Northern Ireland's top policeman gives wake-up call on paramilitaries
Security sources say they would not be surprised if dissidents were to stage an incident during G8 summit
Belfast-born David McKittrick has been reporting on Northern Ireland since 1971, He has written for the East Antrim Times, the Irish Times and was The Independent's Irish correspondent for many years. He is the author of several books including Making Sense of the Troubles (2000) and Lost Lives (1999).
Monday 13 May 2013
Support for Northern Ireland’s paramilitaries will persist until politicians tackle endemic poverty and youth unemployment, the country’s most senior policeman has warned, ahead of a huge security operation to protect next month’s meeting of G8 world leaders.
Northern Ireland’s Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, pleads for greater efforts in countering the economic and social roots of republican and loyalist violence and disorder in an interview with The Independent.
The head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, who is in charge of security at June’s G8 summit in Fermanagh, urges politicians to focus on pockets of deep-seated deprivation, and warns of the continued threat to life from dissident splinter groups.
Mr Baggott's force continues to face problems from both the republican and loyalist sides, with the greatest risk to life coming from dissident republican splinter groups who continue to try to kill his officers. In an interview with The Independent he warned they pose a severe threat.
But loyalists have also been active, with protests over flag-flying over the last six months leading to disturbances in which well over a hundred police officers were injured. More than 160 loyalists have since been charged.
“Where I think politicians have a greater role to play is in addressing deep-seated social need as opposed to just dealing with the rhetoric of shared future,” he said. “We need a lot more focused work in those difficult disadvantaged neighbourhoods where paramilitarism has its roots, to try to improve the life particularly of young people, and deal with the angst felt by working-class Protestantism and republicanism. That has yet to happen.”
Mr Baggott will be in overall charge of security at the G8 summit which is to be held in Northern Ireland next month. He will head up both his own force and 3,600 officers brought in from Britain as reinforcements in what he described as a "logistically huge" operation."
Preparations for the event will include a fleet of military helicopters for VIP visitors and the provision of hundreds of temporary cells to hold demonstrators in the event of disturbances.
There are fears that the loyalists’ controversial summer marching season will again result in riots.
Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
LAPD releases haunting crime scene photos from its archives
Peaches Geldof funeral: Bob Geldof leads tributes at emotional service in same church she married husband Thomas Cohen and mother Paula Yates was buried
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge photographed with Prince George off-duty may spark privacy row
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Concerns grow among search officials that missing jet ‘may have landed somewhere else’
Ukip election posters: Nigel Farage defends 'racist' campaign anti-immigration campaign ahead of Europe elections
Is Britain really a land of God? Furious debate after David Cameron claims we are a Christian country
An open letter to Nigel Farage: you may smile, but I am not seduced
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Ukip leader Nigel Farage defends employing German wife, at launch of anti-immigration poster campaign
David Cameron's constituency office calls police on food bank campaigners Bishop of Oxford and Reverend Keith Hebden
- 1 Revealed: Scientists ‘edit’ DNA to correct adult genes and cure diseases
- 2 David Cameron's constituency office calls police on food bank campaigners Bishop of Oxford and Reverend Keith Hebden
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Women take on Bear Grylls over 'sexist' male-only desert island show
£55000 - £62000 per annum + outstanding benefits and bonus: Pro-Recruitment Gr...
£120 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Reception teacher required for an Outs...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + excellent company benefits : Pro-Recruitment Group...
£90 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: The Job We are currently recr...