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Democracy will always win out over violence and hate

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'Elections are generally defined by what we vote for, but they can also reflect what we vote against' (stock photo)

'Elections are generally defined by what we vote for, but they can also reflect what we vote against' (stock photo)

Erwin Wodicka - wodicka@aon.at

'Elections are generally defined by what we vote for, but they can also reflect what we vote against' (stock photo)

It is always chilling to learn that there is as yet a cohort happy to fall in behind us, to maim and kill; with another ready to support them.

The latest such sinister threat came in the form of a thwarted plot to blow up a ferry from Belfast to Scotland on Brexit Day.

A heavy goods lorry was found with a device attached and, according to the PSNI: "Had this vehicle travelled and the device had exploded at any point along the M1, across the Westlink or into the Harbour estate, the risks posed do not bear thinking about."

Perhaps it does bear thinking about.

Some group coldly and calculatedly certainly thought about it, concluding whatever carnage followed could serve its twisted end.

Police are investigating a link between the device found in Lurgan and a warning of a bomb on board a lorry at Belfast Docks.

It was due to travel on the ferry last Friday, the date of the UK's long-awaited departure from the EU. Dissident Republicans are believed to be responsible.

The callous contempt for potential costs to life, community and commerce seems staggering.

Cowards who plan, commit and cover up atrocities without scruple invariably take great care to protect themselves. Cemeteries north and south are testament to their heartlessness and lives cut short. We saw their calling card with the murder of Lyra McKee.

After Lyra's murder, local priest Fr Joseph Gormley, who anointed the 29-year-old, said he wished the gunman had gone to the hospital to see what they had "done to her and her family".

We had hoped that if they hadn't gone away, at least they might have been shamed to the sidelines. It seems those ready to spill other people's blood to further their "causes" are still skulking among us. No, they haven't gone away you know. Unchecked, they would seek to upscale their grisly ambitions. Thankfully in this instance their appalling aim to blow up a ferry has been thwarted.

But their diabolical attempt to mark Brexit Day should act as a clarion call to all who believe in democracy, especially as this country goes to the polls. Terror thrives on disruption and instilling fear. We saw this in the omerta surrounding the savage murder of Paul Quinn.

The murderers responsible are still walking free only because a cabal conceals and protects them.

Freedom of speech, a multi-party political system, universal adult suffrage and accountable government were all hard won, and will not be subverted by shadowy figures, north or south.

Tomorrow we get to vote on our political beliefs, terrorists would prefer to kill for them.

Violence, not politics or democracy, is their preferred system of rule.

The beauty of the Good Friday Agreement was that it created the space for tribal attitudes to shift and to form partnerships that transcend an "us" and "them".

Elections are generally defined by what we vote for, but they can also reflect what we vote against.

Irish Independent