Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Northern Ireland is run by the mob

Following the collapse of the Robert McCartney murder trial, you can understand why Northern Ireland is referred to by some as "Sicily without the sunshine".

The paramilitaries may not be bombing Belfast, but they continue to shoot, stab and maim anyone who stands in the way of their criminal activities. The rule of law is fast becoming replaced by the rule of Omertà. But the politicians in London and Dublin have been too busy congratulating themselves to notice. They consider Northern Ireland to be a showcase to the world on how to achieve peace and aren't going to let anything so trivial as organised crime overshadow it.

But organised crime isn't trivial. It blights the lives of millions and will ultimately hurt Northern Ireland just as much as the troubles did. Do the people of Ulster really want their country to end up like Sicily where 80% of businesses have to pay protection money and where the local population live in fear of the Mafia, knowing that theirs is the only authority that counts? If I was Tony Blair, it's not a legacy I'd be proud of.