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Right of Reply

The deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party responds to yesterday's article by Fergal Keane
WHO WOULD dare to propose that terrorists like those who poured the contents of hell upon the streets of Omagh should be offered ministerial positions in the government of Northern Ireland and, if caught, charged, sentenced and imprisoned, should be released within a period of 24 months?

Answer: Tony Blair and Mo Mowlam.

It sounds insane, yet apart from scale, the Omagh bombing is in every other respect the same kind of evil act that dots the history of the past quarter of a century in Ulster. Our government has passed legislation to free unrepentant terrorists who have not completed the sentences judged to be appropriate for the vile deeds they committed. Those to be released under the Government's scheme are people who sympathise with, have even "served" alongside, the Omagh bombers.

Omagh is the fruit of appeasement: terrorists will learn that more violence will produce concessions.

There is no easy route to defeat terrorism - terrorists cannot be bought off.

Omagh requires a response from the Prime Minister. A continuation along the path of appeasement is not the road to take. Only a strong and resolute security initiative is capable of stemming the tide of terrorism, and in that we are entitled to expect the support of the government of the Republic of Ireland.

Both Mr Blair and the Dublin premier Mr Aherne say they will pursue the Omagh bombers.

Unless, after pursuit, they intend to keep them in prison, there will be little point in tracking them down.