Recent atrocities in France and the police operations in Belgium the other day prompted me to think of this:
In the dark days of Irish republican terrorism I found myself on a
professional study week, in The Netherlands, in a white transit
personnel carrier, with several other of my then work colleagues. A
double murder by automatic weapons in nearby Roermond was reported to
our hosts and we were told that we should up our vigilance as we were in
a British registered vehicle and being as we all looked like police
officers (because we were), or military personnel, we might be at a
slightly enhanced risk. We pointed out to our hosts that we had been at a
`slightly enhanced risk` in our own country for our entire service.
The perpetrators drove across the various borders with ease, impunity
and their weapons. The `Shengen Agreement` helped considerably. In the
light of recent events I suspect that it still does.
Minister at the time the agreement was proceeding through the Eu
Parliament was Margaret Thatcher. She did not like it one bit. To this
day the UK remains outside the `Shengen Group`.
We are in a
different place today than we were then, but if you read the attached,
particularly the final paragraph, you will see that it still resonates.
Names and faces simply turn into statistics after the tears dry up.