Taoiseach attacks criminal dissidents

Published Friday, 02 November 2012
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Taoiseach Enda Kenny has launched a scathing attack on the dissident republicans responsible for the murder of prison officer David Black at Friday's North South Ministerial Council meeting in Armagh.

Taoiseach attacks criminal dissidents
Peter Robinson, Martin McGuinness, Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore in Armagh (© Michael Cooper)

Mr Kenny and Tánaiste Eamonn Gilmore joined the First and deputy First Minister in their condemnation of Thursday's killing, pledging full cooperation from the Irish government and An Garda Síochána in the investigation.

Speaking after the meeting, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "Yvonne Black has lost a husband, her children Kyle and Kyra have lost a father and Northern Ireland has lost a good hard-working son."

He added: "We condemn this murder unreservedly and the Tánaiste and I have pledged full support, full information and full response to the authorities in Northern Ireland and the PSNI.

"We do not want to see a return to this, nobody on this island wants to see a return to this."

Mr Kenny also highlighted the dissidents' links with other criminality.

"Dissident republicanism is one thing but it being intrinsically linked with criminality, extortion and drug dealing, which has led to deaths on the streets of Dublin, also exemplifies the warped mentality that exists here (within dissident groups)."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness warned supporters of dissidents that they need to "get real" and realise they are a "ragbag" of criminals out for their own ends.

What you have to understand is that if you support these people, you are effectively supporting people who are swimming in a sea of criminality and drugs, dressing it up on occasions in a flag of political convenience and you shouldn't be under any illusions about that.

Martin McGuinness

Mr McGuinness said there was no evidence the dissident movement was growing - but he had a stark message for the "tiny" minority who supported their actions.

He said: "People need to get real.

"They need to recognise the danger that a tiny number of people can represent to human beings and they need to recognise that the world has changed, that over the course of the last 15 years we have built something, all of us together, which we can be very proud of."

The Sinn Féin politician said people could not be "half baked" in their response to the murder and had to wholeheartedly support the authorities in tracking down Mr Black's killers.

First Minister Peter Robinson described the culprits as "evil and immoral" and branded them the enemies of everyone.

"To be frank, all sections and sectors of our community need to be aware that these are their enemies," he said.

"When someone strikes at the Prison Service in Northern Ireland, that's our Prison Service, that's part of our community, they are attacking us as part of that community and the community must give a community response to that."

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said that dissidents had no mandate.

"What happened yesterday was a crime and it was crime borne of criminality, and the criminality that gave rise to yesterday's crime is not confined to north of the border, we have seen too in Dublin in recent times shootings, killings taking place."

The Labour party leader said that everyone had to work together "to put an end" to criminality, adding: "We have to be very clear about where we stand in relation to it - and we are going to stand together on this."

© UTV News
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