Leading article

Growing alarm over Derry disruption

It is becoming increasingly clear that the weekend bomb attack in Derry was not a one-off episode and a concerted campaign of disruption and upheaval is under way in the city.

Saturday's night's blast outside Derry Courthouse caused considerable damage and has been swiftly followed by three serious security alerts, two in the Creggan estate and one on the Northland Road close to St Mary's College.

No one doubts that dissident republican groups, although they are small in number, are capable of hijacking vehicles and occasionally planting viable explosive devices.

The key question is why they would choose to pursue such tactics, in the full knowledge that lives are being placed at grave risk and alarming economic trends for all the people of Derry are the almost inevitable result.

It was chilling to view the CCTV images from Bishop Street at the weekend and realise how close a number of young people out socialising in the city centre were to a car bomb which was minutes away from detonating.

While it was fortunate that no one was injured on the night, there is every prospect that there may soon be negative consequences for the business sector in general and the growing tourist industry across the region in particular.

None of the violence which was inflicted on Derry during three decades of The Troubles could be justified, whether it was instigated by republicans, loyalists or the forces of the state, and it all achieved nothing anyway.

It is ludicrous that some elements are trying to bring back those days of misery and suffering, completely against the firmly expressed wishes of the overwhelming majority of the population.

The individuals in question have failed to produce a coherent explanation for their actions and should be prepared to accept once and for all that the democratic process, with all its imperfections, is the only way to bring about change in our society.

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