Loyalist violence continues apace

Loyalist violence seems to be building up a head of steam with the latest in a series of pipebomb attacks on Catholic homes in Antrim taking place in Cloughmills. The Police Service of Northern Ireland say they will leave no stone unturned in the hunt for the perpetrators.

“They always intensify and come to a head during the marching season.” Ian Stevenson, the deputy mayor of Ballymoney Borough Council, said: “I am not going to make any statements about the motive for the attack until I am in possession of all the facts.”

Democratic Unionist Party councillor Roy Wilson said: “I condemn all attacks, loyalist or republican.”

Maeve Connolly in the Irish News (courtesy of Nuzhound) says the attacks are reminiscent of the 2001 campaign against Catholics carried out by the UDA.

  • Bored

    Comrade Stalin

    “Now we’re getting into ridulous nonsense about words referring to NI which have supposedly been “banned”; it seems that in this country some people are happy to make a judgement on your entire worldview based on what phrase you use or do not use to describe the country. It’s sad and messed up.”

    Oh, right.

    Firstly – the phrases ‘six counties’ and ‘the north’ ARE banned on BBC ‘Ulster’ – I know because (a) I have never heard a presenter use the phrase and (more definitively) (b) a friend who works at senior production level in the BBC has confirmed to me that such a policy exists.

    Secondly, “ridiculous nonsense” – hhhhmmmm, let’s just put the boot on the other foot for a second. Let’s pretend that you, as a tax payer were compelled to finance a supposedly ‘national’ radio station which insisted on its presenters using the descriptive terms ‘the north’ and ‘the six counties’ to describe Northern Ireland and banned its staff from referring to the state as ‘Ulster’ or ‘the province’.

    Would you still feel as disinterested and apathetic?

    Pull the other one………

  • Bored

    Comrade Stalin

    “Now we’re getting into ridulous nonsense about words referring to NI which have supposedly been “banned”; it seems that in this country some people are happy to make a judgement on your entire worldview based on what phrase you use or do not use to describe the country. It’s sad and messed up.”

    Oh, right.

    Firstly – the phrases ‘six counties’ and ‘the north’ ARE banned on BBC ‘Ulster’ – I know because (a) I have never heard a presenter use the phrase and (more definitively) (b) a friend who works at senior production level in the BBC has confirmed to me that such a policy exists.

    Secondly, “ridiculous nonsense” – hhhhmmmm, let’s just put the boot on the other foot for a second. Let’s pretend that you, as a tax payer were compelled to finance a supposedly ‘national’ radio station which insisted on its presenters using the descriptive terms ‘the north’ and ‘the six counties’ to describe Northern Ireland and banned its staff from referring to the state as ‘Ulster’ or ‘the province’.

    Would you still feel as disinterested and apathetic?

    Pull the other one………

  • spartacus

    Stalin:

    I explicitly rejected the argument that adding some taigs to the mix would make the media perfect, or even accepatble, when I wrote the following: “The media here is flagrantly biased, and therefore a very big part of the problem. I don’t think that it is down to a mere imbalance in the composition of the media workforce, though I wouldn’t ignore that either.” Incidentally I’ve never spoken to anyone who thinks that adding taigs to the mix in the PSNI will put things right. I think these hypotheticals are figments of a dull or purposely inactive imagination.

    In theory, one could sustain a flagrantly anti-nationalist news service even on the basis of a majority Catholic workforce. But lets not deal with abstractions just yet. The composition of the workforce does matter, in lots of ways, as does the ethos/politics/assumptions that shape coverage. I would like to see a breakdown of personnel figures at all levels, from adminstration to the cleaning staff. I would also like to see a breakdown of the political affiliations of those working the news. What do you think we would turn up?

    You write that ‘To take the view that an organization must be bigoted or biased due to the fact that there is too many of one or another “religion” within it is itself a continuation of the sectarian theme that led to the problem in the first place.”

    First, that is a simplification of the point I argued, and of the points made by those to whom you responded earlier. Secondly, it reeks of victim-blaming: those who inquire about the persistence of discrimination are just as guilty of sectarianism as those who perpetrated it in the past. Rubbish.

    “It seems that in this country some people are happy to make a judgement on your entire worldview based on what phrase you use or do not use to describe the country.” Is it your asertion that BBC, UTV, etc, are indifferent about the words which their on-air personnel use to describe ‘this country’? If not, why not? Does it lean one way or the other? If so, why?

  • Bored

    Comrade Stalin

    “Now we’re getting into ridulous nonsense about words referring to NI which have supposedly been “banned”; it seems that in this country some people are happy to make a judgement on your entire worldview based on what phrase you use or do not use to describe the country. It’s sad and messed up.”

    Oh, right.

    Firstly – the phrases ‘six counties’ and ‘the north’ ARE banned on BBC ‘Ulster’ – I know because (a) I have never heard a presenter use the phrase and (more definitively) (b) a friend who works at senior production level in the BBC has confirmed to me that such a policy exists.

    Secondly, “ridiculous nonsense” – hhhhmmmm, let’s just put the boot on the other foot for a second. Let’s pretend that you, as a tax payer were compelled to finance a supposedly ‘national’ radio station which insisted on its presenters using the descriptive terms ‘the north’ and ‘the six counties’ to describe Northern Ireland and banned its staff from referring to the state as ‘Ulster’ or ‘the province’.

    Would you still feel as disinterested and apathetic?

    Pull the other one………

  • beano

    This argument has been done before. The terms “6 counties” and “the north” are politically loaded and obviously so (particularly the former). The BBC usually tries to be proper and the terms used are Northern Ireland or occasionally the province (referring to Northern Ireland as a province of the United Kingdom, although I’m not sure if this is correct). The clear advantage of the term Northern Ireland (over ‘the north’) is that it is unambiguous (and don’t start the rubbish about the north of Co. Donegall, NI is the internationally recognised legal name, rightly or wrongly).

    Anyway I’m sure that won’t stop a good MOPE.

    Now children, what’s really ridiculous is this:
    “2) the consensus, first raised by beano, that the media has gone conspicuously soft on loyalist violence.”
    What I said was
    “I think the media have a part to play though. I don’t think they bother even asking Unionists politicians half the time.”
    I’m not sure how that relates to what you CLAIM i said at all. I was simply pointing out that Unionist politicians maybe aren’t given enough airtime to condemn the activities because condemnation is boring as far as news goes. And it was only a theory.
    Where the hell did you read any kind of consensus

    I mean seriously would some of you listen to yourselves? This is really getting embarrassing!

  • Bored

    “This argument has been done (sic) before. The terms “6 counties” and “the north” are politically loaded and obviously so (particularly the former). The BBC usually tries to be proper and the terms used are Northern Ireland or occasionally the province (referring to Northern Ireland as a province of the United Kingdom, although I’m not sure if this is correct).”

    So the terms ‘province’ and ‘ulster’ AREN’T politically loaded – for fuck’s sake open your eyes.

    This is a perfectly legitimate point. Of course it’s easy for those of a unionist persuasion to decry the whole argument as being childish, trifling and petty – the broadcaster has decided to use THEIR nomenclature as its terminology of choice.

    All I’m saying is – TRY and imagine if the shoe was on the other foot. I suspect your dismissive attitude would change.

  • anouska hempel

    “I was simply pointing out that Unionist politicians maybe aren’t given enough airtime to condemn the activities because condemnation is boring as far as news goes. “

    Yes but when it comes to condemning republicans it’s a different story

  • Bored

    Anoushka?

    I stayed in ‘Blake’s’ once – it was excellent.

    Tired of the international hotel design game? Moved on to Irish politics?

  • spartacus

    beano: what a laughable argument. “the North” is politically loaded but “the province” is somehow neutral. Do you have the faintest notion of how ridiculous you sound? All of this is contested terminology, but you think it acceptable, even unquestionable, that a taxpayer supported news service should make exclusive use of the terminology acceptable to one section of the community and not the other.

    Perhaps you do not agree, but my point would be that this telling but relatively minor transgression manifests itself in much more serious problems with biased coverage when it comes to loyalist violence. You raise the pathetic welp that perhaps the media needs to ask more unionist politicians for their comments on these incidents. Really? If they spoke at all, their weasel words would be entirely predictable. That radical republican propaganda sheet the Belfast Telegraph tried late last week to get a comment on the Ballymena pestilence from Paisley Sr. but was told by a subordinate that as he was away on holiday the MP for the area would be making no comment. His party colleagues were apparently leading the foray into police lines at Fisherwick. The only source of hope for a stand against sectarianism these days seems to come from a handful of committed church people who take their doctrine seriously, and I commend them for their efforts. But their acts only expose how competely rotten the entire edifice of unionist politics is in this part of the world.

  • DavidH

    spartacus:what a laughable argument. “the North” is politically loaded but “the province” is somehow neutral. Do you have the faintest notion of how ridiculous you sound?

    If nationalists don’t think that Northern Ireland is run as a province of the UK, why do so many nationalist commentators and republican politicians refer to the Secretary of State as a ‘proconsul’ – i.e. – the governor of a province!

  • fair_deal

    Sorry for putting up a post that is actually on topic

    Daisy

    Looks like the DUP have visited the victims as you suggested(source BBC NI website)

    The DUP’s Ian Paisley jnr has said he has met Catholic families in Ahoghill issued fire blankets last week because of the threat of loyalist attacks.
    Speaking on BBC NI’s Inside Politics Mr Paisley jnr said he was forced to reveal the contacts because of criticism of his party over the issue.
    He said the families involved had not wanted the meetings reported.
    Two Catholic-owned homes in the County Antrim village have been attacked by petrol bombers in recent weeks.
    Police issued fire-resistant blankets and smoke alarms to families due to fears of more attacks.

    Patrols have also been stepped up in the village.

    Mr Paisley jnr, a North Antrim assembly member, said he was disgusted by the level of attacks against his father, DUP leader and North Antrim MP Ian Paisley, over the situation in Ahoghill.
    On Friday, the SDLP’s Sean Farren said Mr Paisley had a duty to make a stand and that didn’t just mean issuing words of condemnation.
    But Mr Paisley jnr said that even before the police took action he had already met the families on behalf of the DUP.
    He said as a result of his intervention police had taken additional action.
    He also said he has tried to find out who is behind the attacks and threats and to see if they could be arrested on other charges.

  • Paddy Matthews

    Speaking on BBC NI’s Inside Politics Mr Paisley jnr said he was forced to reveal the contacts because of criticism of his party over the issue.
    He said the families involved had not wanted the meetings reported.

    …and by the way, Gerry Adams has never been a member of the IRA.

    I’m sorry, fair_deal, I accept that you have made your condemnation of the attacks plain, but why should anyone believe this story?

    Did the families also request Ian Jr to refuse to make any mention or condemnation of the attacks up to now?

    Ian Jr, although an MLA for the area, had nothing to say about the attacks on Catholics in his constituency until now. To judge by his website, however, he had no shortage of energy to issue an endless series of statements about the republican parade in Ballymena last week. When he was asked on BBC Newsnight about attacks on Catholics in Ballymena on the night of the IRA statement, he stonewalled, indulging in a piece of whataboutery about an attack on an Orange Hall in Armoy, but never actually condemning the attacks.

    This strikes me as being nothing more than an attempt to take the heat off Daddy.

  • kitty

    ‘Kitty, this is rubbish that is being repeated by the British government – it is totally untrue. Loyalists vote for the DUP and UUP. They have plenty of political representation, and that’s why we need to start holding the two main parties accountable for the actions of loyalist paramilitaries. ‘

    Voting for a party does not mean you actually have political representation, Stalin. Loyalists are not represented politically-their interests are not being represented in any forum.
    Take one sad statistic from the Loyalist Shankill area. 3% of children in the area pass the 11+. Now if you can show me where a UUP or UUP representative has seriously tried to do something about an issue such as this, then I would be happy to reconsider. The only person who I am aware of that did address this was Davy Erwine.
    But your blog is a good one, thought provoking.

  • kitty

    ‘Mr Paisley jnr, a North Antrim assembly member, said he was disgusted by the level of attacks against his father, DUP leader and North Antrim MP Ian Paisley, over the situation in Ahoghill.’

    I would suggest that this is the reason for these ‘phantom’ visits that Baby Doc has created.

  • Comrade Stalin

    kitty, if the loyalists feel they are poorly represented by the DUP and UUP then why do they keep voting for them ? Why should the rest of us take responsibility if they do not want to elect representatives who will address the serious problems in their neighbourhoods ? I do not believe in a double mandate or double representation.

    The argument being presented here that unionists would dearly love to condemn paramilitarism, but cannot seem to find the time, is complete rubbish. Often unionists are explicitly asked to condemn violence and in response they will either avoid the question or – worse – explicitly refuse to issue a condemnation. For example, regarding the incidents in Ahoghill a unionist representative refused to comment on the petrol bombings until he was in possession of all the facts (what facts need someone possess in order to condemn petrol bombings I wonder?).

    I also remember way back in the mid 1990s when a group of nurses were intimidated out of houses on the Donegall Road following the circulation of a written letter threatening “fenian scum” in the area. Martyn Smyth was asked to condemn it, and he said quite directly that he would not condemn the leaflet and that it was “understandable” that people would feel that way in the face of republican aggression elsewhere. Harold Gracey is memorable for refusing to condemn loyalist rioting and violence around Drumcree. A few months ago Jim Rodgers, yet again similarly, refused to condemn the firing of shots during a bonfire in East Belfast until he was in possession of all the facts.

    The two main reasons why unionists – the elected ones that is, rather than the more decent saps that have made their condemnations clear here – are circumspect about criticising loyalist violence are firstly, that they get a hell of a lot of votes from these guys because quite a lot of ordinary unionists think that the actions of loyalists are “understandable”, and secondly, they like to keep them onside in case they need to stage another wee “strike”.

  • willis

    Sadly there is no effective pressure which can be applied to either tribe of politicians to give adequate leadership to their communities. DUP/SF have both prospered by behaving as cheerleaders for revenge and paranoia. It is pointless to expect them to change until the electorate change them. We in the province/six-counties/north/ulster have collectively got exactly the politicians we deserve.

  • Comrade Stalin

    There’s plenty of pressure that can be brought. It starts with the tearing down of paramilitary regalia, murals and symbols in the neighbourhoods. Want that new school or hospital built ? Community centre needs funding ? Sure – but the murals have to go first.

  • willis

    Agreed Comrade

    But none of our politicians are going to do it. At this point only an external supplier of funds ???? would have the guts to put the proposition.

  • Alan McDonald

    Comrade,

    In your “bringing pressure” scenario, who is offering the school, hospital or community center? Isn’t Northern Ireland under direct rule, so that elected officials have no goodies to offer?

  • Colm

    What is to stop the direct rulers from bringing the pressure ?

  • Alan McDonald

    Colm,

    What is the political motivation?

    Here’s how I think it is supposed to work. You elect local representatives to government, and one of the things they do in office is “get the goodies” to bring back to their constituents. If they don’t, you vote them out next time.

    If you didn’t vote for the direct rulers in the first place, what is their political commitment to their non-constituents?

  • Denny Boy

    Sorry, I’d forgotten about this thread. Small wonder: seems to me there are few new furrows being ploughed.

    But the Comrade asked: “Denny boy, are you saying that if a group of people are overwhelmingly Protestant then they must be bigoted or biased ? If not, then what exactly are you saying ?”

    The word “overwhelming” is the key isn’t it? It simply can’t be right. A respectable medium ought not to be overwhelming anything: right wing, left wing, whatever. My wife takes the “Mail on Sunday” and it’s a mystery to me why the British public never seem to question why most of their press is grossly partisan.

    In a troubled place like Ulster – whoops, Northern Ireland – it might be prudent for the BBC to stock their front end with a balance of prod and taig. It’s a perception thing, isn’t it, and wheeling out armies of tea-ladies and doormen from the Falls to validate the “balance” doesn’t cut it. Like justice, it has to seen to be done.

  • Alan McDonald

    Denny,

    It took me a while (and two readings) to figure out what you are talking about and what it has to do with reducing loyalist violence (which is nothing).

    We have had the same problem here in the US with minorities being under-represented on television news. The face on camera vs. overall body count has been an issue, as has management vs. custodial positions. Civil rights groups have been fairly successful in influencing hiring by threatening boycvotts against the sponsors of the news programs.

    I don’t know what you do with a state-owned network, especially where you don’t have any elected representatives to “bring pressure” and “get the goodies!” (How’s that for tying it back to my comments above?)

  • kitty

    ‘kitty, if the loyalists feel they are poorly represented by the DUP and UUP then why do they keep voting for them ? Why should the rest of us take responsibility if they do not want to elect representatives who will address the serious problems in their neighbourhoods ? I do not believe in a double mandate or double representation.’

    I don’t think they KNOW they are being poorly represented at all. Ignorance is bliss.
    Here’s the thing. Paisley et al have been known for whipping up Loyalism for their own gain, it has happened all through the troubles, time and time again. I don’t think anyone can argue that.
    But what has Loyalism gained from this? Nothing- and that is evidenced in their behaviour these days( and at many times).Look at the state they are in? Who has represented their areas which are drug infested slums at this stage. Their children are failing and their desperation at a peak- the signs of a forgotten people are there.
    But as for your blog – I agree with most of what you have to say.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Alan, in my opinion the British government should be doing it. It should be made clear that the politicians need to get behind their own rhetoric of anti-paramilitarism, or all investment in these neighbourhoods will cease.

    Kitty:

    “I don’t think they KNOW they are being poorly represented at all. Ignorance is bliss.”

    I hope you’re not advocating that we should step in to save them from themselves ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Alan, most of our media in this country is not state-owned. UTV for example is private.

  • lib2016

    We aren’t going to educate the louts on either side by depriving them further. Helping poor people to get a life and build some respect for themselves is the first step in building some respect for others.

    We live, North and South, in low tax economies where most people who ‘miss the boat’ early in life never get a chance to catch up. One of the few positive things the DUP has done is to make it clear that they want money poured into the loyalist areas.

    As an ardent republican I’d like to make it clear that I back them all the way.

  • kitty

    Stalin-‘I hope you’re not advocating that we should step in to save them from themselves ?’

    Stalin, No, that’s not what I am advocating. Looking forward to when some real leadership will emerge from within their communities and save themselves.

    Lib- ‘We aren’t going to educate the louts on either side by depriving them further. Helping poor people to get a life and build some respect for themselves is the first step in building some respect for others.’

    Agreed wholeheartedly. It is a pity of them, although at present it is hard to feel that pity sometimes.

    ‘We live, North and South, in low tax economies where most people who ‘miss the boat’ early in life never get a chance to catch up. One of the few positive things the DUP has done is to make it clear that they want money poured into the loyalist areas.’

    Well good and so they should. However, it does not take away from the fact that the DUP and UUP, who should have been representing this people, have not, or at least not adequately, especially during the troubles. All they have ever done is whip them into a frenzy that has resulted in armed hooded men marching round hills of Ballymena, and worse- the murderous campaigns that Loyalists have embarked on. Certain Loyalists have spoken on this issue, pointing out that speeches by Papa Doc for example have incited them, in their impressionable years etc etc. I don’t need to rehash it, I am sure you are all( well most of us are:-)) knowledgeable of these things.

    ‘As an ardent republican I’d like to make it clear that I back them all the way.’

    I feel exactly the same way. I, also as a republican, with a considerable exposure to
    ( moderate??) Loyalists whom I have befriended mostly in discussion-like settings,would be very much in favour of huge investment within their deprived communities.

  • rog

    The government has been pumping millions into loyalist areas over the last few years

    John Reid even upped the investment after meeting with paramilitary representatives in the East Belfast mission on the Newtownards Road.

    Johnny Adair,Andre Shoukri,Mo Courtney,Jim Gray & Jackie McDonald were all in attendance

  • Fanny

    If money sorted these problems out they’d have been sorted out decades ago. That much is quite plain. In fact all such programmes seem to do is underscore the concept of ‘loyalist communities’.
    There should be no such concept. Loyalism is a criminal and seditious enterprise and should have no legitimacy at all, let alone geographical legitimacy – and the same goes for Shinner republicanism.

  • kitty

    FANNY-There should be no such concept. Loyalism is a criminal and seditious enterprise and should have no legitimacy at all, let alone geographical legitimacy – and the same goes for Shinner republicanism.

    So you would inflict one ideology on the people? Whose brand? Your own? No thanks.
    I can not speak too knowledgably on Loyalism, but I am certain that it has some qualities, hopefully some reader here will expound on those, or better still, I will leave it to you to tell me why it does not qualify as a concept. What exactly is it you actually KNOW about Loyalism.
    Similarly, can you explain ‘Shinner Republicanism’ the concepts in some depth please, rather than the usual knee-jerk, non-informative responses that you seem to favour.
    Thanks, I look forward to the debate.

  • kitty

    ‘Johnny Adair,Andre Shoukri,Mo Courtney,Jim Gray & Jackie McDonald were all in attendance’

    Giving money to drug kingpins and gangsters is not what I would call investing in Loyalist areas. Perhaps, their attendance explains why Loyalist areas continue to be deprived and under-resourced drug and crime riddled areas.

  • Denny Boy

    “If money sorted these problems out they’d have been sorted out decades ago. That much is quite plain.”

    Did you know that there are loyalist areas where:

    – only 1 home in 250 has running water*
    – pregnant women must walk at least 2-3 miles each day to fill a water jar, and make the return journey in 40° heat
    – children play in open sewers where rats are a constant health hazard
    – the average household income is £2.30 a month
    – there is a teacher-pupil ratio of 1 to 95
    – the nearest doctor is in the next estate, sometimes up to 30 miles away over dirt roads or through impenetrable jungle
    – infant mortality is on the rise and most children subsist on a single packet of Walker’s crisps each day

    * This could account for the stench of BO encountered in many

    off-licences, bookies’ and at supermarket checkouts across the province

    Source: UNFPA Report on World Poverty

    You can help. £300 billion was simply not enough to bail out Northern Ireland since the troubles began. Please send what you can to the above address or lobby your local DUP/TF representative.

    Together we can make a difference™

  • DavidH

    kitty: Giving money to drug kingpins and gangsters is not what I would call investing in Loyalist areas.

    Don’t be misled by Rog, or your own misinterpretation of what Rog said. There was a fuss in the newspapers a while ago talking about millions for loyalist areas, following discussions. The extra money never materialised. So that sort of fits in with the money vs. murals remarks a while ago in this topic. And surely everyone is delighted that the carrot is as elusive as the stick seems to be.

  • Fanny

    What ideology would I inflict on people Kitty? None at all. I would let anyone live wherever they like, which is why the concept of loyalist and republican areas is so dangerous.
    Or would you prefer us all to be neatly lined up in our respective ghettos?

  • irishman

    Picture the scenario:

    Five people killed by the IRA in a twelve week period. No comment on the status of the IRA cessation, no reports sought or forthcoming from the IMC and no specific commentary on the organisation responsible from the Secretary of State (never mind PM or Taoiseach).

    Now remove the letters IRA and replace with UVF and you have not only a statement of fact but an indication of the hypocritical attitude of those in senior political positions here where loyalist violence is concerned.

  • rab

    The uda seem to be varying their tactics.

    First the shoot a man in a punishment attack on the Newtownards road then they change tact by tying a young man to a lampost and covering him in paint.

    What’s next, shoot him first, then tie him to a lampost , then cover him in paint and for the grand finale, put a plackard over him.

    Such intelligence.

    Ulster’s safe !!

  • Daisy

    fair_deal, I’m only getting back to your post now. Yes, I heard what the MLA for the area had to say about being in contact with the families. However, I’m afraid I don’t believe him. Those attacked have more on their minds than remembering to tell IPJ not to let on to anyone that he visited. He’s trying to take the heat off himself and his father because of the mountain of criticism they have rightly been subjected to.

    I will, of course, stand corrected if one of the families comes out and confirms the visit.

  • harry

    The dup’s Jimmy Spratt on the latest uvf murder

    “This madness has to stop before it escalates further,”

    Madness Jimmy, is that the best you can come up with.

  • spartacus

    he left out hte bit about dragging the good name of loyalism into the mud.

  • Daisy

    Watching the news last night I thought I was going to have to stand corrected when the RIP came out and condemned the latest attack on a catholic family. That was, of course, until he used the words “from whatever side” (or words to that effect). Hardly a resounding condemnation.

    The DUP mayor said 99.9% of the protestant population of Ahoghill were against these attacks. Presumably that’s the silent majority we always hear so much about.

  • Seosamh

    Just returned from holidays, I read that the loyalists are revolting – I agree.