I would say that now is probably the safest time to fly and I don't really understand why people are cancelling en masse and staying at home and putting the shutters down. Pilots always say that flying is the safest form of travel and I agree with them. Just look at the number of train accidents in Britain over the last five years. The attacks in the United States have made airlines and the travelling public more conscious of the need for security. Airport and airline security has been tightened and the travelling public are also more aware. The levels of security which we have at the moment, eventhough they mean that passengers are more thoroughly searched, must be maintained. Air travellers must also act in a responsible way. It is quite natural, that in times of relative calm, security becomes lax. This should not be allowed to happen. Security regulations are drawn-up for a reason and they must be enforced and respected at all times eventhough there is no real threat. Yes, perhaps airlines should contemplate introducing air marshalls who could act in a similar way as the transport police in Britain. I don't particularly like flying but it is by far the best way to get from A to B.

The attacks in the United States were a terrible state of affairs but it shouldn't mean that we all give up flying. It is most alarming to see that a large number of airlines are facing bankruptcy. Now is the time to travel not only because terrorists should not be allowed to change our lives but because as pilots say, flying is safe and probably at the moment even more safe.

Jason Moore

Politics resume in N. Ireland

After the quiet euphoria of the past few days, following the IRA's decision to put its arms beyond use and thus rescue the peace process, this weekend and next week will see a resumption of party political infighting in Northern Ireland. This is to be welcomed since it is greatly to be preferred to the alternative of a resumption of fighting with weapons. One predictable change in the political landscape will follow from the resignation, for reasons of ill–health, of the greatly-admired John Hume as leader of the moderate SDLP; his departure is likely to enable Sinn Fein to gain some of the Catholic middle ground in Ulster, especially after the impressive performance by Gerry Adams in recent weeks. It is the situation in the majority Ulster Unionist Party which gives most cause for concern. David Trimble faces strong opposition from party members who still believe that he has not taken a hard enough line against some of the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement. He is likely to persuade this morning's meeting of the party's large executive body to support him once again as leader; but it is less certain that he will command the loyalty of individual elected UUP members in the Northern Ireland Assembly, some of whom are demanding clearer public statements from the IRA about its decommissioning intentions as a pre-condition of political co-operation with Sinn Fein. But the validation of the IRA's decommissioning is a matter solely for theGeneal de Chastelain's Independent Commission set up for this purpose and it is counter-productive for any politican to pretend otherwise.

Monitor

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