Can we ever have crowd trouble without the cries of “them’uns”?

Another day, another series of TV reports showing council cleaners sweeping up glass and the odd hangover-on-legs staggering about looking for a fry.
Could be any number of places on any number of nights, but one thing will be a constant on social media: armchair cops comparing the policing of the ‘event’ to whatever other occasion they can use to suit their particular brand of politics.
To unpick the worthlessness of whataboutery when it comes to finding a solution to the likes of the Holylands, let’s have a look at what is different about every big event in NI (all logical, but with thanks to a police officer friend who discussed): the people, the place, the risks, the potential to spread, the disruption, the local police chain-of-command and the prevailing situation across NI. To name but a few.
And that’s leaving an important aspect to last: the information known in advance about the trouble and those involved (ie, us back-seat observers will not hear what is being said in an officer’s ear-piece about all that is known ahead of time or occurring around them/ nearby).
And talking of officers, if we were able to see and hear what they see from their many angles on a situation (including CCTV) it would give a very different outlook to the selected photos and YouTube videos – which only show a single angle and point-in-time – placed online by those with an axe to grind.
In short: you can’t compare one bout of disorder to another. From what I see police use a light-touch when they can and move in heavily when they must, depending on all the information available to them. That appears to apply to all ‘sides’, every occasion being clearly different.
Overall, I am suspicious of those usually blind-sided to street trouble who grow a sudden sensitivity to the problem and of those who have a sudden change of position to shrug it off.
Myself? I think the Holylands will turn into a residents-only, armband-access area like Prince’s Street in Edinburgh each Hogmanany, with an organised open-air event nearby.
But that’s just one thought from an outsider.
Of greater interest is wondering when we can solve such issues in NI without clouding the issue with worthless comparisons and crocodile tears for our streets.
  • Ernekid

    The trouble isnt generally started by UU and QUB students. it’s started by Culchie teenagers who come up to Belfast for the day for a spot of underage binge drinking at the House Parties.

    The vast majority of students celebrations and parties tend to not get out of hand.

  • DOUG

    Many years ago I worked as a doorman in Dukes and Renshaws, back when the annual Holylands shenanigans began and the behaviour now really isn’t anywhere near as bad as it was 15/16 years ago.
    I said then and still believe it will abate to the point that some enterprising promoter will make a fortune off the Holylands festival.
    To be fair Ernekid, it’s easy to say it’s not started by the students, but these particular festivities were initiated by the student population.
    While the Culchie Kids come up, it’s their student relatives they come to.

  • I’d say it is inevitable that the day-trippers and actual students who live in the area will somehow be divided out by using something like a big event to draw people away and make entry into parts of Holylands easier to control.

    Both groups are entitled to enjoy themselves but how they do so will probably be closely re-examined now.

    I think the outsiders might have sealed the fate of the current set-up there.

  • Agreed – and they are entitled to them too, any criticism from me would be based on jealousy I think!

  • Ulick

    I was just astounded by the 48 hour rolling news coverage from most of the local news outlets. For a few pissed up students. Ffs. There was nothing happening there which doesn’t happen in every major provincial town up and down the country every weekend. The most shocking thing was the footage which emerged last night showing the PSNI riot squad and dogs going into the area on Wednesday night. How fecking useless are the PSNI that it takes the riot squad to deal with some drunk teenagers?

  • Redstar

    I have never seen such over hyped hysteria in my life. Yes revellers should not be urinating in the street etc- bloody ridiculous and would not be happy if it was my street- but let’s get some perspective.

  • Gopher

    Good idea, though the problem remains they don’t want to go to bed and when they do dissipate it is in large groups and that brings one back to the problem they will end up in the Holylands at 4am. Personally speaking its the criminal justice system that needs to be reviewed. I think a criminal record and chucked out of uni is a bit much in most cases of high jinks. I think an infraction system of adding a couple of percentage points of interest to student loans will serve as a better reminder of those halcyon days. The proceeds would certainly improve funding for subsequent students. For those culchiess a change in tax code for a specified period should either act as a deterrent or a signpost to prison.

  • Another nonsense one on social media is ‘the X were provoked by police’.

    “They started to provoke me so I went closer to get provoked some more….”

  • I think it usually turns out to be only a handful of actual students involved and action taken.

  • Gopher

    That’s the problem because the penalty is so harsh no one gets punished. You need to punish more but in a non criminal way and one that benefits society. Hiking the interest rate of student loans of offenders is one way.

  • Allergic to having their heads split open with a thrown bottle I suspect, thus the riot police.

    And who’d get the blame if they didn’t try to contain them and the wee angels end up under a car or suchlike?

  • I’d agree – but the report said cops were injured so sounds like it was a little more.

  • Ulick

    Except the bottles were only thrown after the riot squad and dogs were brought in. In situations like that the best approach is usually to deescalate while maintaining a sense of perspective that you are dealing with witless drunk teenagers. Dogs and the riot squad is not the appropriate approach by any stretch of the imagination.

  • You reckon they’d really spend a single penny on resources or risk injury until they had to?

    As far as I’ve seen ‘yellow jacket’ light-touch before the big guns come out, if they have to, is standard and goes without saying.

  • Redstar

    I question the motives of some who are making more out of this than what it was- drunken hooliganism and disrespect for others.

    Mind you when you have a statelet which has its official national holiday based on sectarian thuggery drunken hooliganism and hatred for others it saddens me -but doesn’t surprise me -that others end up denigrating other events like St Ps day

  • Redstar

    Why do we not see ” the big guns come out” at 11th night hate fests???

  • Ulick

    Eh? No need to speculate. Simple fact is the PSNI brought out the riot squad and dog handlers to deal with a bunch of students. No wonder they seem so useless when it comes to dealing with serious or violent offenders. They actually are.

  • I wasn’t there, I don’t know the facts of individual events and I’m not a believer in ‘armchair policing’ from a distance. So I can’t debate why their decision was made – I was an hour away at the time.

    The point of the article was that you can’t compare one event with another so I won’t go down that road either.

  • DOUG

    I’ve seen this first hand on many occasions and it’s not really harmless revelry.
    It’s people who aren’t from an area, who don’t care about an area ruining and causing a lot of trouble in that area.
    It’s one thing to say it’s ” a bunch of students ” but it could equally be described as several hundred pissed up morons jumping up and down on the roofs, bonnets etc of cars, lighting fires in the middle of residential streets, kicking in doors and breaking windows, throwing bottles and infighting and wrecking houses ( not that I’m a huge supporter of the student’s landlords ).
    The fact that this has now become a ” tradition ” in the Holylands would suggest to me that the cops have been far from heavy handed in how they’ve dealt with it.

  • Kev Hughes

    I had the pleasure to work in the bar at Queens SU for 5 years and St Patrick’s day always amazed me.

    I have to concur with a lot of folks here, a huge amount of the trouble is caused by folks coming from the sticks for the day for some binge drinking with flick all consequences. Funnily enough, we could work the day shift (open to about 6pm) or the evening shift and while not many would want to work the evening it would often be easier as most people were so lit they were back home sleeping it off.

    How to solve it? I’m sure better minds will come up with answers but it will involve better control among the bars, off-licences and the Universities, together with the land lords.Guys being allowed into bars/clubs and hardly able to stand, serving of shit faced students, off licences closing their doors at certain times and/or allowing only the purchase of set amounts of booze in the immediate area (I know it won’t stop people driving to Sainsbury’s up at the Four Winds but it’ll inconvenience folks who have run out and go back to the offie to ‘top up some more’).

  • Old Mortality

    St Patrick’s Day is not an event. It is a commemoration of a religious figure. Holding parades is of no relevance to it, much less determined ant-social behaviour by large groups.
    Out of interest, do similar incidents occur in parts of Dublin, Cork or Galway which are heavily inhabited by students or is this just a northern ‘tradition’.

  • Ernekid

    If you think paying more for a student loan is a detterent to getting pished then you clearly don’t know many 18 year olds.

  • Re: motives, I’d say in some cases you have a point on that one. It also falls on a quiet news day so it is a double-whammy.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    my partner has been on a uni discipline committee over here in the mainland – and they chuck out people for much less. The other option is sending them away for a year to grow up. This sort of stuff is one thing in student halls but when they’ve living out it’s disrupting ordinary people’s lives and they need to get a grip. There are limits to what you can expect people to put up with.

    I myself live in an area where there are some students but they know not to be partying in the street here – indeed the student union regularly sends people around knocking on doors to give residents the opportunity to raise issues, which is much appreciated. Some noise coming back from the pub is fine but the Holy Land stuff looks just like taking p***. We were all young once and drink our body weight in Bass on an hourly basis, but we also had to put up with moaning older people and occasionally recognised they had a point.

  • ted hagan

    There were hundreds off pissed up students. Residents live with this throughout the year. Surely the drinking is way over the top? Why not find a field and they can drink to their hearts’ content?

  • ted hagan

    Yea, let witless teenagers do what they like. Aw shure isn’t it a free country? Where else would it happen. A few football riots would be nice too.

  • Dan

    Pissed up little spides, clad in their GAA shirts, ferried in by taxi to sing some hate-the-Brits songs which they learned on their daddy’s knee.

  • Ulick

    Students looking for an opportunity to get pissed and misbehaving? Yes it happens the world over. Try Googling ‘Donegal Tuesday in Galway’ or ‘Waterford IT Rag’. The difference being the Guards don’t see the need to send in the riot squad and RTE don’t provide 24 hour rolling coverage of the high jinks.

  • Ulick

    Yes the drinking is way over the top but the PSNI and local media response was even more so.

  • Kev Hughes

    This type of thing (oh dear lord, I sound like such an old man…) doesn’t really happen anywhere else, and when I was living in South Belfast it appeared to be largely confined to the Holy Lands/Botanic area.

    TBH, I was never tempted to live in that area as it was filled full of culchies looking to rock over to ‘Shaws or Dukes which, sorry to say this Doug, I was never too fond of myself.

    I’m not saying the folks who lived on the Lisburn Road were angels, but we’d never do crap like what I see in the Holy Lands (and no, not talking of that video up of the students doing ‘rock the boat’ in the street which, TBF, was actually quite funny)

    That area has been allowed to fester for some while now which can be blamed on any number of people/organisations, but in the meantime, it just needs to be sorted so that people who are actual residents can have a decent life.

  • Ulick

    “they chuck out people for much less”

    I find that very hard to believe tbh.

  • Redstar

    Yeah Dan Far better culture would be standing drunk / drugged up round a pile of burning tyres in your Norn Iron shirt spewing sectarian songs burning Catholic statues and cursing your Catholic neighbours. Culture

  • submariner

    Hello Mr Pot have you met Mr Kettle

  • ted hagan

    Not the smartest of comments

  • ted hagan

    Look, the students seem to think they own St Patrick”s Day. They’re taking it over to the exclusion of everyone who wants to celebrate it. It’s pure selfishness. Why not work for an all inclusive family day Mardi Gras-type festival rather than this shite? All the students are doing is turning a holiday into is a turbo charged piss-up. Believe me, I live in France, other countries do it far better.

  • ?

    Students being entitled to the majority of parties that don’t get out of hand?

  • ted hagan

    The articlei is trying to steer clear of whataboutery. Your comment is he usual sectarian shite.

  • ted hagan

    It’s the same old story, Northern Ireland is backward, sectarian, equally bigoted and has hell of a lot of growing up to do. Oh for a proper celebration that all can attend, a family day out, and without a massive hangover at the end of it. The drunken, selfish louts, like the Twelfth, or whatever celebration we care to hold, have won again.

  • ted hagan

    If it was in France the streets would have been cleared in 10 minutes, to the delight of all the residents.

  • babyface finlayson

    I think students tend to live in the moment and a threat of a fine sometime in the future would not have much deterrent effect.
    Might as well threaten to reduce their pensions.

  • Greenflag 2

    Student joi de vivre is one thing but when it turns to violence against local residents and property damage they should be arrested , charged and the administered 6 strokes of the cat o nine tails on their rear ends . As they would’nt be able to sit down for a week they could then be tasked with community service cleaning up the destruction etc or some other local service . Second time round the clanger 10 days no appeal .

    I think thats fair eh ?

  • ted hagan

    Just clear them off the streets.

  • eireanne3

    here’s what administering the “cat o nine tails” signifies for victim and administrator – it’s not a phrase to use lightly

  • Greenflag 2

    They had this problem about 800 years ago in the vicinity of Christchurch in Dublin . The culchies would come in from the Wickla hills and frequent the taverns under the Church and then emerge scuttered and langers and proceed to bate up the locals and go berserk ..

    The authorities of the time were Norman thugs /lords who shouted in French and who response was to have some of the Wickla crowd decapitated and their heads piked above the city’s walls as a warning to the O’Tooles , Kavanaghs , O’Byrnes and others. Did it work ? Well put it like this once a year the citizenry marched out from behind the walls to the outskirts in their hundreds and went as close to the Wickla Hills without being attacked and eaten . They then commenced to shout at the hills and wave their weapons and bang their shields to intimidate the Wickla tribes into submission .Somehow I don’t see the residents of Holylands replicating this method 😉

    But they were not to be intimated not for another couple of centuries anyway when KIng Richard 11 visited his most westerly possession in 1394 . This was the same KIng who at the age of 14 had put English revolting peasant leader Wat Tyler to death for being a little boisterious and for having cut off some tax collecting bishop’s head .

    Its a bit more peaceful these days in Wickla and the O’Tooles and Kavanaghs and Byrnes have settled down and quieted . Others maintain that its only the price of booze that keeps most of them sober but hey who’s complaining – Oh yes the Holylands people .

  • John Claudius

    I’m the progeny of a themumms usunns marriage. I’ve cousins , uncles, aunts that I’ve never met because I’m a theymun/usunnun. So I would say the answer is no.

  • Reader

    The two cultures are very alike, aren’t they?

  • Brendan Heading

    I agree with you Chris.

    The police in Northern Ireland approach most riotous disorder, “culturally sensitive” or not, in a similar fashion. They seem to hold back as much as they can and try to contain the trouble until it burns itself out, which it usually does. I have seen this at first hand during riots which were purely recreational ie. did not have any kind of political or sectarian undertone. It looks to me as if the police objective is to try to cause the disorder to come to a soft landing, and this is the priority rather than arresting those involved in causing it.

    This is incredibly frustrating for those of us who are law abiding to watch as people can engage in recreational rioting, criminal damage and anti-social behaviour and rarely feel any serious consequences.

    Ultimately, the root cause of this is traceable to our political problems here. This happens because we live in a place where the rule of law has been fundamentally upended. Enforcing the law causes political problems, therefore the law is allowed to slip – in certain cases – to preserve the wider peace.

    In the past, it would have been republicans who would have been most deeply critical of the police and would have accused them of “heavy handedness” and so on when policing riots. These days of course unionists do it too. They believe they can win votes by siding with the idiots in the community who think that throwing a petrol bomb for a political cause should not be an arrestable offence. The upshot is that >90% of our elected politicians offer only conditional support to the police.

    We live in a country where the police are expected and required to work with known paramilitary organisations who operate under the guise of community activists or community figures. As Spotlight exposed the other week, senior police officers happily step in and provide character references for leading paramilitary figures. This goes far beyond looking the other way – the police are actively colluding in a process which makes paramilitary leaders acceptable.

    There is a straightforward solution to the problems at the Holy Lands and it involves large numbers of riot police, baton charges and mass arrests. The reason why this does not happen is for fear of the political precedent it would set.

  • Brendan Heading

    This is an appallingly ignorant comment. It doesn’t matter how witless they are or what age they are; bottles and stones being thrown are still dangerous, and the cost of dealing with vandalism and other criminal damage is no different.

  • Brendan Heading

    They probably weren’t students.

  • Brendan Heading

    discussed this on Twitter yesterday. Newton Emerson pointed out that the universities are afraid to act because there was a threat of legal action, on the basis that excluding someone from university represented a disproportionate punishment which could permanently effect their life/career chances. As far as I know not one student has been expelled over a matter like this.

    There’s a serious jobsworth thing going on in this country, in the police, the civil service and the universities alike.

  • Greenflag 2

    It was perfectly legal on the Isle of Man until EU entry . The last time they used it was 1976 . They did’nt have a problem with vandalism or drunken rowdyism on the island .

    But you may be right – How does breaking stones and /or community service sound ?

  • Gopher

    I am of the opinion students will do it no matter what and Wednesday night kinda proved that. Everyone knows expulsion or criminal charges will occur only in the most serious cases (rightly so) which is the problem. This does nothing to solve the drunk nuisance non criminal students. So I would rather raise revenue from them to benefit society if we are not going to baton them off the streets at 4am. Deterence when your offender is in his transient epoch is impossible unless of course you beat the aforementioned crap out of them like say in Singapore or have arrests to hell hole jails for 48 hours.

    So in the absence of practical physical measures we have to fine them in an arbitary manner just like motorists whether that is hiking student fees for being a drunken pain or increasing your interest on loans. No we arnt going to stop the world turning but we will have a revenue stream.

  • puffen

    I never had the pleasure of third level education, so I was taught to drink by older men, students generally are immature for their age, university education is overrated, much better to drink in the pub on a Friday after work with mature adults,that was an education.

  • Zig70

    Criminal justice bill put an end to parties in fields.

  • john

    I hold the students in contempt,They study yo be leaders of socity ,if they are not careful oif what they do now they couldd end up being politicans

  • Mac an Aistrigh

    What is all this ‘Holylands’? Surely it is ‘Holy Land’?!

  • Jollyraj

    Ah yes…the time-honoured spectacle of the children of the middle class throwing stones at the children of the working class.

  • A good point. As far as I know it is an unofficial name so we only have whatever the generally accepted usage is to go by.

    Irish News and Belfast Tele style seems to be ‘Holylands’ (happy to be corrected if not) although not everyone agrees. BBC Online has ‘Holyland’ and Wikipedia lists three different ways.

    I reckon ‘Holylands’ sounds closest to what people call the place in conversation, but as Mark Kermode would say “other views are available”.

  • Granni Trixie

    Isn’t the name derived from the names of streets in the area – Palestine, Jerusalem etc?

  • Granni Trixie

    Doing No 2s in full view on top of a car is surely going too far?

  • As far as I know, yes. But I don’t think it is an ‘official’ name as such so no agreed spelling.

    I think people tend to say ‘Holylands’ in conversation.

  • sadie

    Yes, as per usual practically everything in this country isnt fit for purpose, not even a piss up in the Holy Land.

  • Jag

    In general, I think the PSNI is awesome, constantly placed in the middle of things that are often political, putting up with what they put up with, having the ability to defend themselves with lethal force if necessary but trying to defuse situations otherwise, and so on. They’re a great bunch of men and women.

    On this occasion however, I blame the PSNI for stoking up tensions by stating to the media “some students were singing IRA songs”. That appears to me to be a calculated attempt by the PSNI to attract attention to the antics of the students in Holylands.

    Will the same PSNI tell the media that some of the flag-erectors in July (June more like) putting flags up on light posts in south Belfast and outside PSNI stations have tattoos of illegal organisations?

    The Holylands unrest is typical of any student town on any weekday night, just on a bigger scale, and could be dealt with using the same tactics as elsewhere. There was no need for the PSNI to themmunise (is that how you pronounce “demonise” in Belfast?) it in the way it did.

  • I think the ‘pro-IRA songs’ quote is an observation from a conversation with a nameless officer (as far as I can see), which is a very different thing from being a statement from the PSNI. It doesn’t seem like the kind of thing they’d say in a corporate statement as I’d say they have more than enough problems without having to police songs too (as Police Scotland seem to be finding out – except in Scotland they seem to blame the government, not police).

    But, yes, I very much agree: in NI police are stuck in the middle between political failure in the one hand and those who will misread/ misrepresent their actions no matter what they, for their own ends, on the other.

  • Brendan Heading

    I saw a video of the Fields of Athenry being sung with IRA chants interspersed alongside. A crowd of about 50-60 had gathered in one of the streets and were singing it and waving flags. Police moved in to try to disperse them.

  • Wasn’t doubting what was or wasn’t sung, more that I didn’t think police made a point of it in an official statement (as opposed to being mentioned by an unnamed officer to the media).

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Who was King Richard the eleventh?

  • chrisjones2

    “Can we ever have crowd trouble without the cries of “them’uns”?”

    Onl; if themuns gives our head peace

  • Slater

    It is about taking territory. Bringing Tyrone into Belfast.
    The old residents (i.e. those over 40 years of age) are written off as Protestants, thus having no right to be there.
    Somebody has to say it.

  • Slater

    Not much Bass drunk in the Holylands.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    ” Try Googling ‘Donegal Tuesday in Galway’ or ‘Waterford IT Rag'”
    I just did.

    You can’t even compare them (going by a google image search).

    The Waterford IT rag week did have a picture or two come up of students lobbing traffic cones or sitting atop of a chippie, nothing compared to Belfast.

    I worked in Glasgow on the door (despite my small size and cowardly streak) and have never come across anything like this (and indeed in many of the worst cases the people responsible were from Northern Ireland).

    The police have an almost impossible job but it’s time for politicians to man-up and say that this behaviour is unacceptable and give the police the support they require (and yes, it applies to marching season too).

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    When you say ‘de-escalate’ what do you mean?

    Let the carry-on burn itself out?

    If so, then how is that maintaining the rule of law or sticking up for the local residents?

  • Neil

    The old residents (i.e. those over 40 years of age) are written off as Protestants, thus having no right to be there.

    Somebody has to say it.

    Inaccurate mopery. Someone has to say it.

  • Greenflag 2

    The Long Answer :

    He must have been the Plantagenet KIng in a paradisical alternative universe who had his scribes executed if they erred in the matter of French punctuation . Shakespeare does’nt mention this eleventh Richard but the Bard of Avon did a hatchet job on Richard the Turd who is now the subject of revisionist historians and has attracted a fan club who maintain the disabled Richard got a bad rap from the bard due to the media manipulation of the time .

    But moving ahead it’s probably just as well that Richard III is’nt on the throne in 2016 otherwise a certain Osborne ‘s future political trajectory would be cut off at the knees or even further up .

    The Numerical Answer:

    He was Richard the Thirteenth minus Richard the Second

  • T.E.Lawrence

    There are now major concerns amonst long settled residents and communities who live and back into Shaftsbury Square with the planned development of two major student accomodation towers that shall be built at Pakenham Street/Shaftsbury Square Junction and the former site of Bishops Chip Shop – Bradbury Place. It is very understandable the fears these residents have of making Shaftsbury Square into a drunkiness orgy of lawlessness as witnessed in the latest Holyland Disturbances. I am aware that Lavery’s Bar and other places where alcohol can be consumed in the Shaftsbury Square location have not opened their doors for a lot of years now on the advice and recommendations from the Police on the 12th of July. This has helped minimise disorderly and drunkiness behavior on this day at this location.
    If the Holylands St Patrick’s Day disaster was to be moved to Shaftsbury Square then the Police may have to consider a complete closure and lock down of Shaftsbury Square to avoid such disturbances.

  • Greenflag 2

    ‘I think students tend to live in the moment ‘

    Don’t you mean in the NOW ? I see The Irish and Northern Irish Tourist Boards desirous of attracting tourists to the island referring to the NOW . In Northern Ireland we live in the NOW . I used to think it was the NO but apparently the addition of a single letter makes all the difference 🙂

    While I can quite understand and sympathise with the desire to get past the past perhaps this is going too far past the past .

    In a part of the world I once travelled when anybody needed something done post haste they said Now Now 😉

    Perhaps these students live in the now now for the moment . We can hope this will change when their student days are behind them 😉

  • chrisjones2

    An element perhaps but most of the residents were Catholic in that area before they sold out to the Rentier class.

    Perhaps QUB should buy up all the rest of the houses, flatten the whole area and build a giant student complex residential complex sponsored by Coors Light and (for the more religious) Buskfast. This should have strong sound proofing and an offie open 24/7 on every floor

  • chrisjones2

    Aye …standing facing a crowd of 300 throwing bricks and bottle and singing an the police ‘stir up tensions’ by daring to mention the scummy behaviour of the poor little dears

  • chrisjones2

    “a statelet which has its official national holiday based on sectarian thuggery drunken hooliganism and hatred for others it saddens me -but doesn’t surprise me”

    Do you mean The Easter Rising?

  • chrisjones2

    Sounds like the average night in Temple Bar

  • chrisjones2

    Ormeau Park?

  • chrisjones2

    Yes…they admitted it was happening ….shocking!!!

  • chrisjones2

    Really …why do you offer to PSNI that next year you will go in unprotected to talk to the little dears and explain rationally that they need to go to bed

  • chrisjones2

    ” to deal with a bunch of students” …. throwing bricks and bottles

    And what about protecting the police while they were doing that. What do you propose?

  • chrisjones2

    Fixed penalty of say £150?

  • Jag

    The PSNI deal with ordinary-decent-drunkenness most weekends across Northern Ireland. Usually, it’s a lone drunk, or maybe a small group. It’s depressing of course, but it’s not sectarian. Ethanol + the human body = drunkenness, regardless of background.

    I was just saying that the PSNI elevated the unrest last week to a sectarian issue by saying that some of the drunks were singing IRA songs. That was unnecessary, even if it was true. Imagine the PSNI saying that flag-erectors had tattoos of illegal organisations? That too, would serve to raise tensions. No need for it.

  • Jollyraj

    In all honesty, the fact that St Patrick’s day is marketed and anticipated as an unrestrained p*** up (and so, by the way is much of Irish culture viewed in other countries) has a lot to do with the problems described above.

    That is not to denigrate Irish culture – there is much that is beautiful in it, from the literature to the language, and I think the caricatures a tad unfair – but it has to be said that most people do seem to associate it with getting drunk.

  • Jollyraj

    Of course we can! If we could just get a brick-throwing mob together with cross community support. London had great success with this several years ago when multi-cultural mobs of teens went berserk. A tribute to diversity and Blair’s stewardship.

  • Jollyraj

    If the police were stirring up tensions, might it not have been better to pull them out and let the drunken yoofs calm things down?

  • Mac an Aistrigh

    My point precisely.

    I have never heard those parts of the Middle East that featured in the scriptures referred to otherwise than the Holy Land (singular).

  • MainlandUlsterman

    the more fool them