The lessons of Limavady

The violent reaction of some within the unionist/ loyalist community to the efforts by Limavady Council to make the civic offices a neutral working environment expose once again the unwillingness of the unionist political leadership to cultivate a culture of mutual respect for the Irish nationalist/ republican identity of their neighbours. The dramatic language employed by unionist elements in the media, and political sphere, doubtlessly contributed to the presence of an angry mob at last night’s council meeting, which saw fit to verbally threaten and abuse two female Sinn Fein councillors, including a pensioner.

But what does the entire incident say about the attitude of unionists to the notion of a neutral working environment? And, given that we annually are witnesses to unionist politicians defending the ‘right’ of loyalists to burn the National flag of the Irish nationalist people, can we expect any other type of reaction before unionist political leaders publicly make a stand in defence of the equal legitimacy of expressions of the Irish nationalist identity in the six counties?