True or false?

The question is now being posed ” was the heavy masonry or coping stone which hit the female PSNI officer at Ardoyne in North Belfast dropped on her or was it dislodged due to water canon pressure?The putting of this question can in no way diminish the ugliness of what was witnessed in terms of rioting and attacks on the PSNI.

In the interest of accuracy however the record has to be set straight. UTV’s cameraman caught the sizeable slab of concrete motioning from the roof but a more forensic study is possibly necessary to clear this matter up.

Needless to say the sense of shock and pain visited upon the female officer will be diminished little by the search for truth.

Update: Thanks to one of our readers below, here’s how Sky News caught it:

  • Mark McGregor


    I read a lot of republican stuff on numerous republican websites.

    You are the first to suggest this on a serious forum – only one?

    [Text removed – Mod]

  • Mark McGregor

    Right, just to set Eamonn’s head straight – there are no concrete bits on Ardoyne shops that could be knocked off.

    [Love you to bits Mark, but are you looking for a Red – Mod?]

  • NR

    A reporter was doing a piece on top of the roof earlier and you could clearly see that there are slabs that could have been dislodged by the water cannon

  • Dixie

    With respect Mark did you view the footage which I posted which clearly shows the water cannon still dislodging masonry from the roof while the cops were still pulling her away?

  • Driftwood

    Maybe he’ll get banned?
    I doubt it, him being a friend of the host and all that, and he supports the party line.
    Unlike the great unwashed.

  • sdelaneys

    Mark, looking at UTV footage of the incident there is a water cannon aimed at the roof tops; the concrete was a coping stone on top of the wall which rises above the roof. It would be difficult to say the water definitely caused the slab to fall on the woman as at first glance we’d expect the slab to fall away from the water but at the same time it could conceivably get under the slab and raise the back of it causing it to fall to the front by virtue of its own weight. I am not saying it did, just saying that it is easy to see where the argument is coming from.

  • Dixie

    Look at the footage 00:20 in and the water can clearly be seen dislodging the coping stone. And while the cops are pulling her back you can see where the water cannon dislodges a bigger piece which just misses those pulling her back.

    Perhaps if it could be slowed down it might show what happened.

  • spige

    Y’know, some of these rioters aren’t that bad and the clever ones may go on to make a decent living working as touts.

  • Dixie

    Or MLAs?

  • Craigavon Cowboy

    I think the lady doth protest too much!

  • Laura

    People are thinking too hard about it and are just making excuses for all these thugs.
    Even if the water cannon did ‘dislodge’ it, more masonry was thrown at her. They were obviously determined to finish her off.
    No respect at all these days. Going back to old ways, sadly.
    Poor girl. My thoughts are with her.

  • sdelaneys

    Or financial ‘fixers’ for a political party.

  • Mick Fealty

    If he keeps that up I don’t care what party line he takes, he’s out. Oh and by the way how did you get back in?

  • Frank Ryan

    If you watch the footage although not completely conclusive, it would indicate that the water cannon was to blame.

    However, if you watch the footage from various media sources BBC, UTV and youtube, you will notice how many PSNI officers have hand held cameras, to say the least numerous, also the heli-teli would have picked up if the rioters on the roof were throwing the items that allegedly caused the injury. I would imagine in a case of attempted murder this footage would have been examined and they would have discovered whether this was the case, slightly embarrassing for the PSNI, yet they still ran with the story.

    And lastly while the slab was thrown the watercannon was firing full tilt, it would have been hard for a youth or man for that matter to have thrown such a large piece of masonry any great distance whilst being subjected to the force of the water. Although not conclusive, it would appear extremely difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt in court of law under these circumstances

  • DC

    The sit down video looks like a bunch of young adolescent males wanting to get touched up and lifted by grown men in uniform, looking for attention from them to make up for the lack of proper male parenting in their lives?

    With such masculine-esque violence on display is this a way of overcompensating to fill that void? No Da, so wit I’m hard as fck anway?!

  • Dixie

    I can see one youth on the roof who is well back from the parapet because of the water spray and no other youths are visible near the parapet when the masonry is falling. If the footage were slowed down you would see I believe the actual impact of the water hitting the coping before it falls.

    Also the water cannon is still trained on the roof as the second larger piece falls almost hitting those pulling her away.

    You can also see the jeep shaking as the water cannon moves down from the roof and connects with it.

  • Oracle


    I believe you are wrong, whatever hit the PSNI officer it certainly looks like it was a blue on blue event….

    You may not like the idea of protesting republicans loosing the media credit for this specific action, but long term truth is far more important than short term propaganda.

    Well unless you want someone charged with attempted murder?

  • joeCanuck

    It really doesn’t matter folks. If the rioting hadn’t been started no water cannon would have been used.
    Wise up.

  • Watched Video

    The UTV is very clear – the water cannon dislodged the masonry which fell on the policewoman, and continued to dislodge more after the one which made contact. You can clearly see those on the roof were not near where the debris was dislodged, that it was the stream from the water cannon that loosened the material and caused it to fall, or, if you will pardon the pun, rain down.

  • Video Spotter

    I think those that are blaming the water cannon need to take a closer look at the UTV video At 00:21 and 00:23 you can see the individual crouched behind the wall. At 00:24 you can see his hand pushing the slab over the wall.

    On this video you can see them still throwing pieces of slab as the injured officer is being dragged away after the water cannon has stopped.

  • Colin Carberry

    True, but it might be equally true to say that if the coat-trailing hadn’t started no rioting would have ensued. Dialogue is clearly called for.

  • Kathy C

    Hi Joe,
    The same could be said if the orange order didn’t march then there would have been no rioting and no use for the water cannon.

    I watched the clip…it does make one think. Also, gerry kelly’s comments were interesting. He was quick to pick up the phone to speak to the psni…too bad he doesn’t speak to the rioters and try to work it out with them…after all I thought sinn fein would speak to everyone…or is it just the dup and police.

  • Nuance

    Which explains the car set on fire and the petrol bombs on the Ormeau bridge, in Derry and elsewhere where there was no contentious march?

    It’s all too easy to blame the march solely – I personally think the high profile of this year’s riots have shown how ridiculous the stubborn refusal to reconsider the route of the march is, but let’s not look for a handy get out for groups of youths who are just waiting for the slightest excuse for a bit of fun and a chance to injure people you’ve been taught to hate. I think it’s more accurate to see the marching as an excuse, not a reason.

  • joeCanuck

    Totally agree about dialogue. Some people say that the Parades Commission approved the march even though the OO would not talk to the Residents Group. If so, I think that is a dereliction of their mandate; should be challengeable by an application for an injunction

  • joeCanuck

    Indeed, Kathy. But the march was approved. The Parades Commission should be challenged in the Courts. We can’t say we accept the disposition over Garvaghy Road but will riot when the decision goes the other way. We need dialogue as Colin says above.

  • spige

    Yeah. The riot was going to happen anyway as it was clearly pre-planned.The dissidents used the march as a smokescreen or catalyst in order to launch attacks on the police.

    Their spidey/chav foot soldiers are so like their loyalist counterparts who follow parades it’s unreal. Aside from their religious differences, these guys have the same mentality. If they saw someone from their own community with long hair and wearing alternative clothing, they would undoubtedly give them a hiding and call them a weirdo.

  • spige

    The fact is that aside from one marcher being hit with a stone. The rioters have solely concentrated on attacking police not attacking Orangemen. It’s not the police who parade along these disputed routes but the O O, yet the dissident chavs seem unwilling to take on the O O. They would rather give it to the cops.

    Why could that be? Are they afraid of a loyalist paramilitary backlash? Perhaps they know that the cops will act with restraint and not shoot some random, innocent Catholic.

    Also, the OO abbreviation surely stands for Ostrich Order, as burying their head in the sand is something the OO are very skilled at.

  • The film I saw was inconclusive, but it does raise doubt.

    Perfectly true that the rioters should not have been there, that the damage they did was mostly to the people they were supposed to be supporting, and that they destroyed the previous image of peaceful protesters being manhandled away by police. It comes to something when the rioters make the police look like victims.

    For the cause and effect? which came first, the chicken or the egg.

  • Alan maskey

    Does anyone here feel sympathy of Ilse Koch or any of the other women convicted of Nazi war crimes? Or ot is just Loyalist female bullies we have to feel sympathy for? orangies and their RUC/B Special backers should not be in Ardoyne.

  • Cynic

    Aye …of course….anything at all but that one of the hallians on teh roof throwing breeze blocks bricks and petrol bombs down onto the police’s heads would have done it. After all most of them are either hardly weaned or on DLA so they couldn’t possibly have lifted it.

  • spige

    I don’t understand Alan. What loyalist female bullies? What RUC/B Specials?

    It’s the PSNI now, are you harking back to yesteryear?

  • Cynic


    Its a balance of rights. The Parades Commission was created to decide issues on marches within the Human Rights Act . The marchers have rights too no matter what you think of them. The OO detest the Parades Commission but on this occasion it found in their favour.

    The rioters were therefore simply trying to deny the OO members and their supporters their human rights because they are orangemen and protestants. On their own definition this is sheer racism

  • Cynic

    There were quite a few attempted murders. Dropping petrol bombs on top of officers? Shooting at them.

    I am afraid that you seem to be a sad and not particularly good apologist for racists thugs and would be murderers

  • Comrade Stalin

    The footage I saw of the water cannon appears to show it in watering can mode. At other points during the day the rioters were practically dancing about in the water. As such it’s hard for me to accept that there was enough force in it to dislodge a stone.

    Look at the part of the UTV video between 0:22 and 0:23. Is that an arm or a leg sticking out ? Could it be the case that someone is right up against the coping stone, pushing it off ?

  • The Impartial Observer

    Did anyone hear the report on Newsline last night that the Land Rover escorting the ambulance carrying this policewoman was attacked on the Shankill?

    Anyone know if that’s true?

  • Neil

    I heard the report. That’s not that surprising though. Some kids love a bit of recreational rioting, and an ambulance making it’s way from Ardoyne is an easy target. Most likely thought it was carrying an injured smick.

  • TheHorse

    It looks conclusive to me that the water canon dislodged the coping stone which then fell on top of the policewoman and once again when her colleagues were dragging her away. The scenes of rioting were disgraceful and a sad reflection on the peaceful protestors of Ardoyne. I can understand why some ask why the PSNI have taken a hearts and minds approach to those who were intent on mayhem and distruction, but lets be honest most of those rioters were school children who dont have the sense to know when they are being used as cannon fodder by individuals who may have valid points about the political direction we are heading, the pace of change or the contempt the Orange Order, PSNI, local government have for the rights and sensitivities of the people of Ardoyne but this is a very dangerous and uncontrolable way to highlight that.

  • sdelaneys

    Laura, are you suggesting that it is dangerous to think ‘too hard’ ? Our politicians would prefer if we let them do our thinking for us just as our clerical gentlemen used to try to do and this is something we must resist.
    I say, think, think, think for yourself and don’t be afraid of ‘thinking too hard’.

  • sdelaneys

    That’s a very strange post. Is there something you’d like to share with us?

  • Who exactly is asking the question?

    The answer is FALSE. Assistant Chief Constable McCausland has just said on the Nolan Show that they have film footage of the person throwing the piece of masonry and they have identified who that person was.

  • DC

    Strange but true?

    Well I think a bunch of kids looking man-handled in this way is not the norm.

    I’ve a really good idea, a really productive one, I know: let’s all sit down voluntarily on a street in a group but then require a bunch of male coppers to lift us up, then let’s swear and shout at the them in the process?!

    Research shows that families that lack proper male parenting usually have kids/boys/young male adolescents that act-out alpha male behaviour to compensate or over-compensate for the lack of it in their own lives.

    Looking for trouble to prove a point but this time round at a political level there wasn’t much of a point to be made – so – I’m suggesting they are doing it to try to look hard mainly. Especially as so many young kids were involved.

  • Drumlin Rock

    Eamonn, you need to go to specsavers, look at the video again, at 0:20 there is clearly a person crouching behind the parapet wall at the exact point the coping (not breeze block) is then pushed over, the camera angle changes slightly and the person is obscured by the curvature of the wall but the height of the wall means they are unaffected by the water cannon, possibly the water might have loosened the coping but it is virtually impossible for it to fall forwards into the oncoming jet of water, with it happening again a few seconds later certainly impossible.
    THIS WAS DELIBERATE ACT of the person behind the wall, Eamonn you need to clarify as a person of your status giving credibility to this theory only distracts from the major issue and adds further hurt to the officer and family involved.

  • Trying to work out how a force of water moving left to right manages to push concrete right to left. Anyone help on this?

  • Drumlin Rock

    you cannot dislodge coping FORWARD with a water cannon.

  • Puzzled by that one too. Have asked for assistance below on the mechanics of such action and hoping an engineer type might be prepared to explain. Maybe the person who asked the question in the first instance could explain it?

  • Realistic Idealist

    Pedantic question of the week: does anybody in the entire media industry or blogosphere actually know what a BREEZE BLOCK is?

    There are very few breeze blocks used in construction in this country generally, i guess it just sounds better that other more accurate phrases, like coping stone

  • Obelisk

    Are some people actually trying to claim that what happened to that police officer was an accident?

    I’m sure if dissident republicans repeat the line ‘the water cannons dislodged the block, it injured the officer, and they blamed it on the catholics’ often enough it’ll gain some traction. Straight out of the Goebbels school of propaganda.

    Thing is the UTV video, taken with the Sky News video of the same event shows these blocks weren’t falling of their own accord. The Sky News video at 1:34 in particular shows that unless PSNI water cannons can now make objects defy gravity, that they were being thrown as deadly weapons.

    I condemn the rioters for being too ignorant to understand they are being used, in particular the stomach churning scene in the UTV video of the two holding and disgracing my flag as if that bestowed legitimacy on them.

    I condemn their parents for allowing them to be there in the first place and not supervising them properly.

    I condemn the Orange Order for insisting on parading where they are not wanted and creating the opportunity for such mayhem, and hope that they reflect on this and engage in a true dialogue with true residents, not people bussed in from Derry and beyond to cause trouble.

    But mostly I condemn the dissident Republicans who betray they very ideals they profess to hold by their damnable refusal to accept the will of the people of Ireland and who now instigate violence for it’s own sake and corrupt our young people.

  • Drumlin Rock

    your not alone RI, it has been annoying every time I hear it reported, particularly on Nolan. The term should be banned as breezeblocks as such don’t exist in NI. or are extremely rare.

  • vanhelsing

    Between 0:21-0:23 in the footage

    there is a youth crouching behind the wall, where the slab came from. Perhaps the water cannon loosened it but there is no way with the forward pressure of a water cannon that slabs fall towards it!!

    The law of gravity isn’t effected by politics 🙂

  • slappymcgroundout

    The vid itself shows a smaller piece coming largely straight down to the ground, owing to the water dislodging the piece and the rest of the building preventing the piece from traveling backwards. Can’t answer the question here as we don’t have video of the piece that struck the officer.

    Lastly, and by the way, do you all get the same run up ad that I get here in the land of aloha? For the mother of all bad advertising, don’t think that you all want your “Discover Northern Ireland” ad to run before the vid on rioting. Unless the message is, you’ve got riots, and then you’ve got riots, so to see the best in riots, Discover Northern Ireland, where we do riots right.

  • slappymcgroundout

    Remember, there is still the rest of the building. If a piece on the front of the building is dislodged, it can only go some rather miniscule distance backwards (same direction as water), as the rest of the building stands in the way.

  • sierrabravo

    I’m just wondering whether Fr. Gary Donegan has ever been to Milan

  • Oracle

    Ah cynic,

    You yet again fail miserably in hiding your monstrous deficiency of intellect.
    However one day in the distant future I’m reasonably confident that you will eventually read a post correctly and accurately translate its message before combining a computer keyboard with diarrhoea fingers and the patience of youth.

    My point above was Marks apparent eagerness to associate the injured PSNI officer with the direct action of the youths on the roof and not the indirect action of the support officers on the ground (or in this case inside the water cannon truck) as a form of propaganda.
    If the officer had lost her life would Mark have been happy with the two youths on the roof being jailed for murder, or would he have been blogging the same footage as proof of their innocence and British injustice.

    Cynic that make you a sad apologist (and not a very good one) for miscarriages of justice

  • Oracle

    Any fireman will tell you it can and will.
    Any builder will tell you the same
    Any engineer will also confirm its mechanics.

    The high powered jet lifts the stone because the water has nowhere to move thus the localised hydraulics lifts the capping (cope stones slabs finishing boards)

    Once lifted the cap is now in suspension with the rear of the cap at a higer elevation to the front of the cap, sloping away from the building and towards the ground.

    The sheer weight of the stone will break the water jet because the jet now has no hydraulic restrictions and thus the cap hurtles to the ground with the force of gravity

  • Oracle


    You may well be correct, i’d love to have the original digital disc which could be slowed and magnified because it is all so inconclusive and quick, I didn’t spot it the first ten times i watched it until i went full screen…

    and i notice the jet seems to have passed the point of fall but that could also be blow-back as anyone who has ever used a power hose will know.

    but as i posted above the cannon could move the slab towards it very easily indeed, the jet becomes a water slide for the slab..ect ect

  • joeCanuck

    I never realized that SOT had so many readers who have a hidden desire to be forensic analysts. Perhaps they should apply for parts in the upcoming CBC series – CSI Belfast.
    The police say they have a video and have identified a culprit. If so, I expect an arrest in due course, and if the evidence is robust enough enough for the DPP, a trial when claim and counter claim can be examined.
    All this does nothing for the police officer who happened to be a woman and, for all we know, a fellow religionist to the rioters.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    should be some classic Slugger posts when arrests are made.
    Im looking forward to them already

  • TheHorse

    The film I saw, obviously not the only one, showed the water canon aimed to the roof. It also showed a young man up there darting back.

    It is not impossible that the rock (or whatever) was dislodged by the canon but anything pushed usually falls backward not forward. I am more than willing to put the blame on the water canon. At least it would mean no sixteen year old carrying the can for his elders.

    Every parent knew what was happening on those streets that night. It is shameful that some may actually be prepared to put their children at risk of arrest, injury or worse.

  • joeCanuck

    Wot? You will refuse to believe that the younger kids had set off to visit their grannies and the older ones were sent out to look for them when the news broke and all got caught inadvertently? Honest, guv.

  • sdelaneys

    Yup, what they mean is concrete block but the old breeze block syndrom has them tight. Used to be partition blocks used a lot in England called Thermailte. Now they’re nice and light and wouldn’t do too much harm.

  • Video Spotter

    On the video half way down this page you can see two of the rioters on the roof pushing down more of the masonry.

  • I can see no advantage, not even truth, to proving or charging a young person with this attack. If someone did it, they had no idea of the sex of the victim, no real idea if they would hit the target, and worst of all had been ‘egged on’ by older, more experienced ‘protesters’.

    Unless the police can prove it was a thirty to fifty something cretin, I hope they let this particular incident just, go away. It would be the peaceful thing to do.

  • Reader

    Pippakin: Unless the police can prove it was a thirty to fifty something cretin, I hope they let this particular incident just, go away. It would be the peaceful thing to do.
    So are you in favour of raising the age of criminal responsibility to 30; while not counting anyone as a victim unless they are female?

  • Reader

    Have you got a new gravatar? Nice!

    To answer your question: No, but the kind of protests organised by a few fascists. The ones who are always careful to keep out of camera and any other range, are different. If the person responsible for the attack on the police person is a foolish child too young to know when he is being wound up and ‘fired’, then it serves no purpose to punish him when the person who loaded the gun is not even charged. All it does is create another victim.

    As for the sex of the perpetrator, what has that got to do with anything?

  • Mr Anon

    So if the police officer had been killed, still the rodent who pushed the concrete should be let off with MURDER because they were being ‘led astray’ by the older dissidents? How ridiculous you sound.

    Also, the arrests have already started today!

  • joeCanuck

    Yep; I have a few in my garage. They are a poured concrete block with hollows to make them lighter, about 12″ square, maybe a bit more. The were/are used for hidden construction, for example, were regularly used in N.Ireland for the inside walls of houses which had brick walls on the outside. Or double breeze blocks with dash and pebble.

  • Sean

    As some one who has razed more than a few buildings take my word for it bricks/stones/breeze blocks(called cinder blocks in Canada) always fall out! it is one of there nastiest tendancies and are currently responsible for a little friction between myself and my insurance company

  • orly

    Quite. You can clearly see someone moving forward up against the wall and then a second or two later can see a hand pushing a block over the top of the wall. Theres another person a few metres back who moves out of shot but no doubt he was just “on his way home”

  • Laura

    I didnt get the wording of that sentence right. I meant they can’t see the clear answers and solutions as they are over analysing it all. I think they need to just get to the point.

    Can I just add, if that was dislodged by the water cannon , it would have fallen at an angle . Not at 180 degrees horizontally. Common sense.

  • RepublicanStones

    Im not sure. The footage does show the water cannon raking the rooftop. But also as the police are pulling the policewoman to safety i think it shows something being fired off the roof in the direction of the truck. In any event – could someone please tell me what the f**k a ‘coping stone’ is?

  • mark

    Are you serious ? of all the things that happened last night, what annoys you is the use of the term ” breezeblocks ” as they dont as such exist in the north and whatever it was that split that cop’s head open should be givin its correct title. Maybe it was a Drumlin Rock – I believe they are deadly.

  • joeCanuck

    A coping stone is a concrete block gradually sloping from the sides to the middle. About an inch thick at the edges, 2” thick in the centre. They are normally used on top on a brick wall to prevent water entering the bricks and are sloped to shed the water.

  • joeCanuck

    With respect Pippakin, we cannot let children of legal age responsibility think that there are no consequences for inappropriate actions.
    FFS, in the case of these particular children, their church (spit) thinks they can tell right from wrong from when they make their First Communion and start going to confession, about 7 years old. A younger bother of my had only one sin to admit when he first went (accidentally) – he chewed the blankets.

  • RepublicanStones

    Cheers Joe.

  • joe

    ‘With all due respect’ 🙂 Some were talking about attempted murder, and the police say they have video of the person who threw? the er, object.

    Usually I am all for the punishment fitting the crime, but in this case my ire is reserved for those faceless thugs who persuaded? young people (always ready for a bit of a ruck) that this behaviour was for the good of the community.And then there are the parents who allowed their children to be out so late and used in such a way.

    The RCC has, unbelievably, managed to convince most of us that we are born guilty, Talk about the sins of the ‘fathers’! You must know how offensive if is when someone chews the blankets, definitely cause for a trip down the rosary..

  • BB

    Neither the UTV or Sky video actually shows the female officer getting hit. In the UTV footage a rioter can be seen ducking in below the small wall on the shop roof at exactly the place where the slab drops a second or two later (it is my belief that a hand can be seen after the slab falls)… but crucially, before the camera pans down to ground level there is an edit and the shot cuts to the officer on the ground surrounded by colleagues . We do not know if this edit is literally one second or one minute later so therefor we don’t know if this shot of the falling slab is the actual one that hit the officer. On the Sky footage we see the officer lying on the ground while concrete slabs continue to be clearly thrown from above by rioters at her direction, so obviously the intent to drop concrete slabs and other debris onto officers was there.

  • SimpleTown


    So if a Catholic man from Limavady and his dog who calls himself the Shankill Concerned Residents Group says that the Orange Order should be banned from marching down the Shankill Road on the grounds that one of the apartment blocks on the Shankill is owned by a Dublin landlord who is a Catholic as is the ultimate franchised owner of the KFC (no idea purely hypothetical) the Parades Commission would have no right to make a decision on his case if the Orange Order refused to speak to him?

    My basic point – at some certain mix of geography / demographics / commercial ownership versus residential property mix, the Parades Commission has to say no to those objecting to a parade, and at some point that includes saying no without dialogue. You may not think that the Ardoyne shops fulfill that, but they are not equivalent to Garvaghy or Lower Ormeau.

  • SimpleTown

    There IS no other route. Every other route is even more contentious. The only alternative would be to put them on busses somewhere on the Woodvale Road, drive them past the shops for maybe 150 yds and set them down a bit up the Crumlin Road. Both the places where the marchers would board the buses and get off the buses are majority Protestant areas where some of the marchers may even personally live.

    The roundabout where the shops are is NOT a nationalist / Catholic area. The houses on the Woodvale Road and Twaddell Avenue right up to the roundabout itself are Protestant. The roundabout literally is an interface.

    All these people saying “reroute” should really be specific on what they mean, because topographically all they could mean is that the march should be rerouted through a Catholic residential area in order to avoid going past the shops, which makes f all sense. How can marching past shops which themselves face the sides of Protestant houses across the roundabout be “worse” than marching through a Catholic residential area?

  • Mark McGregor

    Seems after my slabbering Eamonn was probably right all along.

    Apologies for doubting you Mr Mallie.