Thursday, March 12, 2009

Are "The Troubles" back?

In the first killings of British occupation forces since 1997, two separate republican groups have stepped forward accepting responsibility for recent slayings.

The Continuity IRA claimed responsibility for killing Stephen Carroll, a colonial policeman in Craigavon, County Armagh on March 10. The IRA released the statement “As long as there is British involvement in Ireland, these attacks will continue. ”

Two other British soliders were killed and two were wounded on March 7 while coming out of their barracks for a pizza delivery. The Real IRA claimed responsibility for that.

And now the response?

Bobby Sands Grave Smashed in cemetery attack.

The grave of the hunger striker and republican hero Bobby Sands has been destroyed and all 16 IRA headstones desecrated in the republican plot in Milltown Cemetery in West Belfast - the nearest thing the Provisionals have to a Cenotaph.

The granite memorials were smashed by attackers in the early hours of yesterday morning, including the grave of Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams's father, who died in November.

A dummy pipe-bomb was also left at the plot, which was was the scene of a slaughter in 1988 when the lone loyalist gunman, Michael Stone, attacked mourners at the funeral of three IRA members killed by the SAS in Gibraltar. Their graves and the graves of the mourners who died that day were also vandalised.

The headstone of Bobby Sands, who was the first of 10 Republican prisoners to die on hunger strike in 1981, was smashed into three.

The dead have often been targets throughout the Troubles, and there have been more attacks on graveyards since the ceasefires. The republican plot was last attacked four years ago.

In the past year there has been a series of attacks on Catholic graves in Carnmoney cemetery which borders the loyalist Rathcoole estate in North Belfast.

The grave of Daniel McGolgan, a postman shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in 2002, has repeatedly been targeted and was vandalised last month.

Michael Browne, Sinn Féin councillor for West Belfast, said the vandalism showed that Northern Ireland's polarised communities were still at war despite the ceasefires and efforts to restore the political process.

He said: "The reality is that this sort of thing is happening. You only need to look at the sectarian strife in interface areas [where Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods meet].

"Look at the problems, such as harassment, which communities like this one still have with members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. It is happening away from the glare of publicity, but it is happening on a daily basis.

"My gut feeling is anger that someone could come in and do this in a cemetery, irrespective of the graves that have been attacked." He said the perpetrators were "beneath contempt".

Sinn Féin said questions would be asked about why surveillance equipment at the nearby Anderstontown barracks did not pick up images of the attacks. The SDLP condemned the attacks as "wanton acts of vandalism".


Anonymous said...

The Provisional IRA is still keeping the peace. These are splinter groups.

The Rockin' Traddy said...

Yes, They are splinter groups. Your point?

And please follow the rules before you post next time.