Friday 23 August 2019

We must be vigilant - no one is immune to Isil's terror

An armed French police officer stands guard at the Franco-Italian border to check vehicles. The Isil attacks in Paris have proved that no country and no individual are immune to its mindless terror. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
An armed French police officer stands guard at the Franco-Italian border to check vehicles. The Isil attacks in Paris have proved that no country and no individual are immune to its mindless terror. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Editorial

Editorial

If the Isil attacks in Paris have proved anything, it is that no country and no individual are immune to its mindless terror.

This includes Ireland, whose defence forces are the pride of the United Nation's international peacekeeping corps.

Ireland is no stranger to the threat of terrorism, having faced down more than 30 years of such activity during the Troubles. We are rightly proud of the fact that Ireland, through tough emergency measures, robust intelligence and equally robust diplomacy, helped secure peace for all citizens on this island through the Good Friday Agreement.

However, in the face of Isil, Ireland cannot rely on its hard-fought international reputation as a peaceful nation.

Nor can Ireland rely on its traditional standing as a neutral territory.

We are committed members of the European Union and, despite criticisms in some quarters, the US government has enjoyed - and continues to enjoy - the use of Shannon Airport as a refuelling stop for its military planes to various destinations, including the Middle East.

That, in the mind of Isil operatives (at least 30 returning jihadists are based here) is a sufficient act of provocation.

We are a European nation which shares the bloc's Christian heritage and are as vulnerable to attacks on the basis of our purported 'lifestyle' as much as any other country.

There is, therefore, no room for complacency.

Tepid reassurances by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Garda Commissioner Nórirín O'Sullivan that Ireland is an unlikely target for Isil provide little comfort, as the group sets such a low threshold for mounting its murderous attacks.

Every other European country has responded with an urgency that is seemingly lacking here, despite our close proximity to the UK, which is on a high-threat alert.

The probability of an attack in Ireland may be low, but its potential impact - as in Paris - is unthinkable.

Government dithering exacerbates rent crisis

Signalling to landlords over the course of a few months that you are going to freeze rents was always going to goad many of them into pushing them up before the new controls came in.

And so it has happened. Rents nationwide jumped by an average of 3.2pc in the July to September period - the largest three-month increase since early 2007.

Landlords pre-loading rises ahead of the introduction of rent controls are hardly acting as good citizens. However, in economic terms, the action is entirely rational.

Tenants and landlords would not be having to contend with the outcome of the large rent hikes over the July to September period if politicians had come to a quick agreement on rent controls behind closed doors and implemented it immediately.

The drawn-out, to-ing and fro-ing between Ministers Michael Noonan and Alan Kelly has merely contributed to the rental increase crisis.

Those who have a rental lease in place will benefit from the new measures - but others will now discover that the weak and tardy response of the Government has meant they will now end up paying more.

Irish Independent

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