The local weekly
-The Mourne Observer
is not a patch on the Berwickshire
as a quality production but it has its moments. It certainly has a comprehensive, indeed exhaustive, coverage of local news items-a substantial chunk of page 7 is taken up with a large photograph and the headline ‘Noisy manhole covers disturb the peace in Dundrum’
Apparently passing lorries in the main street make the covers go ‘Clank Clunk’ in an ‘intolerable manner’ . However the matter is being investigated by the appropriate authorities and the story runs out of steam on that reassuring note. Unlike the Berwickshire
has be careful to maintain a balance between the two main communities; equal coverage for Rugby and Gaelic football for instance. Football is ok as it is counted as inter communal although these distinctions are getting finer as the ‘religious divide’ blurs at the edges.. The Irish Rugby XV which draws its players from both sides of the border will have a majority of Catholics on the side as Rugby is no longer a predominantly Protestant team sport ‘down South’
The troubles are very low key and might not be apparent to the casual eye. As quiet as the Merse it often seems. But I doubt if the Berwickshire would ever need to run a story about a parcel bomb being sent to the local chairman of the District Policing Partnership. This tucked away on page 14 and only slightly more prominent than the noisy manholes. The intended victim seems to have got up the noses of extremists on both sides of the divide and even indicated that he had been previously threatened by the ‘security forces’ (By which he presumably means the former Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) now replaced by the more ‘acceptable’ (that means to the nationalist community) Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). Someone remarked that the two communities in Northern Ireland have one thing in common-they would like to be ruled from elsewhere-the ‘Loyalists’ by London and the ‘Nationalists’ by Dublin. At least there is now a step forward in that both sides would like to control the local parliament-thus the nationalists have de facto recognised Norn Iron as a distinct entity and the loyalists have (mostly) accepted that there is room for nationalists in the political process. There are various ifs and buts but life is too short. See future rants if you can bear to.