So, once again, Northern Ireland has been besmirched in the eyes of the world, as the recent rioting over flags has been screened around the globe.
This at a time when we are crying out for further investment in jobs and infrastructure and attempting to increase tourism in a period of severe economic instability and in a supposedly new and peaceful Northern Ireland. Those who would deliberately encourage and place misguided people in the frontline have clearly nothing to offer our society.
Their distorted views and aims, based on strategies that have failed in the past will ultimately fail this time around as well.
Only an alternative strategy that breaks the spiral of violence can offer hope to all those involved of an inclusive future based on tolerance and understanding.
We have come a long way already to normalise society here and we cannot stand by now, shrug our shoulders and just accept the inevitable consequences of doing nothing.
We should, therefore, clearly focus on the big picture of promoting Northern Ireland plc through enlightened leadership and a shared approach to conflict management and avoid continually engaging in local conflicts that are costly in terms of our image, future prosperity and quality of life.
Newtownabbey, Co Antrim