Darragh MacKintyre investigates the reality of the republican threat
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Panorama: The Gunmen Who Never Went Away - was broadcast on BBC One at 8.30pm on Monday 30 March 2009.
Hardly surprising, but disappointing that these murderous terrorist "individuals" continue, they are criminals acting out an agenda to propagate their views and gain credability within a community who in the main, plainly does not want them. Hardly "freedom fighters", they are now dinosaurs, and like all good dinosaurs the sooner they die off, the better.
Unfortunately in the chapters and annuals of Irish History 'today's extremist is tomorrow's moderate' but as each and every generation come of age extremists stay within our midst having learnt nothing from the previous annuals of Irish history. As it has been proven time and time again 'physical force republicanism' will never achieve a United Ireland. Only by democratic means will this be achieved and then only by the democratic will of the people on the Island of Ireland.
I was disgusted by Panorama's blatant disregard for common sense or journalistic morals. We, the public, expect this form of sensationalism from the rag-tabloids not from the BBC. This is news-making not news-breaking. By running this story they have given these criminals the demands they asked for - attention, a return to the old days. A picture of violence and terrorism painted over Northern Ireland. During earlier darker days dissidents were not allowed airtime so they could not be romanticised or spread their terror, but Panorama in its 'wisdom' decided to give these men a free say to talk, and terrorise the public with their words of fear. Not only are these individuals not representative of the people of Northern Ireland, they no longer represent the nationalist side that previously resorted to violence. For McGuinness to call these men traitors to Ireland, is the highest accusation he could make and shows how these men are, as he said, not even to be considered dissidents. Panorama have made these men terror figures and so capitulated with their demands. Is the BBC planning to lead the race for a return to violence in the North so it can further its own ratings?
Caoimhín Ó Coileáin
Martin McGuinness should remember his past before he states that certain people are a disgrace to the island of Ireland, for if that is what he thinks then did he not at one time fall under that heading also, his memory can't be that short.
I thought this was an interesting if depressing Panorama. People like Ruairí Ó Brádaigh make me sad; what they have to offer people north and south of the border, isn't really wanted and yet they maintain the belief that what they want is right and that somehow it justifies the violence. It cannot. He and the youths shown need to be engaged with politically, not in any sense of appeasement nor of conceding anything but to show them that the politics of Ireland, north and south has moved on and is strong enough to talk to them and show them that theirs is not the only way to what they want. Only a society that is 'bigger' morally than they are and demonstrates it by talking to them can show them that their ways are redundant and belong in history.
Looks to me like the IRA or whatever they want to call themselves now are very much active, which I think is very sad and concerning for all in the community. The recent murders are a terrible reminder of the past which I thought both sides had now moved on from. Sadly I do not think now that this is the case. There are a minority who want to return to those very dark days and openly admit it. Great efforts have been made by politicians from both sides to bring peace which I thought was working well and great progress being made. I hope that with the great efforts of people wishing to continue to live in peace in Northern Ireland, they will be able to, in confidence, identify those wishing to destroy the peace process and bring them to justice. There is no place for them in Northern Ireland now or should there be.