Show no quarter to deluded dissidents
Published 15/05/2015 | 02:30
There is a generation alive today who never knew the spirit-sapping experience of turning on the TV or radio only to learn of another atrocity.
The peace enjoyed on this island, North and south, is a triumph of humanity and decency over bitterness, bigotry and barbarity.
Its history can be read on the tombstones of all those who died. Those who were going about their daily lives when they were ruthlessly cut down in their tracks by bombs or bullets.
It is hard, if not impossible, for those who lived through all that heartbreak and tragedy to understand that there are people who would seek to use murder, intimidation and terror to turn back the clock to the terrible times of the Troubles.
Next week, Britain's Prince Charles will follow in the footsteps of his mother on a visit of friendship to this island.
Queen Elizabeth's memorable State visit here four years ago helped turn a painful page in our difficult history.
Her trip to the Garden of Remembrance was especially significant. She acknowledged past mistakes and raised the prospect of a brighter, closer future, with all the benefits that closer ties and cooperation bring.
That is why the gardaí are to be so commended for their crackdown on dissidents this week.
Those who would still prefer to murder and maim in pursuit of some delusion which they believe gives them the mandate to hijack democracy must be shown no quarter.
The Garda, struggling with the closure of stations and depleted resources, must be given every possible support to keep the spectre of terror from these shores.
The Irish and British still bear the scars of the Troubles. Prince Charles will visit Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, next week, the place where his great uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was assassinated by the IRA in 1979.
No doubt he will have mixed feelings.
But the fact that he is making such a visit shows that we have come a long way.
Peace may have come dropping slow, but it is an infinitely more desirable prospect than the dark agenda of the dissidents; one that would once more destroy all chance of normality and drive us back to fear and hopelessness.
We need to find a cure for our health system
Funding for the health service was deemed to be a key priority for Government.
It even allocated €13.1bn for 2015. It is hard to understand how such largesse could have produced a new lexicon, including such terms as "trolley gridlock" and "patient outsourcing".
Health Minister Leo Varadkar yesterday acknowledged that too many are still on trolleys. To cut the queues waiting for surgery, he intends revisiting outsourcing by hospitals. Should we be impressed? Hardly.
The experiment was pretty much put on hold last year when we had the near farcical situation where some public patients sent for a paid-for consultation in a private hospital discovered they might end up back in the queue.
This eventuated when specialists decided that a patient required a procedure which would be carried out in the public hospital. The difficulty was that the doctor in the public hospital had to see the patient before doing the work. Thus, patients found themselves returning to a not-so merry-go-round hospital queue.
Some may have happier outcomes but, given the scale of the health budget, patients deserve more than a lottery.