FOLLOWING a number of incidents in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council area local SDLP Member Margaret Anne McKillop has called on government departments to take the term ‘paramilitary’ out of their dictionary.
The Cushendall based Cllr said they should “call criminality for what it is ‘criminality’.”
She was responding after a number of incidents, including the burning of three cars, a shooting and other criminality believed to be carried out by elements masquerading as ‘paramilitaries’.
She said: “The SDLP made it clear at a recent ‘Communities in Transition’ briefing that we expect government departments to stop using the term ‘paramilitary’ because, in a perverse sort of way it was bestowing some kind of inverted prestige on gangsters who have been ruling our communities with an iron fist and who are guilty of racketeering, drug dealing and intimidation.
“All we have to do is look at the state of some of our villages in North Antrim where the most obvious signs are those of estate agents offering property for sale.”
She continued: “For too long we have given local criminal gangs too much legitimacy by referring to them as paramilitaries. There is no such thing as paramilitary violence or paramilitary activity, there is only violence and criminality activity.”
She concluded: “We are now 20 years into the Good Friday Agreement and unfortunately we are still using terms that crept into our lexicons during the troubles. One of these is ‘paramilitary’ and it is time it was deleted.”