Can peace prevail in Northern Ireland?

By Rebecca Jamieson

The murder of two soldiers at an Antrim army base leaves Northern Ireland’s politicians and security chiefs with a major challenge.

Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson
Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson

The attack is an attempt by the Real IRA to wreck the peace process and bring down the power-sharing Northern Ireland Assembly. Politicians will now have to try and ensure they do not succeed.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and Prime Minister Gordon Brown both condemned the murders. Adams called them “an attack on the peace process”, and Brown described the act as “evil”, and said “no murderer” would derail the peace process.

The First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson has described the murders as “a terrible reminder of the events of the past”. He said, “We will not allow these people to set our agenda, we will not allow them to drag us back into the bad old days.”

It seems the people of Northern Ireland had got used to living in relative peace, and many are outraged at the senseless violence of the attack.

Chris Murray, a Catholic from Belfast said: “I am outraged about this attack. How dare they try to steal the hard won peace we have? How dare they murder people for no reason?”

William Walker who lives in the Antrim area said: “I am quite saddened by this attack on the security forces – those days were gone, and we thought they had gone for good. How wrong we were. After living in Belfast for 25 years during the Troubles I hope we don’t go down that road again.”

It is now the responsibility of Northern Ireland’s leaders to ensure peace will return to a population who have had it so fleetingly.

Who are the Real IRA?

The dissident Republican group the Real IRA was born out of a split in the mainstream Provisional IRA in October 1997. They were responsible for the Omagh bombing as well of a string of other attacks, including bombings in London and Birmingham.