Beyond drawing attention to two articles from granny Herald, there is no more from me...
First this brief history of "terrorism"...
Terror on our mind ,
Then just a couple pages on in the edition we bought in Dargaville...
The Irish Experience,
Lessons from violence
By DIANA McCURDY
If former Irish Prime Minister Dr Garret FitzGerald learned anything about terrorism from his years dealing with the Irish Republican Army it is this:
"There are only two ways to handle terrorists. You don't negotiate with terrorists unless they want to settle. But at the same time you don't deal with them in a way that alienates the people they come from unnecessarily."
During his time in Ireland's top seat, from 1981 to 1987, FitzGerald, as Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) dealt constantly with terrorist threats and bombs.
The danger was omnipresent and very real. Since 1969, more than 3500 people have died in the Irish Republican Army (IRA) struggle to expel Britain from Northern Ireland. Thousands of others have been wounded.
Under FitzGerald's leadership, for example, Ireland managed to head off an assassination attempt on Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, at a London theatre in 1983.
At 78, FitzGerald's memories draw on decades. But his experience remains as relevant to the modern world as ever, as the tragedies in Beslan and Jakarta have shown.
FitzGerald, in New Zealand on a lecture tour, says the basic lessons for dealing with terrorists apply anywhere in the world. "Over-reaction brings support for even extreme terrorism. Anti-terrorist action is often very indiscriminatory, and the population who don't really support the terrorists at the beginning end up supporting them. You don't want to lose the support of the ordinary people."
FitzGerald is all too familiar with the consequences of over-reaction. Just over two decades ago, terrorism brought Ireland closer to civil war than most people realise, he says.
In 1981, there was a public outcry after several imprisoned IRA paramilitaries died during a hunger strike. More than 10,000 marched in Dublin in support of the strikers and a crowd of 500 turned on police at the British Embassy. The police managed to hold the protesters at bay, but 200 people needed hospital treatment.
It was a "very nervous time" for FitzGerald, then a new prime minister. If the protesters had broken past the police, the Army would have stopped them. But the outcome, had the Army opened fire on civilians, is unthinkable. "Our state has been much more vulnerable to the IRA than most think - certainly much more vulnerable than Britain," FitzGerald says.
He is scathing about the British administration's handling of the 1981 hunger strikes. MI6 - which dealt directly with the IRA in a failed bid to end the strikes - should never have become involved, he says. "They should have avoided the strikes and they should never have handled them the way they did.
"I'm not saying they should have given in to them. You should never give in to hunger strikes. Nonetheless, they could have handled it better."
In the months after the hunger strikes began, support grew for Sinn Fein - a republican political movement linked to the IRA.
It was a potentially disastrous situation, FitzGerald says. If Sinn Fein had gained sufficient support, the IRA might conceivably have decided to raise their violence to a civil war level.
To avert a crisis, FitzGerald was forced to relinquish his preferred policy of negotiating with the pro-British "unionists" in Northern Island. Instead, he moved towards dealing directly with the British Government.
The irony is all too clear. "The IRA has brought Ireland and Britain closer together than ever seemed possible in the past, in search of a common solution to the problem."
History, FitzGerald says with a smile, sometimes has some very surprising twists.
In 1985, Britain and Ireland signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement - arguably the most important development in relations between the two countries in half a century. In effect, the British Government conceded that the Irish Government had a special role in Northern Ireland - less than joint authority but stronger than a mere right to consultation.
FitzGerald says he was never tempted to negotiate with the IRA, even in his darkest moments. No Irish government has ever had anything to do with the IRA, he says. "We took a very tough line. We'd had the IRA for a very long time ... and we knew how to deal with them."
FitzGerald has spoken to the IRA only once - and that was after he left Parliament. It was at a commemoration ceremony following the 1998 Omagh bombing. Because of a mix-up, there was no car for him. So he jumped on a bus - to find it was full of IRA members.
One of the enforcers came and sat next to him. "He said: 'You know, I used to know as much about train timetables as you know about air timetables'. And that's the only contact I had with the IRA."
The British did not take such a strong stance. "The British in the 1970s kept on talking to them, raising their hopes that if they went on murdering people they might get more out of the British."
FitzGerald never feared for his life during his time in office. Nobody would have gained anything from killing him, he says. He remembers, however, that his wife became upset when IRA members demonstrated outside their family home.
There were threats, but he took them in his stride, he says. At one point, a breakaway IRA member threatened to kidnap a wife or child of an MP. But even at that level, there was to be no budging. "We decided in Government that in the event of any minister's wife or child being kidnapped that the minister in question would leave the cabinet and have no role and we would refuse to give in. We had formally agreed that." Eventually the man did kidnap somebody, but not a politician.
In Ireland, the politicians have tended to take a tougher approach than the general population, FitzGerald says. In the south the population tends to be uninterested and rather fearful of the events in Northern Ireland. "We've had bombings by the unionists, we've had murders by the IRA and police and so on, so it's an understandable fear," FitzGerald says. "But that's never said. Nobody says it openly."
Since 1972, Governments have worked doggedly with the British to convince them to modify their approach and swing support away from the IRA. In this respect, FitzGerald says, the politicians have been better than the people.
Today, terrorism in Northern Ireland is abating somewhat, but managing tensions remains difficult. FitzGerald says the British eventually made some smart moves - cleaning up the police force and stamping out discrimination. But Belfast, in particular, remains a tense political climate.
Even today, amid talk of disarmament, FitzGerald finds it difficult to accept the rising popularity of Sinn Fein and the IRA.
Don't ask him to explain why most nationalists in Northern Ireland support Sinn Fein, he says. He can't understand it. In the south, the party's support remains more limited and is mainly concentrated in border towns and deprived areas.
Over time, FitzGerald suggests, Sinn Fein may move from being an extreme republican group to concentrating their efforts on the disadvantaged.
"By putting pressure on the bourgeois parties to do a bit more, they could even be playing a constructive role in society in 10 years' time," FitzGerald says.
A victory in his personal war on terrorism, perhaps?
FitzGerald shrugs: "Using the word 'war' is a mistake," he says. "They think it's a war. Why on earth concede to them it's a war? It licenses it."
So there you have it.
Perhaps there are some other people, some very important national leaders, who (urgently in view of his age) should go talk to FitzGerald urgently and at great length.
If it is not too late already...