Alarm over sectarian attacks in Derry's Waterside
DERRY is a city where heartening agreements have been made over many years on contentious issues like parading and where a strongly positive example has regularly been given to Belfast and other urban centres in terms of community relations.
Unfortunately, there have been a number of darker developments over recent months which have caused widespread concern and urgently need to be addressed by the authorities.
Low-level sectarian clashes started to take place in a number of areas with alarming reports that young people from the Protestant tradition were being specifically targeted in and around, of all locations, the new Peace Bridge which was designed to symbolise the progress achieved in Derry.
Events then took an even more sinister term with a series of attacks on Catholic homes across the Waterside district which could easily have resulted in the loss of several lives.
The latest, at Heron Way on Monday night, was a particularly determined onslaught, with a brick thrown through the front window, followed by a petrol bomb and then a pipe bomb which luckily did not explode.
Police have said that it was a `reckless act' which they confirmed was believed to have been carried out by a loyalist paramilitary group.
The 62-year-old householder, a native of Co Donegal who moved to the estate some three months ago, said yesterday he was still in shock at what had happened.
Andrew Logue said: "It doesn't bother me what religion you're from. We all get cut, we bleed the same colour."
On Saturday night, shots were fired into the home of a Catholic woman at nearby Rossdowney Drive where a one-year-old baby was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom.
A 22-year-old man, who had no doubt that the motive was sectarian, said the bullets narrowly missed him as he watched television with a friend.
According to a Sinn Féin councillor, four Catholic and mixed religion families have had to be rehoused after receiving threats in the Waterside in the space of less than two weeks.
A meeting has been convened to consider the upsurge in violence and intimidation, which it will be noted has been firmly condemned by both nationalist and unionist representatives.
However, what is really required is the forwarding of information which will help detectives to identify and arrest all those responsible for the outrages.
Sectarianism in all its forms, and whether it is directed against Catholics, Protestants or any other section of society, must be confronted wherever its rears its ugly head.