Anyone but the perpetrators…

Dublin_Riots_250206 (18)Newton Emerson argues that it is time for the Republic to demonstrate to Northern Ireland the importance of firm application of the law in a settled peaceful society. He begins by citing a suspended sentence handed down by an Northern Ireland judge, in recognition of the possibility that but for the special circumstances of the troubles they might not have used “a replica machine gun while “protecting” an Orange arch”. He notes the illogical reasoning of some of the media response to the riots and an apparent enthusiasm for blaming the Minister of Justice rather than individual rioters themselves:

What matters is the integrity of our response. Do we blame society or do we blame the individual? Something about state broadcasters in particular seems to attract the blame society brigade. On its first bulletin following the Dublin riots, RTE went straight from interviewing its injured chief news correspondent Charlie Bird to asking if the Republic’s justice minister Michael McDowell was responsible. The fact that Mr McDowell had criticised RTE’s overt editorialising the week before was presumably a coincidence. The fact that policing Dublin is entirely the responsibility of assistant Garda commissioner Alan McHugh was apparently an irrelevance. Still, how admirable that RTE nearly sacrificed one of its own without losing sight of its usual agenda.

He posits his own set of questions:

Why do public sector elites so often advance this type of thinking? Is it the guilty condescension of an urban middle class that expects no better from the lower orders? Or is it the moral panic of the insecure, unsure of the vital powers they hold in trust?

And he notes, even racist beatings were given something of a bye in the post riot analysis: “Even the clearly racist beating of an Asian shopkeeper, captured in a series of horrifying photographs, hasn’t dimmed the sneaky view of perpetrator as victim”.

He returns to Northern Ireland to finish, and argues that empty gestures to Love Ulster would miss the mark:

What would impress everyone in Northern Ireland is a demonstration of what we are sadly lacking – the rigorous enforcement of the rule of law by a strong and self-confident state. It is unreasonable to expect that any society will be without its disaffected elements. But it is not unreasonable to expect that crime will be punished. If the courts in Dublin now show the courts in Belfast how violence should be dealt with then the vast majority of unionists will take heart.

  • The Dubliner

    “The fact that Mr McDowell had criticised RTE’s overt editorialising the week before was presumably a coincidence. The fact that policing Dublin is entirely the responsibility of assistant Garda commissioner Alan McHugh was apparently an irrelevance.” – Emerson

    Needless to speculate that if McDowell wasn’t a southern unionist, Emerson’s defence of him would be less robust.

    Emerson seems to be strangely unaware that the Minister of Justice is responsible for the An Garda Siochana. In this case, he is directly responsible, since it is the Minister of Justice who directly sanctioned the march by loyalist death squads and their political sympathizers masquerading as a victim’s group along the capital’s main street, despite objections about dignifying a man (Willie Frazer) who justifies the murder of the human rights lawyer, Pat Finucane and despite grave concerns about public safety. It is the minister for Justice who failed to ensure public safety during a provocative march that he personally sanction. Ergo, the Minister of Justice must be held accountable for his failure; do what is honourable, and resign.

    Indeed, if the PDs didn’t have their partners in government by the balls (an effective veto over the accountability of ministers to the head of government, and to the Irish people), he would have been ignominiously dismissed for his epic incompetence.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dubliner,

    “Needless to speculate that if McDowell wasn’t a southern unionist, Emerson’s defence of him would be less robust.”

    Leaving aside the inaccuracy of your misleading description of McDowell, please try to leave out the ad hominem digs at the writer. It will help keep the standard of conversation up if we able concentrate on your substantive point.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “Even the clearly racist beating of an Asian shopkeeper, captured in a series of horrifying photographs, hasn’t dimmed the sneaky view of perpetrator as victim”.

    That is just plain dishonest.

    ‘If the courts in Dublin now show the courts in Belfast how violence should be dealt with then the vast majority of unionists will take heart.’

    What is the basis for saying that? Unionists take heart from the fact that republicans always have been dealt with more severely than unionists in the court system. To think that unionists would somehow take note of the heavy terms warranted by the spides in Dublin and clamber for equal treatment of unionist terrorists is nuts.

    In the past week or two the UDA have allegedly been involved in a murder in Carrick. A massive arms and explosives find has been uncovered in the Ormeau Road. The North Belfast UDA leadership is arrested at a drilling ceremony. The response of unionists to thise events has been sedate to say these least.
    Now imagine for just a minute the response if the IRA was alleged to be involved in such recent activity? The body politic of unionism would be in the stratosphere by now.

    Unionist violence is allowed to pass almost un-noticed, at the same time they are running around trying to manufacture SF involvement in the events of last week in O Connell St. If unionists need to be convinced of anything it is of their own hypocricy.

  • “To think that unionists would somehow take note of the heavy terms warranted by the spides in Dublin and clamber for equal treatment of unionist terrorists is nuts.”
    I bloody well would!

  • Nic

    He’s not wrong you know. Held a mirror up to what the deadly cocktail of Sky Sports and a morally bankrupt Appeasment Process has fermented in modern Ireland so it did. Bloody depressing image it was too.
    I suppose if there’s anything positive about it, it’s that it exposed the Glasgow Celtic disease to middle Ireland. Who knows, maybe we might even get a lot less Fields of Athenry and a lot more Molly Malone at Landsdowne Road from now on.
    Don’t worry, I’m not holding my breath either.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Yep, stiff sentences for the Dublin rioters would be enough to keep me completely happy as well.

    Seems to be the Shinners here who are going off on cynical political tangents and trying to score points off last weekend’s events.

  • Mick Fealty

    Pat,

    “That is just plain dishonest.”

    Can we hear more on that. I didn’t see any photo’s but I definately got reports on the day of it happening. Or was it something to do with the way Newt was making the case you objected to?

  • Pete Baker

    Mick

    Photos courtesy of Dick at Back Seat Drivers

  • Shore Road Resident

    A picture really is worth a thousand words – those photos make the point perfectly.
    I don’t understand why Pat objects so much to this article, which is the only one on the riots I’ve read by anybody – let alone a unionist – that doesn’t mention Sinn Fein, or even mention republicanism. It also makes a link with official tolerance of loyalist thuggery in Northern Ireland, but still Pat McLarnon seems outraged by it.

  • George

    Mick,
    the Asian shopkeeper chased a group who had looted his shop and got kicked about for it. The question is was he singled out by the group because of his nationality or did he single himself out to the group by his actions?

  • Mick Fealty

    In the context of Newt’s thesis above that’s a secondary consideration, surely?

  • shamo

    I think Pat is being overly-defensive here, and taking a reactionary, rather than a republican, view of things.

    As a republican, I find myself in agreement with Newton’s analysis. However, comparing the machinations of the UDA with what happened on the streets of Dublin (which both you and Newton do) is nonsensical. We all know the UDA is a British-controlled death squad that peddles drugs and enriches gangsters. We all know that the Brits are, and have always been, protecting agents in that organisation, and , moreover, that they have used it as a proxy for their own ‘deniable’ crimes. That is not what is at stake here.

    If I want a united Ireland, thenI have to accept, even welcome, that they Britishness of our Irish unionists must be accepted, honoured and celebrated as part of a new national dispensation. This is not paradoxical, or wishful, but practical and ideologically pluralist. We have to accept that one can be Irish and British (or Indian, or Romanian) at once, and that part of that is the ability to express mixed, and diverse ethnicity. It is a fundamental tenent of republicanism that we accept our differences within a united secularist, pluralist state. Morover, does Pat really expect that we won’t have Orange marches (or in this case more benign victims’ marches) in a united Ireland. Dublin belongs to them just as much as it does to me.

    As a republican who has supported armed struggle (not without deep reservations in some cases), I was deeply depressed by what happened at the riots. It was clearly a racist, narrowly nationalist display of hate (and, unlike Pat, I don’t dispute what happened to the Asian shopkeeper – some rioters even made nazi salutes and hectored protestors from Celtic Fans Against Racism). The aftermath is an opportunity to show unionists that, unlike the government to which they mistakenly declare their allegiance, the 26 County government is capable and willing to combat racist hate, that it will prosecute and that it will ensure their safety on future marches. This is part of the process of nation-building, of building trust, and I genuinely believe Newton’s bona fides when he says that many unionists would be heartened by it.

    Quit the narrowly Shinner mantra for a moment, and maybe consider, Pat, that, to subvert Balfour’s adage, unionism might also be killed with kindness. We need to approach unionism in a positive, progressive way, to recognise its heritage, its traditions and its concerns, and ultimately, to play an outside part in a process which I believe is inevitable – the radicalising of northern Portestant culture from within. Don’t deny for one moment that some Shinners wouldn’t have supported the riots; and they’re another group that need radicalising.

  • shamo

    last post was by me – don’t know why Dubliner name appeared????

  • elfinto

    Anyone but the organisers!

  • George

    Mick,
    Emerson said it was a “clearly racist” beating so no I don’t think it is a secondary consideration.

    The question to answer if you honestly want to know if it was a “clearly racist” beating is would an Irish shopkeeper have been attacked if he had done the same thing and chased a group of shell suit looters?

  • Mick Fealty

    We’re have a minor software problem Shamo. It’s long overdue sorting out. Just append your name at top or bottom, and we’ll know it’s you.

    “…comparing the machinations of the UDA with what happened on the streets of Dublin (which both you and Newton do) is nonsensical”.

    I was trying to tease out the substance of Newt’s piece above. But even so, I’m not sure that was even implicit in what he’s arguing.

  • elfinto

    Mick, the mini-riot in Dublin has been done to death on Slugger this week.

    Surely Thursdays events in Tigers Bay are worth a mention on Slugger?

  • George

    “some rioters even made nazi salutes ”

    The question that has to be asked here is were the thugs implying that the marchers are nazis (they made the salute to the buses of the marchers) in the same way way English hooligans and Basil Fawlty give the Nazi salute to Germans or were they saying they were Nazis?

  • Mick Fealty

    Fintan,

    If it’s good enough for the Saturday View, it’s good enough for Slugger!!

  • GavBelfast

    A thoughtful piece (today, 1.25pm) appears on this thread and it takes just 18 minutes for blatant whataboutery in response.

    Reactionary not republican indeed!

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”We all know the UDA is a British-controlled death squad that enriches gangsters. We all know that the Brits are, and have always been, protecting agents in that organisation.”

    Substitute the letters PIRA for UDA above and you’ll still have a coherent statement.

    ”the radicalising of northern Portestant culture from within.”

    What exactly does this mean anyone?

    GLC

  • Whoever made the 01:25 post – well done. In fact if you hadn’t stated it I’d never have believed you were a Republican. Far too tolerant and realistic and little vitriol in sight.

    The only thing I’d object to was your “unlike the government to which they mistakenly declare their allegiance” statement. It’s a touch patronising to view someone’s allegiance as a mistake, as it would be for to suggest NI nationalist allegiance to Dublin was “mistaken”.

    Anyway, Newt may have a point. It would be nice to see the rule of law applied to its full extent. It would also be nice for the same law to be applied to those arrested in north Belfast – in fact to anyone.

  • elfinto

    #20 I take it you’re referring to my post of 1.43pm – elfinto

    We’ve been discussing the mini-riot all week and the argument just keeps going around in circles (as I suppose any debate on NI issues will).

    I don’t think Newt’s piece adds anything new to the equation, apart from perhaps a strange attack on RTE for being part of the republican conspiracy.

    If I would criticise RTE for anything it would be the poor coverage on their Internet news site – Indymedia was so much better – and for the virtual free ride Jeffrey Donaldson got from a tame panel on Questions and Answers (Susan McKay excepted).

    Anyway, enough of that riot. It’s so last week. The PSNI have acted to close down the UDA/UFF. They’re treating the loyalists like fenians. Surely that’s a story worth debating! And now Mick has seen the light and posted a new thread!

    elfinto

  • elfinto

    Sorry, the riot is of course an all-Ireland issue, as indeed the TB raid should be (but won’t).

    Guilty of partitionist thought crime there for a minute. I will bash my head off the wall!

    elfinto

  • Crataegus

    This should have nothing to do with Republicanism or Unionism. All we have to ask is if someone behaves in this manner how should the legal system respond?

    In my opinion there are several types of violence,
    1 Indiscriminate wanton thugery.
    2 Weaker individuals forced by thugs to do something to a third person they would not otherwise do.
    3 Acts of self defence.

    With 1 & 2 the accused is the perpetrator and in my view mitigating circumstances in 1 really should not be considered as we cannot allow sociopaths and psychopaths a get out of jail fee card.

    In 2 above if the accused does not volunteer information on his oppressors them he or she must take the responsibility and rap.

    However with 3 I believe we need to be much more understanding than we are currently especially if someone has been victimised previously or is suffering unending torment.

    We should not tolerate this nonsense North or South and few Nationalists or Unionists would disagree. The thugs don’t have to act in this manner, they go out of their way to create mayhem. Law is about keeping order.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘Or was it something to do with the way Newt was making the case you objected to?’

    Yes Mick, it is the interpretation of Newt not the actual incident. This was an incident that was quite clearly highlighted and condemned all round.
    To state, as Newt did, that there is a sneaky view that the perpetrator is the victim is quite clearly dishonest. I have not heard one other person describe it but anything what it was, a cowardly racist attack.

    Given that is the case a lot of the above comments are meaningless.

  • elfinto

    The implication that the legal authorities in the south would somehow go light on these rioters is ridiculous.

    It’s the northern prosecution service and judiciary which is hopelessly corrupt and politically biased.

  • TAFKABO

    Here we have clear unambiguous photographs of an Asian man being beaten by a crowd of thugs, one of whom is carrying that national flag.

    Now any sane and normal person would accept that this is a racist attack, but instead we are asked to believe that it was something else entirely.
    Can I ask those denying this racist attack to explain where they got their information that it was something else ?

    And to be clear, I want something at least as tangible and concrete as those photographs, hearsay simply isn’t going to cut it.

    On the bigger point, the interpretation by some, most notably Indymedia, in regards to the riot is interesting.

    We are asked to accept that the riot was by mainly poor disadvantaged youths.
    the point is that I seriously doubt those rioting were substantially more poor or disadvanateged than many of the loyalist thugs at Whiterock.
    Why didn’t indymedia or anyone else offer the same interpretation for those rioters?

    How poor and disadvantaged do you have to be before it is OK for you to shout racist and sectarian epithets?
    Do we accept members of the BNPs actions can be excused because of their poor background?

    I grew up in poverty on a council estate, do I no longer have any responsibility for my actions?

  • Tafkabo,

    “I grew up in poverty on a council estate”

    Lucky b******! What a get out. I’m waiting for the time when coming from a not rich but not poor middle class background with a grammer school education is considered an excuse and I will let rip ;o)

  • elfinto

    If someone attacks a shopkeeper who tries to stop them from looting his shop, it makes them a thug?

    If someone attacks a shopkeeper, who happens to be Asian, who tries to stop them from looting his shop, does that necessarily makes them a racist thug?

    If someone uses riots as a cover for looting and attacks a shopkeeper, who happens to be Asian, who tries to stop them from looting his shop, does that necessarily makes them a republican racist thug?

    Its a case of 2 plus 2 equals 357.68

  • TAFKABO

    elfinto.

    I never saw anyone looting a shop, all I saw was an Asian being attacked by tricolour weilding thugs.

    I ask you again, where do you get the additional information from?

  • Shore Road Resident

    Elfinto – there’s no implication here that the southern authorities will go soft. In fact the article states that northern authorities go soft and it appeals for southern authorities to give them a demonstration of the law that will give unionists pause for thought.
    There’s been a pretty odd reaction here to this piece. ‘Defensive’, as the 1:25 poster (Shamo?) put it.
    Is it because Emerson is a prod, by any chance?

  • George

    Tafkabo,
    I put that addional information up.
    I heard it in the media during the week. This is one of the comments on the site that put up the pictures:

    “Hi Dick and team ,my name is Gerry Manager of Centra ,thanks for taking the pictures of this horrific attack on the 3 lads who work in centra ,these pictures will assist the Gardai in the investagations of these assaults .
    The 3 lads where sent to hospital for treatment of their injuries and where later discharged from hospital .
    They are resting now and getting over their injuries .
    We are in daily contact with them and the management and staff are assisting the Gardai with their investigations .
    I would like to thank the public for their concern and best wishes for the 3 lads .”

    http://backseatdrivers.blogspot.com/

    This is not to say it was or wasn’t a “clearly racist” attack, I just think the question I mentioned above has to be asked.

  • gerryandthepersuaders

    guff! the mexican govt. has had no qualms about about hanging,shooting or interning republicans since day one and this has never made unionists the slightest bit more ikely to accept a UI

  • urquhart

    The Dubliner, you said, “if McDowell wasn’t a southern unionist, Emerson’s defence of him would be less robust.”

    I really think that’s the most worthless contribution I have seen on Slugger in a long long time.

    [Posted by urquhart]

  • lah dee dah

    My tuppence worth… The debate is great but takes away from the suspicion that in the melee the true purpose of the original victims plans is lost. The victims had a right to march and wanted to do so to highlight their plight. The procession was legal. There was no information to suggest protests being organised by mainstream republicans but you’ll always have a rump of people who will voice their disapproval at these things on the day. My surprise is that the Gardai and authorities were caught napping! Their assessment must have been wrong (or else they didn’t assess the risk) but you’d expect that such a politically sensitive procession would have attracted greater numbers of Gardai to police it.

    The whole thing may have been due to poor planning and ‘the great unwashed’ took the opportunity for an afternoons sport with the Gardai and a spot of looting. To think anything else is speculation or a nod towards a greater conspiracy.

    lah dee dah

  • Realist

    “If I want a united Ireland, thenI have to accept, even welcome, that they Britishness of our Irish unionists must be accepted, honoured and celebrated as part of a new national dispensation.”

    Comments like this worry me.

    If too many people catch on to this line of thinking, we are in real danger that a United Ireland could become a remote possibility.

    PS: All this deflection nonsense about racism within the republican ranks is a joke…republicanism (just like loyalism) harbours manys a racist.

    Realist.

  • Realist

    Maybe we should foster a coming together of unionist and nationalists by focusing on our racism as a unifying factor.

    Reminds me a an old comedian’s line. “I think that it would be wonderful if all the Protestants. Catholics, Jews Muslims Siks could all come together…………………..and beat the c*** out of the atheists”

    I have a dream indeed!

    BTW just on the off cahance that anyone might tke this the wrong way it most certainly isn;t a dig at Realist! 😉

  • Realist

    Bertie,

    As a poster highlights on another thread, the issue of racism should not become an usuns and themuns one.

    Attempts by republicans to distance themselves from racists within their ranks too, are pathetic.

  • Pat

    I know, that was sort of the point I was making ;o)