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How gardai will counter new RIRA threat in advance of queen's visit

THE visit of Queen Elizabeth is one of the strongest symbols of our country's maturity that we could hope for.

The British head of state will be greeted with a "cead mile failte" by the vast majority of our population.

However, there are a number of dim-witted, if dangerous, dissident republican groups who have vowed to oppose the visit.

These are failures who speak for nobody. They are criminals who lost out in the division of spoils that the democratic system brought and the peace that was, and is, badly needed on this island.

The Real IRA has threatened the Royal Wedding, the queen's visit, the GAA, the Catholic Church and, for me most importantly, Catholic youth in the North who want to see real peace in their life times and wish to join the Police Service of Northern Ireland. They have threatened this on both sides of the Border.

Now I turn to the queen's welcome visit and the threat that lies from such criminals. The threat is real, despite the dissidents' low numbers, and will be taken seriously by An Garda Siochana.

The most immediate policing effect in Dublin city will be that movement restrictions will have to be put in place by the gardai to protect the visitor. Road closure orders will be implemented and traffic diversions will be put in place.

Homes of residents, commercial outlets and vacant buildings along all the routes that the queen will take have to be visited.

Questions will be asked by the gardai that may feel intrusive but these steps are necessary and indeed logical to safeguard the royal party.

I personally know many of the garda personnel who are drawing up these plans, and can assure readers that they are well clued in as to what restrictions are needed.

The RIRA hardliners probably have the capability to cause trouble during the visit -- but it is us the public who must prevent their murderous antics, by keeping our eyes and ears open and reporting any action of the least suspicion so as to help the gardai in a security task which is, to be truthful, enormous.

More mundane engineering works will also be carried out. As the Herald reports today sewers will be sealed and CCTV increased to monitor all movements along routes and nearby.

If the gardai think a ring of steel is necessary to protect all life then so be it.

Anti-terror officers attached to the Special Detective Unit will focus on the dissidents themselves.

The threat issued by a masked, cowardly dope in a Derry cemetery last Monday is a threat not just to police officers, but to every member of the public of the entire land mass of Ireland, North and South.

It reminded me of the Latin phrase 'Ex uno disce omnes' -- from one we can judge the rest. One spoke in Derry last Monday and from that we know what the rest are capable of.

Anti-terror legalisation allows that those suspected of threatening to kill or cause serious harm to people can be rounded up and held for seven days during the queen's visit.

These individuals have already threatened to kill and the State cannot accept public threats issued from such groups.

The law is there, some may see it as onerous, but it is available and it should be used.

The people who own this country support the gardai in bringing to account violent 'pseudo patriots'. I am confident my former colleagues will do a good job.

Our President invited this head of state. As with all visits by heads of state let us welcome the visitor and spread the word that we are an intelligent, mature society.

PJ Browne is a former detective superintendent with over 35 years experience policing serious crime


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