LETTER: No peace yet in Northern Ireland

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The Independent Online
From Mr Gary Kent

Sir: Jack O'Sullivan's useful article ("Will they ever get round that table?" 17 November) unfortunately omits a central issue that corrodes community confidence in the bona fides of the paramilitary organisations and their political wings: continuing violence in the province.

Since the ceasefire, there have been four terrorist murders and nearly 240 beatings. This represents a considerable increase on pre-ceasefire times and is a potential bridge between the full-scale killing of the past and a possible reversion in the future. The debate on the longer- term disposal of illegal weapons has obscured this present reality.

Groups such as Families Against Intimidation and Terror deserve a wider hearing for their proposals to force loyalist and republican groups to respect human rights and to allow the victims of widespread intimidation a voice in the peace process.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Kent

London, SE17