A grim and ultimately pointless return to violence by a few disaffected republicans, the sort of people who thought the Omagh bombing was a good thing, has threatened to send Northern Ireland back towards the rotten times its people endured for 30 years before the Anglo-Irish agreement brought a flawed peace.
I hope they fail, as they richly deserve to. Grievances remain, for sure, and power-sharing of any kind in such a divided community is always going to fall a long way short of perfection. For all that, in the context of Europe, 2011 and common humanity, the shortcomings of the peace process do not justify so much as a cut finger inflicted by dissidents.
Tommy Sands wrote There Were Roses, based on true events, to depict the shameful and squalid futility of tit-for-tat sectarian murder. It stands as one of the most powerful songs - possibly the most powerful song - to emerge from that dark era.
Sometimes, people need their heads knocking together.
You'd probably have to summon an arbitration panel to resolve the differences between Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn who, together, were the admirable driving force behind one of the greatest bands to emerge as Ireland forged ahead from the important, pioneering but musically more limited era of the Clancy Brothers.
If the River Tees could sing, I once suggested, it would probably sound a lot like Vin Garbutt. In his voice you find the grit of Middlesbrough, pre-industrial decline, and the pleasures of the countryside to its west.
Even so, Vin is an acquired taste, as a comment from Malcolm Dawson, a friend and contributor to Salut! Sunderland, recently demonstrated.
Following his yellow-card observation that the Unthanks were "twee and sickly", he earned a straight red with: "Gosh I even know people who like Vin Garbutt and Pete Morton both of whom I’d travel miles to avoid!"
The Bothy Band. Traditional music as rock, Irish music at its best, and all manner of other cliches.
However it was correct to describe them, they were a wonderful Irish band and this is an example of the music that was played incessantly in my car after I discovered their existence in the mid to late 1970s.