Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Another Dark Day for Northern Ireland

I don't like what I'm seeing from back home. The fact that what appears to be dissident republicans have now killed the first police officer on duty in over 10 years in Northern Ireland. The Real IRA are claiming responsibility.

However, it was good to see Sinn Féin MLA John O'Dowd as one of the first to condemn this attack.

"This is an attack on the peace process. Whoever carried out this shooting was not doing so to advance Irish republican or democratic goals.

"They have no strategy to deliver a United Ireland. This is a time for strong political leadership and cool heads. It is a time for all political parties and the two governments to recommit to the principles which have underpinned the peace process and delivered the stability of recent years."

Local nationalist councilor Dolores Kelly who sits on the police board said the people of Northern Ireland were "staring into the abyss" adding:

"All of us have to realise we are on the brink of something absolutely awful."

How the people, all the people, of Northern Ireland come through these difficult times the first real test of the new peace, the new hope, the new future. The wording that Sinn Féin mulled over on Sunday was used again last night. It is being raised in the Telegraph that the wording ''wrong and counter-productive'' and assertion of a United Irish goal show true feelings of strategic error rather than outright condemnation.

The people of Northern Ireland need to step forward together in a spirit of unity to get through and over this. They expect their leaders to do the same just as Ian Paisley did with his praise of Father Tony Devlin's word on Sunday. If he can call a Roman Catholic Priest a man of the cloth and say it one of the best speeches ever given by one surely there is room for Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin to condemn violence unequivocally and continue to pursue a peaceful future.

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