Donohoe says those responsible for Northern murders “criminal terrorists’’
Minister of State stresses co-operation between Garda and PSNI
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Paschal Donohoe: “There is no justification for crimes against the community. While investigations are at an early stage, it seems clear that criminal terrorists, in the guise of so-called dissident republicans, were involved.”
Dissident republicans blamed for murders in Derry and Belfast were described as “criminal terrorists ready to use lethal violence in pursuit of their own, often personal ends” by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Paschal Donohoe.
He said he joined with Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore in offering sincere sympathies to the families of the two murdered men. “We both utterly condemn these vicious, brutal and cowardly murders.”
Mr Donohoe said the people of Belfast and Derry and, indeed, all over Ireland had moved on.
“There is no justification for crimes against the community. While investigations are at an early stage, it seems clear that criminal terrorists, in the guise of so-called dissident republicans, were involved.”
The Minister of State was replying to Fianna Fáil spokesman on foreign affairs Brendan Smith, who said he was very loath to use the description “dissidents” to identify the criminals involved or to debase the term “republican” by associating it with them.
“Yesterday’s grim discovery was sharp proof of the brutal criminality by a small number who continue to stalk Northern Ireland, ” Mr Smith added. “Similarly, the brutal murder in Derry today is another source of concern, and I note comments attributed to SDLP Assembly member Pat Ramsey, on The Irish Times website, which stated ‘there is no doubt whatsoever that dissidents were involved’.”
He said there should be ongoing co-operation between the Garda and the PSNI, adding that resource constraints should not interfere with such vital work.
Mr Donohoe said he had noticed Mr Smith’s reluctance to use the words “dissident’’ and “republican” in his description of those involved and he entirely agreed. He said Mr Gilmore had continued to engage in intensive discussions with political, civic and community leaders in recent months.
He added that the Government was committed to high- quality co-operation between the Garda and the PSNI.