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Belfast bomb: Northern Ireland has moved on and twisted dissidents won't drag us back

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 05/03/2016

Police forensic experts at the scene where the bomb exploded
Police forensic experts at the scene where the bomb exploded

Almost exactly 100 years after the Easter Rising, the legacy of nihilistic republican violence continues to blight life in this part of the island. Dissidents who claim a spurious lineage to those who took part in that rebellion have nothing to offer and are rejected by the overwhelming majority of people on all parts of the island.

What they seem unable to accept is that the Republic, formed out of the conflict a century ago, is now a modern, fully-functioning and democratic European country which abhors the actions of these maverick republicans.

Yesterday's murder attempt on a prison officer in east Belfast shows the mindset of the dissidents, and the PSNI is well aware that further attacks on police and prison officers are likely in the weeks leading up to Easter.

It is obvious, given the reconnaissance and planning that must have gone into the murder bid, that the dissidents are experienced terrorists and pose a viable threat.

Mercifully, their intent to kill failed, and the thoughts of all right-thinking people are with the injured prison officer attacked simply because of the vital job he does. Everyone will hope that he recovers from his serious but, thankfully, non-life-threatening injuries.

Today, we carry the inspirational story of another victim of dissidents, Claire Bowes, who was blinded at the age of 15 in the Omagh bomb which took 29 lives and killed two unborn children.

She overcame her disability to gain the qualifications to go to university and graduate and has since opened her own music academy in Omagh.

What determination and spirit this mum-of-three has displayed, showing that even out of the most evil deeds the human spirit can triumph.

It is for people like Claire and the injured prison officer that we must rid our society of the scourge of violence and give the PSNI the resources and information to defeat the dissidents.

Belfast Telegraph

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