We must support our at-risk police
The election and the forthcoming visit to the Republic by the Queen are excuses enough for dissident republicans to ratchet up the tension in Northern Ireland with threats to kill more police officers and cause mayhem where possible. And there is no doubt that the security situation following the recent murder of PSNI constable Ronan Kerr is causing quite considerable alarm.
The police warned the public to be on the alert over the Easter holidays. The discovery of a weapons haul in south Armagh and the appearance of several people in court on terrorism charges shows that the concerns of further outrages are not misplaced. More than a decade after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement it is clear that there are still threats to the peace process from people so wedded to violence that they can see no other future for this province.
Fortunately those people are small in number - although fanatical in outlook - and have relatively little support. In addition, politicians from all sides of the community are now united in their opposition to any displays of violence or threats towards any section of society. Outgoing First and Deputy First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness have been forthright in their condemnation of recent acts of terrorism and those responsible for them and have shown strong leadership.
That demonstrates that the peace process is working and that even at election time, our leading politicians have the maturity to put the good of the province first, rather than score simple political points, as would have been the case in the past.
They and the police now need the support of ordinary people throughout Northern Ireland. Anyone with any information about terrorist activity should give it to the PSNI so that those responsible be subjected to the rule of law and order. That is the best way to answer the terrorists and show them the futility of their actions.