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Stormont's politicians must listen to Kate Carroll's plea and do the right thing to preserve our hard-fought but fragile peace

Editor's Viewpoint

Much is at stake for everyone this weekend, including those who lost loved ones.

In today's paper, Kate Carroll, the widow of the murdered PSNI officer Stephen Carroll, makes an impassioned plea to our politicians.

She brings the moral authority of someone who has suffered grievously through terrorism.

There are accounts from the sister of a man who died in the Teebane massacre, and of a man who died shockingly after losing his brother in an attack on a bookmaker's shop in Belfast.

On Thursday, there was a ghastly gun attack on two people from West Belfast in their 50s. This would lead the news for days in any other part of the United Kingdom, and there would be righteous anger and shock.

Living in a contested place, we have a peace that was hard fought for, and despite proclaiming it widely, recent events have shown its fragility.

The Secretary of State is remaining here in the hope of progress, but the outlook is not good.

An election would be costly, it would stoke sectarian issues, and probably we would find ourselves back where we started. To paraphrase the old joke, the Government will get back in.

We have made great progress, but our past still haunts us, as it should.

Our politicians need to exhaust every avenue until Monday, after which an election may become certain, and it will only delay a proper inquiry into the RHI scandal.

There has been much clamour about standards and transparency, but recent events have left people disillusioned with the political process, and the old, widespread sectarianism can easily return.

We need to deal properly with legacy issues, to learn to respect all cultures, and to govern our country.

That's what it boils down to. Twenty years after the Good Friday Agreement, if we cannot run a country with only 1.8 million people, no wonder the world has lost interest.

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