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.
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by police in Ohio park
- 3 Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by police in Ohio park
Heroin to be prescribed to Canadian addicts by doctors
Audacious North Korean kidnap plot foiled at Paris airport as 'Asian men' attempted to bundle student onto plane
Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby – through the stories of his accusers
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Green Party Caroline Lucas interview: 'We could be on the edge of something very big'
£30000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor - Ke...
Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Hi All, I'm currently recruiting for t...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...
£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...