The awful and devastating news of the murder of a young police officer on Saturday was met by almost complete and utter condemnation by all across the political spectrum of Northern Ireland. For many Unionists, the words of Martin McGuniess will always ring hollow when condemning those who murder Police Officers and with good reason. However, I am personally just thankful that he says them at all; it is a reminder of how drastically different our society is from that of The Troubles.
The political processes of the nineties paved the way for peace and it is only the political process that can wreck that peace. Dissidents can try and use violence to achieve their objectives (as they have and surely will again) but while all citizens can engage in a fair political process they will fail.
People can point to the likes of McGuiness and Adams as examples of terror yielding rewards but they forget that their violence was wrought in a completely different society where a significant portion of citizens felt that they weren't represented in govt and felt they had no other recourse.
The murderers of Constable Kerr, Constable Carroll and the 2 young soldiers at Masserene Barracks can claim no such circumstance as excuse for their crimes.
Unfortunately, there are some who seek to bring back the politics of old and policing of old in an effort to end such terrorism. It didn't work last time and I see no reason why it would this time.
We will win by denying these murderers the justification they crave. Their objective is a united Ireland but their tactics are to divide Northern Ireland. They want soldiers on the streets. They want Orange & Green divided politics and they want no go areas for the PSNI.
The IRA stopped because their justification for violence was removed. The injustices (perceived & real) no longer existed.
Our politicians must do everything they can to keep it that way.