Is it getting worse, or better?

Ian Paisley Senior had a reasonably polite exchange with John Reid today over figures he’d pulled together on the rise of violence since 1999, the year after the Belfast Agreement was signed which demonstrated some substantial increases. Tom Maguire of the Fire Brigade Union spoke yesterday:

“We have an anti-authority ethos in some areas,’’ he said. ‘‘Part of that anti-authority ethos has been created by the 30-plus years of the Troubles. The attacks on the Fire Service occur in the areas of social deprivation. They don’t happen in the leafy suburbs. If we as a society are serious about stopping the attacks on public servants we need to analyse the trends which underline those attacks. We need to give the leaders of society the resources they need to make a difference.”

Even the Unions are getting involved with trying to bring the paramilitaries to the table. Des Browne today chairs a meeting of Assembly members focused on dealing with trouble at interface areas. All parties will be represented, except for the DUP.