More sound and fury..

As we noted at the time, the lack of detail from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland [*ahem* – Ed.] and Wales, Peter Hain, regarding the re-arrest of convicted IRA bomber Sean Kelly, was always going to provide an opportunity for sound and fury from certain quarters.. and so it continues..“Peter Hain has only been here for a very short time and he has failed the test” – Gerry Adams.. but there was an interesting report in the Sunday Life stating that the UUP’s sole MP, Sylvia Hermon has tabled questions, in the Commons presumably, to Peter Hain on the issue.

From the Sunday Life report –

North Down MP Sylvia Hermon has tabled a series of questions to the Secretary of State asking him if his officials had been in touch with Sinn Fein before Kelly’s arrest.

Lady Sylvia is asking Peter Hain if he is aware of “meetings or communications that took place, prior to Kelly’s arrest, between representatives of his office or department with members of the PSNI, representatives of any foreign government, or representatives of any political party which does not have its headquarters within the United Kingdom.”

Lady Hermon also asks Hain if discussions were held with any political party with headquarters within the UK, or any political parties currently elected to the Assembly.

And she has asked him to indicate if “members of any political party, or those likely to communicate with any political party, had prior knowledge of his intention to authorise the re-arrest of Kelly”.

According to the report, “An NIO spokesman said Lady Hermon’s questions would be answered in due course.”

  • Gonzo

    Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Kelly was inside because of what Sinn Fein told the Government?

    Bloody provocrats.

  • spirit-level

    GAdams knows sean kelly is being used as a pawn, and he’s damned if he condemns it and damned if he doesn’t. These are incedentals. Did I spell that right 🙂

  • Waitnsee

    Still I’m surprised he’s made an issue of it in the states – he’s going to look like a right Charlie when the beans are spilt, as they inevitably will be.
    Is Gerry losing his magic touch?

  • fair_deal

    I am not totally certain what the UUP’s game is here. I can see the attraction of a squirm factor for republicans but I don’t think they are going to get some grand conspiracy theory between the government/DUP/SF really going on this one.

    However, in terms of the Unionist community, I would have thought they are by and large content to see Sean Kelly in jail and don’t care if republican leaders were complicit or not.

  • spirit-level

    P.s at Grand Master levels all gambits ( pawn sacrifice’s in the opening )have been refuted. But at club level you can get a good game playing a gambit.
    Personally I thought sean kelly’s re-imprisonment was a cheapo, and hence an amateur move by her majesty’s. But I won’t be losing any sleep over it.

  • Waitnsee

    There is always the possibility that Sean Kelly actually did get re-involved in terrorism to an extent that set off alarm bells all over.
    He is highly impressionable, knows a great deal about the N.Belfast IRA and is best mates with a man suspected of key involvement in the Northern Bank robbery.

  • barney

    Pete,

    I see now what you meant about sound and fury, Waitnsee is working himself up into a right old lather. This thread is an open invitation to all conspirarcy theory crackpots, well done.
    🙂

  • Waitnsee

    The whole Sean Kelly issue is an invitation to conspiracy theory crackpots, starting with Adams himself and his daft notion that Peter Hain is an MI5 agent.

  • PatMcLarnon

    [Play the ball, Pat. The detail of the article is the tabling of questions by UUP MP Sylvia Hermon – ed. Mod]

    The fact is despite the overwhelming majority of violence in recent years emanating from within the unionist community the only prisoner returned to jail was Adair in the midst of another unionist feud.
    Another fact is that of late no violence at all can be attributed to republicans and they have held the line at interfaces while the assortment of drug dealers, racketeers and bigots have for the time being (yet again) walked away.

    At this time republicans should not allow the petty provocative actions of Hain to derail the excellennt work republican ex prisoners do in calming interface violence.

  • iluvni

    you didn’t see the violence at Ardoyne then?

  • fair_deal

    iluvni

    Pat believes that the violent incidents at Ardoyne were:
    1. The first time was the result of drunkeness (first we had knife culture as an excuse for McCartney now we have drink culture as an excuse for republican sectarian violence)
    2. The second time it was the result of young people taking “umbrage”.
    3. If you provide examples of low level attacks you will be accused of making them up (even if you have seen the bruises with your own eyes).
    4. Northern Bank was securocrats etc

    I wish I could say such levels of denial were amusing but I have found it all deeply depressing.

    Below an article outlining how poorly republicans are ‘holding the line’.

    They forget we are human beings

    (by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)

    It’s a far cry from the image of the supremacist sons of Ulster. Ron Martin is nervous even standing outside the battered Orange hall on the nationalist Whitewell Road in north Belfast.

    “The last time I’d my picture taken here, the photographer and I were stoned. That’s how much freedom Protestants have in this community,” he says.

    The hall is a sorry sight. The windows have been broken so many times, they’re now bricked up. There are metal grilles, a heavy security door, and steel shutters. The building is splattered with paint and scorch marks from nationalist petrol bomb attacks.

    The weeds grow high and thick. Nobody is brave, or foolish, enough to stand in the garden and cut them. “We need a police escort every time we enter and leave the hall,” says Martin. “From the moment we start the meeting with a hymn, the bricks and bottles crash down on the roof and walls.

    “It lasts for the entire two hours. Sometimes, we can’t come out even with the police there. Last August, we were locked in three hours because there was a riot outside and it wasn’t safe to leave. When we did get out, it took 21 police Land Rovers.

    “We were stoned leaving last Wednesday night. There used to be 130 in the lodge; now there are only 25. I can’t blame people for leaving.

    “Those who attack us forget we are human beings. We have our rights like everybody else. We don’t cause trouble – we just hold our meetings and leave. I worked all my life with Catholics in the painting and decorating business and I’m not out to oppress anybody.”

    There are around 1,500 Protestants in the Whitewell Road area. They are divided between the Whitecity and Graymount Estates. The surrounding area is overwhelmingly nationalist.

    “We’re a community under siege,” claims Martin. “My daughter lived on the frontline in Whitecity. She was raising three children on her own. In just one year, her home was attacked 56 times. My wife and I had to go down in the middle of night and rescue her and the kids. Eventually, she gave up and moved out.”

    Whitecity (all the houses are painted white) should be a beautiful place to live. It’s framed by Belfast Lough at the front, and Cavehill behind. Belfast Castle is just up the road.

    “We exist, we don’t live,” says resident Linda Taylor. “Every facility – the shops, the doctor’s, the dentist’s – is in the nationalist part of the Whitewell Road, or else we have to pass through a nationalist area to get there.

    “If you’re recognised as Protestant, you’re abused, spat on, or assaulted. There are mothers who buy their children Celtic shirts so they can pass as Catholics and walk to the shops in safety.”

    “It’s not too bad with a car,” says community worker Brian Dunn. “But plenty of people here can’t afford one or maybe only the husband drives and, when he’s at work, his wife is stranded.

    “The women must either take taxis, which costs a fortune, or else make huge detours. The mother and baby club on the Shore Road is a 10 minute walk away but the safe route for Protestants takes 30 minutes.”

    Dunn has spent the day helping Ruby Hill whose house was stoned on Monday night. “It never ends,” he says. “Our homes have been targeted at Christmas, Easter, New Year’s Eve. When a house is under attack, somebody drives around the estate honking a car horn.

    “It’s a good system but it makes you nervous; you jump at even a taxi horn.” The violence is by no means one-sided. Loyalists have carried out dozens of sectarian attacks in the past year.

    On Monday, they set fire to an oil tank which set three Catholic houses on the Old Throne Estate ablaze. It destroyed a playhouse where three children regularly slept at night. Their pet rabbit died in the fire.

    In April, a Catholic man was beaten with hockey sticks by four loyalists wearing balaclavas on the Whitewell Road. The previous month, Megan Brown (12) was badly beaten. “You Fenian bastard, you’re not walking down this road again,” her assailants shouted.

    In December, another Catholic schoolgirl, Laura Cleary (15), was beaten up on the Serpentine Road. A year earlier, a Catholic man lost an eye when attacked with machetes and hammers. Nationalists maintain that loyalists are the aggressors.

    On the Whitewell Road, there are separate bus stops – for Protestants and Catholics – within 80 yards of each other. “We asked for that,” says resident Lynne Hamilton.

    “A Protestant boy getting the bus into town was held down by a woman while a man beat him. It wasn’t safe for us to queue with nationalists.

    “We had to make special arrangements for unemployed people to sign on in Whitecity after a disabled lad was covered in paint and beaten up coming back from the dole office.”

    Protestants living directly on the Whitewell Road are regularly abused, says Linda Taylor. “If they go out to cut the grass, nationalists shout ‘Don’t waste your time with that because we’ll be back to burn you out and take your house’.”

    That’s what Margaret, a partially sighted grandmother in Gunnell Hill, the most attacked street in Whitecity, is frightened off. “I’d smell the petrol and I’d hear the whoosh but I wouldn’t be able to see where the bomb landed,” she says.

    So far, every time petrol, paint or coffee jar devices have hit her house, other family members have been there. On her kitchen dresser, sit dozens of nuts, bolts, and ball-bearings catapulted at her home this year.

    “There’s another big bag in the shed from previous attacks,” she says. “One night they threw jam jars filled with dogs’ dirt. Then, they attached fireworks to golf balls.”

    A 40ft high fence runs across the back gardens of Margaret and her neighbours, separating them from nationalist Serpentine Gardens.

    A white plastic table and chairs lie in the corner of Margaret’s garden. “I don’t know why we bought it,” she says. “We only used it once and I had to sit beside the back door because I’d be slower than the others making it into the house if we were attacked.”

    She has an extra layer of reinforced glass on her back windows. The walls are splattered from paint bombs. “The only dialogue we hear from nationalists is ‘we’re going to burn you out’,” she claims.

    It’s not as much a fortress as the local Orange hall but Ballygolan Primary School, is laden with metal grilles and spikes. There are security cameras at every corner.

    “On Monday mornings, I spend two hours lifting the bricks and bottles hurled into the playground,” says caretaker Tina McClure. “Our school is a fortress. I look at St Mary’s Catholic school on the Shore Road, which is lovely, and I wonder ‘why can’t we be left in peace like St Mary’s?'”

    Sammy Dixon, an ex-serviceman who has lived in Graymount 51 years, claims his community is deliberately left “unprotected” because the police and Housing Executive believe the area would be “more easily managed” if Protestants moved out.

    Local Protestants stress only “an element of the nationalist community” is responsible for the attacks and the vast majority of their Catholic neighbours present no threat.

    They also acknowledge loyalist violence: “We totally condemn attacks on Catholics,” says Brian Dunn. “But we are angry that our community’s suffering is ignored. Catholics are always presented as the victims, Protestants as the assailants.”

    “Our representatives don’t shout loudly enough when we’re attacked,” says Linda Taylor. “I envy nationalists. Sometimes, I think we need our own Sinn Féin.”

  • Joe, Canada

    What a sad tale. Nobody should have to live like that. Why don’t the “decent” nationalists put moral pressure on the thugs who do this.

  • B

    What exactly can they do? The problem is that it’s a viscious circle. Its difficult for “Decent” nationalists to object when the local loyalists are doing exactly the same thing to them. It’s just as difficult for decent loyalists. And really, though we might object, do we really want to be the one who speaks out? Somehow me thinks speaking out would just bring trouble to one’s door

  • sam

    Strange that the article made no mention of the paramilitary band within the area.

    Do locals support their local band?

    http://www.whitewellfb.cjb.net/

  • pete baker

    Straying, more than is justified, away from the topic here.

  • fair_deal

    sam

    It is not strange that not everything is included in one article and it does not shy away from outlining the activities of loyalist paramilitaries

  • Heemo

    I checked out the link above.

    It’s genuinely difficult to feel other than pity for the poor berks in the video shown, the sadder thing is there are, it would appear, thousands out there like them. What in God’s name do they think they’re doing and how do people of sound mind keep a straight face watching them and their dreary tuneless and goad-awfully dreadful ‘music’ and the hideous camp uniforms ?!

    Please please please stop carrying the Union Flag, you besmirch everything it stands for in this century – deceny, tolerance, secularism and multi-culturalism.

    I can scarcely find the words for how angry I am about these unspeakable hooligans and their perversion of all that is good about Britain and decent British people. Sad, sad anachronisms, I hope that the tourist s who see it think it is some form of gay pride pastiche of lager loutism.

    Appalling.

  • PatMcLarnon

    iluvni

    ‘you didn’t see the violence at Ardoyne then?’

    Of course I did and have commented on it a few times on this site, surely before you comment try and do a bit of research?

    fair_deal,

    you cannot escape the facts that the majority of the violence for years and especially at the interfaces has emanted from your colleagues in loyalism. The ostrich approach just wont work in this case.
    Loyalists have turned Whitewell etc into a hell hole in a quite deliberate policy of confrontation. Quite a few people have been murdered in that area within recent years, all of the Catholics. No attempts by the spokesperson for the UDA can alter that fact.
    Every available statistical analysis supports the view that the majority of violence is emanating from your colleagues.
    The hotch potch piece from Breen is really quite laughable, the quote,’But we are angry that our community’s suffering is ignored. Catholics are always presented as the victims, Protestants as the assailants,’ had me doubled over and thanks for the laugh.

    You intimate (yet again) about the Grosvenor incident (sic). Not one single news organisation has carried the story. In the circumstances, especially when dealing with people with a record of destroying their own homes in order to inflame sectarian community tensions, i remain very sceptical (that is being polite).