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Dissident campaign of violence is futile

Today marks ten years since the shocking murder of PSNI officer Stephen Carroll, shot dead by the Continuity IRA in his patrol car in Craigavon, Co Armagh.

His death came two days after the brutal killing of two British soldiers, Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey, shot by the Real IRA as they collected pizza at the gates of the former Massereene Barracks in Antrim.

This bloodshed sent shockwaves across Northern Ireland and led to widespread condemnation of the dissident republicans responsible.

Among those denouncing the killers in trenchant terms was deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, who branded them as 'traitors to the island of Ireland.'

Sadly, the killings were not the last at the hands of those who continue to pursue their futile campaign of violence, bringing yet more anguish to the families of their victims, causing fear in the wider community and placing lives in danger.

Thankfully dissident activities have decreased in intensity, mainly due to the success of police operations on both sides of the border which have managed to disrupt these small and sparsely supported groups, with weapons being seized and key figures being brought before the courts.

It is clear that those who unwisely get involved in these violent activities will most likely find themselves spending a considerable number of years in prison.

Yesterday, dissident republican Sean McVeigh from Lurgan was jailed for 25 years for attempting to murder an off duty PSNI officer and possessing explosives with intent to supply almost four years ago.

The judge said he was satisfied that McVeigh planted a bomb under the officer's car outside his home in Eglinton, Co Derry, an attack that was fortunately foiled by the man's wife, also a PSNI member.

This attack could have resulted in the death of this couple and endangered others in the vicinity.

Had that happened, what would it have achieved only more victims and more pain?

Those determined to kill their fellow citizens must realise their campaign is going nowhere and only perpetuates suffering.

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