Thursday 21 September 2017

Eoghan Harris: A thin blue line of rough men against terrorism

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest By all their country's wishes blest.



William Collins' elegy to the heroic dead of his day marks a division of the generations. Time was, anybody could quote you the two lines above. Today we no longer learn poems by heart. Or other lessons.

Like the lesson that public servants like the two Catholic victims of the Real IRA, Constables Stephen Carroll and Ronan Kerr of the PSNI, are the final barrier between democracy and a dark place. No privilege days for them. Only hard duty and fidelity to the death.

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