Belfast Police Under Renewed Attacks

Rioting in Northern Ireland this week marked a considerable escalation of violence by "sinister forces" hoping to create a "new generation of martyrs," Ireland's foreign minister said on Wednesday. Nationalists attacked police with petrol bombs on Monday during parades by the Orange Order and tried to set a train travelling on the Belfast-Dublin line on fire. The unrest followed violence on Sunday night in which three police officers were shot and wounded. Children as young as eight and nine attacked police with metal bars and wooden planks and Micheal Martin condemned those directing the violence for taking advantage of disadvantaged and bored young people. "By their twisted logic, they believe that they can lead Ireland into the future by dragging it back through the horrors of the past," Martin said in a statement, using markedly stronger language than usual. "Dreadful as it is to contemplate, they are actually hoping that one or more of the rioters will be killed or maimed in their conflict with the police so that a new generation of martyrs for the cause will inspire others to follow. "Violence almost invariably occurs on the sidelines of summer parades by Protestants, but this year was the first since Belfast took control of Northern Ireland's policing and justice matters from London. "The fact that significant rioting has continued in Belfast and elsewhere is evidence of sinister forces at work," Martin said. "To those misguided, would-be republicans who delude themselves into believing that an independent united Irish Republic can still be achieved by violence, I say it's time to face up to reality. The war is over. "The devolution deal was one of the biggest steps since a 1998 accord ended decades of violence between predominantly Catholic Nationalist groups who want a united Ireland and mainly Protestant unionists who want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. However, nationalist splinter groups have stepped up attacks on the police and B