News of terrorist attacks in what was called The Troubles in Northern Ireland was regular until a few years ago and the trouble wasn’t confined to Ireland.
I was in London in 1982 when an IRA bomb killed 11 people and seven horses, just one tragic incident in a long list of terrorist acts.
In recent years the war has been confined to words and both sides of the debate on whether Northern Ireland remains part of Britian have spurned violence – until yesterday when two British soldiers were killed by suspected IRA dissidents . These were the first politically motivated deaths of soldiers in the province for 12 years.
Irish leaders have been quick to condemn the attack:
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, whose IRA-linked party represents most Catholics in Northern Ireland, criticized the dissidents.
“There is no popular support for these actions,” Adams told BBC Radio 4 Monday morning.
Leaders of the territory’s Catholic-Protestant administration warned that Irish Republican Army dissidents were trying to tear apart their young coalition and drag Northern Ireland back to its bloody past.
This appears to be an isolated act by dissidents but it does show that the peace is still fragile which is understandable after generations of division over The Troubles.
I saw a tiny example of the strength of feeling when one of our staff, the son of a protestant minister from Northern Ireland, met an English visitor. Something came up in conversation which made him realise she was Catholic and the atmosphere cooled, though thankfully only momentarily.
Zen Tiger has a related psot.