Editorial: Derry bomb is a depressing reminder of fragile peace
That car bomb in Derry must be a wake-up call to all of us. We must cease taking the ongoing peace for granted and realise we all must work hard to keep the hard-won gains of the peace process.
The device was described by police as “crude and unstable”. So, it’s no thanks to the bombers that nobody was killed or seriously maimed. Investigations are focusing on a group called the ‘New IRA’, self-styled dissident groups who want to take us all back to our murderous past of fear and suffering.
The explosion happened close to a hotel, several bars, and opposite a youth club where people were getting ready for a charity quiz evening. It happened on a Saturday evening when people were out enjoying themselves in a city where people are renowned for their ability to party and enjoy life.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has rightly castigated those behind the bombing, describing it as “an appalling, reckless and cynical act of terror”.
Many people in all of this island and beyond suffered through 30 years of what is sometimes euphemistically called ‘the Troubles’. People in Northern Ireland, including the people of Derry, suffered incalculable losses with many lives abruptly ended, leaving many bereaved people with a huge burden of grief.
The incident comes at a time of deep crisis over Brexit, which in turn raises real concerns about the return of a visible Border between Dundalk and Derry. Incidents such as the Derry bombing remind us that the danger of a ‘hard’ or visible Border would really be a target for these mindless yobs who want to haul us all back to our recent dark past.
This danger must galvanise all our political leaders to do everything they possibly can to avoid such a possibility. From today, British Prime Minister Theresa May will make a renewed effort to get support for a reasonable Brexit outcome, avoiding a no-deal crash-out by the UK on March 29.
In the meantime, nobody must give any succour or support to these people prepared to engage in violence. An atmosphere of zero tolerance must be sustained at every available level.
That also means that the North’s two-year-old political vacuum must be urgently addressed. The behaviour of the two big parties in Northern Ireland – both the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin – in failing to get over their difficulties and put the power-sharing institutions back on track, is nothing short of criminal. It facilitates the crazies who want to revert to the bomb and the bullet to achieve their deluded aims.
The British government has been implementing a policy of gradual pay cuts for the elected representatives since late last year. Perhaps it’s time to speed up such cuts.