What is eating people in Ballymena?

The ‘troubles’ in Ballymena continue with the targeting of a Catholic Primary school on the Cullybackey Road. The article is accompanied by condemnation from Nationalist politicians. It’s interesting to note that of all victims of these attacks, 75% were Catholic but, surprisingly perhaps, 25% were protestant. None of the reports we’ve seen so far seem to get to the heart of what has actually kicked these incidents off in the first place, nor what appear to have sustained them through the summer.

  • irishman

    Think you’ll find the PSNI statistics to be considerably flawed- or should I say deliberately distorted.

    If 1 in 4 attacks in Ballymena were by catholics aimed at protestants, we would have heard a lot about it, Mick.

    This is the PSNI attempting to play piggy in the middle when, in reality, there’s only one antagonist in North Antrim.

  • slug

    Well there e.g. were attacks on a saturday morning football team (mainly protestant) playing at football ground in the mixed estate of Dunclug – we even had a Slugger thread about that.

  • Roisin

    How do you know? Do you live in B?

  • slug

    Here is the news story Sectarian Attack

  • Mick


    We can only go on the figures as published. With polls we know there’s an error factor of 3-6% (more in the case of some). But with these figures there is no hard and fast way to read for error or bias.

    So it’s hard to know what to do other than take them at face value and simply ask the question.

  • slug


    The PSNI have not been collecting figures on sectarian incidents until recently. They will be very useful in understanding this problem – now perhaps the key issue in NI – and hopefully provide a basis for more informed discussion about the problem.

  • slug

    ” With polls we know there’s an error factor of 3-6% (more in the case of some).”

    This depends on the size of the survey – the larger the survey the smaller the standard error.

  • moyle rover

    Sectarian attacks on catholics in Ballymena have been commonplace for years. Does anyone remember the sickening harryville protest. The parishoners of Harryville have been unable to celebrate mass on a Saturday night in July and August for the last seven or eight years.
    It appears that some young nationalists in the Dunclug area have had enough of this and have decided in time honoured northern ireland fashion to meet fire with fire. This is both wrong and unnaceptable. However if you grow up in a town where people are denied the right to practice religion due to a threat of force it is not surprising that they see the use of force as an acceptable option, particulaly in a situation where the state is doing precious little to protect the parishoners of Harryville.

  • setanta

    I notice that the M.P. for the area has been conspicuous and extremely dilligent in condemning these recent attacks.

  • fair_deal

    The reason the story has been just about the attacks on catholics is that is the only story the media were given. Very little/no research is done by media organisations these days so if you hand them a story they run with it usually with next to no checking.

    Sinn Fein researched a report and published it. The media lifted and ran with it (a number of the incidents they claim are questionable but that was not thrown up by any media outlet). Sinn Fein (and to a lesser degree SDLP) pushed the issue of condemnation. No matter the fact quick googles or checks on party websites or even listening to their own broadcasts and they would have found plenty of condemnation the media just parroted.

    Sinn Fein made a story then they pushed a story regardless of the facts and lazy/poor quality journalism left it unchallenged.

    The problems of sectarianism, racism and the culture of violence are not the preserve of sections of Protestant Unionist and Loyalist communities but that is the narrative being pushed and unchallenged.

    I did three hours research on two news websites at the weekend and I was able to document 33 sectarian attacks on Protestant communities since 1st June (that doesn’t include the 11 in Ballymena and a few more I know about couldn’t find on the sites) 22 examples of republican violence and initmidation and 3 racist and homophobic attacks in nationalist areas.

    So the information is not hard to come by so the media nor more importantly do the Unionist parties have little or no excuse.

    The strong impression I have picked up is that the Unionist parties have pretty much been on holiday and no one was left to mind shop. Questions must be asked
    What exactly are their policy units doing?
    What or were has been the media strategy in the last month especially?

    The Love Ulster stuff is far from perfect but it was an effort to fill a message gap left by the Unionist parties (the DUP especially).

  • P Ring

    ‘nor what appear to have sustained them through the summer’

    ..I reckon what has sustained the mindless sectarian attacks over the summer is the school holidays. BBC website today reports a 13 and a 15 year old being held for latest arson attacks in B’mena. Twas ever the way. I remember well how the boredom of the school hoildays could be alleviated by union jack/ulster flag nicking expeditions for the 15th of August fires. Seems like the new breed of young morons are that bit more extreme.

    Have to say, as a recent transfer from Portadown News, there’s an awful load of v. dull arguing the banal toss on this site…

  • fair_deal


    “I notice that the M.P. for the area has been conspicuous and extremely dilligent in condemning these recent attacks.”

    The Unionist parties have consistently been so.

  • reality check

    Fair deal-the likes of robin stirling,martin clarke,deirdre nelson,john carson and beth adger have not been very vociferous in condemning these attacks.Though the very decent james currie(uup)who has a track record of speaking out against loyalists has maintained his opposition to the recent attacks.

  • ConorS


    As you may know some dissident Republicans have established themselves in Antrim and Ballymena. These are largely Republicans who have fallen out with Sinn Fein and disagree with that party’s current political path. I believe that a march organised by these dissident republicans in Ballymena recently may be at least one of the reasons behind these attacks. This was intimated by a leading loyalist from Antrim in the Antrim Guardian last month.

  • slug

    Its true that dissident republicans have a presence in Ballymena now.

    There were some firebombs in Ballymena stores last winter – Camerons and Harry Corry were firebombed, it seems by dissident republicans.

    Dissident republicans from Ballymena itself appeared in court for this.

  • slug

    Here is another story of a riot by so-called republicans in a mixed housing estate in Ballymena. It didin’t get much coverage.

    The people behind the riot are thought to be so-called ‘dissident republicans’.

  • Dandyman

    I can’t really see the point in posting threads like this because as soon as someone criticises the attacks on Catholic schools/churches, someone else comes along & responds with a catalogue of reported attacks on Protestants, and yet the same people will be on some other thread tomorrow castigating someone else’s contribution and dismissing it as ‘whataboutery’. Round & round & round we go. What kind of a f*cking moron would want to burn a church or a school, for any reason? What does it achieve?

  • fair_deal


    But what about mark thatcher 😉

  • Dandyman


  • ganching

    Burning a school or a church is a very effective way of attacking a community because it has much more of an emotional impact on people than, for example, attacking a business. Most Catholics from the Ballymena area will have family who have attended those schools (as I do) and so will feel that they have been personally affected by it.

    So it might be moronic but it has the desired effect.

  • Baluba

    I am a republican. I am disgusted by what is going on up there, it is NOT, however, (with a capital NOT) ethnic cleansing.

    Ethnic cleansing happened in Nazi Europe, in Rwanda, in Bosnia. It has never happened here. The famine comes extremely close, but doesn’t quite make it.

  • Mick Fealty

    ST and Baluba, have either of you read the commenting guide? Neither of you were the first today to do the same, but please keep your attention on playing the ball rather than the man? Repeat offences will result in summary deletions!

  • Dandyman

    What exactly is the ‘effect’? The point being, presumably, to deliver the message ‘we don’t like you guys and wish you’d p*ss off somewhere else’? I mean, do these guys need to have the concept of stating the obvious explained to them? The mentality behind the acts are understandable; It’s the sheer absence of logic that makes me wonder sometimes.


    Lads, we get the message. You don’t get on.

    After 35 years of this shite, you don’t need to keep burning each other’s Churches/ Schools/Orange Halls to keep reminding the rest of the world that you all think ‘them’uns’ are the spawn of Beelzebub himself. It hasn’t made much difference in tha last 35 years, and it won’t make much difference in the next 35 years. Don’t know if ye’ve noticed but it looks like ye’re all stuck with each other for the foreseeable future.


    NI SPIDES: Why waste valuable drinking/pill munching/playstation gaming/city centre loitering/community rioting time with the hassle of organising and carrying out pointless and redundant arson attacks? They always just get rebuilt anyway. Next time ye get the urge to ‘volunteer’ on a mission of arson, save yourselves the bother. Just pour the gasoline over yourselves and sell raffle tickets, the winner gets to light the match. The money can go to a charity of your own choosing, within your own ‘camyaawmiddy’. It can be used to rebuild your local church/primary school/orange hall which was no doubt burnt out in reprisal for your last ‘volunteer’ operation.

  • Baluba

    Gabh mo leithscéal.

  • fair_deal

    Since 1st June sectarian attacks and incidents against protestants have occurred in:
    Belfast (North, East, West and South)

    The dissident republicans seem to be offered up as a blamehound. In a number of instances I would agree it is the case but:
    Sectarian attacks predate the existence of the RIRA or when the CIRA was miniscule e.g there was a sustained campaign of burning down orange halls before the RIRA existed? Who was it then?
    Is it not the mainstream republican movement that are behind the resident hate groups? In Martin Ferris’s speech to the conference last week-end in south Armagh he certainly claimed the credit for them.
    Former Sinn Fein councillor Joe O’Donnell is on record as denying the existence of dissident republicans in Short Strand so who was responsible for republcian violence there?
    In Ballymena the line between the dissidents and mainstream republican movement have been somewhat blurred at times e.g. Sinn Fein MLA attending the court in support of three dissident republicans being charged and the initial support for the William Orr parade.

  • Denny Boy


    “The money can go to a charity of your own choosing, within your own ‘camyaawmiddy’.”


    Is this Ulster Scots? Phonetic Gaelic? Cornish? Do pardon my ignorance. I’m not from “here”.

  • Dandyman

    It’s spide-ish for ‘community’, as if any of these little f*ckers know the meaning of the word, let alone understand the concept.

  • Dandyman

    It’s phonetic spide-ish for ‘community’, as if any of these little f*ckers know the meaning of the word, let alone understand the concept.

  • Denny Boy

    LOL, I see it – when using the appropriate accent!

    Thanks, Dan.

  • reality check

    Fair Deal-could you give details of the attacks in Armagh,Kilrea,Magherafelt,Rathfriland,Carnlough and Newcastle?

  • fair_deal

    Reality Check

    Apologies for not replying sooner I had a funeral to attend this morning.

    The sectarian incidents and attacks in the places above were:

    21st/22nd August
    Three Orange Halls in the area were attacked – paint bombing, grafitti and one arson attempt

    11th July
    Arson attack on Newcastle Orange Hall. An Orange arch was completely destroyed and the hall partially damaged.

    17th August
    Sectarian grafitti and paint bomb attack on a protestant family’s house and cars.

    3 attacks were rpeorted to the last meeting of Larne DPP (Their minutes aren’t available on the net so much for accountability). The Larne Times two weeks ago reported an attack on Carnlough Manse (one of a series).

    17th June
    Republican demonstrators threw missiles at a band parade. (There was also an illegal protest blockingthe return parade of the local Kilrea lodges that I know of from my relatives who live in the town – this is not included in my figures as I couldn’t find a news report)

    27th August
    Hoax bomb placed on route of RBP parade.

  • reality check

    Fair Deal-Im aware of the attacks on orange halls in magherafelt and newcastle.I possibly heard something about Rathfriland but is it not a mainly protestant area?I’ve heard rumours about attacks in carnlough,the attack on the house belonging to the presbyterian church happened.I have no doubt that disgusting attack happened.Im unsure about other attacks as Carnlough has usually been a place not associated with attacks on protestants.I’ll take your word about Kilrea and Armagh

  • reality check

    may I add this to my previous post.I read an article in the larne gazette last week(I also read the one in the larne times you referred to)it stated that jack mckee(dup)announced a decrease in the amount of sectarian attacks in the borough.Six were recorded,two of which by loyalists in larne and the other four in carnlough by republicans.He also strongly criticised nationalist politicans for not condemning the attacks in carnlough and said something like “if the boot was on the other foot”.I know the attack on the p’terian house was denounced locally.But why the secrecy regarding the other supposed “attacks”?

  • fair_deal

    Reality check

    On the Rathfriland attack, if you are willing to spend fifty pence you’ll get the details at:


    (Sorry can’t do hyperlinks)

    If I remember right the local Sinn fein rep condemned it as sectarain (while explaining it was a response to anti-republican graffitti in the town a month earlier)

    Some info on the Armagh stuff too:

  • fair_deal

    Reality check

    “But why the secrecy regarding the other supposed “attacks”?”

    1. Often the victims don’t want publicity as they fear it will make the situation worse.
    2. PSNI media management maybe? They had a good news story of sectarian attacks being down maybe they wanted that to be the focus.
    3. Maybe you should submit a question to the Larne DPP for more information on the attacks?

  • reality check

    My first guess was it was a thinly vailed attempt to divert attention away from larne and it’s bad reputation.
    Carnlough hasn’t a bad reputation.In fact if the victims of these alleged attacks became known they would be supported

  • Donnie


    Are you keeping score in the “Whataboutery” league?

  • fair_deal


    No I am not keeping score. There has been a large amount of republican denial on here about sectarian attacks on protestants.

    My contention is that the cultures of violence and sectarianism are not unique to one community and recognition of that is vital to tackling it. I have been hoping (somewhat vainly) that presenting evidence to challenge the denial may move some to a common recognition of our problems.

  • fair_deal

    “In fact if the victims of these alleged attacks became known they would be supported”

    I am sure in such a small place as Carnlough they are known and will have received help and support from others in the village. The “making it worse” reference meant they may fear the instigators will respond to publicity with more persistent or vociferous attacks.

  • reality check

    Fair Deal-I understand your poimt.There have been sectarian attacks on protestants by republicans,but my point is it’s more of a problem in the loyalist community.Im not saying republicanism is sectarian free,just that anti catholicism is a huge problem in the loyalist community