The murder of two unarmed British soldiers by the Real IRA and the murder of a PSNI police officer by the continuity IRA over the last week were irrational acts of violence. Political violence can be rationalised. This cannot.
In this regard I would disagree with referring to this act of thuggery as Republicanism. Calling it a republican act implicitly gives the act some political credence. It was not a political act. It was criminal violence. There is a fine line between political violence and criminal violence, and our Northern neighbours know this better than anyone.
So, rather than politicising the issue, it should be treated as a criminal act rather than a politically motivated act. Neither of those responsible are worthy of the title republican. They are not republicans. They carry no political legitimacy, and have no political mandate. The media should refrain from implicitly politicising their act by referring to its as a republican act.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions should be commended for organising silent vigils so quickly after the tragic event. ICTU have almost 220,000 members in Northern Ireland. Offering a public forum for both unionist and republican communities to express their sorrow is an important act of solidarity. Ireland has moved well beyond the use of violence to achieve political ends. The Northern peace process for all its faults is the only political vehicle for change in the immediate future. Dialogue is the only mechanism to bring different identities and lifeworlds together. Violence rips difference apart and makes inter-subjective recognition impossible.