Editor's Viewpoint: Dissidents' actions only bringing misery
The increased frequency of bomb alerts at the Londonderry homes of parents of serving police officers shows the desperation of dissident republicans to impose their reign of terror on the areas where they have any support.
The dissidents realise that they have little or no political support - and precious little sign of any political agenda - so their only gambit is terrorising people.
What they don't seem to realise is that no one would want to live in the kind of united Ireland which the dissidents obviously want to create.
Indeed, by their actions they delay the day when Irish unity would gain majority appeal.
Since the dissidents decided to engage in their nihilistic campaign of violence, which has resulted in the death of two Catholic PSNI officers and the maiming of two others - as well as the deaths of two prison officers and two young soldiers - they have failed to gain the slightest iota of credibility for their actions.
That is most blatantly demonstrated in the fact that more than 30% of the officers in the PSNI are Catholics. These men and women have voted with their feet and their career choices to show that they want a different Northern Ireland, a place where people can live in peace and where the make-up of the PSNI is more representative of the population at large.
It must be galling in the extreme to dissident republicans that young men and women from strongly nationalist estates in places like Londonderry have decided to become police officers.
Their reaction is to try to intimidate the elderly parents of such officers. But these hoax bombs are also affecting the wider community, putting people out of their homes for long, cold hours.
Quite rightly, there has been widespread condemnation of these hoaxes. As one community worker who has a relative in the PSNI says, the real struggle in Northern Ireland today should be aimed at improving the economy, getting politicians back into the devolved government and finding ways of establishing a more efficient, well-funded health service.
All but the most blinkered realise that terrorism has no part to play in Northern Ireland 2018. Twenty years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement we are still struggling to deal with the toxic legacy of the Troubles. No one with any sense ever wants to revisit those days of horror and division.