'Ulster Says No!' was the slogan used by the Unionist groups across Northern Ireland at the start of the Anglo-Irish talks. Banners with that slogan or variations on the theme were displayed from the offices of Unionist controlled councils including Belfast City Hall.
Well the escalation of troubles and threats in Northern Ireland last night make this the opportune time to dust off that slogan. But this time instead of belonging to one community attempting to stand in the way of integration and steps towards harmony and reconciliation, it should be a united front. To have the leaders of both side in the community standing together saying no to the resurrection of violence. No to the reigniting of barricades and no to the threats of bombs across the province.
It is time for Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams to stand behind First Minister Peter Robinson and his Deputy Martin Maginnis as they stand together to say no. This no would be a positive no unlike that of the 80s which is why the figure heads of both sides from then, although taking a back seat now, need to stand there with the current heads of the Assembly.
Northern Ireland doesn't want the new generation to have to go through what I went through. We've moved on, seen improvements in our way and standards of life. This new threat of an escalation of attacks is going to take that new-found, long-awaited hope away. The generation who know little of that apart from what they read in history books should be allowed to only read about that history not live through a new chapter of it.
Time for the people of Northern Ireland in one united voice to say no.