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Border secured (for one week only)


A dissident republican

A dissident republican

Lough Erne Hotel resort in Co Fermanagh. PA Wire

Lough Erne Hotel resort in Co Fermanagh. PA Wire

The security fence erected around the G8 venue, the Lough Erne Golf Resort. Photo: AP

The security fence erected around the G8 venue, the Lough Erne Golf Resort. Photo: AP


A dissident republican

NEXT week, in Fermanagh, the most powerful woman in the world, Angela Merkel, will be joined by seven of the most influential men on Earth to discuss the great issues of our times at the G8 summit.

The usual suspects – anarchists, eco warriors, and assorted radicals with a wide range of grievances about how the world is run – will be there spoiling for a fight. So too will some of our own native goon squads, including renegade republican terror gangs.

The appearance of a stellar cast that includes President Barack Obama, Russian tough guy Vladimir Putin, and the woman who holds Europe's economic fate in her hands is generating the biggest security operation ever mounted in Ireland.

But it is the presence of UK prime minister David Cameron, undercover SAS units, and thousands of British police officers called in to assist the PSNI that provides our homegrown troublemakers with an opportunity to make a grab for the headlines.

On both sides of the border the full apparatus of the state is being mobilised to nullify any threats. There will be no sailing on Lough Erne. There will no civilian flights over Fermanagh and the surrounding countryside. Many roads will be sealed off. Some 900 gardai, including specialist ERU officers, have been drafted to the border to safeguard against the possibility of any violent attacks being launched from the territory of the Republic.

Members of the Irish Army's elite Ranger Wing will also be discreetly on duty.

District Courts and judges are on standby to handle the immediate processing of charges in the event of any trouble. Mobile phone networks may be shut down without warning to neutralise the danger posed by remotely detonated explosive devices.

The lockdown will be costly, disruptive but fully justified.

Not so long ago Fermanagh was a bloody killing field that saw ethnic cleansing long before the phrase was coined in 1990s Yugoslavia. From 1971 to 1989, there were 203 sectarian murders perpetrated in Fermanagh and south Tyrone – 178 of the victims were Protestants. Slaughtered in a campaign of ethnic cruelty waged by the IRA in order to turn parts of Northern Ireland into "Prod-free" zones.



A mere 14 convictions were secured in all that time for the massacre of bus-drivers, farmers, shopkeepers, teachers, nurses, construction workers and local men in uniform who were deemed "legitimate targets" by the Provos. That means hundreds involved in mass murder were never brought to justice. Some of them are as dangerous now as they were then.

Today the borderlands remain at the heart of hard-core terrorist activity and organised crime on this island. This is where racketeering is rife.

This is where most of the country's illicit vodka is distilled and bottled. This is where the toxic smuggled cigarettes are packaged, stored and distributed.

This is where the dodgy diesel is washed in underground processing plants that fuel the coffers of all the IRAs that plague us.

This is where counterfeit movies are duplicated and fake medicines assembled and put on the streets.

Recently Retail Ireland reckoned that the cost of all that criminality ran to €1.5bn in lost taxes to the State and lost earnings for legitimate traders. It's not just a matter of lost revenue. Lives are being lost too.

In January, a gang of young thieves gunned down Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe outside a credit union near Dundalk and made off with a few thousand euro. Little progress appears to have been made in bringing the killer and his accomplices to justice. People in this sinister shadowland don't talk to cops. It's too risky.

Last month a raid on an illegal fuel laundering plant in Monaghan led to the seizure of an oil tanker with 20,000 litres of washed diesel onboard. The vehicle had been taken to the army's Aiken Barracks in Dundalk for safekeeping.

Four days after it was seized, the smugglers breached the defences of the army base to steal it back.

The raiders smashed through the metal gates without a shot being fired. The tanker then disappeared into the night with its €30,000 load and hasn't been seen since.



Next week the forces of law and order North and South will go all out to make sure the G8 VIPs are protected. Isn't it about time that the same effort was put into smashing the border mafias who cause so much misery and mayhem for those of us who live here the rest of the time?

Where are the drones, and the commandoes and the full might of the State when we, the people, need them?

Sadly, Adrian Donohoe is not the first and he won't be the last victim of our failure to make the rule of law run in this part of Ireland. It's not good enough to put on a show of strength only when Barack, Angela and David come calling.

We pay the bills – we're entitled to the same tender loving care they get.