Despite enjoying a decade of relative peace, memories of Northern Ireland’s violent history remain fresh and are stil very raw.
Bloody Sunday is one of the most symbolic moments of the so-called Troubles. That may go some way to explaining why most do not want to relive the times when British soldiers patrolled the streets. By the time 29 people were killed in the Omagh bombing – the worst atrocity in the conflict’s history, such extreme action was seen by some as a desperate strike by dissidents opposed to the inevitability of the peace process. Tensions still do erupt over divisive issues such as Orange Order marches through Catholic areas. But more contentious issues such as the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons have long been decided. The 1998 Good Friday peace accord finally brought an end to the conflict. After many false dawns it eventually ushered in a new era of democracy where former political enemies sat side by side to share power. Some Nationalist politicians reacted angrily last week to the reports that British special forces had returned to the province. This latest atrocity, according to some analysts, appears to be a tactic aimed at provoking a reaction from loyalists to British rule.