Loyalist death threat against Nichola Mallon pitiful
It is not just dissident republicans who are refusing to reject violence, as shown by the death threat issued against SDLP politician Nichola Mallon by loyalist paramilitaries.
They, like the dissidents, have nothing to offer the new Northern Ireland. They are parasites leeching money from their communities through drug dealing and other racketeering and criminal activities.
When challenged by courageous public representatives like Ms Mallon, their reflex reaction is to issue threats. They have the muscle, the arms and the will to inflict serious injury or death and use that power in an attempt to cow any opposition.
In this instance, their chosen target is not just a public representative, but one who is six months pregnant. Imagine her horror at being sent a bullet in the post and the threat to her health that such a vile act could cause.
Ms Mallon, like all public representatives, has the courage of her convictions. She puts her beliefs before the public and abides by their decision on whether or not to support her.
That is in stark contrast to those who skulk in the shadows, sending threats through the post and using fear as a means of carving out a high life for themselves. All the time their malevolent presence in any area undermines attempts by the decent people living there to improve their living standards.
Who would want to invest in an area controlled by paramilitaries of any hue?
Their continued existence makes the work of councillors and MLAs more difficult. The area they represent is blighted and protestations that Northern Ireland has moved on from its violent past fall on deaf ears when confronted by this incident or others like it.
Force is always the method used by those who have no rational argument to further their case. The paramilitary groups can only exist by making decent people stay silent, but eventually they lose out as they have always done.
Politics may be a cutthroat profession and, as shown in this election campaign, harsh words can be exchanged between parties. But they all will be judged by the public come polling day. That is what democracy is all about.
What we cannot allow is for these thugs to attempt to influence legitimate debate through threats. Anyone with information about these vile threats against Nichola Mallon should give it to the PSNI immediately so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice.