Sinister republican elements behind targeting of Protestant residents
Few communities in Northern Ireland suffered during the Troubles to the extent that Protestants on the west bank of the River Foyle in Londonderry did, and few have shown as much courage and resilience.
The News Letter, more than any other media outlet, has chronicled the plight of that besieged community over a period of more than 40 years.
Some 12,000 to 15,000 Protestants fled their homes on the cityside, leaving behind houses their families had lived in for generations.
An estimated 97 per cent of Protestants left the cityside during the Troubles because of republican intimidation.
Sadly, the targeting of the Protestant community on the cityside, which only still exists now with the tiny Fountain enclave, continues in the summer of 2018.
It started earlier this month with at least successive three nights of petrol bombs being thrown into the estate.
The last few nights have seen 100 petrol bombs and missiles being thrown into the Fountain. Police officers and Protestant residents are in the firing line.
Over-exuberant youths have been blamed but it’s inconceivable that more sinister republican elements are not pulling the strings, their sectarian objective to rid the cityside of its last remaining Protestant community.
It is a tribute to those brave residents of the Fountain that they have publicly resolved to stand firm.
More broadly, there is too much dissident republican activity in Londonderry for comfort. Security force personnel have been subject to murder attempts, residents have been evacuated from their homes during numerous reckless security alerts and disorder is too often seen in republican areas. It is a chilling reminder that the police and security services can’t afford to lower their guard.