Police lost the run of themselves in East Belfast?

Alex Benjamin is a communications expert with the UUP. He was working in party offices in East Belfast on Saturday as events kicked off. What he saw of the police action clearly shook him up considerably. He takes up the story below:

By Alex Benjamin

From the outset it should be pointed out that I have no axe to grind. I’m not an Orangeman and not protestant. But the scenes I saw on Saturday as I worked in Michael Copeland’s and Sir Reg Empey’s offices is East Belfast were shocking and have had a profound affect on me.

The spin coming from the Police and Secretary of State would suggest that Loyalists were solely to blame for the events of the weekend. Having not been up in the Highfield area, I can’t comment on what occurred up there, but from my experience of events in the East of the City, to suggest that the Police acted in a proper, correct manner would be stretching the truth’s elasticity to breaking point.

I have always defended the police, having no truck with paramilitaries of any persuasion, and over the years I have formed the view that paramilitaries are actively hindering development in many working class areas.

That aside, what I witnessed on Saturday was a provocative, rampant police, completely disinterested in taking effective measures to calm the situation, instead opting for heavy-handed tactics which I 100% believe led to the escalation of the situation.

Orangemen and supporters gathered outside the Orange Hall at 2.00pm before making their way up to the Albertbridge to make a peaceful protest. The merits of this protest are not for me to argue. They came under sustained stoning and bottling from Short Strand residents who had clearly come prepared. The police response to the attacks from Short Strand residents was woefully inadequate. Rather than move in to prevent the attacks from continuing they more or less passively stood by and allowed the situation to develop.

When Loyalists began to return stones the Police eventually sprang into action. There was a palpable sense of frustration that the Police were effectively turning a blind eye to Short Strand residents but were ‘rushing’ those on the Loyalist side.

After a period of calm the protesters at the bridge were able to make their way to the interface at the corner of Albertbridge road and Castlereagh Road. Stone throwing ensued. What followed next, in my opinion, utterly defied logic:

The Police surged up the Albertbridge Road. And I mean surged, knocking women to the ground with their Land Rovers and pushing and hitting people who were in their way. Had these people been rioters with scarves around their faces or brandishing petrol bombs they could have at least had an excuse. But women with no weapons and political representatives who were trying to reason with them and defuse tensions where herded like sheep going to an abattoir.

The UUP offices became a safe haven for those caught in the street as Police edged up the road and forced the rioters up towards Templemore Avenue. In the street I saw an elderly man in his 70’s who was forced to the ground, had his head truncheoned and when he raised his hands to protect his head, he had his hands truncheoned too. The force was so great it split his finger open. We managed to get him, concussed and rambling, inside the offices and administer some basic first aid, others followed young and old with head injuries or other injuries.

We called an ambulance which arrived swiftly and departed just as swiftly as some of those injured were reluctant to go to hospital. The ambulance driver said that they couldn’t get out and treat the wounds so I told him we only had basic first aid and said we needed stuff. He produced a bandage out of his pocket and said that was all he could give me!

The Police, now right outside our offices, were clearly amped up and enjoying the situation, many laughed and smiled to each other and I heard some shouting ‘Orange bastards’ or ‘Protestant bastards’ at protestors. Many deliberately pointed rifles or plastic bullet weapons at protestors. It was blatantly provocative and I couldn’t believe my ears or eyes. Some women in the office were hysterical, one woman just sat in the corner with her head in her hands quietly sobbing. It was horrific.

As a Communications professional, I am aware of the tools and various mechanisms that can be used to get your point across in the media. The Police and Secretary of State have been quick to apportion blame and wash their hands of any involvement. The media have been quick to adopt their line, too hastily in my view.

I must say, having witnessed first hand the Police tactics employed and the manner in which they undertook their ‘operation’, my faith and trust in the Police has taken a substantial hammering.

  • crat

    Alex seems to be arguing that the PSNI should allow balaclava clad orange supporters to block roads, isolate Nationalist communities and break the law while he and elected reps observe.

    The people Alex was with were and are law-beakers engaged in illegal activity designed to intimidate and worse.

    It becomes clearer and clearer just how committed to the rule of law all levels of Unionism are. Not at all.

    Alex seems to be arguing for facilitation of Orange supporters and paramilitaries while they break the law, intimidate their neighbours and engage in violent lawlessness.

    I suggest Mr Benjamin is a supporter of lawlessness and violence given his contribution. Maybe his rejection of the violence and call for an end to inflammatory illegality was too subtle for these eyes?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Alex does the usual unionist thing, and jumps into bed with the loyalists to justify violence against the police. Given the videotape evidence which exists of people in Orange sashes openly attacking police lines, and given the number of reported police injuries, it’s going to be difficult to convince anyone of this line of events.

    “The Police, now right outside our offices, were clearly amped up and enjoying the situation, many laughed and smiled to each other and I heard some shouting ‘Orange bastards’ or ‘Protestant bastards’ at protestors.”

    The police are 12% Catholic. It’s going to take a lot for me to believe this.

  • slug

    Comerade Stalin I agree with you but on one point a correction – the police are actually now 18-19% Catholic.

  • slug

    I am heartened to hear that the PSNI are taking a more robust approach. Let it continue.

  • godfearin’

    As a catholic from springfield road, I have always been impressed by the orange brethen and indeed look forward to the stirring sight of these decent men marching the road. Its my belief that evil satanic forces are at work in hindering these upright citizens from witnessing their faith by their uplifting public demonstrations.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m going to clip a few of these replies. I’m surprised at some of our more respectable posters who normally regulate themselves to the play the ball and not man rule.

  • Chris Gaskin

    Mick

    Bullshit is Bullshit, I was not man playing

  • Gum

    I have absolutely no sympathy for unionist politicians who sanctimoniously declare the police were professional when dealing with ‘republican’ rioters but are genuinely alarmed and upset when the police use the same tactics on their doorstep. I think working class unionist families are as fed up with all this as the rest of us are, but the DUP and UUP should be ashamed of themselves. They showed absolutely no leadership, large levels of hypocrasy and in Ian Paisley’s case made comments that I found very threatening.

  • Gum

    Mick, I agree completely with the man-not-ball rule, but in view of the levels of hypocrasy from the leadership of the two main unionist parties, I think a greater leeway should be allowed here.

  • Comrade Stalin

    slug, I stand corrected. But my point was, it would be pretty stupid for officers to be shouting that given those standing next to them (although I am aware that pro-IRA slogans got shouted at an Xmas bash – pretty stupid joining the police and being pro-IRA, when Sinn Fein have refused to condemn anyone who attacks police officers).

    Gum, I agree (the consensus on here is surprisingly uplifting). Adams said earlier that if he’d made the comments that Paisley did, people would be calling for his arrest. I suspect that he is right.

  • slug

    If this rioting is a sign that the police are taking on violent loyalism and facing it down, then it is perhaps not such a bad thing for the future.

  • Mick Fealty

    To quote Father Jack. That would be an ecumenical matter. Crat man/womanfully led the way with a fulsome critique of the thinking behind an eyewitness piece – several people immediately refused to follow.

    Throwing insults only pushes the standard of debate downwards. If people would rather do that, then there are many other places on the web which are happy to host it. I’m not!

  • Michael Turley

    I may be biased but the above scenario as described by the author seems hardly plausible.

    If I am incorrect and the facts are as stated then perhaps that particular Unionist will start to appreciate why the RUC became such a discredited force in the nationalist psyche.

    I wonder will mainstream unionisms recent discovery of “police heavy-handedness” help their sense of perspective on erstwhile nationalist greivances?

  • slug

    The scales fell off my eyes when that OO guy, Dawson Ballie, made his comments on Saturday, when Reg Empey and Ian Paisley stood together predicting terrible consequences, when the OO people were shown fighting the police, and the UUP are now criticising the police not the rioters.

    I am a law and order person and today the only party that is articulating my feelings is the Alliance Party.

  • lunar

    I witnessed around 200 loyalists approaching the Albertbridge road from the Ravenhill road on saturday afternoon. This is nowhere near the orange hall, so i can only presume that these protesters were not part of the same group which Alex Benjamin is describing.

    The majority of this group were masked, some with scarves tied round their faces and others wearing balaclavas.

    Many were carrying sticks and a different assortment of cudgels.

    I’m amazed that these people can be described as protesters.It looked more like a mob to me.

    Trouble had not started at this point, so i was able to drive on past the area, prior to the trouble.

  • maca

    If this account is actually true* it’s a tad worrying. Personally, I would be inclined to support the PSNI in all of this as they have an absolutely impossible task. They are surrounded by %^$£, green £$%^ on one side and orange $%£^& on the other. I wouldn’t want to be in their position.

    *it’s hard to imagine cops laughing and smiling in what must be a frightening situaiton for them

  • fair_deal

    CS

    I wasn’t at east belfast but I have heard officers of the PSNI and believe it or not RUC using such abusive terms.

  • smcgiff

    There was more spin than communication, with my favourite vote appealing sentence being, ‘The UUP offices became a safe haven for those caught in the street,’ and while some of the observations seem down right unbelievable at first reading, we’ll have to wait to see if the jist of what Mr Benjamin said is true or not.

    Although he might have to wait 30 years before being vindicated.

  • Getonwithit

    A bunch of thugs and sectarian idiots with nothing to lose guided by the loyalist paramilitary mothership are responsible for the last 2 night’s unnecessary violence.
    They couldn’t care less about decent hard working people from whatever religion.

    There are no more excuses, republicans have swallowed their final bitter pill and will soon have made all the moves required of them.
    The union is democratically protected under the agreement. There is also enough protection under the agreement against those who choose violence.

    The leadership of the unionism should now lead, take the tough decisions necessary to sharepower fairly and equally with all the people of this society and
    show some vision to build a future for us all and our children to come and avoid this yearly nonsense. The forces of law & order can then come down hard equally on WHOEVER tries to bully using violence.

    Stop winging and get on with it. It’s what the silent majority here want.

  • Baluba

    Loyalists/Unionists, angered by, amongst other things, reforms to the police have aired their grievances by, well, attacking the police.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    Makes me remember the smile I had on my face listening to Empey and the bold Arlene Foster at West Belfast Talks Back using the fact that loads of Protestants complain about the police too (apparently more actually, probably ’cause Nationalists don’t see the point) as a great reason not to reform them.

    Idiocy.

    Disband the PSNI and ban plastic bullets.

  • Annon

    Sure the PSNI love this riotiong etc etc, that is why they insight it with their smart comments like ” orange bastards ” as it gets them plenty of over time in the next months wages.

  • Ricardo

    Good post getonwithit.

  • Raff

    Nigel Dodds on TV blaming Catholics and republicans for this loyalist rioting and people posting that the RUC are anti-loyalist and pro republican! This part of the world has got to be THE MOST SURREAL area in the known universe! The hypocrisy is genuinely breath taking. I am also surprised that after only several murders, numerous forced evictions and only a few hundred rounds of live ammunition being fired at the police that the British govt. have the cheek to consider declaring the loyalist ceasefire as void.

    This rioting is nothing surprising, as usual the DUP, OO and loyalist paramilitaries act in unison. What about the police arresting Mr Paisley Snr for inciting riotous behaviour? For a group of people that claim to be ‘loyal’ to Britain, they don’t seem very keen to adhere to British laws!

    Some one should tell the loyalist/unionist alliance that Sinn Fein have not joined the RUC………..yet.

  • crat

    I am going to communicate how this non-expert read some of the piece by Alex.

    Orangemen and supporters gathered outside the Orange Hall at 2.00pm before making their way up to the Albertbridge to make a peaceful protest. The merits of this protest are not for me to argue. They came under sustained stoning and bottling from Short Strand residents who had clearly come prepared. The police response to the attacks from Short Strand residents was woefully inadequate. Rather than move in to prevent the attacks from continuing they more or less passively stood by and allowed the situation to develop.

    Sounds like : Orangemen, masked loyalists and others gathered an hour before the Whiterock parade and set off to block access to and attack the Short Strand.

    The Short Strand kicked their asses and Michael thinks it was the PSNI’s job to protect them.

    When Loyalists began to return stones the Police eventually sprang into action. There was a palpable sense of frustration that the Police were effectively turning a blind eye to Short Strand residents but were ‘rushing’ those on the Loyalist side.After a period of calm the protesters at the bridge were able to make their way to the interface at the corner of Albertbridge road and Castlereagh Road. Stone throwing ensued.

    When the Orangemen and masked Loyalists looked like they might come further out of their area and invade the Short Strand the PSNI intervened and chased them away

    The Orangemen and masked Loyalists then moved off to try and cause trouble at another entrance to the Short Strand

    What followed next, in my opinion, utterly defied logic:The Police surged up the Albertbridge Road. And I mean surged, knocking women to the ground with their Land Rovers and pushing and hitting people who were in their way. Had these people been rioters with scarves around their faces or brandishing petrol bombs they could have at least had an excuse. But women with no weapons and political representatives who were trying to reason with them and defuse tensions where herded like sheep going to an abattoir.

    The PSNI then had a battle with these Orangemen and masked Loyalists

    The UUP offices became a safe haven for those caught in the street as Police edged up the road and forced the rioters up towards Templemore Avenue. In the street I saw an elderly man in his 70’s who was forced to the ground, had his head truncheoned and when he raised his hands to protect his head, he had his hands truncheoned too. The force was so great it split his finger open. We managed to get him, concussed and rambling, inside the offices and administer some basic first aid, others followed young and old with head injuries or other injuries.
    We called an ambulance which arrived swiftly and departed just as swiftly as some of those injured were reluctant to go to hospital. The ambulance driver said that they couldn’t get out and treat the wounds so I told him we only had basic first aid and said

    Innocent bystanders, women and those who lost their bottle hid in the UUP office with the author of this piece

    The Police, now right outside our offices, were clearly amped up and enjoying the situation, many laughed and smiled to each other and I heard some shouting ‘Orange bastards’ or ‘Protestant bastards’ at protestors. Many deliberately pointed rifles or plastic bullet weapons at protestors.

    The PSNI were rude to people who just tried to kill them

    Anyone else care to try being a ‘communications expert’?

  • Jo

    Isnt this precisely the sort of firm policing that was being called for, by both the UUP and the DUP, in connection with the UVF takeovers in recent weeks?

    Perhaps it might serve as a wakeup call to those who have long called for the security forces to “take the gloves off” and other such bullsh*t, to see an example of what that can actually mean in practice.

  • crat

    Michael above should read Alex.

  • gratusi

    Raff should see that there is little requirement for Sinn Fein to join either the RUC or PSNI, since they are being enabled to change or influence the outcome of most decisions made by any quarter, well assisted by the British Gov. A reversal of history may soon be biting bums however!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Jo, that’s a damn good point, I almost forgot about the unionist’s half-hearted murmurings that the police would have to take action against the feud.

  • VICTOR1

    I would like to suggest that Alex Benjamin is stretching not only the truth but his imagination beyond the realms of possibility. I live in East Belfast and am fully aware of the logistics of the area. To suggest that one could possibly see what was going on in the Short Strand from the UUP offices is absolutely impossible and totally unrealistic! Was Mr. Alex Benjamin working in the UUP offices or was he as someone who has no selfish interest in what was taking place a hanger on? Did Alex Benjamin notice the so called protestors masks, cudgels, petrol bombs, pipe bombs, and assorted weapons? Was Alex in the safe haven of the UUP offices when the bombs and bullets were directed at the PSNI? several hundred masked Loyalists making their way along the rd towards the small Catholic area of the Short Strand had to be prevented or would Mr Benjamin suggest they be allowed to continue on their merry way maybe to befriend thier neighbours? now they would have needed a safe haven though I don’t think the UUP offices would have been afforded to them do you?

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    All respect to Benji who is someone I greatly like and who I got on with well I think he has the wrong end here. Alex is a civilian with no experience of riotous situations and I very much doubt he has the eye to properly review what was going on. In a confusing melee it can be overwhelming to the senses and I don’t doubt that he was shocked by what he saw. The question is did what he saw fall outside of the normal parameters of police behavior during a riot? I seriously doubt it.

    Quite frankly people are damn lucky that the PSNI are as skilled at this as they unfortunately are. In another place violence on this scale would leave a lot of dead on the ground. Come and try that shit against the Boston Police and see how quickly they start shooting at you? Violence of this sort is always unpleasant to see and I am sure Benji is genuinely shocked but does it mean the police relative to what was happening overreacted, who knows? However if he is still bothered try writing to:

    Police Ombudsman, New Cathedral Buildings, St Anne’s Square, 11 Church Street, Belfast BT1 1PG.

  • GavBelfast

    How have the PSNI and Army been “heavy-handed”?

    I think they have shown the most enormous restraint.

  • Ricardo

    Crat, your post is the biggest load of tosh I have read on this site in a while, and that’s saying something.

    For starters: ‘Orangemen, masked loyalists and others gathered an hour before the Whiterock parade and set off to block access to and attack the Short Strand.’ Where’s the reference to masked loyalists in benjamin’s piece? It sounds like your imagination is getting the better of you.

    Next ‘The Short Strand kicked their asses and Michael thinks it was the PSNI’s job to protect them.’ firstly, it sounds like you are almost gloating in the fact that one group of people attacked another group of people. What does that say about you? Secondly, what is the PSNI’s role if not to protect people??

    (edited by moderator..no personel atacks please!)

  • fair_deal

    crat

    “The Short Strand kicked their asses”

    Nice consistency on violence

  • Jo

    Frankly, the value of such stories to the propoganda machine is in the here and now, rather than in any subsequent investigation. I would doubt that such incidents ever make it as far as the Ombudsmans office.

    As for the abusive remarks allegedly made by police – I would be more dismissive. A clear ruse to undermine Loyalist confidence in a police force which has the audacity to allow any Catholics to wear its uniform.

  • VICTOR1

    Ricardo did you see the news reports?? masked Loyalists were in abundance on the Albertbridge Rd as a matter of fact as I type masked men are again in abundance on the Albertbridge Rd, did you not see them Ricardo ?

  • Raff

    gratusi, could you please clarify what you mean, sorry but I don’t understand your post.

  • Ricardo

    Hi Victor

    My question was where was the reference to masked loyalists in Benjamin’s article, which crat was referring to.

    Have another wee read and come back to me.

  • pragmatic unionist

    Congrats to unionism for another fine display of PR incompetence. The is another hammerblow for the unionist credibility, and will the last unionist to leave northern ireland please turn off the lights.

  • VICTOR1

    Ricardo I think your problem is(and I’ve no wish to get into a tit for tat slanging match) you have totally missed the point of crats post, it was a rhetorical take on Mr Benjamins writings seen through the eyes off crat not a direct quote. As for the masked Loyalists, don’t you find it strange in Mr Benjamins piece that he never mentioned any of them?

  • Ricardo

    Hi victor

    I think your problem is that you do not understand what the word ‘rhetorical’ means. Can you give me your definition, maybe it is my dictionary that is wrong. Thanks

  • SlugFest

    I was at the Albert Bridge between 2(ish) and 4:30 pm on Saturday. Took pictures and TRIED to talk to both sides. While i can’t speak of what happened further up the road, i can say what i witnessed: the police were in no way abusive to either side, and seemed to be doing their best to contain the situation. In fact, quite a few of the police were chatting with the loyalist side of the road. I’m not saying this to give the Short Stranders cause to cry foul, I’m saying it to cast further dispersions on Benjamin’s claims.

    I also feel the need to admit that i ended up nearly the entire time on the Short Strand side, as when i, early into my time spent there, walked from the Short Strand to the other side of the road, a woman started jeering at me and asking me why i talked to “them’uns” first. when i calmly tried to explain to her that i was trying to hear both sides, she started pushing me. a policeman, upon seeing this, very nicely, though very strongly, urged me to move away from the danger.

  • vic

    UTV showed television footage of the rioting at Short Strand during their 5pm bulletin on Saturday.

    Many of the protesters were indeed masked and seemed to have an assortment of weapons including crates of bottles which mysteriously appeared out of nowhere.

  • bertie

    DSD

    I have just posted a contrary view to yours on another site but I have to say that your 7:53 post sums up my own opinion on this matter, not knowing the writer myself and not having witnessed this or any other riot.

  • bertie

    oops I mean another thread

  • VICTOR1

    Ah certainly ric :
    Rhetorical…[/B]Used for persuasive effect[B]

    And the masked men continue to be on the Albertbridge Road!!

  • willowfield

    “heavy-handed policing”

    “I condemn the violence, but …”

    “Secretary of State is to blame …”

    Mirror image of the Provos.

    “Loyalists” are destroying unionism, yet unionist politicians still pander to them (presumably for fear of losing votes). Well, if they don’t do something seriously to confront the evil within the unionist community, it will eventually destroy them, and the Union.

    They may lose votes in the short term, but the Union is in danger – not from nationalists, but from “loyalists”. They will lose votes from the middle ground if they don’t confront the “loyalists”.

    Parades? You’re not going to get a favourable resolution to parading by constantly stirring up trouble around the issue – that only serves to associate parades with violence in the minds of policy and decision-makers and the general public. It’s a foolish and stupid strategy, aside from the fact that it is totally unjustifiable.

    Ulster at crisis point? Yes, it is – because of the actions of “loyalists”.

    Oh, and by the way, lads, you see the attacks on Roman Catholic schools and churches, and on individual Roman Catholics – that’s not going to save the Union either. You’re not going to convice Catholic opinion to support the Union by attacking them, murdering them, and destroying their churches and schools.

    “Loyalists”? Stupid, bad people. The word that used to be (many, many years ago) an honourable description, is now a gutter word – it describes scum.

  • hensons

    what a preposterous story. defies logic, evidence, history and fact.

  • hensons

    what a preposterous story. defies logic, evidence, history and fact.

  • looking in

    I think all the whining and moaning from the various “loyal” subject about PSNI brutality and over reaction can be summed up by old Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army “they don’t like it up ’em”

    as said above just desserts – they’ve been asking for robust policing so bring it on – kick/whip/beat the idle parasitical dross who contribute nothing to their community or society off the streets

  • spirit-level

    willowfield

    “Parades? You’re not going to get a favourable resolution to parading by constantly stirring up trouble around the issue – that only serves to associate parades with violence in the minds of policy and decision-makers and the general public. It’s a foolish and stupid strategy, aside from the fact that it is totally unjustifiable.”

    excellent analysis,

  • slug

    Sensible analysis from Willowfield.

  • Niall

    *….. The word that used to be (many, many years ago) ……..is now a gutter word – it describes scum.
    Posted by: willowfield at September 12, 2005 09:47 PM*

    More words and expressions but more ironically who might have said them…

    “A crime, is a crime, is a crime”. Who said that (easy) but who supported this belief and policy blindly when it was in their favour?

    “… take the gloves off…” and the “…one hand tied behind their backs…” regarding the RUCs attempts to appear even-handed ?

    More recently we have the expression “MOPE” which is now being directed at the mentioned rioters.

    *an honourable description* not to almost 50% of the population

  • aquifer

    Victoria 1

    “To suggest that one could possibly see what was going on in the Short Strand from the UUP offices is absolutely impossible and totally unrealistic!”

    Well spotted, and was there not a PSNI helicopter in use as well?

    Illegal riotous assembly threatening sectarian murder charged by brave police officers.

    Need we say more?

  • Niall

    *….now a gutter word – it describes scum.

    Posted by: willowfield at September 12, 2005 09:47 PM

    … *an honourable description* not to almost 50% of the population

    Posted by: Niall at September 12, 2005 10:25 PM *

    sorry my post got cut off half way thro’……you are describing the mentioned rioters in the same way as the OO, B-Specials etc have been described by Nationalists since Bombay street hit the news.

    The more things change the more they stay the same.

  • Fishfiss

    The bottom line here, wherever you’re from or whichever ‘side’ you wish to affiliate yourself with or vote for or apologise for, or indeed oppose or ignore, is this: people who trust the cops, here or anywhere else, are just asking for it.

  • bertie

    I’ve just read it through again and I just can’t imagine anyone shouting “protestant bastard!” in this situation. It has too many syllables in it. Prod, Proddy Jaffa or Orange are more likely than protestant. If I was of a mind to go about hurling sectarian abuse at the Pope’s flock I wouldn’t start shouting “Roman Catholic bastards!” at them. I have only once been on the receiving end of serious (as in not joking – been on the receiving ends of loads of banter) sectarian abuse and “proddy” was the adjective of choice.

  • TheEditorOfTheNewsletterTomorrow(notreal)

    I agree with everything Alex Benjamin says.

  • Moderate Unionist

    I do know Alex Benjamin, not well but I have met him on a number of occasions. I found him to be a reasonable guy, likeable, perhaps even genuine. My initial reaction therefore is to give some credance to his report. Of course he may have been mistaken, misled or even just gullible but I don’t believe this was a serious attempt to spin the situation (Why would he use his real name?). Eye witness reports are the very stuff of bloggs. There is much to be gleaned from such reports even if you don’t agree with persons point of view, it is worth considering what they say.

    That said the fundamentals of the situation remain unchanged.

    a)The Orange Order is further discredited.
    b)Those who oppose the forces of law and order are criminals
    c) The police will have to win the hearts and minds of the areas they will police.
    d)Paramilitaries are not an alternative form of justice they are the antithesis of justice.
    e)Any future political settlement will require power sharing with people from different communities. So those of you gloating over the failure of your political opponents should realise that eventually you will need a political body to share power with.
    e)In the absence of a genuine settlement we will see political stalemate, worsening economic conditions and increasing sectarian violence. This will not inrease the chances of a United Ireland (those who desire it take note)!

    The trouble with this place is that everybody sees events solely in the context of advancing their own political agenda. There is no attempt to see the wider picture, nor to build a better society for the people of Northern Ireland. Everything is begrudging, negative and lack lustre. People tallk about rights but never responsibilities. There is no imagination, no attempt to reach out to other side, no unifying vision.

    Everybody wants peace but only on their terms. The current situation is everyone’s problem and as the outworkings of a failed peace process everybody has contributed to it to some extent.

  • bertie

    MU

    Just a few niggles:-
    “sees events solely in the context of advancing their own political agenda”

    surely anyone’s political agenda is about creating the world that they want to see and that it will make a better society for NI, so they are duty bound to want to advance it and see events in terms of the degree to which they do or do not advance their vision.

    The main responsibility that comes with rights is to uphold them and apply them consistantly accross the board. It’s when people stop talking or caring about rights that I get scared.

    I’ll put a question you often ask back at you?

    What is your vision and how can it be realised?

  • Moderate Unionist

    bertie
    A peaceful non sectarin Northern Ireland governed by high calibre politians from all sections of the community. A Government committed to developing the economy, education and environment of the people of Northern Ireland. A Northern Ireland wherein the constitutional position is secure within the United Kingdom, giving the local government the confidence to engage in as many North South bodies as makes sense.

    A Northern Ireland were policing is carried out by the police and the criminal justice system rewards ordinary people and a government which can be booted out of office every 4 or 5 years if they don’t measure up.

  • bertie

    what the hell are you doing still up at this time of night!

    how can it be realised and more particularly how can a government be booted out if it is formed through compulsary powersharing and if it is formed by other means please elaborate?

  • Moderate Unionist

    bertie
    Picking the executive by D’hondt was a failure. We need a different method. Perhaps by direct elections, perhaps by presidential election (first and deputy)who then pick a cabinet.
    Still use PR for Assembly and they pick committee chairman etc to oversea.

    Just a quick suggestion, I am sure there are much better schemes.

    As for being up late. I take to long to write reponses to other posts. It probably doesn’t show but I try to get the balance right so that my post aren’t immediately shot down by the SF/DUP professionals that roam this site. How about you?

  • bertie

    I’ve been in a state of agitation since the riots and am drafting out an article as my catharsis. Roaming the various blogs and posting is a suppliment to this. It’s also helping me to hone my arguements. I have been in a bit of a posting frenzy – Posting Traumatic Shock Disorder!

    I don’t know that there are that many DUP professionals about. I can’t think of a regular poster who I know of as DUP. But that might just be that I haven’t cottoned on.

    I like the visual imagery of people roaming a site and presumably ready to pounce!

    Re Stormont I still don’t see how we can really vote them out if it’s not volentary coallition. I’m a cynic, I don’t like to give politicians a place to hide and they can hide in the comulsary aspect and blame problems on that.

    I have drafted my article and it is going to be too long but the challenge of tightening it up must wait for another day, as I will be worth nothing at work tomorrow if I don’t sleep soon.

    That’s the beauty of Slugger, you are not restricted to a word count. I’d be stuck if it did 😉

    Good night John Boy!

  • Fishfiss

    Other than turning the clock back, can anyone please explain what these rioting loyalists actually want apart from the right to annoy their fellow citizens by offensively marching through areas in which they are not welcome ? Is that such a central plank in their collective sense of self-esteem ?

  • T.Ruth

    Short Strand is perhaps the best example of an area where complete deliberate,organised ethnic cleansing of the Protestant community has taken place over a period of fifty years.

    When I was a child there was a Salvation Army citadel opposite Mountpottinger Police Staion,the area was very mixed and relations within the community were stable.I attended Beechfield School and there was a Sunday school at the corner of Beechfield and Madrid Street which I attended. I lived in Thistle Street and never had any thought that the Roman Catholic community could be any more disadvantaged than we were.I can assure you the levels of poverty were equal.Some Protestants would have visited the parochial hall in St.Matthew’s on a Sunday evening to watch films without any fear of victimisation.We often played football together as opposed to simultaneously in Ormeau Park.
    At the start of the troubles an imported division of the IRA drilled in the Short Strand before mounting murderous attacks on the Protestant community fromm the church and its spire.Several Protestants were murdered and the relations between the communities went down hill from then. Protestants were evicted from the area including Carlton Street,Edgar Street and Comber Street and over time the attempts by the republican movement to make life unbearable for the people of Cluan Place have been well documented.The ethnic cleansing policy is now complete. The plan now is to move the “peace line” right up to Templemore Avenue and take Thistle Court,Tower Street and Westburn Street and the East Belfast Orange hall at Albertbridge into Republican territory. This will advance the Gerry Adams strategy of making all parades contentious and provide opportunities for republicans to generate instability at the flick of a switch.This is the present perception of the Protestant community in East belfast.

    The Parades Commission for its part will never make a determination that favours the civil and religious liberties of the protestant community and must be replaced by a mechanism that enables the Loyal Orders to have freedom of assembly and freedom to walk on the Queen’s highway.At Drumcree and Ardoyne it limits parades on the grounds that they would affect community relations and then permits a military style Republican Parade in Ballymena where no tradition of republican parading parading existed.The resultant impact on community relations has been clear to all.

    In general the traditional parades of the loyal orders must be permitted to continue as they have for more than a hundred years provided they are conducted in a responsible manner.That is an integral part of the expression of Orange and Protestant culture which must be afforded expression.
    Those who wish to protest should be required to act in a peaceful manner and the PSNI should ensure those who step outside the law are effectively dealt with this.

    The reports of police failure to act responsibly in East Belfast as described by other contributors are sound and represent the reality. This is not a defence of thuggery-but there is a responsibility on the police to act legally and with impartiality in all situations.

    Mr.Orde is too overtly political and anti-protestant in his policies and does not enable the PSNI to enjoy the confidence or respect of the Protestant community..

  • Antrim Springfarm

    The parade is traditional because these homes on the S’field road used to be Protestant.

  • Jo

    “At the start of the troubles an imported division of the IRA drilled in the Short Strand before mounting murderous attacks on the Protestant community fromm the church and its spire. Several Protestants were murdered “

    ..I think the reality is that the Short Strand and St Matthews were attacked (June 27 1970) by a drunken mob after an Orange “mini Twelfth” rally. Plus ca change, eh?

  • VICTOR1

    T.Ruth sorry but that is the biggest load of clap trap I have ever read with regard to the Short Strand! Your analysis of The Short Strand bears absolutely no resemblence to the area I was born and reared in!

    At the start of the troubles an imported division of the IRA drilled in the Short Strand before mounting murderous attacks on the Protestant community fromm the church and its spire.

    I think you will find history has it the Loyalist/Protestant community insigated the murderous attacks and the locaL Short Strand community defended their Curch and homes! The Cluan place attacks again NONESENSE the initial incident that led to the rioting in Cluan Place was an attack on Clandeboye Drive by Loyalist who had been displaced from the Shankill after another Loyalist Feud!

    The plan now is to move the “peace line” right up to Templemore Avenue and take Thistle Court,Tower Street and Westburn Street and the East Belfast Orange hall at Albertbridge into Republican territory

    This is Hysterical paranoia, the nationalist community in Short Strand have no interest in such a strategy, it doesn’t exist anywhere in the mindset of anyone in the Short Strand never has and I have no doubt never will! As for the ethnic cleansing of protestants from the Short Strand,well let me dispel that one, I still live in the Short Strand, my next door neighbour is a Protestant from the Newtownards rd, the neighbour next door to that is a Protestant from the Shankill Rd who happens to be a very good friend of mine and a work colleague, how many Catholics live in Cluan Plc or the Newtownards rd or the Shankill Rd or for that matter any area of a similair ilk!

    In general the traditional parades of the loyal orders must be permitted to continue as they have for more than a hundred years provided they are conducted in a responsible manner.

    Thats the major issue here, conducted in a responsible manner, what is responsible about marching through a Catholic area waving UVF/UDA flags, playing KICK THE POPE music, and mocking the deaths of the inhabitants at the hands of those same loyalist groupings? Take the Springfield parade for example, surely a responsible person wanting to portray his culture to his contempories would walk the lenght and breadth of the Shankill rd, Ballygomartin Rd and be fully enjoyed by its inhabitants but then again is it a parade about culture or coat trailing, I would suggest the latter!

  • DaysLikeThis

    I’m 48 years of age. I’m not much of a blogger(if that’s the correct description) but I do like to read on here.All of my life I have tried to be as even minded as I could be but now for the first time in my life I heard myself saying to rioters and the people who turn them out on the streets and the so-called-politicians who try to defend them “If you don’t like it and you’re not prepared to work peacefully to change it, get out” Not a pleasant or helpful thought. I’m ashamed of myself.
    A question: What is a loyalist and what are loyalisms aspirations?

  • Antrim Springfarm

    The Short Strand has seen ethnic cleansing of Protestants over the last number of decades – FACT.
    It is not under seige at all. I mean has anyone even seen Joe O’Donnell and pinocchio in the same room?
    Yes the Prod side of Madrid St and Thistle Court really look like they are laying seige to this poor catholic ‘enclave’.

    So answer me this. The twelfth used to be enjoyed by many Catholics and there was never any trouble at the parades. So have the Parades become more sectarian or have Catholics?

    Republicans think all this unrest is brilliant. But really, it moves us further and further away from a united Ireland. So what are we saying? Should the OO be restricted to their own areas? Well that is going to bode well for a united Ireland. This coupled with the RC desire to have a sectarian schooling system will ensure that a united Ireland remains impossible.
    I must say, it was funny seeing a young child (prompted by his parents) waving a tricolour on the roof of one of the S’field rd homes. The irony of the ‘orange’ element of the flag was obviously lost on them.

  • VICTOR1

    The Short Strand has seen ethnic cleansing of Protestants over the last number of decades – FACT.

    If its FACT produce the evidence, where has this ethnic cleansing taken place ? how many Protestants have been removed from the Short Strand in the cleansing? where are they now? total nonesense.

    Yes the Prod side of Madrid St and Thistle Court really look like they are laying seige to this poor catholic ‘enclave’.

    Wrecked by those from within thier own community just to get a dividing wall/gate, the paranoia withing East Belfast Unuionism is as I stated earlier reaching hysterical proportions, I live here and know the FACTS do you?

  • Antrim Springfarm

    As you obviously have a pc and net access you can look up the census data for yourself. I can provide the URL if you need it.
    You really are dellusional to believe that Protestants have not been put out of SS. Please look at the census figures, although I doubt it will make any difference to you. That is why I say it is FACT. The SS reminds every Prod in the East what a united Ireland would be like.
    There would be no justice; I mean if a Roman Catholic (RMcC was also a SF/IRA supporter) cannot get justice then who could??

    We used to live in Madrid St (what is now ‘the catholic’ end. Our good Protestant neighbour came home to find his furniture out on the street and was told not to come back. So we left too.

    Oh so it was Prods who wreaked their own houses to get a peace wall – what wonderful logic. So now that we have that lovely peace wall all those house are now…er…still bricked up.

    So it was Protestants who burnt two elderly sisters out?; poured petrol through the letterbox of a young Protestant woman’s house too in thistle court?

  • maca

    AS
    “The SS reminds every Prod in the East what a united Ireland would be like. There would be no justice;”

    You’re away with the fairies to be honest. You have no idea what a UI would be like.

  • VICTOR1

    So it was Protestants who burnt two elderly sisters out?; poured petrol through the letterbox of a young Protestant woman’s house too in thistle court?

    Yes it was and the 2 elderly women in question stated this at the time!
    The houses are still bricked up due to the local UDA’S extortion racketeers prohibiting builders working on the said houses, yesterday the very same houses were once again set on fire by Loyalists!!!Fact I live here and seen the blazing houses, houses which were beyond the peace line and could only have been torched by those that could reach them(the Protestants).I can certainly look up the census and I’m sure it would disprove your silly logic, the Short Strand currently has around 3000 inhabitants of that around 200 are of the Protestant faith, having moved here after marriage, how many Catholics could move to Protestant areas and carry on thier faith I would suggest not one. My next door nieghbours(and very good friend) wife is a Protestant from the shankill rd, she travels to watch her father a leading shankill rd Orangeman without fear or hindrance she professes her faith and culture quite openly in the Short Strand without hindrance, would the same apply had her husband moved to her area rather than the other way round ? As for your reference to Robert McCartney thats contemptible, ask the family of Jonathan Stewart about Justice?

  • Biffo

    Antrim Springfarm

    “SS reminds every Prod in the East what a united Ireland would be like.”

    Of course that same brainless argument could be used to justify a United Ireland.

    You will be aware that vast swathes of South Antrim have been ethnically cleansed of Catholics – and that is what the United Kingdom is actually like – it’s a country where wholesale ethnic cleansing of Catholics is ongoing (particularly county Antrim).

    Ironically, Cloughfern, ethnically cleansed of catholics years ago – there are none left to attack and the rioters managed to burn down the localDUP office

    Unionism will eat itself

  • Eamon Doherty

    Please allow me to respond to Alex. Firstly I wish to empathise with Alex because as a Nationalist I understand where he is coming from with regards to police brutality. For the best part of 30 years Catholics/ Nationalists have suffered at the hands of both the RUC and PSNI. The cases of Sean Downes, Pearse Jordan and Nora McCabe are but a few of the prime examples of the murder of innocent Catholics at the hand of the so called police force.
    Where I differ from Alex however is that I am not selective in my criticism of the RUC/PSNI. Police brutality/criminality is wrong regardless of whom it is inflicted upon.
    Maybe Alex was struck dumb or suffered from acute blindness when the RUC last forced Orange Order “parades” down the Garvaghy and Ormeau roads. On both occassions peaceful protestors (Men, women and children) were forcibly removed by repeated baton charging RUC Officers from their peaceful sit down protests. On both occassions Alex had nothing to say on the matter.
    Has Alex been living in some sort of a time warp or does he feel it is only necessary to comment on police brutality when those at the receiving end come from a loyalist/unionist background.

  • Jo

    dayslikethis:

    You and your views are welcome.

    “question: What is a loyalist and what are loyalisms aspirations? “

    Its very paradoxical to many that we see antics like this last weekend when the IRA, the traditional enemy of Loyalism and the very state of NI, has announced that its packing bags and slinking away.

    Gone is the welcome that the 1994 ceasfire inspired among some Loyalists “We accept the surrender of the IRA”

    Loyalism has triumped and the IRA are planning to go, if they already havent.

    What remains then? What has always been the case – fear. Fear that a deal has been done. Fear of being the minority in an island full of fenians.

    No evidence of this deal is to be found but no evidence will count against the fear that there is one. Paranoia? Well, it would be approrpiate if you consider that Paisley has a history of mental illness.

    Now the leader of Ulster Unionism as he always wished to be, has seen off ONeill, Faulkner Trimble, and his arch enemey Fitt. God must be looking at His watch, like the referee last Wednesday night.

    Paisley reigns supreme……………over ashes and burned out Protestant businesses and the private cars of ordinary people caught like that pregnant woman in the wrong place.

    Whatever Loyalism aspires to – it surely aint this. People have been offered a crossroads many times, under Paisley they have always always chosen the wrong road.

  • Antrim Springfarm

    You can read the story of the two sisters here

    It was the FIFTH time they had been attacked!! So you need to check out your sources. Well it was probably old Joe ‘pinocchio’ O’Donnell who told you that. I also remember him saying a ‘blast bomb’ had been thrown over the peaceline into the SS but alas this turned out to be an empty coke can with insulation tape round it. I bet Joe missed that day in Physics when they talked about projectiles.

    It was militant Catholics who have put Protestants our of: SS, Oldpark Rd, Ormeau Rd, Springfield Rd, New Barnsley, Torrens etc etc need I go on??

    Also it is evident at ALL of the interfaces who is the agressor.

    The following postcodes:
    BT5 4EE, BT5 4GF, BT5 4GJ, BT5 4GL, BT5 4GQ, BT5 4LA, BT5 4LE, BT5 4TH, BT5 4TZ, BT5 4WA, BT5 4WD, BT5 4WE, BT5 4YA, BT5 4YB are a snapshot of the SS and have the following culteral responses:

    Church of Ireland = 3
    Other (including Christian related) = 3
    Catholic = 275

    Data taken from the last census – FACT
    What a mixed area!

    As for an Orangeman being welcomed in the SS that is laughable – especially when the McCarntneys are being called “M.O.B’s” in the street simply for standing up to SF/IRA. Joe O’Donnell had lied so many times his lies had to catch up with him. So when he bought the land at the back of his house for dubious purposes he was subsequently ‘stood down’ from SF. But as per usual he ‘did nothing wrong’. It’s all case of hear no evil, speak no evil, do no evil. As the SS writing says (in ref to Robert) “Whatever you say, say nothing” P.O. Neil

  • Jo

    dayslikethis

    You and your comments are welcome. Whatever loyalism aspires to, it surely isnt burned out Protestant businesses and the destroyed cars of orduinary people, like that pregnant woman dragged from hers the other evening, or a 2 year old child with 12 stitches.

    Paisley presides over all, having seen off ONeill Faulkner, Trimble and lately, Fitt. His kingdon is of ashes, and God must surely be looking at His watch, much as the ref did last Wednesday night. 🙂

    The IRA are going or gone and Loyalism needs them to fight to hate to feel secure in an island stuffied with millions of Fenians.

    Having won, the IRA having effectively surrendered, their pathetic political leaders excuse brutality and insinuate that there are Catholics in the PSNI spoiling for a fight with them, so why not shoot and kill a few..loyalists and the Union deserve better but on being offered crossroads, they have always always chosen the wrong road, this time led by a man who in any normal country would have been in jail or in care many decades ago.
    Instead, he is leader of the biggest party – and still a deal is feared…

  • Jo

    Dayslikethis

    Whatever Loyalism aspires to its got to be something better than churchgoers robbed on a bus, a pregnant woman dragged from her car and a 2 yo with 12 stitches in its head.

    Paisley has inhereited a kingdon of ashes.

    Having seen off ONeill Faulkner Trimble and Fitt, surely God is looking at His watch a bit like the referee last Wednesday night. That was less than a week ago….

  • VICTOR1

    First I’ve no nead to read about the McLaughlin sisters I know them well and I know who burned them out of their home! As for the orangeman I think you should try reading again what I said, you’ll find no mention of an Orangeman being welcomed in the Strand!

    Also it is evident at ALL of the interfaces who is the agressor.

    It certainly is and as I live on one I’m well aware of my agressors and their attempt at ethnic cleansing, and attacks on my Chapel. The census you relate to is hardly a true reflection as I know plenty of people who don’t fill in their religion on these things. Finally you seem to have a bit of an obsession with Joe O’Donnell I on the have no oppinion on him whatsoever. Finally Finally I live here I know about the McCartneys as a matter of fact I was very good friends with their younger brother who sadly past away in unfortunate circumstances, I can state quite catagorically the vast majority of Short Strand residents support the McCartneys in their campaign, how many Shankill Rd residents support the Stewart familys campaign in Justice for their loved one, finally,finally,finally

    It was militant Catholics who have put Protestants our of: SS, Oldpark Rd, Ormeau Rd, Springfield Rd, New Barnsley, Torrens etc etc need I go on??

    I could quote numerous cases of ethnic cleansing of Catholics but quite simply whataboutery is a waste of a good debate, I see it as pointless and as such won’t bother!

  • Paul Panther

    Is T.Ruth a well known DUP politician currently enjoying a stint in Belfast’s City Hall?

  • Biffo

    Antrim Springfarm

    “Also it is evident at ALL of the interfaces who is the agressor.”

    Of course it is – it’s catholics and protestants.

    By the way thanks for the info on the Short Strand – I assumed it was an exclusively catholic area – now I find from your research that there actually are protestants living in Short Strand – I am very impressed.

    They have their fare share of problems (compare the murder of Robert McCarney with that of Stephen Nelson in Co.Antrim) but the fact that there are still protestants living there is a credit to them.

    Well done Short Strand and well done AS for shooting yourself in the foot (typical Loyalist).

  • gregory

    During the serious trouble on the Short Strand/Albertbridge road interface in 2002-2003
    Suzanne Breen did a piece on the sizeable number of Protestant people living within the Short Strand area.Many were part of mixed marriages and had lived happily and peacefully within the area for many years, some for decades.

  • Antrim Springfarm

    Biffo you really are simple. The census stats show the area to be a whopping 2% Protestant. This has dwindled down from around 40-50%.

    Victor, you know the sisters? well maybe you could educate your community and stop the numerous attacks on them. You talk about whataboutery and you don’t see it in yourself.

    I see you have bothered with the census figures yet. The fact of the matter is that only in Carrick has the RC population decreased – FACT. Any area in Belfast which became 20% Nationalist went on to be 90+% Nationalist.

    You can not name one single example of where Catholics being ethnically cleansed to the extent of the areas previously listed above. Have you ever seen Torrens? How many empty homes in the SS? How many are empty on the Prod side.

    There is one benefit to the SS Republican state of denial – it keeps a united Ireland as just a dream. Each vicious attack on the Protestant neighbours helps secure the union. The sooner republicans realise this the better. By excluding OO marches from ‘your’ areas also helps make sure a united Ireland on the ground is impossible.

  • bart

    How many empty homes in the SS? How many are empty on the Prod side.

    As someone who works within the housing sector, i think the above comment is a little misleading.

    Housing associations and the Housing Executive have certain policies regarding ‘problem’ families who have had problems with their neighbours in different estates in and around Belfast.

    Basically they are simply dumped in specific places away from their previous abode.

    Unfortunetly for the long term residents of Madrid St/Thistle Court, this is one such dumping ground.

    Some residents have found this to be unacceptable and requested moves due to the boistrous nature of the ‘new’ neighbours and the increase in petty crime.

    These places are becoming no go areas for families and the various housing agencies find it impossible to persuade tennants to move into the area

  • VICTOR1

    What is the census stats with regard to Catholics in the Shankill, Newtownards rd,Albertbridge rd, Crumlin Rd,Woodstock Rd,Castlereagh Rd,,Cregagh rd,Carrickfergus,Ballymena,Antrim,Larne,Ards,Bangor,Hollywood,Portadown,Ahogill,Rathcoole,Coleraine,Ballymoney,Lisburn town,Randalstown,Banbridge I could of course go on but its pointless! As for the sisters (there name is Greta and Lila McLaughlin by the way) They were burnt out of their homes because they had catholic friends my (aunt home helped them)As for the empty homes issue, thats purely and simply down to intimadation from within,the Loyalist paramiltarys can’t live with each other(see latest Loyalist feud) let alone have a Catholic about the place. The union with Britain will disolve and will do so at the hands of the Loyalists, watch and see!

  • Fishfiss

    Sooo…no actual rationale as such for this alleged loyalists rage at all then, no ?

  • Moderate Unionist

    VICTOR1
    You don’t get it. Republicans need a happy settled Unionist population or they have no chance of either a United Ireland or even improving conditions in Northern Ireland. The fate of the two communities who live in Northern Ireland are inextricably linked.

    So whilst you wallow in delight at the demise of working class protestants, you are actually condeming yourself and your community to a life of social disadvantage. It is not as if Twinbrook or Poleglass are miles better off than the Shankill.

    The only way forward is powersharing as part of a just settlement. Your sectarian attitudes are just a bad as themmuns. When the dust has settled it will be interesting to see how we rebuild (build) community relations (and who is going to fund it).

    For the record, I condemn absolutely, attacks against the police,soldiers or just plain ordinary citizens. I oppose riots whether organised or not. I support the rule of law. I believe in the principle of consent and I believe in democracy.

    IRA or UDA… it makes no difference

    Don’t just lecture us, don’t just tell us what to do. Work out how you can help. Demonstrate your willingness to move forward.

  • Fishfiss

    Beats me why the, on their terms, disenfranchised ‘voiceless’ loyalist underclass, isn’t venting its collective spleen against the chancers who come knocking their doors looking for, and in large measure sadly getting, their votes.

  • Antrim Springfarm

    Bart it is the same at EVERY interface – the Protestant side looks like a war zone; whereas there are few (if any) boarded up houses. Victor I was using the census stats to disprove your fantasy that the SS is a mixed area.
    Regarding the elderly sisters they have been attacked NUMEROUS times by violent Republicans from the SS – STOP PEADLING THE LIE THAT IT WAS LOYALISTS!

    Have you ever wondered why Protestants have left Belfast and west of the Bann in their droves?? Protestants prefer to live in mainly Protestant areas because in the past an influx of Catholics in the area has meant trouble. Ask yourself why do Prods keep moving out of areas that become increasingly Catholic????

    Moderate I agree 100%. Republicans never seem to see the bigger picture. They think it is great to stop an OO parade but fail to see the wider long term repercussions. I have never heard any Republican’s view of OO parades in a united Ireland context. “Just keep them to your own areas” is the cry. Well that is stuff of partitionists now isn’t it??? Coupled with the sectarian RC schooling system it all makes a good case for cultural aparthied.

  • lib2016

    “Have you ever wondered why Protestants have left Belfast and West of the Bann……?

    Antrim Springfarm

    Look at the United States for many examples of ‘white flight’ to the surburbs. Could it be true that unionists dislike Catholics to such an extent that they refuse to live with them.

    Yet another explanation for what’s happening is given when one compares houseprices. The nationalist population is expanding and rising in social status. Hence one good economic reason for population movement, and there are others.

    Up until a very few years ago the comparative wealth of East Belfast was mentioned by several commentators and attributed to the number of Protestants in state jobs.

    The Equality Commission have noted that those lower and mid-level jobs are now being taken by candidates from the nationalist community as the unionists retire. In fact this decade will mean that Catholics are moving into senior posts in ever larger numbers.

    Ten years ago the East was prosperous but it only took a few days to reduce it to a warzone and reveal the social changes of the last ten years.

    Unionists need to rebuild their community – not to cling to the mistakes of the past.

  • Biffo

    Antrim Springfarm

    “is the same at EVERY interface”

    That whole paragraph is easily rubbished.

    You are just a liar, pure and simple

    Over the past 35-40 years Cathoilics have been intimidated out of their homes in Belfast and all over Northern Ireland in their thousands, as you and everybody else well knows.

    You do yourself and unionism no favours with your braindead loyalist propaganda.

  • Antrim Springfarm

    “I can state quite catagorically the vast majority of Short Strand residents support the McCartneys in their campaign”

    Are you for real!!!!! so what better way to support the campaign than to vote for SF/IRA – the enemies of Robert.
    First they said “Oh it was just a bar-room scuffle – he was killed by a thug”. Then after pressure they had to ‘admit’ SF/IRA were involved in some shape or form.

    Deborah Devenny’s main mandate was to get rid of Mountpottinger PSNI station. So the PSNI is unacceptable? You’d prefer the SF/IRA approach then? NO JUSTICE

  • VICTOR1

    AS: you are a numbskull of magnificent proportions there have been absolutely no lies on my behalf with respect to the McLaughlin sisters(thats thier name by the way)Loyalist bigots burned these two elderly protestant ladys from thier home.

    Have you ever wondered why Protestants have left Belfast and west of the Bann in their droves?? Protestants prefer to live in mainly Protestant areas because in the past an influx of Catholics in the area has meant trouble. Ask yourself why do Prods keep moving out of areas that become increasingly Catholic????

    This one is easily answered, they can’t have a Fenian about the place, as pointed out earlier, though it seems AS your unable to comprehend, and contrary to popular belief Protestants, live,work and socialise in the Short Strand and other predominately Catholic areas, tell me doe’s the same apply in Protestant ares, I think not.I stated The Short Strand has a number of Protestant inhabitants I hardly think that implies a mixed area in the common sense of the term, your playing with words, just like the OO condone or condemn Cé Acu Is Fearr Leat?

  • VICTOR1

    Deborah Devenny’s main mandate was to get rid of Mountpottinger

    And build much needed housing on the vacated space, it is after all virtually unmanned so are you suggesting it should stay there at all costs.

    So the PSNI is unacceptable?

    It seems they are unacceptable to both sections of our community, what do you think?
    I don’t think anyone has ever been given a vote on the IRA, and yes Sinn Fein do pretty well given thier social and economic policys and background in the community are highly attractive to the populace within the Strand.

  • brian

    harland and wolff and shorts employ a smaller fraction of people than before, that is why the people in east belfast are broke and self esteem is at an all time low, life doesnt get handed to you, go find it and stop moaning

    Until someone of some intelligence explains equality (not donaldson!!!!) to the working class prod then they will be left behind!!!

  • alex benjamin

    Following the numerous comments on this issue doubting my account of events I can only say the following. I was there. I know what i saw and heard. I stand by every word.

  • lib2016

    brian

    The people in East Belfast as in other unionist areas are having to share jobs in manufacturing and the security industry just as those jobs are disappearing.

    They are being hit with a double whammy, although as is noted in today’s papers, they are still getting more than their fair share in most areas.

    The problem for unionists is that they used to get ALL the cake and now have to share it.

  • VICTOR1

    Alex did you see all of this from inside the UUP offices? Alex did you see masked Loyalists from your vantage point?