Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson, Stephen Farry, responding to the report from Dr Liam Kennedy, entitled “They Should Children, Don’t They” that details the rise in so-called ‘punishment attacks’ has stated that this problem can no longer be swept under the carpet.
Dr Farry stated:
“This report makes clear that so-called ‘punishment attacks’ are a growing problem in this society. Suggestions that these activities would gradually decline have been proven unfounded.”
“This problem cannot be conveniently swept under the carpet. It is incumbent upon those of us that support the Agreement to speak out about this problem. To do otherwise will simply confound the perception that there is a moral vacuum in the implementation of the Agreement, and play into the hands of its opponents.”
“Despite the Mitchell Principles calling for an end to these attacks, they have never been regarded by the authorities as breaches of ceasefires. Furthermore in all the focus on decommissioning as the means to demonstrate the bona fides of paramilitary groups, proper attention has not been given to the continued activities of paramilitaries.”
“These activities are illegitimate, and are not only criminal offences but major human rights abuses. This reality seem to be lost in the wider debate about human rights in this society.”
“The Security Minister should clearly state that the Government will not tolerate these activities, and the Chief Constable should make the arrest and conviction of those involved such attacks a priority.”