And meanwhile in Larne, the UDA enforces its imaginary paramilitary writ…

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You would imagine these guys are on a one way ticket to prison, but the overweening and assumptive actions of paramilitaries of all descriptions in Northern Ireland has to be the abiding failure of the culture of the Peace Process™. Over the weekend, the UDA [would that be the good or the bad ones? - Ed] ran amok in Larne:

A police vehicle was damaged as officers attempted to deal with up to 100 people who had gathered in Sallagh Park just before 21:00 BST.

A resident is in a stable condition in hospital and a police officer needed treatment.

The Democratic Unionist Party said the attacks were linked to recent arrests.

Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton condemned the disturbances, describing the attacks as a “rampage”.

“This group of somewhere between 60 and 100 people, many of them masked, who we believe to be members of south-east Antrim UDA, decided that they would take the law into their own hands,” he said.

“There’s obviously some tension and disputes that the group has with some individuals and households in the Larne area.

“They have absolutely no legitimacy to do any of this. They are acting outside of the law, it is simple criminality and we will be seeking to bring them to justice for this.”

Clearly, they think they do. I wonder who gave them the idea that somehow they were above the law?

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  • Morpheus

    Their political leaders…or lack there of

  • aquifer

    The law is weak when dealing with paramilitaries, and ends up licensing the removal of our human rights and the destruction of the economy.

    The law likes to pretend it is dealing with misguided individuals rather than murderous and oppressive conspiracies, fining people for playing their petty parts instead of punishing them for collaborating in the cruel whole.

    “the attacks were linked to recent arrests” Much safer for the DUP to blame the police than the hoods, for the hoods know where the DUP live.

    When MLAs cannot be relied upon to stand firm, suppressing gangs becomes the job of the UK state intelligence services.

  • Turgon

    aquifer,
    Of course the tacit support or bling eye turning of the DUP over this is dreadful. Good that you pointed it out.

    Must have been some other non DUP Sammy Wilson MP who somehow managed to get onto the DUP website and post this.

    I believe that this was in retaliation for police arrests over the last week and also settling scores in an attempt to stamp paramilitary authority on parts of the town. This cannot be allowed to happen. Larne must not drift back to the days of the past.
    I know that there is no desire for this to happen apart from those who wish to be able to continue their criminality without challenge.
    The police must ensure that they have the intelligence and the resources to anticipate the activities of these criminals and apprehend them. In turn the community must cooperate with the police to enable them to do their work. The alternative is thug rule which will destroy those areas where it is allowed to prevail.”

    Strangely someone called Roy Beggs an MLA but obviously not from the UUP managed to get onto the UUP website as well and post this:

    The South East Antrim UDA are being blamed. This is a challenge to British law and order. Do those who are orchestrating and carrying out these attacks think they are above the law? This is serious, organised crime endangering life. I would call for significant additional police resources to be dedicated to address those who are challenging British law and the justice system.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Turgon,

    Wilson’s comments are couched in language that seeks to explain to the public that the attacks are the consequence of police action. Unionists do not use this type of language when they are talking about republican attacks.

    The DUP and UUP both issues press releases (with similarly guarded language). But while the TUV found time today to put up a press release about the Whiterock provo-fest, they don’t seem to have had anything to say about the UDA in Larne. How curious.

  • Turgon

    Comrade Stalin,
    Yes indeed comments like: “Larne must not drift back to the days of the past.” and “…the community must cooperate with the police” are so ambiguous. I know there is an election coming which your party for some unknown reason seem rather worried about but try not to tell completely bare faced lies.

  • Morpheus

    You are completely right CS, there’s a statement on the TUV website condemning ‘themmuns’ but nothing about ‘ourwans’ – I can’t for the life of my figure out why :) coughcoughBeggingForTheirVotescoughcough

  • Zig70

    No point in giving the police more resources if they aren’t going to arrest anyone. It will be a real disgrace for the police if no one is arrested. How many people do you need to do anything you like in this state? Could I rob a bank with 30 blokes and saunter home unhindered?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Turgon,

    There is nothing barefaced about it.

    If the IRA smashed up a bunch of houses up in Ballymurphy would Sammy Wilson be saying “ah yes, apparently the police lifted a few people up there so this is in retaliation” ? No he bloody well wouldn’t.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Meanwhile, the DUP are barracking the Justice Committee to push their trafficking bill through.

    Any chance of the DUP proposing an organized crime/paramilitary bill with the same zeal ?

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/ fitzjameshorse1745

    Again….(see other thread on a Belfast Sports Centre.
    Its Confront or Callaborate.

  • Mick Fealty

    Right I pronounce an epidemic of people who cannot bring themselves to talk about the subject in hand… Yellows will be freely available for those of you who persist… :-/

  • grandimarkey

    @Turgon

    I know there is an election coming which your party for some unknown reason seem rather worried about but try not to tell completely bare faced lies.

    How can someone’s interpretation be a lie? A lie is a deliberate untruth, Comrade Stalin has given his opinion on Sammy Wilson’s comments, an opinion which is perfectly valid and articulate. How can this be described as a lie?

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    .” I wonder who gave them the idea that somehow they were above the law?”

    @Mick,

    Maybe God and Ulster did? After all the 32-county republic gave another bunch of their colleagues the belief that they were above the law.

  • Mick Fealty

    Grandimarkey, I think the word lie is a little too direct and damning, but I do think CS is inviting us to judge people on the output of their website rather than the actual statements they make to the press.

    That does tell us something about their political priorities, but it’s a nasty sleight of hand if you try to imply, as I think CS did, they said nothing at all.

    To go all Cantona about it, “I hear the grinding gears of travellers whose wheels forever spin in the deep mud of Whataboutery…”

  • Neil

    Speaking of whataboutery… I note that the still active UDA’s show of strength in a Belfast community centre currently being investigated by the council and the PSNI where balaclava sporting gents played party tunes has passed under the radar, which is strange.

    Such outrage being on show here is heartening, after all should an event be in any way linked to the now non existent IRA on public property one can only assume the posters here would be apoplectic with rage at the still very active UDA staging an event in a BCC funded community centre. After all the IRA hasn’t really done anything much of note over the past number of years, whereas the UDA has gone on a rampage/power trip around Larne and smashed three houses and numerous cars up, along with one person and one PSNI individual.

  • Iolar

    What’s in a name? To describe oneself as a ‘brigadier’ in the U.D.A. means one does not have to confront issues associated with poverty, deprivation, unemployment and racism.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Morpheus[9.03] I see Unionism’s great ‘leader’ Jim Allister didn’t want to discuss the UDA rampage with Nolan this morning. Typical. The truth about the all unionist parties attitude to loyalists is they don’t want them UDA/UVF to go away as they’ll need them to create mayhem when the British decide they need to remove themselves in the wake of a scots UK exit.

  • Morpheus

    Nothing Jim Allister does surprises me DM. He tried to portray himself as ‘I’m all about the victims’ in the build up and aftermath of Anne’s Law but how do you think he would react if someone handed him The Saville Report and said “please use your skills to get justice for these victims which should be a breeze because new laws are not needed.” He’d be a mile up the road the instant he saw the report.

    But CS’s point above was bang on the money. Something republican happens in a Belfast and there’s uproar. Something loyalist happens in Larne and there’s silence. A republican parade in Castlederg commemorating people who tried to bomb the town and there’s uproar. An annual loyalist parade in Coleraine commemorating people who tried to bomb the town and there’s silence. That’s not specific to Jim Allister btw, political unionism as a whole seems to have a theory that ‘themmuns’ = uproar, ‘ourwans’ = silence so it’s not surprising that there were attacks on the streets of Larne.

  • cynic2

    ” Could I rob a bank with 30 blokes and saunter home unhindered?”

    On past history probably ‘yes’. If you also got an OTR letter definitely ‘yes’

  • Mick Fealty

    Northern Bank, December 2004? How many did that take? Pity the one poor sucker who is so far the only one to take the rap

    I ask again, who put abroad the idea that paramilitaries are a law unto themselves and therefore above the law?

  • Reader

    Morpheus: Something loyalist happens in Larne and there’s silence.
    That’s not actually true, though, is it?

  • GEF
  • Mick Fealty

    It’s an old old story… http://goo.gl/lvCFjI

  • SDLP supporter

    Agree with the comments of Comrade S, about the weasel words of Sammy Wilson and the studied eye-averting of the DUP, and similar attitudes in relation to Whiterock by themmuns on the other side.

    Another classic was Paul Maskey MP condemning the “dissident rocket” on the Falls Road which took a chunk out of the City Cemetery wall and nearly killed a whole Filipino family. Literally, in one breath, he managed to “condemn” the perpetrators and “condemn” the PSNI for their slowness in arriving on the scene. As if there was some equivalence.

  • Ruarai

    It’s impossible to understand the presence, scale, role, and brazenness of Loyalist paramilitaries without understanding the public rhetoric (to say nothing of the private rhetoric) that follows their various activities.

    The key characteristic of this public rhetoric is how it contrasts with the rhetoric that follows dissident Republican paramilitaries.

    Where the later group are condemned without qualification or explanation, the rhetoric that follows Loyalists paramilitaries is a smelly brew made of one part condemnation one part explanation and, at times, one part partial justification.

    An analyses of the rhetoric will at times reveal not only the presence of these additional components but even their preponderance.

    If past patterns are to be followed, the Larne criminality will pave the way for:

    1. Calls for funding programs set up on sectarian lines
    2. Claims of “exclusion!” from the political process despite the fact that Northern Ireland provides more formal opportunities to become elected on a tiny mandate than most anywhere else in the democratic world.

    If past patterns are to be broken, someone from a major party will initiate a debate to have new legislation passed that carries a massive mandatory minimum sentence for anyone found guilty of paramilitary membership.

    Until para-militarism becomes a radioactive pursuit in NI, NI will never rid itself of para-militarism.

  • Richlinkedin

    I ask again, who put abroad the idea that paramilitaries are a law unto themselves and therefore above the law?

    To part answer your question for Britain.

    MOD and Jack Straw. EG MOD supporting charity status for Legion of Frontiersmen 1984 and Straw repealing Unlawful Drilling Act 1819.

  • Ruarai

    Richlinked,

    The relationship between paramilitaries, the law, and political parties (and sponsors) has been a deep-rooted crop in Ireland since before partition.

    That this crop – now undoubtedly a suffocating weed – is still being watered and fed post-GFA, is a distinction worth making and addressing.

    Before we get to post-GFA, it’s relevant to address the past that lead to it.

    Paramilitarism was essential for the creation of NI and the initial independence of the Free State – paramilitarism has a place not just in the founding romantic myths of nationalism and unionism in Ireland, but, an ongoing card-in-yer-back-pocket strategic role.

    It’s not merely tolerated, it’s cultivated.

    Since we’re talking about Larne and Loyalism in this case, I’ll stick to that case study. And let’s speak plainly here:The real reason that the condemnations of Loyalist paramilitarism are never full-throat-ed and unqualified is because both the DUP and UUP (and the Orange order) still see considerable use-value in the existence of organized groups of bully boys capable of supporting the pursuit of their political agenda via direct and extrajudicial activities.
    Such groups helped make NI a reality, helped keep it a reality, helped sink Sunningdale, flanked both parties into the GFA talks, and since then, have been actively mobalized, repeatedly and recently, as one (among several) recurring tactical response to:

    (i) various unwelcome out-workings of Good Friday
    (ii) the advance of electoral rivals in East Belfast
    (iii) the new electoral arithmetic on Belfast City Hall

    As political unionist faces the possibility of losing North and East Belfast in the years ahead to SF and the Alliance party respectively, this tiger will be mounted many more times yet.

    Additionally, Loyalist paramilitary groups provide an ever-present ‘don’t scare the horses’ role in unionist strategems: Threats are only as credible as the capacity of those making them; unionists’ ‘warnings’ about the “instability” that would follow any political and democratic developments they don’t want are made powerful only through the existence of organized Loyalism.

    So what to do?

    1. Paramilitarism must be made radioactive via the judiciary, following political leadership focused building sufficient consensus for updating the law

    2. The political costs of associating with paramilitaries must change so that the benefits are outstripped by the expenses; the governments, Unionists’ electoral rivals and the electorate themselves all have a role to play in re-calibrating that calculation.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick,

    Grandimarkey, I think the word lie is a little too direct and damning, but I do think CS is inviting us to judge people on the output of their website rather than the actual statements they make to the press.

    I am not sure how you arrive at that conclusion, Mick.

    Firstly in my second contribution above I made reference to the absence of a TUV press release. (“statements they make to the press”, or in this case, lack thereof)

    I also made reference to the guarded language used by the DUP (“the actual statements they make to the press”) which did condemn the violence, yes, but also sought to contextualize it. I can think of few examples of other British MPs who have attempted to explain why an illegal paramilitary organization is acting in a certain way and gotten away with it. The only occasion I can think of was when Red Ken sought to blame the Conservatives for the London riots, and it didn’t work out well for him.

    All they need to do is put out a statement saying “these people are illegal, this was a violent act of a group of criminals, the police must prosecute them and everyone must assist the police where possible”. That’s all. Saying stuff like “apparently this was some sort of revenge attack” serves no purpose other than to allow these criminals – and of course their victims – to believe that their actions must be justified because there’s a politician explaining it.

    That does tell us something about their political priorities, but it’s a nasty sleight of hand if you try to imply, as I think CS did, they said nothing at all.

    I didn’t say they said nothing. I made a number of observations around hypocrisy.

    Rather than people saying “oh yeah, this is bad” what are they going to do about it ? The unionists are the guys who say they have no truck with paramilitarism. Why not stick it up to Sinn Féin by producing an anti-paramilitary bill in the Assembly and then challenge the Shinners to block it ? I think I know the answer – it’s because they’re afraid if they go after the UDA and UVF they’ll lose votes.

  • zep

    CS – “The unionists are the guys who say they have no truck with paramilitarism.” – And you think Nationalists do?

    Ruarai – You make a lot of good points, however you need to look at our negotiated settlement and the importance it gave/gives to those very same bully-boys.

    “The political costs of associating with paramilitaries must change so that the benefits are outstripped by the expenses.” – With the greatest of respect, this reads like something written by someone who has no knowledge whatsoever of the GFA, Assembly etc. Our DFM was in PIRA! Our FM invaded the RoI! The political costs of associating with paramilitaries in NI is zero. As events in East Belfast, North Belfast, Whiterock, Castlederg etc show, it’s actually a bonus.

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    OK, I take on board the fact that shinner/provo Wilson’s arrest was in 2012. However, he was arrested for being a member of the IRA during the IRA investigation into the Robert McCartney murder in 2005. But weren’t we told that the provos were off the scene long before 2005???

    But here is another leading north Belfast shinner/provo who was questioned for a punishment shooting, that left a young man in a serious condition, and this was only last year. Kelly can’t say that there is distance between himself and the shinners/provos, as he was the guest of honor at the shinner/provo parade unveiling a plaque to his co-bomber Begley.

    So the question still need to be asked have the provos gone away???

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/regional/grave-consequences-after-former-ira-bomber-s-arrest-1-4787039

  • Mick Fealty

    CS,

    So, here’s the local reps (according to you) not condemning it:

    The MP for the area, Sammy Wilson, said the men had descended on the town and staged a “coordinated show of strength” before attacking police and “ransacking homes”.

    “I believe that this was in retaliation for police arrests over the last week and also settling scores in an attempt to stamp paramilitary authority on parts of the town,” the DUP MP said.

    “This cannot be allowed to happen. Larne must not drift back to the days of the past and I know that there is no desire for this to happen apart from those who wish to be able to continue their criminality without challenge,” Mr Wilson added.

    Stewart Dickson…

    The issue was raised at the Northern Ireland Assembly as a matter of the day by the Alliance MLA for East Antrim, Stewart Dickson.

    He said the violence was organised and raised serious questions about the status of the UDA’s ceasefire.

    Mr Dickson added that for too long there had been a sense that “certain individuals are untouchable” and called for support for the police.

    Roy Beggs:

    Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs said the attacks were “a challenge to British law and order”.

    “Do those who are orchestrating and carrying out these attacks think they are above the law?” Mr Beggs said.

    “This is serious, organised crime endangering life. I would call for significant additional police resources to be dedicated to address those who are challenging British law and the justice system.”

    Not much ambiguity about that, I’d say. What about you?

    As for your prediction on future legislation on paramilitaries, I’d say a smart parting of the ways at Stormont is exactly what’s needed. I’m much less certain about how that would play within unionism than you seem to be.

    People need to start looking for common standards that can be applied evenly across the board. But it would also help if people could stick to the actual facts rather than soapboxing a fiction every time an election comes around.

  • A Morris

    Both myself and Brian Feeney giving our views on this in today’s Irish News. Worth pointing out this October marks the 20th anniversary of the Combined Loyalist Military Command ceasefire statement.

  • Coll Ciotach

    As far as I am concerned the police have a lot of explaining to do. These gangsters, for that is what they are, drug dealing gangsters, are in dispute with other drug dealing gangsters and add in some of them getting a retaliatory hiding plus police acquiescence to them is a recipe for this.

    The police facilitate gangsterism in Larne. They don’t give a damn. And haven’t for a long time.
    East Antrim policing has notable high points which include escorting the same mobsters to a house as they wanted to protest (not intimidate or anything like that, outside it an apologising for removing provocative flags. allowing pubs to be told not to serve catholics, (this is a laugh considering who was doing the threatening).

    Tell you what though, if you want a nice chill just get your windows washed in Larne. It always pays to see who is coming up the road – if you know what I mean.

  • IrelandNorth

    So who, what or why did these guys associate to defend in Ulster? Reminds me of an explanation of that peculiar sociological phenomenon of English soccer hooliganism which someone once attempted to explain by saying that impressionable young English males were still being fed stories about Empire ex-post facto when there were no longer opportunities to sublimiate their testerone by military misadventurism abroad. Looks like certain segments of the Ulster (sic) Defence Association (UDA), like Englislh ‘firms’, need to rewrite their mythology.

  • Reader

    For those who were concerned about the situation in Larne, a little bit of good news:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-26922489