Why the pre-meditated riot?

Kevin Myers in a short piece in the First Post, argues that the rioters are simply following their own logic that if the IRA got away with the judicious application violence in order to win influence and concessions with the British, they might just gain something too.

  • circles

    Was only a matter of time before someone insinuated that the IRA were somehow to blame for all this.
    Nice try Myers, but nobody is buying. I know its hard for you but these days journalists are actually to think about these events rather than resorting to what was a traditionally sufficient knee-jerk reaction. “Its cuzza emmins” does not explain these riots.

  • peteb

    Fintan O’Toole says something similar in the article, from the Irish Times, I linked to in the post below –

    Btw.. you may want to resize that image, Mick 😉

  • smcgiff

    Is it just me or is the most staunch defence/excuses of the rioting coming from ROI newspapers?

  • VICTOR1

    Excuse my ignorance here but am I missing something, were Loyalists NOT involved in violence over the last 30 years and more? must have all been a crazy dream!

  • circles

    No no VICTOR1 – they only ever reacted don’t you know?

  • Dick Doggins

    And there was little old me thinking this violence was premeditated and organised by the UVF and the UDA…..Petrol and blast bombs along with guns just don`t appear from thin air, or do they?

  • slackjaw

    Yes, the threat of loyalist violence has never been enough to push a parade through in the past, so it must have been inspired by republican violence. Not.

  • fair_deal

    “Is it just me or is the most staunch defence/excuses of the rioting coming from ROI newspapers?”

    Is distance providing perscpective?

  • Biffo

    Victor1

    “Excuse my ignorance here but am I missing something, were Loyalists NOT involved in violence over the last 30 years and more? must have all been a crazy dream!”

    No, their only crime was loyalty.

  • circles

    The surely the London press would see even more clearly F_D.

  • fair_deal

    Circles

    Some of the London media have made similar comments to O’Toole and Myers. e.g. Jonathan Frieldand’s piece in the Guardian, the Sunday Times editorial and the Bruce Anderson piece in the Independent.

  • patrick smith

    Loyalist have not been involved in trouble these past 30 odd years, ha like hell they haven’t! the first bombs of these troubles where planted by the UVF (silent valley) the first policeman killed was killed by loyalist (shankill road) the last policeman killed was by loyalist (blast bomb dumcree) first policewoman killed was by loyalist (bangor) the first and only fireman killed was shot by loyalist (donegal pass)and still they are at it.

  • Michael Turley

    Does violence pay really? Surely the Republican movement has made large strides through the reduction and apparent attempted removal of violent means.

    And what are the loyalists actually raging against? The inability to march through sectarian flashzones? This was militant criminal Unionism flexing its muscles in deprived areas where the response is predictable (as in similar nationalist areas). The stark lack of leadership in the Unionist community, whether it manifested as Reg Empeys ineffective rambling, Ian Paisleys mute abnegation of responsibility or Dawson Bailies amateur incoherence is appalling.

  • Michael Turley

    Does violence pay really? Surely the Republican movement has made large strides through the reduction and apparent attempted removal of violent means.

    And what are the loyalists actually raging against? The inability to march through sectarian flashzones? This was militant criminal Unionism flexing its muscles in deprived areas where the response is predictable (as in similar nationalist areas). The stark lack of leadership in the Unionist community, whether it manifested as Reg Empeys ineffective rambling, Ian Paisleys mute abnegation of responsibility or Dawson Bailies amateur incoherence is appalling.

    And the suggestion that rioters have learnt that “violence works” is a cop-out.

  • Dessertspoon

    Hey Biffo is it just me or does “their only crime was loyalty” sound like some cheesie tag line from a made for TV movie!

  • cladycowboy

    ‘and the Bruce Anderson piece in the Independent’

    Bruce usually infers this,

    ‘working class: work-shy scroungers’ but as he is a proud empire man now in the Ulster context its…

    ‘working class protestants: unrepresented hard done-by salt of the earth’

    The OO sash has slipped. I like how distance gives perspective when it usually brings ignorance or were Noraid right all along?

  • VICTOR1

    Thing is that violence was reactionary, whatever thats supposed to mean!

  • Loyal_Ulsterman

    This weekend was really a missed opportunity. The British government should have mobilised the RIR, and sent them into riot control mode. This would have helped the RIR demonstrate to all of us, why they should be retained.

  • Alex

    What was it I said again? Fascistic drug dealers led by religious fanatics who would be locked up in ten minutes if they were anything other than Christians.

  • beano

    “Does violence pay really? Surely the Republican movement has made large strides through the reduction and apparent attempted removal of violent means.”

    Exactly. You need to create violence before you can remove it. In normal circumstances it’s called blackmail, or perhaps in the circumstances of this weekend’s rioting, domestic violence would be a more appropriate analogy.

  • Alan McDonald

    Beano,

    You need to create violence before you can remove it.

    This makes sense out of calling people peacemakers (as in Blessed are the …) only after they have stopped being violent. (Personally, I always thought “peacemaker” should be reserved for those who have ALWAYS been making peace not war.)

    And, yes, if the loyalist rioter has really “stopped beating his wife,” then domestic violence would be a more appropriate analogy.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I find comments “loyalists have now discovered that violence works, this is all the fault of the governments/agreement/concessions/etc” not only to be factually incorrect, but apparently the work of those with dubiously revisionist agendas.

    Violence has been used by loyalists throughout the state, and before, to get what they wanted. The largest ever concession made to public disorder, rioting and paramilitary threats was at the end of the UWC strike in 1974. It’s utterly hypocritical for unionists to claim that loyalists have just recently growing tired of democracy which doesn’t seem to work – the people who presently represent unionism, quite frankly, are not interested in democracy and have never even tried it.

    If the union is to be saved, unionists must stop this pretence that they have historically been committed to democracy. The events of the past weekend show in stark terms that they are not. Secondly, we need to have talks and hammer out an agreed settlement. As part of that agreement, everyone needs to accept that there must be give and take, particularly on the subject of marching. The part of this that unionists seem to have trouble accepting is that there won’t be a deal where everyone gets what they want, 100% of the time. If loyalists have serious grievances (I still haven’t heard any but I remain hopeful) that need to be fixed, then let’s hear them and get all of this sorted out.

  • fair_deal

    Alan McDonald

    “(as in Blessed are the …)”

    That is based on an assumption that the biblical and normal defintions of peace are the same.

    CS

    “public disorder, rioting and paramilitary threats was at the end of the UWC strike in 1974”

    When was their public disorder and rioting during the UWC strike?

    “not only to be factually incorrect”

    I don’t think the use of violence can be viewed as always successful or always unsuccessful.

    In North and West Belfast, nationalists engaged in sectarian rioting at the Tour of the North and 12th July parade. Since the second larger riot there has not been a favourable decision on parade routes in North and West Belfast. Last year after the 12th riot the same happened on the Crumlin Road. Some see a relationship between these two, a clear cause and effect.

    “As part of that agreement, everyone needs to accept that there must be give and take, particularly on the subject of marching.”

    If memory serves the Whiterock route has been changed 5 times. The Springfield Concerned Residents Action Group presented 5 issues Parades Forum reps gave the required commitments on 4 of them and asked for movement from SCRAG on the last one the route, SCRAG refused.

    In Portadown the number of parades to which nationalists objected to were cut from 10 to 1.

    Plenty of take where is the give?

  • brad

    “When was their public disorder and rioting during the UWC strike?”

    Sean Byrne was from Tannaghmore, near Ballymena.
    He and his brother were murdered by the uda for refusing to close their bar during the uwc strike.

    Does murder count as disorder ?

  • VICTOR1

    Simple question fair_deal, why must orange parades walk where they are not accepted by the populace?

  • Comrade Stalin

    “Since the second larger riot there has not been a favourable decision on parade routes in North and West Belfast.”

    That might be something to do with the fact that the Parades Commission rules in favour of the residents by default whenever the marchers refuse to meet it.

    It might also be to do with the fact that on several occasions during previous years, the marchers violated the Parades Commission rulings, or “bent” the rulings. The Parades Commission has a specific mandate to rule against parades where bad behaviour from the marching body previously occurred. That is the case with many of the disputed marches around Belfast, where the Orange Order refused to take responsibility for the hangers-on.

    Thirdly, it might even be something to do with the fact that the Orange Order won’t talk to residents. It then falls to the Parades Commission to locate the centre ground as best it can. It would be wrong to say that it is right all the time, but that’s what happens when people abdicate their own responsibility to make a decision.

    By the way, the “Parades Forum” is a bit of a joke. The Orange Order complains because residents appoint paramilitary-linked individuals to speak for it, and yet here we are, with a paramilitary-sponsored voluntary body calling the shots over parades in Belfast. It’s rather sickening.

    I see the line about violence winning concessions as a cover for the real fact that you do not wish to acknowledge, which is that many people find these parades genuinely offensive. They may not express themselves by rioting, but that does not mean that rioters speak for them. The Orange Order and some of these other organizations do not appear to care about this fact, nor do they appear to be genuinely interested in addressing serious matters such as that of hangers-on.

    “In Portadown the number of parades to which nationalists objected to were cut from 10 to 1.”

    Perhaps they’ve backed down on some ?

    “Plenty of take where is the give?”

    How can there be a concept of give ? Nationalists don’t very often march through loyalist areas, with men waving IRA banners and shouting obscene comments about the Poppy Day bomb ? If they did, perhaps you would have a point.

    I know this is the Sinn Fein line, but given that there are several thousands of parades each year and a tiny proportion of those are contested – and that in several cases the contested parades get to keep their proposed route – the word “plenty” seems excessive. Given that this year, the re-route involved a 100 yard (Newton Emerson said 75 yard?) change, why is this issue being treated as if barriers were being thrown up against almost all Orange marching ? Less than 1% of the marches are being disputed. The way people are talking, it is as if 25% or more have been stopped.

    It’s not reasonable to expect that you can have your way every single time. The reasonable position is one of compromise. Given that 99% of marches are proceeding as normal, to me the compromise seems reasonable. Why would anyone try to say that it is not ?

    As I’ve said before, in an ideal world, people should be able to march where they want, when they want. The idea of no-go areas for people of a certain stripe is basically apartheid. But we’re not in an ideal world, we’re in a country where people generally don’t stand up for respect and tolerance, either in the way that they express themselves, or in the way that the deal with others expressing themselves. An IRA parade down the Shankill Road would not be tolerated for a second – even though, in an ideal world, perhaps it should be. Equally, an Orange Order parade with coat-trailing UVF supporters does not go down well in some parts of Belfast. Even though, in an ideal world, perhaps it should do.

  • Denny Boy

    Apologies for the lateness of this post. Anybody else a bit bemused by Newsnight yesterday (Monday)? I had expected the rioting to be the main item, but no.

    Funny that, when Hugh Orde called it the worst rioting ever in the UK, or words to that effect.

    Also, Jeremy Paxman, having twice wondered aloud why the soi-disant “loyalists” were indeed so called “for want of a better word”, went on to interview a fellow hack in Belfast who wasn’t as enlightening as he could have been.

    No politicians, not one! Was NOBODY available? Does this mean that the British are now well and truly pissed off with NI?

    or…

    [Insert your fav conspiracy theory here.]

  • Comrade Stalin

    On the UWC strike point, there were roadblocks, cars and trucks burnt out, and the paramilitaries and unionist essentially staged a coup and stopped electricity and fuel supplies. I guess in some people’s books that is not disorder.

    Victor1, this country is heading in a very dangerous direction if we start acknowledging tribal no-go areas, which is what you mean by “areas where certain people are not wanted”. It’s not right that people can point at other people and say, this is our turf and you’re not allowed in here. That is essentially apartheid. However, neither nationalists nor unionists presently respect that fact.

    The way out of this problem is for marchers to give in now and again, and for people living in areas where marches occur to ignore them or stage peaceful counter-demonstrations.

    It is a myth to believe that unionists are in favour of the unrestricted right to march anywhere by anyone. Unionists do not support the that right to march any more than nationalists do. It just happens that unionists march a lot and nationalists generally don’t. There’s no way on this earth that an internment day march through the middle of Portadown would be upheld by Unionists as the right to walk the Queen’s highway – absolutely no way. It would be described as inflammatory, offensive, outrageous and would stoke community tensions.

  • Denny Boy

    Comrade, I had trouble posting again, so my post kind of crossed yours. I only saw it at the same time my own, slightly irrelevant one, appeared.

    Phew! I’m still trying to digest it. Lots of gems in there, but this one stands out:

    “It would be wrong to say that it [the Parades Commission] is right all the time, but that’s what happens when people abdicate their own responsibility to make a decision.”

    Keep ’em coming.

  • bertie

    “How can there be a concept of give ? Nationalists don’t very often march through loyalist areas, with men waving IRA banners and shouting obscene comments about the Poppy Day bomb ? If they did, perhaps you would have a point.”

    Just to make the point that those of use who do support the OO parades, are not supporting men marching through ANY areas waving “loyalist” terrorist banners and shouting obscence comments about, say, Greysteel. At least, most of us are not advocating this.

    Which is not to say that people haven’t been taunted about these atrocities on different occasions.

  • brendan, belfast

    There are more than 3,000 parades per year – less than 5% of them are non loyal order / band parades. less than 300 are regarded as contentious and of those approx 300 51 of them relate to the weekly protest parade at Garvaghy Road – that leaves 250 other onctested parades. of those approx 20% are restricted. thats about 50 parades, some restricted in terms of music, other on route.

    Who can argue whether the Parades Commission get is ‘right’ all the time, or any time? if there was a straightforward ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ surely there would be no need for a Commission?

  • WILLIE

    TWO THINGS CONFUSING ME AND ANYONE WATCHING THE LOYALISTS WRECKING ‘NORN IRON’
    1- THE RIGHT TO WALK THE ROADS/ QUEENS HIGHWAY – WHY THEN BLOCK THEM, BURN THEM, RIOT ON THEM ETC ETC MAKING IT WELL NIGH IMPOSSIBLE TO DO SAME!!!
    2- WHY DID THEY WAIT UNTIL AFTER THE ENGLAND GAME, THEY LOST A GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO MAXIMISE TV PUBLICITY TO THE MAINLAND AUDIENCE, DEFEAT FOR ‘NORN IRON’ COULD HAVE BEEN SNATCHED FROM VICTORY – SOMETHING LOYALISM UNDER DUP ARE VERY GOOD AT!!!

  • Denny Boy

    “There are more than 3,000 parades per year…”

    Good grief! Somebody might want to get a life.

  • Denny Boy

    Willie should ask the designer of the Guardian masthead how to find the lowercase letters on his keyboard.

  • fair_deal

    CS

    A lot of your last message is the standard nationalist response. However, what has been attempted in North and West Belfast is not the standard Unionist approach. Its experience has shown the standard nationalist claims don’t stand up.

    “the Parades Commission rules in favour of the residents by default whenever the marchers refuse to meet it.”

    1. That was not the reason given in the determinations on the Crumlin Road.
    2. Dialogue ended before the 12th July parade so if that was the reasoning it would not have been allowed.
    3. In the case of the Crumlin Road the nominated negotiators of Ardoyne broke the commitments they made why keep talking if they can’t deliver?

    “where the Orange Order refused to take responsibility for the hangers-on.”

    1. Under human rights law a parade organiser has no legal control over anyone attending/watching/walking by, how can you be made responsible for someone you have no control over? If you turn up at a parade and behave however you please I cannot do anything other than ask you to desist. If I physical touch you I can be charged with assault.
    2. Marshalling of families returning home was organised at Ardoyne so that one does not apply.
    3. On the Whiterock parade it is bands and orange members only so that argument does not apply.

    “Less than 1% of the marches are being disputed. The way people are talking, it is as if 25% or more have been stopped”

    The number of towns/villages/areas of cities with parades disputes has spread so it is an increasing percentage. These inlcude off the top of my head Londonderry, Limavady, Magherafelt, Maghera, Crumlin, Randalstown, Lurgan, Portadown, Keady, Newry, Ballymena, Castlederg, Kilkeel, Annalong, Ballycastle, Rasharkin, Dunloy, Stoneyford, Lisnaskea, Bellaghy, East, West, North and South Belfast.

    “Given that this year, the re-route involved a 100 yard (Newton Emerson said 75 yard?) change, why is this issue being treated as if barriers were being thrown up against almost all Orange marching “

    That was the SIXTH rerouting and was only possible after the PSNI got a road specially built that isn’t even a public road. Why can we not use a pedestrian access point which has an open gate 365 days of the year?

    “How can there be a concept of give ?”

    1. If you object to X Y and Z and someone offers you X and Y are you not willing to move on Z Is that not a concept of give? SCRAG put forward 5 concerns they were given 4. Where was their spirit of compromise?

    Compromise

    1. As you point out yourself the two communities are not mirror images of one another on parades but undermines what you yourself call for compromise. If the only thing in the table is the number of Orange parades what is nationalism being asked to give? It is in a can’t-lose negotiating stance and the OO in a can’t-maintian or gain position. The OO walks consistently away with less. The OO has tried to push the concept of accomodation ie tell us concerns we address the concerns but we still parade.
    2. Why is it that human rights and equality agendas apply when nationalism wants something but if it is Unionism suddenly compromise is the order of the day?

    “people should be able to march where they want, when they want”

    Hear. Hear. Now if this is what an ideal or normal approach why don’t we make that the standard? We live in an abnormal society is a way to a normal society not simply by applying those norms? That would mean dictating change to nationalists are they incapable of changing on this issue? How can abnormal structures like the Parades Commission leads us to normality?

  • Headmelter

    “That was the SIXTH rerouting and was only possible after the PSNI got a road specially built”

    I didn’t know this.
    Yet more discrimination against the nationalist people. Roads specially built for the OO to walk on.
    Utterly diabolical. 😉

  • Denny Boy

    Watson, J. (1907), “Kinaesthetic and Organic Sensations: Their Role in the Reactions of the White Rat to the Maze.”:

    “A rat placed within the maze might follow an erroneous route a number of times, and be penalized. After a given number of failed attempts, however, the rat will learn that traveling the same route will not elicit a reward, and will seek out a better route.”

    Rats are smart cookies.

  • Dandyman

    “people should be able to march where they want, when they want”

    In all fairness lads, it’s not exactly new for police forces anywhere to keep large groups of people, who want to goad and provoke each other into dangerously violent running street battles, away from each other. What do you think The heavy police presence at soccer fixtures every staurday all over the UK & Europe is for? I think painting the NI situation as unique and bleating on about ‘rights’ and ‘provocation’ is a bit rich. Rangers and Celtic fans are segregated in Glasgow, so are Real Madrid & Barcelona fans in Madrid, so are rival factions in Italy. Hooligans are hooligans and rival sects of hooligans are best kept apart. It happens everywhere else so why should the OO expect special treatment?

  • fair_deal

    Dandyman

    “What do you think The heavy police presence at soccer fixtures every staurday all over the UK & Europe is for?”

    Yes there is a heavy police presence but the matches are still allowed to go ahead and fans are allowed to travel to the opposition’s ground.

  • Dandyman

    Fair enough point, but I somehow doubt that Liverpool/AC Milan/Glasgow Celtic fans would be allowed to stroll right through the heartland of Everton/Inter/Rangers supporters, after winning a big game 4-3, wearing their team replica jerseys, walking behind a big brass band playing their team anthem, and carrying big flagpoles with pictures of the winning goalscorer, and the time and date of the game, and in front of a big mob of skinhead & tattooed thugs in string vests giving the finger to the residents and screaming “FOUR-THREE YOU BASTARDS! FOOO-UUR THREE-EEE!!!”

  • fair_deal

    Dandyman

    1. For a number of years there has been no music played on the Springfield Road (until Saturday’s parade when it was one of the forms of protest against the determination) and Crumlin Road parades.
    2. On the Springfield Road there are no followers/spectators. On the Crumlin Road the people are trying to get home to Ballysillan safely not an easy task in the face of the sectarianism of Ardoyne even with a substantial police and army presence.
    3. You obviously haven’t been going to the football matches I have.