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Eamon Delaney: Ragbag of cowards hiding behind Facebook

THERE is something awfully depressing, but also not surprising, about the news that an Irish citizen serving in the British army has been told not to travel home for Christmas because dissident republicans were threatening to kill him. Dissident dinosaurs – they haven't gone away you know.

We saw them during the queen's visit, a small ragbag banging crash barriers and shouting abuse, their heads full of 19th Century grievances. We saw them protesting against foreign games in Croke Park – some of them wearing British soccer jerseys. Ridiculous and out of date – but they are not completely ridiculous. They are small in number but deadly too. As we see with the links to organised crime, and the paramilitary display at Alan Ryan's funeral. And though small in Northern Ireland, they can still kill soldiers and policemen and escape.

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