Lawlessness plaguing our city
All-too frequently nowadays there are distressing headlines about injury caused to innocent people as the result of violence, as well as premeditated confrontations which highlight the worst of human nature.
At the weekend a young woman was injured in a horrific attack in the Andersonstown Road area by youths armed with sewer rods.
Though an innocent bystander, she was set upon, and the scene of the attack which was drenched in her blood was dreadful to behold.
Elsewhere, there was a confrontation by groups in the Skegoneill Avenue area, and later, a large crowd created another disturbance during which cars were attacked and residents were traumatised.
What is particularly worrying about the Skegoniell encounter is the fact that the rival gangs gathered apparently by using social media. This seemed nothing less than a confrontation “made to order” and was reminiscent of a staged fight between young women in the city recently.
This widespread lawlessness is deeply disturbing, and suggests the evolution of a generation which is threatening to spin out of control.
There is a particular responsibility on parents to take a closer watch on their children’s activities, and to exercise more leadership.
The prevalence of violence in our midst was illustrated by last week’s murder of a former IRA member in east Belfast.
This chilling assassination was carried out not far from the centre of Belfast, near one of its main thoroughfares and the city’s night life.
Kevin McGuigan’s murder, and the manner of his killing, is deeply shocking, and casts a shadow over the attempts to restore normality to Belfast after so many years of the so-called “peace process”.
Our first concern must be for the people on all sides who are suffering from such unbridled violence, but those who have the best interests of our main communities at heart are keenly aware of the impact of such disorder on the image of the city.
There is still good news to report, including the opening of new restaurants and other city attractions. They require the support of everyone, and Belfast also needs to maintain its reputation as a vibrant city despite the dark undertones of lawlessness which greatly damage its reputation.