Violence mars historic step
HOURS before the completion of the Northern Ireland settlement with the transfer of justice and policing powers to the power-sharing Assembly, the "Real IRA" set off a massive bomb outside Palace Barracks, almost on the doorstep of Stormont.
Thankfully, nobody was killed and only one person was slightly injured. But the incident showed that the so-called dissident republicans have the capacity to kill and maim and demonstrate their contempt for the democratic process which has confirmed the desires of the Irish people, North and South.
And it did not prevent the Assembly from going ahead and electing David Ford, of the Alliance Party, as the first Northern justice and policing minister for 38 years and the first under a power-sharing arrangement.