Just a few months ago when I was watching the local news there was a feature about the Burning Temple, this was a cross-community project that recognised the hurt and pain inflicted in Northern Ireland through the years.
I remember thinking and remarking on how far Londonderry had come, it had celebrated its year as City of Culture and seemed so deserving of that accolade.
Recent weeks have seen this potentially great city descend back into chaos with the attack on a bus carrying Orangemen and band members, the burning of a vehicle belonging to a small family business, this all hankered back to the bad old days of a fractious and warring city.
This week has seen this culminate in the paramilitary displays to commemorate the life of Peggy O’Hara.
So as not to appear too biased, I actually did not have a problem per se with the shots being fired over her coffin, this was in the confines of her own garden and therefore not an overt showing of provocation.
While I do find it disconcerting that there are so many weapons in the city, I was never naive enough to believe they had left.
Gerry Adams’s proclamation that “We have not gone away” certainly became very real at the funeral of Peggy O’Hara. I along with many others in the Protestant and Unionist Community (note not PUL as I do not consider myself a loyalist) have rightly stated our outrage at this procession.
Dozens of men and women marched with paramilitary attire complete with masks through the streets of Londonderry. I find this abhorrent, let us not forget that Mrs O’Hara was the mother of an INLA hunger striker.
Combine this with the fact that Mrs O’Hara was one of the most successful dissident republican candidates opposed to the present policy of Sinn Fein of working with the PSNI.
These people are terrorists, when one reads the definition of a terrorist there are several synonyms provided: bomber, arsonist and incendiary. Correct me if I am wrong, but these could all be included on IRA members’ CVs.
Why therefore was this parade allow to go on, not only unhindered by the PSNI but attended by them?
This seems somewhat inflammatory when non-contentious Protestant parades in Castlederg, for example, were stopped.
I along with other unionists expect and demand a full investigation into this, and I hope that the promise to look into the matter offered to Nelson McCausland does not turn out to be as vacuous and insincere as it seemed to me when reported on the news.