Every politically conscious nationalist in Northern Ireland knows the story of the Short Strand: a small nationalist community that was particularly beleaguered in the early 1970s. To a greater or lesser degree they also accept that the IRA turned around its early poor reputation in the ‘troubles’ for not protecting their own community. But the story that’s being played out there now, holds the potential to terminally damage that hard won reputation in what’s become an iconic constituency.
One woman remarks on the behaviour of some IRA volunteers:
They have been conditioned, schooled all their lives, in fear and how to intimidate. Violence and physical abuse and murder are what they know. The leader does surround himself with lapdogs and sidekicks, people who have been involved in attempted rape, paedophilia, wife battering. Racketeering. They don’t work, these people. They get up to all sorts of Mafia-type activity.