Killing without end: lives lost in 'peacetime'
A decade after the first IRA and loyalist ceasefires, men and women are still being murdered in Northern Ireland by sectarian organisations that pay scant attention to the Peace Process. David McKittrick reports on a relentless cycle of violence
09 June 2004
The Troubles may have subsided since the days when lives were taken at a rate of more than one a day, but Northern Ireland is still paying a price in human terms. The killing rate is down to one a month, but families are still being bereaved as the steady drip of death goes on, almost 10 years after the first IRA and loyalist ceasefires of 1994.
Although statistically the situation is much improved, lives are still being shattered by the persistence of paramilitarism. Thirty-six killings have taken place in the last three years, from 2001 to 2003.
The latest research shows that extreme loyalist groups are now far outstripping the IRA, and other republicans, in terms of committing murders. The killing rate for the last three-year period stands at exactly one per month, with three-quarters of the 36 killings carried out by loyalist groups. Overall, since 1966, about 3,700 people have died in the Troubles.
Although political and media attention tends to focus almost entirely on the IRA, that organisation is suspected of involvement in just three of the 36 killings that have taken place since April 2001.
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