While Northern Ireland's dreadful waiting times are nothing new, the revelation yesterday that 24 children with suspected or confirmed cancer were waiting more than a year to see a consultant is truly shocking.
WHILE social media abuse of politicians has rightly been condemned in the light of the tragic death of Sir David Amess, it is merely the tip of a sinister iceberg which now threatens to damage the fabric of society.
AGAINST a familiar background of threats and recriminations, distractions and dissembling, we are hopefully now entering a decisive round of negotiations to hammer out sustainable solutions to issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol.
AFTER days of sabre-rattling over the Northern Ireland Protocol at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, the most telling contribution came in Boris Johnson's much-awaited main speech on Wednesday: precisely nothing.
Yesterday marked another significant milestone for the survivors of mother and baby homes and Magdalene laundries in Northern Ireland, places which have become bywords for cruelty and a chilling lack of compassion for the women and girls who were sent there.
Any decision to trigger Article 16 during the Conservative Party's annual conference this week would be flamboyant, flawed and likely to cause long term damage on a range of fronts - in other words, an archetypal Boris Johnson move.
Trying to return to some form of normality after eighteen months of lockdown and other restrictions was always going to be a process that needed to be managed carefully and with public health given paramount importance.
While many appalling murders perpetrated by all sides during the Troubles remain officially unsolved, there must still be enormous concern that the killers of the Sunday World journalist Martin O'Hagan have never been convicted even though their identities are widely known.