Extremely dangerous behaviour

You never know the day or hour you are going to need an ambulance, fire tender or, indeed, rescue boat. They are massively important response vehicles - quite literally, lifesavers.

The attack on a Foyle Search and Rescue boat  - which put the vessel out of commission - was beyond stupid. It was an incredibly dangerous attack.

Even the most lawless of young people need to made understand that there are certain behaviours that will not be accepted by any society.

Attacks on the emergency services - like the stoning of fire engines - put lives at risk, and the perpetrators cannot expect any sympathy whatsoever when they are caught.

The shining of a laser at a plane landing in Derry last week, likewise,  could have had awful consequences for the people on board.

This is not a matter of 'boys being boys' or 'girls being girls', it is nasty and dangerous criminal thuggery, which needs to be challenged immediately before it becomes a norm.

Tony Taylor - two years on

Last week's stunt whereby men dressed as Council workers erected an apparent Council billboard calling for Tony Taylor's release was effective in securing campaigners a significant amount of publicity.

However, there is a danger that in all the excited finger-pointing, the central issue in all of this - Mr Taylor's continued wrongful imprisonment - might be forgotten.

The NI authorities have now held Mr Taylor for two years, without stating reason or charge. Mr Taylor has publicly committed himself to non-violent republicanism and to encouraging others to follow his path. Moreover, the organisation with which he once was allegedly linked has been on ceasefire for nearly a year, though, significantly, Mr Taylor, an adamant support of peace, did not affiliate himself with them during his imprisonment.

It is high time that the NIO authorities revisited this case. Two years is too much.

Mr Taylor, at this stage, is for all intents a hostage.

New community hubs welcome

Two new community centres in the Waterside - a replacement one at Lincoln Courts, and a fresh-build at Trench Road - got planning approval this week.

It is also likely that a replacement community centre for the Glen will get the go ahead before the summer.

These hubs are essential facilities in ensuring community and social cohesion in neighbourhoods - and are to be warmly welcomed.

It is worth bearing in mind too retiring councillor Tony Hassan's farewell speech in which the housing champion pointed out that, as the city expands, it is not enough to build lots of houses - it is always essential to include the social facilities that allow us to sustain communities.

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