Back to the troubles?

_45552349_forensicsAs I write Shaimaa is grabbing our technical equipment and heading to the airport for tomorrow’s special programme live from Belfast. In the last 48 hours 2 soldiers and a policeman have been shot dead in two separate incidents. The first murders of security forces in more than a decade.

The programme will be hosted by the Sony Award winning presenter Stephen Nolan, from an as yet undecided location. He’s born and bred in Belfast and presents radio and TV programmes on BBC Radio Ulster and our sister station here in the UK BBC Radio Five Live. There is, frankly, no-one better to illustrate to the world what the mood is like in Northern Ireland at the moment.

We’re also hoping that the BBC’s former Ireland Correspondent Dennis Murray will join us. He spent more than 20 years reporting on the troubles and the peace process for the BBC.

We’ll bring you stories of people living in the heart of the communities facing this upsurge in violence and see if they agree with the sentiments of some that Northern Ireland is now staring into the abyss. If you have any questions for the people taking part in the show post below……

25 Responses to “Back to the troubles?”

  1. March 10, 2009 at 13:26

    Back in 1982 during the war in south leb. we found among the PLO types a few IRA Pukes…. most of them chose to go ut in a ball of fire and not surrender while some were captured and later turned over to whomever claimed them (Hey who cares where they are now) but the fact they trained and were tained by these type sickens me

  2. 2 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    March 10, 2009 at 14:43

    The Russian-American writer and chemist, Dr. Issac Asimov, once said, “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

    The cretins responsible for the latest acts of violence in Northern Ireland are competent at murder, but incompetent in their abject failure to understand that the vast majority of people in both Northern Ireland and in the Irish Republic itself want the violence to end, and wish to live in peace with their neighbors.

  3. 3 Anthony
    March 10, 2009 at 14:53

    What I want to know is why haven’t I seen or heard any public apology from Ireland, and any proof that they are trying their best to take the “Real IRA” down? If they are trying to do this, they need a better Public Relations team!

    And honestly, religion and a United Ireland? I mean, I play online with Northern Irish guys, and they LOVE the UK and have 0 aspirations to join. And seriously…Catholics and Protestants? That’s like saying Coke and Pepsi are soooo different. Ridiculous.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  4. 4 Jim Newman
    March 10, 2009 at 15:00

    hello again
    I won’t bother to answer Robert Goldman. What I would like to say is that I find it incongruous that a small rump of a geographically contiguous island should belong to another state.

  5. 5 Jim Newman
    March 10, 2009 at 15:09

    Hello again
    And hello Donnamarie in Switzerland. You just got in before me. You quoted Isaac Asimov. Does that make the USA the most incompetent state in all of history?
    Yours with love.

  6. 6 VictorK
    March 10, 2009 at 15:28

    For decades the IRA’s campaign of terrorist murder claimed the lives of hundreds of police, soldiers and civilians. They were rewarded by the British government with a share of political power in Northern Ireland. Scores of IRA murderers were released from prison as part of the peace process.

    On what basis, now, will more committed terrorists like the Continuoty and Real IRA be condemned, since Sinn Fein-IRA have proved that violence works?

  7. 7 Jim Newman
    March 10, 2009 at 16:32

    hello again
    To ViktorK. We were always cut off by the delete button before.
    Anyway I would like to put a few questions to you.
    1 Have you ever heard of the settlement of Ireland by the Scots? A British governement policy.
    2 Have you ever heard of the Black and Tans?
    3 Have you ever heard of the plebicite of 1922?
    4 Have you ever heard of why and how Northern Ireland was formed?
    And finally what the hell do you mean by terrorism?
    Yours with respect

  8. 8 Ibrahim in UK
    March 10, 2009 at 16:37

    The best response to these acts is to push forward with peace and politics. The more progress is made on that front, the less support there will be for the violent approach. People follow the results. the peace process has provided results and the people are aware of that, they no longer want to go back to the troubled days.
    These shootings are a reminder of why the peace process has to work.

  9. 9 Dennis Junior
    March 10, 2009 at 16:54

    I have a question for Dennis Murray, what is your solution towards the Northern Ireland Problems and for the Presenter of Wednesday’s show…Since they have years of experience in this department…

    ~Dennis Junior~

  10. 10 nora
    March 10, 2009 at 17:22

    Strangers to the Irish cultural legacy can get really rhetorical about things they do not understand. As a young mother watching Bobby Sands starve to death while I wrote letters to the Brits and the UN begging for his life took me past rhetoric to a deep yearning for peace. Irish all over the world want peace. Decomisissioning rage is so hard when three whiskeys in we all talk bollicks. Poverty is still with us.

  11. 11 VictorK
    March 10, 2009 at 17:32

    @Jim Newman: as chance would have it, I addressed most of your points, some indirectly, in a note I posted before I saw the last from you(16:32). But someone didn’t like it and it’s not appeared.

  12. 12 Steve in Boston
    March 10, 2009 at 18:10

    Seems to me it’s not such a good idea to be glorifying these gunmen with a lot of free publicity.

    I use the word “gunmen” because that’s the word I just heard used to describe them on the BBC news. Not “murderers,” not “executioners,” not “terrorists,” not “cold blooded killers,” but “gunmen.”

    Sounds rather romantic, doesn’t it?


  13. 13 Maria from Nothern Spain
    March 10, 2009 at 18:21

    To: Donnamarie in Switzerland

    You are very right indeed when saying that “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” Those who are lack in arguments, then resort to violence.

  14. 14 Kofi Osei
    March 10, 2009 at 19:08

    Please forgive my ignorance on the RIRA and CIRA matter but why do the British have a military presence there? Does it mean the Irish cannot govern themselves?
    How would things play out if the British were to lay down an exit plan and simply let the people govern themselves. i am sure they are capable. What is it in the Brit that make them want to Lord over others?

  15. 15 Marge
    March 11, 2009 at 04:22

    It should be no surprise that the IRA or whatever they want to call themselves this time are back murdering people. Many men like the excitement of explosions, shooting, chasing, killing. They love it. I recently went into a electronic game venue. All the customers where boys, and as far as I could see, the games where all about, explosions, killing, chasing etc. Do these murderous men beat their hairy chests before or after they have killed people?

    Perhaps some one should explain to them, carefully and slowly so that they understand, that the “pen is mightier than the sword”. If they have a dispute or or a point to prove they should verbalize about it, you know, like women do . Time to get civilized!

  16. March 11, 2009 at 07:58

    the terror and eventual killing of an innocent brazilian guy in England wasnt another back to the troubles incident.what makes people in Ireland think that something greater than their former troubles cant occur in the nearest future.?


  17. 17 Ogola Benard
    March 11, 2009 at 12:43

    Could some body throw some light on full meaning of IRA – What is it?

  18. March 11, 2009 at 13:24

    The Good Friday Agreement was seen as a new chapter in the history of Northern Ireland. It was successful as far as it has kept peace among the Catholics and the Protestants, although the Real IRA was the first to condemn it and to see itself as the alternative to the IRA that agreed to deal with Northern Ireland issue through negotiations and political settlement rather than resorting to armed struggle.

    In view of the last incident that cost the lives of two soldiers and a policeman, some of the questions that need to be asked:

    1- How popular is the Real IRA in Northern Ireland, especially among those disenchanted with power sharing among the Catholics and the Protestants?

    2- How big is the threat from the Real IRA? Is it really dangerous to the current peace in Northern Ireland?

    3- What are the economic impacts of the returning tensions in Northern Ireland as it has become economically vibrant following the cessation of hostilities following the Good Friday Agreement?

  19. 19 Laura back in Minneapolis
    March 11, 2009 at 13:26

    I was just in Belfast for 5 months, and while that by NO means makes me an expert in any sense of the word, I can share some insight and things I learned while I called Belfast my home.

    Ogola: if someone were to attempt and explain the full meaning of the IRA… well that would be a very long post indeed. The simple, obviously lacking answers, is the IRA is a group (sometimes deemed “terrorist”) against the occupation of british troops in Northern Ireland. Many IRAians wish to be reunited with the rest of the island, the Republic of Ireland.

    Anthony: From your perspective catholic and protestant may not be very different at all, and I can see where you’re coming from. I’m from the states, and my idea of diversity encompasses all sorts of skin colors, sexual orientations, and religions. However Northern Ireland is 98% white, and the gaps between catholic and protestant are huge and obvious to those who know what to look for. It’s not just religion, it’s everything- from occupation, to violence on both sides, to oppression.

    Marge: both sides are at fault for committing acts of violence, and both sides are to credit for wanting peace. I dare you to give me an example of a society without violence- and please don’t scapegoat the men only for violence. Otherizing anyone leads nowhere. It’s only when we take the blame and credit together that we start to get somewhere.

    Back in Minneapolis, Missing Belfast

  20. 20 Archibald in Oregon
    March 11, 2009 at 15:29

    The british are an occupying force, remove them and things might well sort themselves out, but, as is typically British, with regards to their colonial heritage, they stay too long and make the situation untenable.

  21. March 11, 2009 at 16:50

    There should be no doubt in anybody’s mind the perpertraitors of this crime should be found and tried for the killings of these men. Everthing should be done to find them so that they cannot continue doing more of the same.

  22. 22 Josiah Soap, USA
    March 11, 2009 at 23:52

    I’ll only add, that as Americans we are brain washed about N Ireland and we don’t know much about the troubles – therefore – I think its best if the Irish provide comments and we listen but keep our 2 cents worth to ourselves

  23. 23 Marge
    March 12, 2009 at 11:08

    As I have just said, men love violence. Shooting, explosions, etc. what excitement! Any excuse will do. Recently in Germany a boy got a gun and went and killed fellow students. And we are surprised!! A school in America was also the crime scene for a boy with a gun, again.
    How many times has this occurred.? The electronic game venues are full of males watching “games” of violence. No girls. What is the fundamental difference? That males love violence?
    I think the facts speak for themselves.

  24. 24 Emile Barre
    March 14, 2009 at 13:14

    The EU should decide on the future of Northern Ireland.

  25. 25 Rhi
    March 16, 2010 at 06:30


    Times are changing dear, there so happens to be a female section within the IRA (perhaps they are not accountable for much of the actual violence – but they are still there on the side lines). Nowadays there is an increase in female suicide bombersetc. I think it is wise to look at the past, but war is changing as is the nature of violence so don’t ignore the present.

    Best wishes.

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