Evil dissidents will not prevail
It is just over 20 years since mainstream republicans accepted the futility of their campaign of violence and called a ceasefire, deciding that their political ambitions were best served by democratic means. However, there is still a hard dissident terrorist rump that clings stubbornly to the idea that the bomb and the gun will deliver Irish unity in spite of all evidence to the contrary.
In pursuit of this ambition they are prepared to continue with their nihilistic campaign as evidenced in the attempt to kill two police officers in the village of Eglinton in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Their plot was foiled when one of the officers spotted a man trying to attach a device to the underside of her husband's car. It was an astounding piece of good fortune that she wakened in the middle of the night just as the attack was being carried out.
The couple may have been targeted because one is Catholic and one is Protestant, making them almost a poster couple for the PSNI, which has attracted recruits from across the community and has support from all shades of political opinion.
In their own way they are a symbol of the Northern Ireland that the overwhelming majority of people here want to see - a couple prepared to move outside their own communities and to live in a village where people gladly go about their daily life side by side without regard to religion or occupation.
Those people will view yesterday's murder attempt as an attack on all of them and their vision of how life should be lived.
However, the dissidents seem immune to any logical argument or to attempts to draw them into political discourse. Their campaign has no political ambition other than to defy the will of people north and south of the border who have repeatedly demonstrated that political change can only come about by consent, not physical force.
If politics could change their mindset then the dissident groups would have already withered away. But it is heartening that there was immediate repudiation of this latest attack from right across the political spectrum and also by the leaders of the four main Churches in the area.
The only solution to the dissident threat is a security one, and it is vital that information which can lead to the arrest and conviction of the terrorists is given to the police. As well, police officers and their neighbours need to maintain a high level of vigilance.