Spoiling it for everyone…

BELFAST City Council is coming under fire for sponsoring two loyalist bonfires which have been lambasted by nationalists. At one, loyalist gunmen fired a volley of shots in the air and there was an obvious paramilitary presence. At the other, Daily Ireland reported: “But there is something rotten there, too, when on a bonfire in north Belfast a placard can be hoisted rejoicing in the suicide epidemic that has claimed the lives of so many young Catholic men in that part of the city.”

Also, a PSNI officer was assaulted and his gun and radio were stolen at an east Belfast bonfire, although I believe the weapon was later returned. In Bangor, a woman was raped.

The DI editorial added:

It is often the case that people can bury their heads in the sand after another sectarian outrage by claiming that a tiny, unrepresentative minority was responsible. While a small number of people may have put that placard up, an entire community looked on for days and no-one stepped forward to take it down.

The bonfire was bankrolled by Belfast City Council. Given the long track record in the North of the authorities rewarding loyalist outrages, organisers of that bonfire will probably get twice the money next year.”

I think this was a genuine attempt by the Council to deal with the problems that surround some loyalist bonfires. Pitt Park – where the UVF staged their show of strength – was chosen because the scheme was intended not to be tokenist, according to Councillor Naomi Long.

However, the paramilitaries and bigots have now jeopardised the Council funding for the “community-based celebrations”. Surely the Council cannot justify releasing this money to the same groups next year?

  • Gonzo

    Council calls for inquiry into bonfires

    Bonfire ruptures gas pipeline.

  • irishman

    2 rapes, numerous paramilitary displays, one burnt-out chinese restaurant, five attacks on firefighters and a sickening mockery of suicide victims- not to mention the drunken orgy of sectarian singing and burning of catholic/ nationalist effigies.

    This from a council whose unionist/ alliance majority refused to fund St. Pat’s Day celebrations for years.

    Protestant culture is in dire straits if this is it’s best expression.

  • fair_deal

    In terms of the council scheme there were seven sites of which two had grossly unacceptable behaviour. Why it worked at the other five and why it didn’t at the offending two needs to be examined. As for those two who offended they should automatically be excluded from Council or other funding support.

  • Gonzo

    You think this is representative of Protestantism? Could it not be argued that this is representative of sectarian troublemakers who just happen to be Prods?

    I suppose it depends how you define ‘Protestant culture’.

    If, hypothetically, you define it as ‘how the majority of Protestants act’, then I suppose Protestant culture on the Twelfth is more accurately represented by nominal Prods on beaches anywhere but in Northern Ireland, ‘garden centre Prods’ using the day off to cut their neat suburban lawns, a sizeable proportion that got struck down with the work ethic getting the double-time in, and more than a few complaining to anyone who will listen about the state the bloody bonfires have left the roads this year…

    ;o)

  • Gonzo

    (That was aimed at irishman, btw)

  • bertie

    Re the mocking of the suicides – what total unfeeling bastards!

    Can anyone enlighten me re these suicides I hadn’t picked up that it was within one “community”. I thought that the theory was that it was due to punishment beatings. Are these limited to one side?

    Surely, even with a totally partisan outlook those people at the bonefires should be sympathetic to them as victims of the IRA.

  • irishman

    You’re probably right, Gonzo, but that certainly wouldn’t be the impression given from ANY strand within the leadership of political unionism.

    Furthermore, you still don’t address the point as to why funding was forthcoming – with Alliance support- for what can only be described as sectarian drinkfests at best and at worst gatherings for depraved sexual deviants and political supremacists.

    This website has debated the issue of funding St. Pat’s Day parades for years. Nothing that has happened at a March 17 parade in Belfast can compare to the cauldron of hate that is a loyalist Bonfire.

    On a slightly different- though related- thread, Reading the Belfast Tele today, it appears that some UVF bonfires actually had wreaths on top of them to celebrate the two recent murders carried out by the group.

    Any chance Hugh Orde could make a statement about the UVF’s current status? While he’s at it, perhaps he’d let us know who tried to kill a catholic family in Mountainview last night?

  • Gonzo

    irishman

    Just to be clear, not everything that went wrong on the 11th night that is listed happened at Belfast Council-sponsored bonfires.

    I can hardly speak on behalf of the Council, but this was, as I said, an apparent attempt to deal with some of the more difficult bonfires, as well as the others that, presumably, went without hitch.

    In other words, the Council was prepared to give them a chance. The bonfire groups had to prove themselves worthy of the funding, as the St Patrick’s Day Committee eventually did. Some of the bonfire groups seem to have succeeded, and others failed.

    A few people appear to have blown the prospect of funding for the community event next year – there’s no way the Council can support those areas next year. Which is kind
    of the point – the gunmen spoiled the party for everyone.

  • sparky

    “the gunmen spoiled the party for everyone”

    The bonfire at Pitt Park on the Newtownards Road has always been run by the uvf.I find it surprising that anyone is shocked by the show of strength at this particular bonfire site.

    For the last number of years the uvf have appeared and fired automatic weapons into the air, while the crowds cheered.

    The question has to be asked how anyone from Belfast City Council could consider this bonfire site for funding when there is such a clear linkage with the uvf and especially considering the paramilitary displays of previous years.

  • bertie

    “the gunmen spoiled the party for everyone.”
    story of most of our lives

  • willowfield

    Why do the police not be present at terrorist-run bonfires? Then they could arrest those engaging in criminal activities, e.g. terrorist “shows-of-strength”, not to mention rapes.

    I guess the policy is to turn a blind eye to these kind of thing. Anything for a quite life? Well, not so quiet for the victims of the loyalist terrorists who use these events to maintain their hegemony of fear and control.

    Security policy in NI is a disgrace.

  • willowfield

    On the subject of funding, I think this is actually a good idea, and I feel sorry for those legitimate and genuine community people who have obviously been working hard to try and promote bonfires as positive community events: this is surely a good thing.

    I think it is right for the Council to support such moves, which should be designed to prise the ownership of these events away from terrorists.

    I agree with Fair Deal that a review should be carried out to see what went wrong at the 2 bonfires in question. The approach in future should be: genuine community family-orientated and peaceful bonfires get support; terrorist bonfires get police attention.

  • lamh_dearg

    It used to be traditional to duck women to see if they were witches, it used to be traditional to send children up chimneys to clean them.

    Will our sad little statelet ever advance and leave some of our outdated traditions behind?

    By all means celebrate July 12, an important day in European history, honour the Orange tradition peacefully, with dignity and with respect for others who do not care for Orangeism (as the majority of order members no doubt do), but 11th night bonfires are an outdated, dangerous, ecologically disasterous, booze fuelled, barbaric anachronism which do not deserve anyone’s support let alone ratepayer’s money.

    Ditch them.

  • flame

    “I agree with Fair Deal that a review should be carried out to see what went wrong at the 2 bonfires in question”

    The bonfire in north belfast which carried a banner “Ardoyne bungee jumpers” was also sponsored by the council.

    How can the council sponsor such bigots ?

    Are there any bonfires which don’t have a paramilitary connection ?

    Do the uda & uvf control all bonfire sites ?

  • irishman

    Willowfield

    Does this mean you will unequivocally support funding for St. Patrick’s Day parades in Belfast?

    It would appear your only objection to continued funding of bonfires is the absence of paramilitary activity at bonfire sites.

    Given that there has never been such activity at Belfast St. Patrick’s Day parades, then surely no obstacle should be put in the way of funding for March 17- regardless of the presence of nationalist symbols (unionist/ loyalist symbols are ever apparent at July 11 bonfires, after all)

  • Moderate Unionist

    irishman
    Why do we need to fund bonfire’s at all? What is the benefit in funding the St. Patrick’s day parade? What are the negatives?

    Funding bonfire
    Without doubt bonfires have been a part of the Unionist cultural expression for years, but uncontrolled bonfires can be dangerous not only to the environment but to the people involved and the emergency services.

    How do you tackle such problems? Well you could ban them but this would be seen as an attack on the community that builds them, or you could help them to build them in a better way. The funding is designed to facilitate this process . It is not however designed to support paramilitary shows of strength and funding should be withdrawn for bonfires where this is present.

    Funding St. Patrick’s day
    St. Patrick day celebrations in Northern Ireland are a relatively recent cultural event. The waving of Tricolours in large number looks like a nationalist show of strength. There is no public benefit in supporting such an event and therefore a weak case for support from the public purse.

    Celebrating St. Patrick in an inclusive way (particularly if there are genuine benefits for the economy and people of Northern Ireland) could justify support.

    It is up to the organisers to find a way of convincing people that it should be supported rather than demanding financial support as of right.

  • Wichser

    Why all this clamour for more parades anyway ? The kind of parades we have here generally are dull and unentertaining, the music’s useless and costumes are stupid, the roads get jammed, the kids get bored, the weather’s crap, the food stinks, the men are full and the cops get way too much overtime and people here don’t know how to behave properly….what’s to like ?

  • Biffo

    “St. Patrick day celebrations in Northern Ireland are a relatively recent cultural event.”

    Absolute rubbish, the Belfast city centre parade is a recent event. St. Patrick’s day celebrations have been a longstanding cultural event in Northern Ireland.

  • Gonzo

    FYI: The St Pat’s carnival is getting Council funding next time round.

  • irishman

    I’ve rarely heard a more pathetic attempt to justify unionist hypocrisy, Moderate Unionist.

    St. Pat’s Day celebrations are NOT a new phenomenon, as Biff rightly points out.

    You justify giving money to build bonfires “in a better way” with absolutely no proviso that these bonfires should be cross-community, yet attach such a proviso to any St. Pat’s Day parade getting money! Presumably then the parade on March 17 should get money to help it be run in “a better way”???

    Typical unionist hypocrisy.

    BTW Gonzo- glad to see u not rushing to defend Alliance on this one. They were playing to the Orange gallery in funding bonfires ahead of the elections and in disgracefully opposing funds for St. Pat’s Day- until the elections became an afterthought.

  • Moderate Unionist

    irishman
    You obviously don’t get out much then.

    Biff did make the point that the Belfast City parade was a recent event. Which is after all the event we were talking about.

    However, I feel such more inclined to support your case, now that you have put your argument across in such a reasonable way. Not.

  • Martin Dub

    Eh, this doesn’t make sense to me. First of all, the whole fun of bonfires are building them, gettin the council to help is crappy.

    Second,Helping to build bonfires just should never fall into the remit of local government.

    Could they not get involved some other way (apologies if my knowledge of 12th July events is non-existant!)

  • willowfield

    flame

    The bonfire in north belfast which carried a banner “Ardoyne bungee jumpers” was also sponsored by the council. How can the council sponsor such bigots ?

    What does the phrase mean??? I assume you are implying it is a “bigoted” statement? I would imagine the Council were unaware of it when they awarded the funding.

    Are there any bonfires which don’t have a paramilitary connection ?

    I’m sure there are.

    Do the uda & uvf control all bonfire sites ?

    I would doubt it.

    irishman

    Does this mean you will unequivocally support funding for St. Patrick’s Day parades in Belfast?

    No. I wouldn’t unequivocally support the funding of anything.

    It would appear your only objection to continued funding of bonfires is the absence of paramilitary activity at bonfire sites.

    Obviously there should be plenty of other routine conditions attached to any public funding, and funders would have to be satisfied about public order generally, not just paramilitary activity.

    Given that there has never been such activity at Belfast St. Patrick’s Day parades, then surely no obstacle should be put in the way of funding for March 17- regardless of the presence of nationalist symbols (unionist/ loyalist symbols are ever apparent at July 11 bonfires, after all)

    My own view is that the Council should organise a St Patrick’s parade. A cross-community committee would surely be able to organise an inclusive one. I wouldn’t favour funding the Provo one, but localised St Patrick’s events in nationalist communities would be the equivalent of these bonfires in loyalist communities.

  • G-man

    I support lahm_dearg’s comments earlier.

    The bonfires (and frankly pretty much everything else associated with the 12th) show just how outdated, pathetic and sickening traditional “unionist” behaviour has become in NI. It would be a joke if it wasn’t so serious in terms of everyday life in NI.

    I was born in and live in NI and regard myself as British but all the great things about the UK and being British (e.g. London, the Scottish highlands, the Giants Causeway oh …. and living in a multi-cultural, dynamic liberal social democracy) has bugger all to do with the bowler hatted brigade in NI and all their white trash hangers on.

    If NI “unionists” wish to remain British they should start acting like the majority of people in the UK (who generally don’t flay flags outside their homes during the summer) and start showing a lot more respect to all the people they share this piece of land with (Irish nationalists, ethnic minorities & migrant workers, gays etc etc.)

    Wouldn’t it be just great if a politician emerged from the British-Irish community who spoke out against some of this crap … but then again … pigs might fly ….

  • Wichser

    Willowfield

    In which case there’s no point, what this community can do without is a mirroring of the atrocious, embarassing and damaging spectatcle of orangeism. More maturity, less childish tribalism of that type is a good thing, whether orange or green, a parity of misery and reaction is a backward step, not a forward one. Why can’t we alla ccept that and try to get away from more of the same rubbish as we’ve had before ?

  • willowfield

    Not sure what you’re responding to there, Wichser.

    I agree that maturity is preferable to childish tribalism, but I don’t think cultural expressions that are relevant only to one community are necessarily “childish tribalism”. I support pluralism, i.e. mutual respect for each other’s traditions, even if we don’t share in them, but I also agree that this should be complemented by promoting shared culture, in which everyone participates.

  • Ginfizz

    In my street, the local kids started collecting for the bonfire about three days before the eleventh night. The bonfire they built was about ten feet tall and ten feet wide. The local parents laid on suasage rolls, crisps, juice etc for the kids and some music was played. The wole thing was over by 11pm. This is what bonfire night should be about, not monster bonfires with paramilitary scum masquerading with firearms.

  • reality check

    Surely the bonfires don’t need council money,the paramilitaries could pay for them.They enforce their presence at them and the politicans claim they can’t stop them.

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    Can’t argue with that ginfizz. Myself and a few mates had our own bonfire a couple of years when we were kids – it definitely wasn’t big compared to the others nearby but it was ours.

  • George

    “What does the phrase mean??? I assume you are implying it is a “bigoted” statement?”

    It is “humour” at those suicide victims in the Ardoyne who have jumped to their deaths Willowfield. I didn’t think it was so abstract that you needed it spelt out for you.

    Moderate Unionist,
    when, in your view, is waving an Irish flag a nationalist show of strength and when is it an expression of culture? Is it defined by numbers, location etc.?

  • Christopher Stalford

    Gonzo

    The event planned for St. Patricks Day will be a council event. I do not envisage the carnival committee having a role.

  • George

    Just wondering, did you have anything on the top of your bonfire that you wanted to see burn before your eyes beano?

  • willowfield

    George

    It is “humour” at those suicide victims in the Ardoyne who have jumped to their deaths Willowfield.

    How do you know?

    I didn’t know anyone had killed him or herself by jumping. Also, the phrase doesn’t make sense, since bungee jumpers bounce back – they don’t die. That’s the whole point about bungee jumping, isn’t it?

  • JOCKY

    Willowfield, are you deliberatley being obtuse?

  • willowfield

    No. I didn’t get the “joke” at all (and still don’t – it doesn’t make sense).

  • George

    Willowfield,
    obviously, unless you see the crushed bones in his hands and put your hand into his gaping wounds, you will not believe it.

    I live in hope that perhaps the next time you see a bungee jump, it will be your ephipany.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    I’ll help you out on the “joke” seeing as you are still confused and seem to want your hand held through this.

    You know the way Irish people have been portrayed as stupid, illogical and inferior by the British establishment for generations, well, as part of the demeaning of a culture or people, there are invariably jokes circulted which try to endorse the inferiority stereotype.

    Hence the jokes about stupid Irish people which, unfortunately, your average true blue Belfast Brit is only to happy to propagate.

    However, cute hoors that they are and considering they live in Ireland themselves and want to avoid any confusion, the Belfast boys replace Irish with “Ardoyne” or the like to differentiate themselves from the dumb native daws.

    Now, off you go and type “Joke Irish Bungee jumper” into Google and see what you find.

    We’re in there with Mexicans, Gays, Poles, Lesbians, blacks. You know – the usual suspects. If you need further assistance don’t hesitate to ask.

  • Ginfizz

    George

    The above is without doubt the most pathetic example of mopery I have ever seen!

  • George

    Ginfizz,
    Why thank you kindly. It’s always nice to inspire a mixture of contempt and pity.

    I take it you didn’t need a blow by blow explanation of the bungee reference.

  • Ginfizz

    More the former than the latter I must admit. I understand the bungee “joke” – personally I find it distasteful in the extreme.

    Perhaps it would be worth Daily Ireland’s time to exmaine the reasons why these young men are taking their lives in the first instance rather than settling for the easy option of taking a swipe at the morons responsible for the “joke”.

    Could it have something to do with the ever-present intimdation and physical attacks dished out by the Provos with whom DI so readily identifies?

    Or perhaps it could be as a consequnce of the poisoining of this generation of young people with drugs which the same paramilitaries so readily sell?

    Alternatively young men might feel compelled to take their lives through feelings of hopelessness – no job prospects or signs better prospects in the future – this would of course have nothing whatsoever to do with the noble men of the IRA who bombed the hell out of these communities and destroyed their economic infrastructure over the course of the last three and a half decades.

    For the Daily IRA to condemn the Unionist community for the sick jokes of these few idiots while ignoring the glaringly obvious role that paramilitaries have had in creating the situation in the first instance speaks volumes.

  • fair_deal

    The loyalist approach to suicide – make pathetic and shameful jokes. The republican approach to a suicidal person with mental illness is….

    IRA threatens attack on mentally ill man

    (by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)

    The mother of a mentally ill west Belfast man has said her son is in imminent danger from a Provisional IRA ‘punishment’ squad.

    Jane Dorrian said she had been told her son Bernard (22), who has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and psychotic, would be either shot or seriously assaulted by the IRA.

    “I’m at my wit’s end. He is sleeping rough because he has been warned not to return to Twinbrook. We have been told if we let him into the house, we will be picketed, put out and not allowed to live in any nationalist area in the six counties.

    “Bernard needs medication four times a day or he gets really bad. He has already tried to kill himself twice. I’m worried sick about what he might do.

    “The IRA talks about decommissioning and disbanding but it means nothing when they are still threatening and intimidating. How many faces have they got?”

    Dorrian admitted her son is “no angel”. “He has serious mental problems, sometimes he is out of control. But if he does wrong it’s up to the police or hospital to deal with him, not the Provos.”

  • George

    Ginfizz,
    it’s not a few idiots, it’s commonplace around the 11th Night to demean the other community in any way possible, either by burning things that represent them or making fun of something that has adversely affected the community.

    It’s just that the bungee comment, like the gleeful anti-papal graffiti that came out when Pope John Paul II died, even offends your average unionist’s sensibilities.

    Virtually nobody from the unionist community says a word as long as the 11th Night festivities are restricted to the “normal” burning of the Irish national flag, GAA jerseys, Catholic symbols, dressing up as nuns and mocking the religion etc.

    In the old days, effigies of Dev were burnt but most sitting around the 11th Night bonfires these days wouldn’t be able to tell you who Dev was. An unforseen side-effect of the glorification of ignorance I’m afraid.

    Unionists should ask themselves why this type of behaviour, which has been going on for generations before the Provos even existed (De Valera died way back in 1975), isn’t sick in their view.

    But hey, why not have a go at the Daily Ireland, which didn’t even exist a year ago.

  • willowfield

    George

    obviously, unless you see the crushed bones in his hands and put your hand into his gaping wounds, you will not believe it.

    Believe what?

    I live in hope that perhaps the next time you see a bungee jump, it will be your ephipany.

    I’ve seen bungee jumps before, and every time the jumper has survived in tact. No crushed bones, no gaping wounds, perfectly alive and well.

    However, cute hoors that they are and considering they live in Ireland themselves and want to avoid any confusion, the Belfast boys replace Irish with “Ardoyne” or the like to differentiate themselves from the dumb native daws. Now, off you go and type “Joke Irish Bungee jumper” into Google and see what you find.

    Cheers, George.

    Didn’t know the Ardoyne suicides were caused by jumping, though.

  • Ginfizz

    George

    No response to the substantive points raised?

  • George

    Ginfizz,
    I’m not trying to be smart but what substantive points would these be?

    Are you asking that, on this thread, I not look at why unionists say nothing about why those celebrating the 11th Night take such pleasure in demeaning others or in mocking events that cause pain to the other community but instead should address why these painful events happened to the other community?

    Surely the reasons why these people committed suicide is not the point here, rather why so many from the Protestant/unionist/loyalist (delete as appropriate) community thought that it was something to celebrate and have a good chuckle about?

    Is that not substantive enough a question to be getting along with?

  • George

    Willowfield,
    the crushed bones, gaping wounds was a sort of biblical reference (from St. Thomas, whose day is the shortest of the year). I was being obtuse but obviously failed miserably.

  • irishman

    Chris

    How are you going to prevent the Carnival Committee having a role in the St. Patrick’s Day event planning? Limit those involved to unionists???

    Let’s face facts. You and your ilk are seeking a Paddy’s Day in which irishness is extracted from the festivities. How you plan on achieving this I can only muse but undoubtedly there’ll be a lot of laughs ahead.

    Ultimately, it will be futile. The thousands of Belfast people who will turn out for any event- sponsored or otherwise- will be ‘wearing the green’ like irish people all over the world on the day, regardless of the sour-faced spectators of political unionism, who will likely cower for comfort beneath the union jack which flies annually from City Hall on Paddy’s Day.

  • Moderate Unionist

    irishman
    Are you a religous man? Do you attend church regularly? What does St. Patrick mean to you?

  • willowfield

    George

    the crushed bones, gaping wounds was a sort of biblical reference (from St. Thomas, whose day is the shortest of the year).

    Yes, but I still haven’t seen anything like that at a bungee jump.

    Irishman

    How are you going to prevent the Carnival Committee having a role in the St. Patrick’s Day event planning? Limit those involved to unionists???

    As I said above, the parade should be organised by the Council – a cross-community committee.

    Let’s face facts. You and your ilk are seeking a Paddy’s Day in which irishness is extracted from the festivities.

    ?????? What does this mean?

    Ultimately, it will be futile. The thousands of Belfast people who will turn out for any event- sponsored or otherwise- will be ‘wearing the green’ like irish people all over the world on the day, regardless of the sour-faced spectators of political unionism, who will likely cower for comfort beneath the union jack which flies annually from City Hall on Paddy’s Day.

    Why would anyone object to people “wearing the green” on St Patrick’s Day? And why would anyone object to the Union Flag on St Patrick’s Day?

  • George

    Ginfizz,
    care to address the substantive issue as to why, for generations, unionists have remained silent about the fact that 11th Night celebrations are based around demeaning others and/or glorifying in their misery?

    I include the latest loyalist/unionist innovation of throwing wreaths on the fire to symbolise the murdered loyalists (if they all even were loyalists) in that.

    Or are you more au fait with the causes of suicide in the Catholic Ardoyne?

    Willowfield,
    I’ve already explained the bungee jump reference to you but for some unknown reason you are playing dumb.

    You will see crushed bones and gaping wounds if somebody jumps to their death.

    But like St. Thomas you will probably only believe the gaping wounds when you put your fingers in the holes.

    “And why would anyone object to the Union Flag on St Patrick’s Day?”
    It is accepted where I come from Willowfield and unlike the 11th Night celebrations, it is respected and not burnt like the Irish Flag.

  • willowfield

    George

    I’ve already explained the bungee jump reference to you but for some unknown reason you are playing dumb.

    I’m not playing dumb, George. I got the joke when you explained it to me. I even thanked you. (See above.)

    You will see crushed bones and gaping wounds if somebody jumps to their death.

    I’m sure you will, but I have never seen anyone jump to their death, and nor have I seen such injuries as a result of bungee jumping, nor am I likely to do so when I next see a bunjee jump, so your comments didn’t make any sense to me.

    But like St. Thomas you will probably only believe the gaping wounds when you put your fingers in the holes.

    No. If I saw them, I would believe it. Even without seeing them, I would probably believe it if someone told me about it.

    It is accepted where I come from Willowfield and unlike the 11th Night celebrations, it is respected and not burnt like the Irish Flag.

    That’s good, George. Pity Irishman seems to have a problem with it.