A Catholic priest describes the grip the IRA has on the nationalist community and the complete lack of trust that community has in the security forces.

In the light of the latest sectarian killing, this time of a former member of the UDR (Ulster Defence Regiment) by the IRA (Irish Republican Army), Father Denis Faul says that the Catholic community are just as horrified as the Protestant community, but live in fear of the perpetrators.

They are held in the grip of these people just as much as the Protestant people are. These people hold the Catholic community in terror.

One way of moving forward, he suggests, is to find an alternative way to policing in the north, which would lay the groundwork for a more peaceful atmosphere, and would vastly improve the quality of life for the nationalist community, who would have no need to support the Provisional IRA as 

They feel then that they can make themselves so to speak essential to the Catholic community by keeping the situation on the edge of a crisis, on the edge of a pogrom, on the edge of  a sectarian conflict by these dreadful murders.

Father Faul says the problem of Republican violence and the actions of the current police force and the judiciary mean that many in the Catholic community have in general have lost faith in the RUC and the judicial system. This would be restored in some way by taking action such as releasing specific categories of prisoners,

You would speedily find that a lot of the Provo support would depart.

The absence of politicial representatives in Westminster also does nothing to improve things in Northern Ireland, as people need to be able to contact someone who has access to government in times of crisis,

You need to be able to lift the phone and ring someone who has credibility, and who can get through effectively to power.

In spite of recent comments about policing by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Douglas Hurd, hope for Father Faul lies at present with the Irish government instead of the British, as

They never seem to see the Irish people as a whole, they never seem to even see the Northern Ireland community as a whole with its problems.

This episode of ‘Today Tonight’ was broadcast on 9 October 1984. The presenter is Brian Farrell.

'Today Tonight' was a RTÉ current affairs programme with up-to-the-minute coverage of events at home and abroad. 'Today Tonight' was first broadcast on Monday, 6 October, 1980 and ran for 12 years until 1992. Edited by Joe Mulholland, the original presenters included Barry Cowan, Brian Farrell and Olivia O'Leary.

'Today Tonight' aired from Monday to Thursday on RTÉ 1.