Without strong policies, paramilitaries will continue to displace families and have access to weapons.

I’ve been pretty busy with other matters, so pardon my delay in shooting Stephen Dempster’s Spotlight documentary, which highlights a number of enduring realities of our so-called post-conflict era, such as what happened more than 20 years after Belfast – Some deal gives 12,500 people who are members of loyalist paramilitaries.

The numbers are part of the rivalry game these organizations play to empower each other. Often times they mean very little in and of themselves. The play reveals the difficult (if not impossible) position in which politics is unwilling to even face the fact that there are real and ongoing problems arising from the fact that these organizations are still running the PSNI .

The core story centers around a family effectively fired from their community to cross a paramilitary: a recurring theme in the era of peaceworking. Ian Ogle’s story plays a prominent role in the play, whose murder has at least witnesses who are ready to come forward. In parallel Republican cases, like the murder of Paul Quinn, witnesses rarely appear.

If the UVF and UDA haven’t gone away, or according to a recent report, the Provisionals have:

… The new assessment is that this is still the position and the IRA is in a greatly reduced form and not recruiting or training. But it also means that the organization still has access to weapons.

The photo from TheDigitalWay is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

Mick is the founding editor of Slugger. He has written articles on the impact of the internet on politics and the media and is a regular guest and speaker across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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