“We too are concerned that there are currently members of the British army on our streets years after we were told that they no longer have an active role in the north.” ~Danny Morrison, IRSP, Derry Journal.
That quote is not a throwback to the Troubles. It is not left over from Operation Banner – the longest deployment of the Army in British history. Operation Banner lasted for over 38 years. Their presence and poor decision making skills fueled the flames of the Troubles for thirty years, and the mission “failed to defeat the Irish Republican Army on a strategic level or have any long term plan,” according to a Ministry of Defence report. The British Army formally ended their engagement (Operation Banner) in the North of Ireland in July 2007.
So why are they back in force on the streets of Derry working with the Police Service of Northern Ireland? Why did the PSNI request them, even though they knew that the presence of the Army would cause a serious problem? After all, the Good Friday agreement created the new police service in order to get people to accept one that was not ever tied to the British Army…and now they have chosen to bring them back. Seems like history repeating itself…and another bad decision.
No one was arrested,but the flashbacks of seeing active soldiers on a house to house search must have been rough for many, many people. The British government insists that there are no active units in the region and that since 2007, their deployment has been over. The last couple of days in Derry seem to say different though and they threaten to cause even more “angry dissidents” to re-emerge from the past, out of frustration and betrayal.
Someone better fix this nightmare quick.