For F***ks Sake Will You Listen To Us

Irish Times Northern News Editor Dan Keenan talks to ordinary residents of the Shankill’s Woodvale area, including building contractor Sam Robertson and finds a seam of seething and potentially lethal frustration that runs much deeper than the riotous reaction to the recent Parades Commission decision.(Subs req.) Robertson says he has no paramilitary links, is not an Orange man or a member of a Unionist party and has spent years keeping young lads off the streets and on the football pitch but attitudes are hardening – as are his.

  • Alan2

    There was a similar article in yesterdays Newsletter interviewing Baroness Blood and also Frank Mcounbrey where he states that

    “I saw the day when I could have walked onto the road during trouble and tried to bring it to an end.

    This week I have been powerless because people are so angry

    Last weekend I saw men arrive in cars with their sons to see how they could help to make a stand

    I have never seen that before – people who would not have crossed their door to get involved with the protests are now getting involved”

  • bootman

    self-pitying nonsense.

  • Fanny

    Agreed. These people are no better than republicans.

  • bootman

    Agreed. These people are no better than republicans.

    Posted by: Fanny at September 17, 2005 12:55 PM

    guess the diffirence is republicans have a political leadership

  • Henry94

    The question is will a moderate voice of unionism emerge or not. We used to talk about a Uuionist DeKlerk but right now I’d settle for a Unionist Alex Attwood because there appears to be nobody to do business with.

    Paisley it seems can give voice to the mob but can’t lead it. If he can’t then nobody can and maybe that’s the reality.

  • Els

    I think the fudges and choreography and deals as if people don’t matter (how many murders before teh ceasefire was declared broke). Reap what you sow comes to mind. Treat people with disdain and eventually they will respond.


    Agreed. These people are no better than republicans.But they think they are!!

  • Richard

    Henry, a ‘moderate voice of unionism’ is not going to solve this particular problem. These people feel, rightly or wrongly, completely disenfranchised by the political process. They need to be engaged with, not forgotten about. Distasteful as it may seem, the answer is more likely to come in the form of a loyalist version of Sinn Fein, than a moderate voice.

  • Richard

    Henry, a ‘moderate voice of unionism’ is not going to solve this particular problem. These people feel, rightly or wrongly, completely disenfranchised by the political process. They need to be engaged with, not forgotten about. Distasteful as it may seem, the answer is more likely to come in the form of a loyalist version of Sinn Fein, than a moderate voice.

  • Alan2

    “The question is will a moderate voice of unionism emerge or not.”

    We had a moderate leader in David Trimble and each time he made a laep of faith the British government, Tony B.Liar and Republicans let him swing by his neck……and did not support him when he needed support.
    Thats the problem. If instead of simply opposing Orange emarches or Unionism you opposed the hate mongers but supported the moderates as they try to bring everyone along with them to get Orangeism back to family events with greater cultural aspects then we might see change but instead those moderates are also opposed which therefore leads the people to think that moderate policies fail and there stance hardens.

  • dave

    I thought the Woodvale was a uvf stronghold

    Locals musn’t be worried about the paramilitaries poisoning their kids with drugs and blowing their knees off when they look the wrong way at a uvf man.

    Complete tripe.


    Richard,didn’t Loyalists already have a version of Sinn Fein, in the PUP/UDP niether of whom could cut it in politics so they reverted back to doing what they do best, we all know what that is don’t we! They can’t dominate, they can’t walk wherever they wish, they can’t walk into jobs over Catholics, they don’t have a police force they feel is thiers and only thiers, thier not disenfranchised, Catholics have caught up in the cival rights stakes they were so sadly lagging behind in, thats all Unionists don’t like Catholics having equality and we’re all supposed to feel sorry for them, let them come into a United Ireland we don’t have violins but play a mighty fine lament on the fiddle.

  • els

    Alan have you not noticed Sinn Fein’s strategy is to fracture unionism and this suits them. Adams is now in America talking about how the unionists don’t want to move forward with the riots in the background and he smells like roses. It’s no use asking republicans for support, republicans would rather see unionism flounder no matter who is the leader.

    It is up to unionists themselves to get their house in order. For ultimately if they will not support Trimble then Trimble will fall no matter what republicans do.

    Trimbles day is over anyway. But the UUP needs to determine do they want to be the middle class man’s DUP or do they want to take a stand for modern unionism. If they want to take a stand they will have to be strong. If they want to imitate the DUP then look to less votes for unionist parties overall and more unionist voters disengaging from the state and teh system.

    In that case, another victory for the sectarians who don’t care about anyone but themselves.

  • spirit-level

    Richard how can you listen to people who refuse to talk to you?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    The sole reason that the rump statelette of Northern Ireland exists is that, once upon a time, after the start of Prohibition but before the Great Depression as we Yanks measure time, the Protestants of the Ulster plantation were afraid that, in a free and united Ireland, they might be treated in the same fashion as they and the forebears had treated Catholic for, what, some several centuries. Thus, there really can’t be such a thing as a “moderate Unionist,” since “the Union” is a binary equation — either it is or it isn’t. They might be “kinder and gentler” Unionists, but they’re not moderate.

    As for Unionist politics outside the union, until and unless they quit manipulating to the darker emotions of the Protestant majority. I feel sorry for the lower economic stata of Protestants — they have always been the toys of their bosses — treated poorly, but always give the cold comfort of not being “taigs,’ a feeling they are losing as civil rights and equaltiy slowly seep into affairs.

    I’ll ask the same question of Paisley as I used to ask about Palestinian leaders — how many of his own battles did he fight? I have old pictures of the “Right Reverand” Paisley exhorting men with nail-studded boards to violence, but, as someone noted elsewhere, he tends to wsh his hands of matters before things reach their logical conclusion. He every have sufficient courage in his convictions to send his son forth to do battle in the streets?

  • Richard

    Victor, yes I guess you could call the PUP the loyalist sinn fein. The problem wasn’t that ‘they couldn’t cut it’, David Ervine is a good politician IMO, the problem was they never attracted significant levels of support. As to why that is, I don’t really know. Perhaps the protestant working class felt that their future would be best served by voting for moderates like the UUP, even the DUP were moderate compared to the PUP. Perhaps they felt that voting for terrorists was best left to Sinn Fein voters. However, voting for moderates has utterly failed these people, and seeing the way both governments have fallen over themselves to grant concessions to terrorists in northern ireland, I reckon a PUP revival could well be on the cards. As for the rest of your post, I don’t understand what that has to do with the discussion.

    Spirit level, i’m not sure what you mean, do you mean listen to working class protestants?


    The moderate leader in David Trimble:

    He was elected to the Northern Ireland Convention in 1975 as a Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party member for South Belfast and for a time he served as the party’s joint-deputy leader, along with the Ulster Defence Association’s Glen (or Glenn) Barr. The party had been established by William Craig to oppose sharing power with Catholics.
    Trimble was unexpectedly elected leader of the UUP, defeating the front-runner John Taylor. His election as party leader came in the aftermath of his leading role in the facilitating of a controversial Orange Order (of which Trimble is a member) march, amidst civil disorder, down a road near a Catholic neighbourhood in Portadown, County Armagh. Trimble and Ian Paisley walked down the road hand-in-hand dancing on the rights of the Catholics who lived there.
    He opposed the role of the United States senator Senator George Mitchell as chairman of the multi-party talks which resulted in the Belfast Agreement.
    arguments over the extent of Provisional IRA decommissioning meant that Trimble’s tenure as First Minister was repeatedly interrupted. In particular: Seal of the Senate The United States Senate is one of the two houses of the Congress of the United States, the other being the House of Representatives. … George John Mitchell, GBE (born August 20, 1933 in Waterville, Maine) is Chairman of the Walt Disney Company. … The Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement and, more rarely, as the Stormont Agreement) was a major step in the Northern Ireland peace process. It was signed in Belfast on April 10, 1998 (Good Friday) by the British and Irish governments and endorsed by most Northern Ireland… 1998 is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. … 1998 is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. … John Hume – Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins-1. … Nobel Peace Prize (where Nobel is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable) is one of five Nobel Prizes requested by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel. … The logo of the Northern Ireland Assembly is a six flowered linen or flax plant, chosen for the plants historical economic importance to the region. … The First Minister of Northern Ireland and the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland are the leaders of the Northern Ireland Executive, Northern Irelands home rule government set up in the 1990s as a result of the Good Friday Agreement. … The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA; more commonly referred to as the IRA, the Provos, or by some of its supporters as the army or the Ra) is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation. …

    The office of First Minister was suspended from the 11 February – 30 May 2000.
    Trimble resigned as First Minister on 1 July 2001 but was re-elected on 5 November of the same year.
    The Assembly has been suspended since 14 October 2002 after unsubstantiated accusations of an IRA spy ring being operated in the Northern Ireland assembly.
    Oh yes Trimble certainly was a moderate.

  • brighid mcbride

    For F*ck’s sake, will you say something worth listening to!? Get off your sorry arses and take responsibility for yourselves. You’ve let the DUP and the UDA demogogues rule you. Put your anger towards heaving yourself out of your hellhole. Throw them out. Find local Unionist leadership who can represent you in government and move forward. The past is gone; you will have to learn to fend for yourselves democratically now. Grow up and deal with it. Sinn Fein is only going to grow more powerful politically. The British government won’t and can’t rescue you anymore, and violence isn’t going to help you anymore. Learn to adapt, or you will be extinct.

  • George

    Another unionist voice on the Shankill quoted in the Irish Times today:

    “I believe the government are saying to themselves, ‘the loyalists are burning their own areas, so we’ve nothing to worry about here’, whereas if if the people said to themselves (and I’m not suggesting they should), ‘we’ll burn Dublin down or whatever we have to’….

    “Then they could say to people, ‘if you don’t treat us fairly here, that is what we will do’.”

    Could somebody from the unionist community do me a favour and please get down there and tell these people that killing Irish people won’t improve their lives and remind them that they are still ruled by the British and their current standard of living is mostly down to life in the union and their own poor leaders.

    It certainly has nothing to do with Dublin and as a Dubliner I’d appreciate they got that into their heads before I or my loved ones are blown into little pieces to ease this latest bout of northern Protestant existential angst.

    If unionists can’t do that, would they mind articulating what these unionists are saying and what we in Dublin can do about it?

    Because at the moment, all I’m hearing from the unionist community is:

    “Listen, we don’t like the way things are going so we are opting out of this society. Give us whatever we want or we will kill you and yours”.

    As a Dubliner, how am I not treating you equally and what do I have to do so you won’t kill me?

  • Comrade Stalin

    More whacky revisionism. Frank McCoubrey is linked to one of the paramilitary organizations that stirred, orchestrated and organized the riots last weekend. Now he expects us to believe that the situation has a momentum outside of the paramilitaries – it’s crap.

    The other crap is this repeated “I’ve never seen anger like this before”. Well some of us don’t have memories that are this short. The trouble at Drumcree was far worse than what we saw last weekend. In the UWC strike the unionists used paramilitarism to shut down the whole country – these riots are chickenfeed in comparison with that.

    Let’s understand what the real problem here is. The truth is that there is only one group of people who are qualified to represent these areas, and they are – surprise surprise – the politicians that they turned out to vote for during the elections. UDA and UVF politicians were rejected at those elections; unionists were elected instead. Efforts by the UDA or UVF to speak for people on the ground must be comprehensively rejected just as those voices were rejected at the polls by the electorate. Instead, we must concentrate on finding out why the unionist politicians who have been elected in these places appear to be abdicating not only their responsibilities to their constituents, but their responsibilities as people who claim to uphold democracy and the rule of law.

    “Distasteful as it may seem, the answer is more likely to come in the form of a loyalist version of Sinn Fein, than a moderate voice.”

    I think that would be an excellent development. Why ? Because the solutions to the problems in this country lie in power sharing and devolution. – that way, people could no longer say that the British government is failing them, because the decisions would be taken by their own local politicians. The reason why we don’t have power sharing is because unionists – yes, the people complaining that the government is ignoring them – have blocked it, on the basis that they won’t share power with terrorists. Now, if unionists are going to admit to what we already know and elect the terrorists they already support to represent them, then perhaps we will be on a level playing field.

    “David Ervine is a good politician IMO, the problem was they never attracted significant levels of support. As to why that is, I don’t really know.”

    Unionism has too many political parties, and they are all sympathetic to the means of paramilitary organizations. Ervine’s PUP is therefore redundant.

    “However, voting for moderates has utterly failed these people,”

    Let’s nip the revisionism in the bud, right here. There are no moderate unionists at present. Right now, there is very little to distinguish the DUP and UUP. They all oppose powersharing, they all justified the riots, they all blame the police, the government and the parades commission. A moderate is someone who is willing to talk to people and work constructively and – shock – perhaps even compromise here and there in order to deliver results. Unionists in their present guise are not moderates.

  • cladycowboy

    Why does it have to be unionist leadership? These brothers are angry because they are living in poverty in the 4th largest economy in the world. They feel the same way working-class Catholics did decades ago. Both of these groups are still living below the national average but catholics under their leadership have been given confidence. There is nothing open to the catholic community that isn’t open to the protestant community. The slights are imagined, just like their political leadership has been. You’re poor in Belfast, vote communist, vote workers party, these are open to you and would give you the satisfaction that your views are being represented better than before. You can still be loyal to the crown and monarch, not that she cares like….all the poor have been sold down the river…socialist republicans are doing something about…you’ll have to rise up…but fool you if you think working-class catholics are your enemy…you’re enemy is the guy that marches with you on the twelfth and you depart to your direlict estate and he to his house on the hill

  • Denny Boy

    “but fool you if you think working-class catholics are your enemy…you’re enemy is the guy that marches with you on the twelfth and you depart to your direlict estate and he to his house on the hill”

    For F***ks Sake Will You Listen To Clady Cowboy. He Makes Perfect Sense.

  • James Orr


    Let me over-simplify:

    If the battle is constitutional then working-class nationalists are your enemy.

    If the battle is economic then the house on the hill prod is the enemy.

    If the battle is cultural then resurgent gaelic irish identity is your enemy.

    If the battle is constitutional, economic and cultural then you’re f–ked.

  • heck

    I know this is an analogy that unionists on this site will reject but isn’t the position of these working class and under class loyalists similar to that of poor whites in the south eastern United States. The bigotry against “them uns” has been stoked to get them to vote against their economic interests. In the United States it was Richard Nixon’s southern strategy that replaced the democratic party in the south by playing the race card. In the north of Ireland it is unionists who play the orange card to keep themselves in power and persuade working class protestants to vote against their economic interests.

    If one listens to the rational presented for the loyalist riots it sounds just like some southern red necks or white trash. “They get every thing from the government –we get nothing”. “They are discriminating against white (protestant) people.” “The government won’t listen to us”.

    Even the “arh culta” argument has echoes. Working class and under class whites in the southern states make an issue of flying the confederate flag to annoy blacks (they are defending their heritage (culture?). In Belfast working class and underclass Protestants want to demonstrate their superiority by marching through catholic neighborhoods. Both groups seems to support right wing religious leaders who have twisted Christianity into a message of hate.( Pat Robertson/Ian Paisley)

    The mindless violence demonstrated in the last week by loyalists is no different than a group of working class white racists dragging a black man behind a truck in Texas.

  • brendan, belfast

    ‘These people’ are not living in poverty. nobody in Northern Ireland lives in poverty. The anti poverty network should get their illiterate nonsense off our airwaves.

    Nobody in N Ireland is dying of hunger; nobody can’t get a job if they want one; everyone has access to a quality education.

    there is no poverty in this place for anyonne. People who live in deprived areas have a choice – stay and wallow in self pity or get an education, get a job and get out. i think it really is that simple.

  • barnshee


    “As a Dubliner, how am I not treating you equally and what do I have to do so you won’t kill me?”

    Staying in Dublin will probably do in the mean time but if things get worse I would not bet on it.

  • barnshee

    “there is no poverty in this place for anyonne. People who live in deprived areas have a choice – stay and wallow in self pity or get an education, get a job and get out. i think it really is that simple”

    Very well said

  • Patrick Brown

    Okay, new to this site, been poking around the last few days and haven’t found anyone else suggesting this, so here goes.

    I think we can all agree that the motives being offered by the loyalists for the disorder the’ve been causing have been pretty incoherent: “themens are gettin everything so they are.” But that’s because we’re asking the wrong people. The eejits on the front line don’t know what they’re being used for. This isn’t a spontaneous uprising of frustration: it’s all obviously organised, so wee need to ask what it’s being organised for.

    I thought when the IRA announced its intention to “stand down” that this would soon be tested by an upsurge in loyalist violence against Catholics, in an effort to provoke them into either breaking their word or splitting from Sinn Fein. I think that’s what we’re seeing now. The PSNI’s policy of containment has been designed to prevent this: the loyalists can riot all they like on the Albertbridge Road, but they’re not getting into the Short Strand.

    The thing that’s really disturbed me is this isn’t just the paramilitaries – the entire “Unionist family” seems to have made common cause. It may just be Paisley being opportunist and Empey being spineless, but I can’t help noticing the complete lack of any protestant representative speaking out against it. Except for the bloody Alliance Party, who seem to want more rioters to be shot.

  • CHin Dallas

    Heck, you’re on to something, but your analogy needs honing. I’m working today in deep East Texas. I passsed a shack today flying the Confederte flag. They do it because they’re saying “I may be trash, but my g-g-grandaddy fought at Gettysburg, and you can’t take that away from me. The men that dragged the black in Jasper, not far from here were racists. Racism equals Prejudice + Power. Many Orangemen are proud of their heritage, but certain slick leaders are getting some drunk and getting them on the streets (the power part) to further their own aims. Arafat did this to his people. Someday in NI, Orange will on a few poor shacks. Here in Tx that took many painful years during the Civil rights period. Does NI have a Martin Luther King or a Robert Kennedy?

  • George

    Thanks for the reassurance Barnshee, I knew I could rely on you.

    I suppose I shall have to content myself in the knowledge that if unionists start bombing and shooting Irish people to show how British they are and how unsuitable for membership of the Irish Republic they would be, that the Ireland end game will have finally begun and I actually was around to see it.

    May you live in interesting times and all that. I thought I’d be safely tucked up in my wooden overcoat with just the burden of soil and general decomposition to contend with.

    But no, now it looks like I might be getting first-class seats to the main event, 15 rounds of no-holds-barred fighting with the famous, undefeated unionist brawler.

    I won’t be watching the action from Dublin mind but Dublin will survive the battle and my absence, it always does. Bless its dirty little heart. Must be from its own experience as a bastion against the rest of the island.

    When the murdering starts, unionism will find that more people than it thought were listening to its pained cries. But I fear they won’t like the answer they get.

    I really have to say these riots and the Love Ulster site have been great for seeing what your average unionist thinks of Irish people in 2005, nearly a decade after we set the world alight with Riverdance.

    Not much I would say.

    Scum seems a popular word, living in a shithole where idolatry, popery, poverty, the begging bowl, incompetence and treachery are the way of life.

    Good to see the unionist leaders have done the groundwork and prepared their constituency for this new agreement where we all considered ourselves equals.

  • pacart

    The whole analysis of loyalist angst is desperately uncoherent, why? Because it is disengenuous. Could it be that these riots have been orchestrated by organised crime gangs aka loyalist paramilitary groups to establish loyalist no-go areas. This would facilitate their criminal activity. Nothing more complicated than that.
    Excuse me for being cynical, but when I hear 16 y.o. spides complaining about educational underacheivment in loyalist areas, over the rattling of their gold bling, I just can’t help it.

  • fair_deal


    “Could it be that these riots have been orchestrated by organised crime gangs aka loyalist paramilitary groups to establish loyalist no-go areas. This would facilitate their criminal activity. Nothing more complicated than that.”

    Loyalist paramilitaries don’t need to organise riots to achieve what you describe. They achieved that degree of control in Belfast years ago often with the partial connivance of the government and police.

    I remember my complaint to police officers about paramilitary drug dealing in a local pub being responded to with “There are cease-fires and certain people are not to be annoyed.”

  • D’Oracle

    Why – is the six marker.

    Pacart is right that the reason(s)remain(s)totally unclear -maybe even to those directly involved.

    The only plausible theory put forward here so far is Patrick Brown’s effort to provoke an IRA/SF split and decommissioning

    Whether its that or some other kind of effort to get back to a pre-1969 “normality”,it would be useful to know

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m guessing not many Slugger readers had subscription access to the whole article. It’s worth quoting this bit here:

    “I live one and a half miles from my son’s school and if my son wants to take the bus home from school he has to take a seven-mile detour because the Protestant kids are getting attacked at Ardoyne for the past 20 years,” says Robertson. “Everybody knows of the Holy Cross situation, but how the Boys’ Model School situation was never brought into the public domain astounds me.

    “The ‘Shankill Special’ bus, as they call it, to take the boys home, is not allowed to come down the Shankill because it gets attacked by our Catholic neighbours every day of the week at Ardoyne shops there.”

  • Moderate Unionist

    Probably a combination of motives. The people feel frustrated by a series of concessions to republicans which have not be reciprocated. Announcement on RIR was not a good idea.

    The paramilitaries are trying to establish a no go zone for police activity so that their commerical activities proceed more smoothly.

    The Orange Order represents the feelings of the local residents but is poor at politics and PR, meaning that it can be exploited by the paramilitaries.

    The DUPs robust statements designed to create the conditions for electoral support confirm to the public that they have lost and incite the general mood of hopelessness. Whilst a successful electoral strategy, it is unlikely that it will help long term reconcilliation.

    This is about policing (or rather the lack of it). The paramilitaries are demonstrating who controls the streets. The government is happy with this outcome provided the overall peace process is kept on course.

  • rusty


    my daughter’s school bus has to take a detour to get to its destination every school day.

    We live less than a mile from St Joseph’s secondary school on the Ravenhill Road , but the school bus is unable to travel the quickest route due to the threat of stoning attacks and injury.

    The school bus takes a variety of routes
    ( depending on the situation) to reach the school gates.

    I faced a similar situation during my school days and was myself injured on two occasions while travelling to school.

    I sympathise with any parent who sends his/her child to school in the morning and hopes that they return home safe.

    I faced the same ordeal as a Catholic pupil in Belfast.

    Its shocking and its indicitave of a failed society were our children cannot gain an education without threat to their well being.

  • peace

    Orange Order = DISORDER.

  • Brian Boru

    The Unionist community need to end their fixation and obsession with these parades.

  • fair_deal

    Brian Boru

    I don’t tell anyone what/where/when how to express themselves so why do you think you can dictate how I express myself?

  • Comrade Stalin


    People who stone school buses are pond scum thugs, and should be caught and given stiff jail sentences for attempted GBH/ABH. I’d like to attach simple cameras to the side of the bus to capture the event as it occurs and then prosecute all involved to kingdom come.

    I’ve no doubt that such sectarian attacks take place, but I’m suspicious about claims concerning daily attacks on buses which the media, the politicians and everyone else coincidentally all completely ignore. From a political perspective, it is a fantastic opportunity to attack Sinn Fein – I can’t believe that the unionists would pass it up. I wonder if there’s a degree of exaggeration afoot…

  • Comrade Stalin

    “The Orange Order represents the feelings of the local residents but is poor at politics and PR, meaning that it can be exploited by the paramilitaries. “

    Does it take a PR guru to properly condemn violence, something which the OO has singularly failed to do ? I’d be interested in your answer, because it has some rather serious implications.

  • fair_deal


    Don’t know about daily but it is certainly regular.

    There is a lot of low-level stuff e.g. verbal abuse/threats, minor stone throwing, grafitti that goes on constantly in both directions so media interest is very limited. Although it is ususally a combination of these smaller things that lead someone to escalate to something more serious e.g. petrol/paint bombing, assaults. It tends only to get a bit of coverage when tensions heighten. The media interest grows and wains on this stuff so even if a politician tries to highlight it that doesn’t guarantee coverage.

    In the case of the Crumlin Road there is a police presence to try and deter the attacks. It has led to a reduction (but it is not unheard of for buses to be stoned and the PSNI to stay in their Landrover).

    The local catholic school St Gabs (whom a section of their pupils are the usual culprits) has done its best to try and stop it with the headmaster and senior staff out on the Road trying to stop incidents. However, on at least one occasion pupils have assaulted the senior staff member who tried to intervene.

    Also it is the nature of interface communities that things become accepted as everyday and not even worthy of complaint or if you do the PSNI don’t record it (at times people have had to use the 999 service as that is the only way they can be sure of the incident being recorded.)

    “I can’t believe that the unionists would pass it up”

    Trust me on this, we can be that badly organised. Has Unionism over the last 35 years not consistently demonstrated what a walking disaster zone it is?

    You may have seen me mention some internet research I did on sectarian attacks, I forwarded to a number of politicians over three weeks ago. None of them have used it.

  • Moderate Unionist

    Comrade Stalin
    Is violence ever right? Are there any situations in which it is justified? I believe the United Nations are struggling with this one. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist.

    For my part, I condemn the violence without equivocation, but the bigger question is are people looking for a solution to our problems or just point scoring.



  • CH in Dallas

    Moderate Unionist, Many times violence is justified. Just not in the case of NI. We here in the southern U.S. inherited out taste for violence from our Scots-Irish forebearers. Lex talonis, the law of kin defending their own in a tit for tat situation. You’ve heard of southern feuds? You shoot my cow, and my brother burns your brothers house down. I’m culturally closer to NI, than Boston, Mass. which was settled by the Puritans of East Angelia (sp?). The reason I say not in NI’s case, is that lex talonis has to be recognized and overcome.

  • Moderate Unionist

    Tell us more. I can’t believe that you aren’t happy with demise of “pushover unionism”. The DUP has a strong electoral mandate. A fair deal will be sorted out soon. Relax. Trust in the doc. Where would we be without him?

    Interesting to see what Comrade Stalin has to say!

  • D’Oracle

    Some of the’felt’ reasons, are understandable(like school bus attacks). The logic of others(like resentment of measures offsetting past(?)disrimination againt nationalists) is clear but a return to the pre-1969 arrangements is not an option. More’calculated’reasons (like setting up police-free drug zones)are shocking.

    Where is the active “on the ground” “political leadership in all this ;a bit of decent bottom-up community leadership could surely have channeled all this tremendous energy into something good.

    Sorting out something like that wont be easy or fast ; investment would help but the beginnings of a real solution for a community in that situation would have to come from within ; it would have to want/decide that it needs leadership and have some kind of basic agreed sense of where it wants to be lead.


  • Moderate Unionist

    A good analysis.

    Local politicians have difficulty in condemning the situation without adding a “but”. If they condemn unreservedly (which the knee jerk reaction says they should), they stand little chance of gaining any traction with the community. The community would then be dependent on the paramilitaries as the only organisers in their area.

    Once established paramilitaries are difficult to dislodge. All the more so, when the government recognises and funds the paramilitaries as community workers.

    The question for local politicians “Do you work with them to show them the error of their ways, or oppose them?”. Pity the poor councillor who stands against both the government and paramilitaries.

    The police will need to build up a relationship with the community. This will take time.

    Meanwhile, political opponents of all shades can get stuck in, easy pickings. The only problem is we all lose, even the republicans.

  • Mick Fealty

    Without wanting to come across as facetious, what exactly is ‘felt’ about an attack on school buses. As rusty points out, people get injured. At St Pats Knock, people used to get injured just waiting for the bus!

    What seems extraordinary is the length of the detour. 1 1/2 miles stretched to 7. Although I understand that the kids at Strabane Grammar were regularly taken on 20 mile round trips to avoid sectarian attacks in the town on their journey to the outer reaches of the Derry Road back in the early seventies.

  • D’Oracle

    ‘felt’ in the sense of an emotional reaction, a self -justification, Mick ; not excusing it -just trying to figure out why people would collectively get into that mode of behaviour

  • Brian Russell

    Sam Robertson’s anger is simply stirring the pot for future violence. A self proclaimed ‘lay-person’ of the political ring he has no problem voicing his opinion. These rioting kids do not remember the troubles. You do Mr. Robertson. I do. Talk about Protestant discrimination. It happened the other way too my friend and for me to get into would only cause further strife. The police and government are not perfect. They never have been nor never will. We have to support them, as a demorcracy, or we will go down in flames just like the unfortunate scenes on the Shankill Road.