Saturday, 14 August 2010
Children injured in Lurgan explosion
Two 12 year old children and a toddler have received minor injuries in a bomb explosion in the Armagh town of Lurgan. The no-warning bomb went off in a bin as police investigated reports of another device at a nearby primary school; it's almost certain that the blast was intended for PSNI officers who would have potentially set a cordon in the area. One Chief Inspector said the tactic bore "similarities to the Omagh bombing that we would not like to repeat".
Dissident republicans are once again being blamed, amid claims that private talks between themselves and the British government have been taking place for months. If such talks had taken place - they are being vigorously denied by the authorities in question - it would at the very least suggest that the threat that they are posing is indeed a relatively serious one.
One thing that is striking, however, is that the term 'dissident' is habitually used to describe any violent action by nationalists and republicans in Northern Ireland, as if only a very small minority are actively involved in maintaining the fight against British rule. That police investigating the various bomb alerts in Lurgan were themselves subject to attack from youths throwing petrol bombs and other missiles shows that, just as with the violence that flared during this year's July 12th parades in Belfast, it would be erroneous to assume that confrontation to the authorities is restricted to a select few. It is tempting to think that the current political climate wrought by the implementation of devolution - and Sinn Féin's involvement with it - has meant that any violent opposition must be considered 'dissident' rather than as the product of the mainstream.