United front against the irreconcilable troublemakers who would drag us back to the past is highly encouraging
THE disgraceful violence in Londonderry has continued for some six nights, and Chief Constable George Hamilton has warned that someone will die if it doesn’t stop.
He blames the so-called New IRA for orchestrating the attacks, though other dissidents are doubtless involved.
However, what united these violent people in Derry all week and in east Belfast on the Eleventh Night is the fact that they have nothing to offer us.
We are being transported in a macabre time machine to the Seventies and Eighties, and only a handful of blinkered irreconcilables want this.
It is encouraging to see so many parties condemning such outrageous behaviour, and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood speaks eloquently for everyone when he says: “Nothing ever has been achieved by attacking police officers who are doing their job to keep people safe.”
There is a huge cost to this in damage to property and vehicles, but also a price that cannot be calculated in hard cash.
This is the emotional cost inflicted on those people, many elderly and infirm, who are trapped in their homes and fearful that they might be burnt out.
There is also the cost to a brave city that has pulled itself up by its bootstraps.
Derry has earned an envied reputation as a centre of tourism, and is about to stage the prestigious Clipper Maritime Festival.
It has also helped to lead the way in finding an ongoing accommodation between nationalists and the loyal orders.
This violence is a reminder of the nefarious nature of the dissidents.
They exploit young people who do not realise that they are being used.
However, the united front in Derry, and the example of others elsewhere, will win through in the end, as it has done in the past.
In the meantime, there is an urgent need for this violence to be stopped before someone is killed.