A fascinating display of cross-community co-operation in Tyrone occurred yesterday afternoon (full story in today’s Daily Ireland and retold on Talkback.) After loyalists stole memorial posters to Hunger-Strikers from Galbally and placed them on top of a bonfire, two Dungannon Council politicians, Sinn Fein councillor Barry Monteith and UUP councillor Walter Cuddy, co-operated to ensure the posters were removed from the bonfire and returned ahead of this Thursday’s republican commemoration in Galbally for local volunteer, Martin Hurson. I know it’s only July, but these two are surely out in front for any ‘Politicians of the Year’ award. The south Derry area in particular has witnessed a tit-for-tat series of attacks between loyalists and republicans, with attacks on Hunger strike memorials and Orange halls continuing right up to yesterday. We have already heard of a series of sectarian attacks on Orange halls in the 24 hours preceding the Twelfth, but what’s only becoming clear now is that loyalists seem to have conducted a series of similar attacks on republican memorials across Tyrone and south Derry.
All the more reason why this type of leadership is needed to defuse tensions and allow people to see sense at a time when emotions run high.