Sunday 26 May 2019

The gunmen can't be allowed to rule by fear

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Editorial

Editorial

As the news of the latest gang murder was breaking, another victim was being buried yesterday.

Both men were victims whose lives were cut short by predatory, ruthless murderers who care nothing for the partners or children left in their wake. They have built empires by seeing life as cheap, taking it and snuffing it out once they can sniff profit.

And they seem to be able to strike at will. Though Dublin's north inner city had a heavy Garda presence on Tuesday night, the gunman was still able to strike, and Jason Molyneaux was shot dead in cold blood.

The dark spiral of revenge and reprisal that has encircled our capital shows no sign of ending.

The crime lords are tightening their grip, having mastered their techniques to manipulate fear to the point of terrorising whole communities.

Speaking at the funeral of victim Derek Coakley Hutch yesterday, Fr Michael Casey sought to remind mourners that: "We must not forget who we are."

No, we must not. Nor can we allow these cowardly triggermen to use fear to shut us down; instead it must wake us up, so that there is zero tolerance for these bullying thugs who set themselves up as judge, jury and executioner.

As Fr Casey put it: "This reign of violence and total disrespect for human life carried out by people who have become soulless is frightening and leaves us all vulnerable."

Our society must not become soulless, or indifferent. And it is the killers who must be made to feel frightened.

In gangland, life has no value and can be snuffed out on a whim. The law must be respected, and those who see themselves as invincible must be shorn of their delusions.

Rural broadband promise threatened by withdrawal

In 'Where Good Ideas Come From', Steven Johnson wrote that: "Chance favours the connected mind."

So where does that leave the 450,000 unconnected homes and businesses in rural Ireland that the Government's National Broadband Plan has promised to reach; now that Eir, the country's largest telecoms firm, has withdrawn from the rollout?

The development must also open a fault-line underneath the State's eagerly anticipated communications strategy.

Given that Eir is the biggest supplier here, and had been in pole position to secure the State contract, the whole process may now need to be revisited.

It is still too early to know what precisely prompted Eir's decision. But from the beginning, plans to bring vital high-speed connectivity to rural areas have been regarded as central to bridging the rural/urban divide.

Efforts have been hampered because of the scale of the operation and a cumbersome procurement process. Delays have already meant that work supposed to have been started this year has been pushed back until next.

The concern now must be that there may be little appetite for others to step into the breach left by Eir, given that many of the targeted 450,000 homes are in the most remote areas and will need more investment.

Access to broadband is fundamental to supporting local communities and businesses. As Communications Minister Denis Naughten put it himself in the past: "What happens globally has to be applied locally."

But first things first, how can anything be applied globally without access to the internet?

Irish Independent

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