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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 9, 2009 @ 11:46 am

    Three more names on the long list of casualties

    Deaglán de Bréadún

     There is shock and outrage throughout the media. There had been threats and warnings for some time, so it was not altogether surprising that the Real IRA, after a lengthy period in the shadows, succeeded in killing two British soldiers in Northern Ireland on Saturday night. In a further grim episode, it is reported that a police officer has been shot dead in Craigavon tonight (Monday) and I have updated this blog accordingly. 

    Given the heavily-unionist nature of the area around Massereene Barracks it is likely that the soldiers were feeling more secure than they should have. In that sense they were a “soft” target. Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham, and the interestingly-named Cengiz (later bulletins say Patrick) Azimkar, 21, from Wood Green, London (but of Turkish or Turkish-Cypriot origin perhaps?) are two more names on the long and tragic list of casualties.The hapless victims must have been feeling apprehensive about their next assignment in Afghanistan, little suspecting that sleepy Antrim would be their last staging-post on this earth and that they would breathe the last of their young lives amid the aroma of pepperoni and cheese from a Domino’s pizza.
    The notion that the pizza delivery men (one of them Polish) are in the firing-line, is not new. Some will recall the horrific death visited on Patsy Gillespie, a cook in a British Army barracks, on 24 October 1990. As the IRA held his family hostage, Gillespie was forced to drive his explosives-laden car into a British Army checkpoint, killing five British soldiers as well as himself.
    Some have remarked that that lack of political progress in Stormont may have given added impetus and encouragement to those who mounted Saturday’s night’s assault. This is debatable: the mere decision to enter Stormont would be enough to motivate these dissidents.
    It’s true that things have not been going that well at Stormont. It’s also true that the last general election in the South was a serious setback for Sinn Fein. But on radio this morning, Gerry Adams was insisting that the democratic, peaceful road was the only path to a united Ireland and it’s clearly the case that Sinn Fein have no intention of turning back to violence. The party is likely to do quite well in the coming period in the South and if it can keep the show on the road in the power-sharing administration in the North that will be a significant achievement in itself. I noted that Adams complained about lack of exposure on RTE: this is something of an SF mantra at the moment.
    So where does Saturday’s attack leave us? There is the immediate shock of course. The familiar expressions of horror from church and civic leaders, still sounding clichéd after all this time.
    There will be an element in the Catholic ghettoes that will make a holiday in its heart, as a unionist politician once said in a different context. Hopefully no Loyalist crazies will decide to exact “revenge”. The international media, who have shown so little interest in the day-to-day politics of the place, will start to look at Northern Ireland again: if it bleeds, it leads. Reporters’ phones in Belfast will start to ring again.
    Could the war start again? Doubtful, certainly at this stage. But there is no room for complacency. The recession/depression does not help as it means there are more unemployed youth around, looking for action.
    From its own point of view, Sinn Féin should maybe spend less time trying to out-Left the Labour Party in the South and highlight the republican issue more. We may well be in for a re-run of the IRA campaign of the 1950s which scared up a few big headlines but ultimately ran into the sand, although it sowed the seed for something worse down the line.

    At time of writing, information is sketchy about the fatal shooting of the police officer in Craigavon. More on that as further news comes to  hand. One’s sympathies go out to all the loved ones of all three victims.

    • Reverend Patrick Hennessey pp says:

      People of good faith and Believers of all religons must come together in the love of God and in a spirit of forgiveness.The return to the old ways must not be allowed to gather momentum and the spirit of righteousness and reconciliation hold steadfast against these atheistic murders

    • don mac namara says:

      That these two young men could be shot down while on National Service by thugs who have neither Nation nor know anything of service is an obscenity beyond comprehension.
      If we are serious about our collective revulsion at this depraved act we should first do everything we can to to bring the perpetrators to justice. We should then consider making a National gesture to demonstrate to how uterly reviled their murder was.
      We could consider cancelling all National St Patrick’s Day celebrations in sympathy with the dead soldiers. This might be deemed to concede a victory to the murderers, but it would also tell them that they have no place in a society which has struggled so hard and made so many sacrifices in the name of peace.


    • Katy says:

      Doesn’t life seem tough enough these days for too many, with so much fear and confusion over economies and Middle East and Darfur and banking foreclosures and well, just everything, without these awful awful thugs killing two more young men out of pure meanness, pettiness and contrariness.

      The majority have spoken – peace is what they want, peace is what they should have. The thought process that allows this truly insignificant minuscule minority to think that they have the right to make decisions of such magnitude for the majority is purely vicious.

      There are people who know who these RIRA thugs are – they were once all part of the same organisation and now to retain some sort of credibility those such as Adams and McGuinness are going to have to step up and name them – the time to let things lie is past as two more funerals are being planned. There can be no straddling of the lines anymore for any of the parties – that goes for loyalists and for republicans.

    • Ray D says:

      What is remarkable is how Sinn Féin has stuck to the path of peace for so long without any recognition of its solid stance in this regard. All it gets appears to be sniping from all sides and the current event has been used for sniping too by various commentators. I for one appreciate that it is the actions of SF that will ensure that the peace endures. They should reap a democratic bonus from that but I doubt that they will.

    • praetor says:

      English armies have to stop occupying Irish territory and let them have their independent united Ireland. All the problems there are derived from English policy of ‘divide and rule’. They inject hatred ampong people … English agents provoke sectarian and other differences as they do succesfully around the world. Stop fighting each other and unite against the common enemy! But you should do it by peacefull means … as for that Turkish-origin guy … I’m Turkish but if he is a member of another army instead of the Turkish Army, we should not call him Turkish any more … but I still feel sorry for him. I hate war!!!

    • Ray Keeton says:

      Yet again the totally Really Imbecilic Retards and Assholes have shown their inability to come to terms with the world of 2009

    • dealga says:

      Ray D, accepting your point for a second that Sinn Féin deserve recognition for ‘remarkably’ sticking to the path of peace (before my sanity kicks back in) would you mind explaining why they should therefore ‘reap a democratic bonus’?

      Forgive my naivety, but I thought the people that were supposed to reap democratic anything were the ones that demonstrated the aptitude and vision to run a country.

      It took the Shinners a full 20 years after the bookies paid out on a no-score draw in the Troubles to cop on to the way forward. It’ll be 20 more before they’re fit to govern in a normal country.

    • Patrick Hennessy says:

      By the time the Good Friday Agreement came there were a bunch of middle-aged men in Northern Ireland who had never known anything but a gun. They had never worked, had no other skills but nightime kneecappings, and with all the s…t in their heads after such a lifetime, they would have had real problems holding down a job as a barman or truck driver when peace finally kicked in. And in many cases they held on to their gun despite disarmament.

      Unemployable and armed they need a fight to give “meaning” to their existences and get back some self-esteem (through fear). This is the RIRA. There is nothing ideological about this brouhaha.

      The same happened in Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Guatemala, etc.

      When you bring longstanding guerrillas to unemployment by signing peace, one of the huge challenges after disarmament is retooling the ex-guerillas and reintegrating them into the workforce. Did we do this in Northern Ireland?

      If not, you get what we got in Ireland over the last few days.

      The solution is name and shame by previous guerrillas who have moved to peace and politics. Martin McGuinness could find out in a heartbeat who these guys are.

      Over to you, Martin.


    • Jim Flynn says:

      These thugs never really went away. After 9/11 they became unfashionable as regards their support base, and had to go to ground. What has now gone away now, are Bush and the war on terror. With little to fear from Obama, the “boys”, unfortunately, are now back in town.

    • miicky coughlin says:

      i know i’m sometime late writing this comment but i feel it is still necessary to do so.

      it is unfortunate that these two men were killed but from a historical aspect, the killings have slowed. over the 600 if not more years that ireland has had british rule or some form of british power within the land there has been mass amounts of murders using a variety of wepons from bayonets to blades.

      the war will forever continue as yesterday’s generation will enlighten the youth of today of their struggles, the youth shall turn the reasons of the past into their own.

      if you think about it on another level, britain has no use for northern ireland anymore, and the RIRA have no need to attack the 6 counties as they are in ireland. why don’t britain sign the release forms and allow ireland to be united again? that answer is unfortunately unknown

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