THE past week has seen some horrific instances of violence erupting in towns and cities across Northern Ireland.
Politicians were forced to appeal for calm after several police officers were injured during riots in scenes not seen on our television screens for many years.
Cars were hijacked and set on fire and petrol bombs and fireworks were thrown at police.
The violence, we are told, was a culmination of a number of issues angering loyalist elements, including the trade difficulties being caused by Brexit, and the PSNI’s decision not to prosecute Sinn Féin members for attending the funeral of senior republican Bobby Storey during lockdown.
What was possibly the most upsetting element of the violence was the reports citing the ages of some of those arrested in connection with the riots.
Two males, aged 13 and 14, were among those arrested after riots in a loyalist area of Belfast.
With birthdays between 2007 and 2008, those young boys were born more than a decade after the ceasefire in Northern Ireland.
They have no first-hand knowledge of the horror that enveloped that corner of our island, a horror many of us watched unfolding on our TV screens almost nightly.
Let’s hope that the elders of their communities can prevail on them, and their peers, and make them see that nobody wants a return to those dark days.
We have come too far in the intervening years. And the vast majority of people on this island do not want to go back.