Policing Board member Ian Paisley Jnr today urged the PSNI to shoot republican militants on sight following an abortive rocket attack in County Fermanagh at the weekend.
His comments provoked a storm of criticism and raised questions over the proposed transfer of policing powers from London to Belfast.
Throughout the conflict, scores have died -- including many civilians -- under the British policy of shooting suspected IRA and INLA Volunteers in cold blood.
Paisley Jnr said people in the North would support the return of the shoot-to-kill policy to “wipe out” groups such as the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA.
Mr Paisley was speaking days after a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at a PSNI patrol in the border town of Lisnaskea on Saturday. Three members of the PSNI escaped serious injury when the grenade failed to detonate.
Mr Paisley claimed people would now support state killings to crush the remaining republican resistance.
“Sooner or later there will be a murder of a police officer unless the police are able to deploy ruthlessness in tracking down and wiping out these dissident members,” he said.
“I believe the community will accept such measures and if dissidents are shot on sight, the community will accept that it is a necessary use of lethal force to prevent dissident republicanism from growing.
“Finally, given the seriousness of this most recent murder attempt, I believe the (Stormont) executive ought to ensure that a full discussion on the security situation must take place with a view to ensuring every encouragement is given to the police and army in the eradication of dissident republicans.”
SDLP policing board member Dolores Kelly described Mr Paisley’s remarks as “dangerous” while Sinn Fein’s Daithi McKay also hit out at the comments.
“Clearly Ian Paisley Jnr hasn’t learnt anything from the history of the last 40 years,” he said. “This is the type of corner boy approach to politics we have come to expect from Paisley Og.”
“What unionist leaders, and in particular the DUP, need to demonstrate is they’re prepared to share power with nationalists and republicans on the basis of equality rather than appealing to lowest common denominator.”