Leading article

Anger over pipe bomb attacks

Ordinary people have been finalising their plans for the Easter holiday period over recent days, while representatives from all the main political parties have been intensifying their preparations for the forthcoming district council elections.

However, both normal family life and constructive democratic activity were seriously affected in many areas in the course of Tuesday and Wednesday by security operations following a number of alarming incidents involving pipe bombs.

Two of them exploded after being thrown at a house at Windmill Avenue in Armagh city, while residents had to be evacuated from Moneyleck Park in Rasharkin when one object was thrown through a window and another left on a windowsill, and what was described by police as a `crude device' was later discovered at Rathverna Drive in Lisburn.

In Lurgan, two primary schools were disrupted, roads were closed and again many individuals were forced out of their home before police established that claims of a bomb being abandoned in the Cornakinnegar Road area were an elaborate hoax.

It was fortunate that no one was injured during any of the alerts, which have been firmly linked to dissident republicans, but considerable upheaval was inflicted on a range of densely populated districts.

There can be no possible justification for the upset and intimidation which was witnessed across so many peaceful neighbourhoods during a 48-hour period.

If those responsible wish to put their case to the electorate, they can do so immediately through the opportunity provided by the local government poll taking place on May 2.

When the ballots are counted, it can be confidently predicted that all but a tiny fraction will be in support of groups which endorse the structures of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

We still have our political difficulties at Stormont, but the overwhelming majority of nationalist, unionist and unaligned voters want to see all our issues resolved through constitutional means and are appalled by the use of violence in any circumstances.

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