants that Ronan Kerr represented.

[Picture: The "peace wall" separating protestant and Catholic communities along Bombay Street, Belfast, taken from the Catholic side. Via Wikicommons.]


Michael Turton said...

That sucks!

justrecently said...

It's very sad news. But it won't end the peace. It's true that terrorism has taken breaks in the past, too. But after the past years of - even if uneasy - peace, most citizens can see how much there is to lose. I have no doubt that Ronan Kerr's efforts will be continued by many like-minded people. His family, too.