But the British government has backed away from an earlier, highly controversial suggestion -- to allow conviction on the word of a senior police officer. Given the highly partisan reputation of Northern Ireland's Royal Ulster Constabulary, such a system might have given Republicans a whole host of new martyrs to honor. Some lawmakers think property-seizing is going too far, too. "We have had a succession of tough laws and tough laws and tough laws, and the horror has increased and increased and increased," said former government spokesman Kevin McNamara. Given that the splinter group responsible for Omagh has already stopped operating, and that the IRA is calling for it to disband, Britain and Ireland may have arrived too late to padlock the stable door.
LONDON: Here's a novel way to fight a battle-hardened, semtex-wielding terrorist: Take his house away. Legislators in Britain and Ireland get their first look at sweeping new antiterrorism laws proposed by both country's governments Tuesday -- and if the advance leaks are to be believed, the power to seize property is about to become the teeth in the peace process. If the bills are passed in emergency session Wednesday and Thursday, the five suspects currently being held in connection with the Omagh bombing could face losing their homes and financial assets -- not to mention losing their right to remain silent when questioned in court.