Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's politicians must heed Kate Carroll's words

Editor's Viewpoint

At this time of general apprehension, uncertainty and political upheaval, the words of Kate Carroll, the widow of a murdered policeman, cut to the heart of the matter.

In today's newspaper, on the eighth anniversary of the death of Constable Stephen Carroll, we carry a strong letter from Mrs Carroll to our politicians.

She appeals to everyone to seize this chance to get Stormont up and running once again, and to provide proper government for all.

Stephen Carroll was only 48 when he was murdered, and in her poignant letter Mrs Carroll talks about how he loved life, and how they had plans to do so much together.

Tragically all of this was taken away from Kate Carroll in the most cruel way, and at a time when Northern Ireland was ostensibly at peace.

She writes about the way in which politicians on all sides sat shoulder-to-shoulder at her husband's funeral.

She took this as a sign of some hope for the future, which gave her comfort at a most traumatic time.

Sadly the hope for a better future now seems to have faded, with the failure of the politicians to make Stormont work for all.

It is easy to understand why she feels that her husband's death, and those of thousands of other people who died in the Troubles and beyond, may have been in vain.

It seems that so little has been learned from their deaths. Today, the political stakes are high while violence continues to stalk the land.

Only this week, a young police officer talked vividly about how he thought he was going to die after being shot by dissident republicans in north Belfast, and there was also a murder bid on a PSNI officer in Londonderry.

As we have pointed out many times before, we are much better off by trying to govern ourselves from Stormont.

For all its many shortcomings, we have come a long way in the 20 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, and as Kate Carroll says, the vast majority of people here want a bright future in which we can all live together peacefully.

That is the challenge which she lays down to our politicians, and in the starkest terms of her loss, she makes clear the risks of the failure to achieve this.

Kate Carroll's words carry great moral authority, and all our politicians would do well to listen to them.

Belfast Telegraph

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