Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The new Northern Ireland?

In reaction to the killing of Paul Quinn by suspected former IRA members, the Unionist politicians in Northern Ireland have been fairly muted, talking about needing to wait for the investigation's results etc etc.

This is a welcome contrast to the pre-deal era when, by now, our blood would have been curdled by Ian Paisley in classic "IRA/Sinn Fein outrage" mode. I suppose this reveals the febrile and somewhat immature behaviour of some politicians pre-deal, while highlighting a welcome change in atmosphere post-deal.

Slugger O'Toole highlights an interesting article in the Irish Times (subscription required) by Gerry Moriarty which concludes about the killing:

This is a test of whether policing can work in the Borderlands. If it doesn’t then we could end up with a situation similar to that pertaining after the murder of Robert McCartney: then the so-called dogs in the street knew who was responsible but so far no one has been convicted of his murder.

Numerous people spoke to the PSNI in relation to McCartney but the necessary evidence to nail the killers was not forthcoming. If the same applies after Quinn’s death then notwithstanding the great political progress to date the question will be asked, does the writ of criminality run in south Armagh or do republicans have the influence to help bring killers to book?

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