Let’s just remember this when considering the effect of the Conservative Government’s plan to repeal the Human Rights Act.
I mention this because the Good Friday Agreement, on which the Northern Ireland peace process depends, requires the Human Rights Act to function.
The Home Secretary’s warning to Parliament on Wednesday that MI5 had decided to elevate the threat level posed by Northern Ireland-related terrorism in Great Britain to ‘substantial’ was a stark reminder of Gerry Adams’s old quip that those men and women willing to kill for a united Ireland did not ‘go away you know’.
The Security Service nosw considers an attack in England, Scotland or Wales to be ‘a strong possibility’, which suggests an increasing confidence and capability among dissident Republican organisations, which reman implacably opposed to the Good Friday Agreement.
For many in Great Britain, the threat from Irish republicans mostly stirs memories of the 1990s, when Provisional IRA bomb scares were a feature of life and major attacks struck high profile targets including Downing Street and Canary Wharf.
Rather than being associated with violence today, Northern Ireland instead exports Open-winning golfers and serves as the backdrop for Game of Thrones, leaving many surprised when the terror threat was raised this week.
However, in Northern Ireland itself, the danger posed by dissident groups has remained high since 1998, particularly for members of the Armed Forces, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and prison staff, with between 15 and 40 attacks recorded a year since 2000 according to a government assessment of paramilitarism in the region published last October.
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