A game of two halves…?

There’s a few things worth returning to in Drew Nelson’s Irish Times interview. This statistic is one of them:

“In the first 20 years of the Troubles four Orange halls were burnt, one of which was in Cavan. But since 1989 there were 240 burnt. It is significant that at around the same time the republican movement started to oppose our parades. There was occasional bother before that but not to this extent.”

So is it a meaningless coincidence? Does it relate to reactionary factors, like changes in the type of Loyalist violence? British countermeasures? Or is it simply part of a ‘war by other means’ designed to undermine confidence in the Unionist community?

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  • Chris Donnelly

    Or is it simply part of a ‘war by other means’ designed to undermine confidence in the Unionist community?

    Mick

    The Orange Order and unionist leaders do that quite well on their own, Mick.

    It’s hardly a coincidence that attacks on Orange halls would escalate as the Orangemen who frequented them were being widely blamed for organising street protests, road blockages and, by their arrogance and sheer obstinance, cultivating a frightening intimidatory atmosphere across the six counties every summer which led to hundreds of attacks on catholic families and their homes, and ultimately the pyrrhic Drumcree victories and the appalling murder of the Quinn children.

    Attacks on Orange halls, like attacks on properties belonging to other political, cultural or religious organisations, are wrong and shouldn’t happen.

    But the idea that the poor Orangemen have been the blameless victims of a relentless ceasefre era republican campaign is not only ridiculous, but ignores any factual evidence about the relationship between the loyal Orders and the nationalist community.

  • Mick Fealty

    That may be fair enough Chris so far as it goes. But why the sharp difference between the two periods? What are the underlying drivers for that change? I mean that’s just four attacks in twenty years. Why the upsurge?

    It has since occured to me that there may be a demographic answer, perhaps in regard to shifting territories. But without more comprehensive information, I guess we are left with intelligent guesswork.

  • Briso

    I can say that the country is much more obsessed with territory than it was in 1987. I think the figures you have quoted are true, and I doubt that they give the full picture. I’m sure demographics is the bottom line here. Across Northern Ireland and in Belfast, the balance of population is changing. Protestant areas are in population decline which is leading to more and more marches going through disputed areas. Also, Loyalists are pissing on lamposts in the most extraordinary way. It’s hard for people who live in NI to appreciate, but when I left, it really was nowhere near as bad as it is now, and I’m sure it’s down to insecurity based on a steady retreat from various areas across the north.

  • Dec

    It wasn’t so long ago Nationalists wouldn’t put Irish as their nationality on application forms as they knew it would ensure a swift trip to the rejection pile. The Unionist community have no idea how Nationalists were terrified of drawing attention to themselves for fear of sanction, official or otherwise, yet they continually bleat about erosion of confdence. I mean, are they having a laugh. For years our identity was suppressed (by ourselves and others). There has been a sharp upturn in Nationalist confidence in the last 20 years (witness the increase in Irish passports which used to draw a particularly long stare in local airports). The result of this has been long overdue physical manifestation of opposition to the OO.

    No doubt Drew longs for a return to the good old days when the Loyal orders could march down the Ormeau Road and gloat over loyalist massacres without fear of censure.

  • aquifer

    Peel away the rhetoric stick with the numbers.

    Have irish national separatists been winding up the ulster natives?

    Burning down a vacant orange hall will not carry a heavy criminal tariff. However it might ensure the orangies clutch for their historic baggage, as Hain blows for the political train to leave the station.

    Unionists going nowhere fast, as per the Provo plan.

  • Nevin

    Chris, Adams admitted in his address to supporters in Athboy that the anti-OO campaign didn’t just happen. The Irish government, in the form of Dick Spring, got sucked, wittingly or unwittingly, into the process. It’s not clear from Adams words who dreamt up the campaign but the Irish government seems to have learnt its lesson and backed off from subsequent actions such as the one in Cluan Place. The OO blundered unthinkingly into the trap that was set for it. IMO it was targeted because it represented an expression of unionism and what better time to lay siege than during its 200th anniversary.

  • Greenflag

    Why the upsurge?

    Good point . The result of changing demographics in some areas coupled with a larger younger Irish Nationalist population who are a good deal less inclined to tolerate the 3,000 Orange parades that take place every summer across NI than their parents were, particularly those parades that cross or impinge on ‘nationalist’ areas. Given the long acrimonious history of Orange Order parades through Nationalist areas and the inability of the OO to ‘negotiate’ with representatives of nationalist residents it’s probably no surprise that OO halls have become targets.

    The failure of the NI political parties to reach an agreement on power sharing is probably also a factor as is no doubt the ‘hoodlum’ element . It would not surprise me if ‘undermining the confidence of the Unionist community ‘ is also a factor .

    As to how to stop it ?

    Bring back interment ?

    It’s obvious that the political differences between both groups in NI are irreconcilable . The idea of power sharing is a nonsense when one half of the Government is determined to end the existence of the State and the other half wishes to maintain it . The whole Assembly solution makes a mockery of democracy in that there can be no proper opposition .

    CJ Haughey was right when he said that NI is a failed political entity . It’s time for the 6 county State to be consigned to history and for Irish Nationalists and Republicans to accept that it makes better political and economic sense for the Irish Republic to aspire to a 30 County Republic and leave the British Unionists of NI to a 2 county size State in the eastern coastal area .

    A 32 county UI will no more work than the 6 county NI State did ! The latter contains too many people who look forward to the States non survival and a 32 county UI would include too many alienated British Unionists . Anyway the Irish Republic will find it more productive and easier to focus on assimilating the 400,000 mainly eastern european , chinese, and british immigrants than dealing with the slave mentalities of Paisley and his ilk .

  • Briso,

    Also, Loyalists are pissing on lamposts in the most extraordinary way.

    I’m really not sure what you’re getting at with this.

    …but when I left, it really was nowhere near as bad as it is now, and I’m sure it’s down to insecurity based on a steady retreat from various areas across the north.

    When did you leave? I had friends telling me that community relations got worse almost as soon as the ceasefires kicked in. Yet in actual fact there was no Greysteele or Shankill bombing, or Loughinisland. On the face of it things must have been getting better.

    So these figures confirm there was something in yours/their perception. And despite the much lauded peace process Orange Halls are still being attacked as lately as last week in Maghera.

    As aquifer suggests it’s low level and low risk but as many Orange Halls operate a multi functional role as community centres, it would be a perfect target for anyone seeking to undermine confidence within marginal Protestant communities.

  • Pete Baker

    The geographical locations of the attacks would be an interesting graph to plot over time, Mick.

    More recently I’ve noticed, in an off-line way, attacks in what would be consider well integrated communities.

    There was one recently which is particularly intriguing.. at Killygullib

    I’ll try to track down the relevant reports but, in local papers [the Mid Ulster Mail and the Mid Ulster Observer, as I recall], a SF councillor was contradicting the reports.. claiming that the police returned to the scene with loyalists and attacked nationalist youths.

  • Greenflag

    ‘It’s hard for people who live in NI to appreciate, but when I left, it really was nowhere near as bad as it is now, and I’m sure it’s down to insecurity based on a steady retreat from various areas across the north. ‘

    It’s part of the Repartition process that’s been going on for 20 years whioch itself has been exacerbated by the fast growing and younger Irish population . At some point the DUP will take out their ‘repartition ‘ card and call a halt to Irish encroachment on British Unionist areas . Hains new Seven Super Councils will help provide a ‘legal’ recognition of the de facto Repartition which is on it’s way.

    And the sooner the better IMO- The NI comic opera nonsense has gone on for long enough ! Time to get real .

  • Shay Begorrah

    Easy fellas. While not a prominent supporter of the OO I think that burning down orange halls will damage long term republican aims (and I do not think that the OO is not a particular boon to political Unionism either).

    The question is how do you persuade young nationalists that fire bombing Orange halls is wrong?

  • Greenflag

    ‘it would be a perfect target for anyone seeking to undermine confidence within marginal Protestant communities. ‘

    Despicable.

    It’s just another sick manifestation of the inherent sectarianism which underpins NI’s existence . Northern Ireland as a 6 county State is trapped between two worlds , one dead and the other powerless to be born .

  • Betty Boo

    Shay,
    stop circulating that it undermines the confidence of a marginalised community.
    On a more serious note; for over three decades riots and destruction have been a daily occurrence. And I have seen it myself: A father telling his teenage son to stop throwing stones. The answer was short. You did the same.
    Having still a limbo here and a limbo there doesn’t make it easier on any parent. But as pointed out before, two opposing wishes can not be followed up at the same time. Something has to give. But what?

  • Greenflag

    ‘The question is how do you persuade young nationalists that fire bombing Orange halls is wrong? ‘

    Well according to Paisley -Irish Nationalists (a.k.a) Catholics are going to hell anyway so fire bombing Orange Halls is obviously a more enjoyable way to get there for some .

    Seriously ? Bring back the cat o nine tails and 72 hours in a public pillory on the village green might work.

    Whatever we may think of the OO itself it is true that these Orange Halls are also used for band practice for many young Protestants and for other community activities . As such the best way for Nationalists to stop this kind of vandalism is to help local protestants rebuild and or repair their local halls and to let the vandals know that a mandatory 10 year prison sentence will be imposed for destructive sectarian activities of this ilk.

  • Briso

    I said :Also, Loyalists are pissing on lamposts in the most extraordinary way.

    Mick said: I’m really not sure what you’re getting at with this.

    I meant marking territory, nothing literal! The new housing estates in Drumahoe and Newbuildings were good examples. Long long before the houses were ready, the estates were absolutely festooned with UVF and union flags. I’d never seen anything quite like that before. It was saying, “Taigs out!” in such a strident way I felt there was an element of panic there.

    Your other points suggest (without quite saying 😉 ) there might be an actual low-level campaign to scare Protestants out of certain areas. Pete’s idea of correlating the locations of the attacks with the times and the demographic stresspoints is a good idea to show up something like that. There is another possiblity though, linked to Shay Begorrah’s point: “…how do you persuade young nationalists that fire bombing Orange halls is wrong?” Perhaps the same forces are at work as those which cause Derry teenagers to call an ambulance and fire crew out and then attack them. There are no orange halls around…

  • Shay Begorrah

    Betty Boo said “stop circulating that it undermines the confidence of a marginalised community. ”

    Understood Betty.

    Kids, setting light to Orange halls is the only way to a satisfactory accomodation with Unionism, by speaking the only language they really understand – Bonfires.

  • Garibaldy

    I think Mick’s right with the demographic thing. Although there is also the issue of the anti-OO campaign. The state of the Orange hall on the Whitewell Road over the last say 10 years demonstrates the effects of this campaign. The attacks got so bad they gave up repainting it and cutting the grass, and there are massive heavy bars on the front door.

    In fairness, though, part of this I think was a response to the new assertiveness and brutality of the loyalist terrorist groups from the end of the 1980s, and in particular the targeting of GAA members and clubs. This is not an attempt to excuse it, but it might help explain it.

    The end of terrorism and the consequent fall in police and army presence freed up energies and makes it easier to indulge in this type of behaviour.

    I think also that a new wave of younger nationalists that are the equivalent of English soccer hooligans has also emerged. They insist they have rights, but have little respect for anybody else’s. Hence the trouble in the Holylands, and attacks on GAA referees etc. In my humble opinion.

    Such behaviour has also been encouraged with the shift in focus from Brits Out to unionism as the main enemy.

    Of course, it could just be we’re getting more sectarian, as the number of people who remember pre-69 falls, and entire generations grow up locked in religious apartheid. But keep those separate schools everybody.

  • skinbop

    Briso,

    What are you on about? I don’t ever remember seeing a UVF flag in Newbuildings, ever? And what is wrong with flying union flags anyway? Plus they used to always fly the Republic of Ireland flag twice a year in the village as well if my memory serves me right.

    skinbop

  • “So is it a meaningless coincidence? Does it relate to reactionary factors, like changes in the type of Loyalist violence? British countermeasures? Or is it simply part of a ‘war by other means’ designed to undermine confidence in the Unionist community?”

    It’s obviously the work of securocrats trying to blacken the good name of Irish republicanism.

  • Crataegus

    Garibaldy

    Think you have it about right, but it would be a mistake to understate such acts (by either side) as they are evidence of pure hatred.

    Strident, dominant and intolerant Unionism is slowly being replaced by equally strident and intolerant Nationalism. Not many lessons seem to have been learnt. You look at Israel and think given their history surely Jews would know better, but no the wrong lessons are carried forward. Same attitude applies here in NI, security through might and numbers rather than cooperation.

    Some try to eradicate all evidence of the other community if they can. They despise their very existence. You start on the most disliked the Orange Order or perhaps the offices of politicians and graduate to churches and schools. How long does it take before it becomes houses and businesses. Indeed in some areas we reached that stage long ago. Look at the housing around those euphemistically termed peace walls.

    I can see little real desire or evidence of either community being willing to compromise, or accommodate, or acquire an appreciation of the fears and concerns of the other. Cocooned in isolation in their ghettoes frankly I doubt if most give a dam. They all rant about their rights, their needs, their tradition and how they are inconvenienced by themuns. Often I think it would suit everyone here if one side or the other simple disappeared of the face of the earth. That would be just so convenient. Even the political system that was set up institutionalised division, our housing is separate, our schools perpetuate division as do many of our sports. Just what common ground is there? Worse than that what desire is there to create common ground?

    In many ways we are living in a fool’s paradise. The portents for stability aren’t good; situations akin to this can flash over very quickly.

  • Briso

    >Briso,

    >What are you on about? I don’t ever remember
    >seeing a UVF flag in Newbuildings, ever? And
    >what is wrong with flying union flags anyway?
    >Plus they used to always fly the Republic of
    >Ireland flag twice a year in the village as well
    >if my memory serves me right.

    >skinbop

    I didn’t actually say there was anything wrong with it skinbop. I was just commenting on my opinion that the way it is being done has changed significantly over the last number of years.

    As for the UVF flag, I could be wrong. If so, I apologise. The flag I saw is sort of orange and purple. There were loads of them. I thought it was (perhaps the old) UVF flag? If not, mea culpa.

  • Dec,

    Just seen this:

    “There has been a sharp upturn in Nationalist confidence in the last 20 years.”

    Whilst I would agree with that, I am not sure what that wider confidence has to do with the rise targeting Orange Halls. A genuinely confident community would not be targeting the opposite community in such a venal manner surely?

    This ‘war by other means’ has continued well into the Peace Process™ with very little comment in the wider media. We’ll try to dig a little deeper into this and try to get a handle on some of the detail here.

    If any of our readers have had experience of the sharp end this ‘campaign’, or can point us in the direction of figures that can help us get to the bottom of where and when these attacks are occuring, then let us know here, or drop me an email!

  • willis

    I dunno about 1989 but from my hazy re-collection of the early nineties the sight of an Orangeman (could have been Apprentice Boy) holding up 5 fingers while marching past Sean Grahams on the Ormeau Road, scene of a recent UVF/UFF massacre seemed to kick something off.

  • Dec

    I am not sure what that wider confidence has to do with the rise targeting Orange Halls. A genuinely confident community would not be targeting the opposite community in such a venal manner surely?

    Of course not but there are always those on the fringes of any society/community who take genuine concern and opposition (to OO marches through Nationalist areas – which always was going to be a byproduct of rising Nationalist confidence) to extremes – ie torching Orange Halls. However, I don’t think you can discuss the arson attack on OO lodges in isolation from other related factors: for example, attacks on GAA halls and members over the same period.

  • Crataegus

    Mick

    A genuinely confident community would not be targeting the opposite community in such a venal manner surely?

    The problem is that neither side is confident. Potentially that makes the situation exceedingly dangerous. Does any of the rhetoric or political manoeuvring suggest confidence to you?

  • Crat,

    That lack of confidence would seem to be the case. But Briso is in fact right to suggest that there has been a substantial rise in confidence amongst NI’s Catholics, which is why I’m struggling to see that, per se, as a causal effect.

    However there seems to be an assumption at a senior level within Sinn Fein, for instance, that the undermining of the confidence of the ‘other’ is good for ‘us’. Again that is something I’m struggling to see the sense in. It’s effects are likely to destroy what bonding bridging social capital outlived the actual conflict. In fact in a small space like NI, with our limited human resources, it is socially and economically bad for all of us.

    Notwithstanding Dec’s supplimentary request for figures of the burning of GAA clubs (for which the figures would be extremely useful), it seems unlikely that none of this is going to stop unless it consciously addressed in one constituency or another.

    Much as the routing of march and the conduct of bandsmen and followers is an issue that ultimately has to be confronted and addressed by the Orange, the burning of Orange Halls is something that is likely only going to be resolved when it is confronted by Nationalism.

    However, under the ‘rules’ of the Peace Process™, it may be that they are simply being reserved as a subject for further billateral negotiation.

  • Rory

    When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and we knew exactly who the they were. It was us versus them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they’re there.

    From a speech by GEORGE W. BUSH in Council Bluffs, Iowa on 21 January 2000 which I am sure could usefully be borrowed for the benefit of aspiring young politicians of either persuasion in Northern Ireland.

  • John

    He’s missed avery important point. The burning of chapels and catholic schools.

  • Mick Fealty

    John,

    We started a thread on that a while back: http://tinyurl.com/rt5fl. It it still there if people wish to update it. Perhaps we should pin it to the top of the blog so people can log these attacks each time they occur?

  • kensei

    “That lack of confidence would seem to be the case. But Briso is in fact right to suggest that there has been a substantial rise in confidence amongst NI’s Catholics, which is why I’m struggling to see that, per se, as a causal effect.”

    But it’s more than just an increase in confidence. There has been a decrease in tolerance of things Nationalism doesn’t like. The attitude to OO marches is “we’re not taking this anymore”, and it’s not hard to see how that spills over, especially if you are forced to take it. It’s a more complex evolution of attitudes that simply can’t be bolied down to “confidence”.

    “However there seems to be an assumption at a senior level within Sinn Fein, for instance, that the undermining of the confidence of the ‘other’ is good for ‘us’. Again that is something I’m struggling to see the sense in. It’s effects are likely to destroy what bonding bridging social capital outlived the actual conflict. In fact in a small space like NI, with our limited human resources, it is socially and economically bad for all of us.”

    It depends what the goal is. If it is proving that NI is a failed enitity, it does make sense. I’m not entirely sure I agree with your initial statement though, your generalising form Mitchel’s comments which I’m not sure is a solid leap.

    “Much as the routing of march and the conduct of bandsmen and followers is an issue that ultimately has to be confronted and addressed by the Orange, the burning of Orange Halls is something that is likely only going to be resolved when it is confronted by Nationalism.”

    However, under the ‘rules’ of the Peace Process™, it may be that they are simply being reserved as a subject for further billateral negotiation.”

    While this is true to an extent you are subscribing to the idea that Republicanism can switch this off and on like a tap. It simply isn’t so. There are a number of things Republicans could do to make clear this isn’t acceptable, but the genie is out of the bottle to an extent and there are always morons who will trash stuff, be it gravestones, churches or orange order halls.

  • Mick Fealty

    Kensai,

    This has to remain speculative in absence of more substantial facts. In the meantime, I’m keen to keep this conversation as open as possible to all contending interpretations.

    Whilst it is fair to construe a general political stance from Mitchell’s comments, it is not fair to draw more specific assumptions from them. For instance one cannot infer that Republicans per se are responsible for these individual actions.

    It depends what the goal is. If it is proving that NI is a failed enitity, it does make sense.

    Sound reasoning, so far as it goes. Except no one seems willing to argue this much in the public domain, possibly because this strategy comes with a substantive price tag in terms of damaged social capital.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Even the political system that was set up institutionalised division, our housing is separate, our schools perpetuate division as do many of our sports. ‘

    Full marks for the obvious . Even the so called ‘solution’ for the NI disease of permanent constitutional instability the GFA/NI Assembly was set up to reenforce sectarian division by terming it ‘power sharing’ . What a joke and an expensive one at that.

    ‘Just what common ground is there? Worse than that what desire is there to create common ground? ‘

    This is the inevitable outcome of a community conflict that has continued for more than a generation . I suspect that the vast majority of both sides in NI will be quietly relieved when the Repartition of Northern Ireland becomes the only remaining option.

  • kensei

    “Whilst it is fair to construe a general political stance from Mitchell’s comments”

    While fair, I’m not entirely sure it is accurate. Mitchell clearly blurted that one out and I’m not entirely sure what he said was exactly what he meant. I can see it in the context of other goals but not a goal as of itself. Particuarly with Adams giving speeches about reaching out to Unionism.

    I’m also interested in attacks on churches or homes. What’s the spread over the past 40 years.

  • DK

    It has been said that the Orange Halls are used for a variety of community functions. Maybe if the nationalist/catholic communities were able to use the Orange Hall more often there would be less motive to burn it.

    Having said that, it does not address the extremism of the people doing the burning – if the Orange Hall is also used by the local Trocaire group, then they might not burn the Hall down but burn down the nearest Protestant church instead, or call out an ambulance to stone.

  • Garibaldy

    Kensei,

    Perhaps Adams’ speeches about reaching out to unionists, and the laying of wreaths at WWI memorials, are the gloss on the more aggressive and confrontational substance that Mc Laughlin revealed. I think both the DUP and PSF need instability and confrontation to thrive politically. I think they would prefer if this confrontation didn’t physically manifest itself anymore (e.g. the efforts by the Provos at interface areas and Orange marches to keep a lid on violence) but their whole strategies are based on appearing as the only parties that can successfully and aggressively fight the corner of their respective electorates. Their success in persuading the electorate of this helps explain the demise of the UUP and SDLP. To be successfully representing your side, you have to show the other side is losing. So by saying look at the state of unionism, PSF can distract from the massive compromises and u-turns they have made, and present them as victories.

    Mick,

    have you tried the OO for statistics? Or the GAA?

    I’m not sure PSF does want to prove that NI is a failed political entity so much as they want to make things unworkable without their participation. They have effectively failed to do this with the police, but have succeeded to a much greater extent with the parades issue. FRrom where I’m standing, it’s about ensuring the maximum influence for their party in the longer term. They fostered instability to see off the SDLP, now they want to reduce it to minimal levels so they can get on with exercising power while maintaining their status as the assertors of Catholic interests.

  • kensei

    “Perhaps Adams’ speeches about reaching out to unionists, and the laying of wreaths at WWI memorials, are the gloss on the more aggressive and confrontational substance that Mc Laughlin revealed.”

    I don’t buy that for a second and it’s far too easy a way out. It doesn’t make sense.

    “I think both the DUP and PSF need instability and confrontation to thrive politically.”

    I don’t buy this for a second either. SF presents a nationalism that doesn’t feel the need to constantly apolgise for itself, and is clear about what it wants. The SDLP equivocates, and was worse in the past. And the DUP have the advantage of not being a shambles.

    “I’m not sure PSF does want to prove that NI is a failed political entity so much as they want to make things unworkable without their participation. They have effectively failed to do this with the police, but have succeeded to a much greater extent with the parades issue.”

    Police is both unsatisfactory at the moment and unworkable in Republican areas.

    “From where I’m standing, it’s about ensuring
    the maximum influence for their party in the longer term.”

    This is true. It’s a tautology where politcal parties are concerned.

    “They fostered instability to see off the SDLP,”

    This isn’t. The SDLP really don’t get it. We don’t want post nationalism. We don’t want to apologise for who we are. We want to ge closer to a United Ireland and want someone who will stand up to Unionist bluster. Which is why the SDLP is in the state it’s in, nothing to do with “fostering instability”.

  • reality check

    i think the attacks on catholic churches post ceasefires of 1994 would be considerably more than attacks on orange halls since 1989

  • rc,

    Am in pursuit of same.

  • Garibaldy

    Kensei,

    What about PSF people saying that the demographics make a UI inevitable, and the unionists should make as good a deal as they can? This can be found in the PSF contribution to a book on the meaning of republicanism for the bicentenary of 1998 (The Republican Ideal ed. N. Porter), and has been made on the television and stuff as well. In this mindset, there’s no need to accomodate unionism, it’s simply a matter of strengthening the position of nationalists within the NI state until the demographics kick in.

    This seems to me to be the logic of PSF policy. Thus minor approaches to unionism are good PR, and might even work. They cost nothing, but don’t alter the fundamental approach.

    As for confrontation, the anti-Parades campaign helped PSF gain votes and seats in areas where they previously were weak. On top of that, they captured I would say the overwhelming majority of young nationalist voters, thus depriving the SDLP of a renewed vote. That’s why I think the instability was a deliberate political policy. The same reason decommissioning was dragged out for so long. I wasn;’t criticising the Provos for seeking power, I was pointing out that they were not trying to wreck the state, but were simply trying to act as other parties do.

    I think your last paragraph proves my point in talking about standing up to unionist bluster. we aren’t actually disagreeing that much. Except of course, I think PSF policy is sectarian and increases sectarianism deliberately, and that this is anti-republican.

  • kensei

    “What about PSF people saying that the demographics make a UI inevitable, and the unionists should make as good a deal as they can? This can be found in the PSF contribution to a book on the meaning of republicanism for the bicentenary of 1998 (The Republican Ideal ed. N. Porter), and has been made on the television and stuff as well. In this mindset, there’s no need to accomodate unionism, it’s simply a matter of strengthening the position of nationalists within the NI state until the demographics kick in.”

    I think the view has matured, and the last cenusus in particular hinted it might take a little while longer than expected. Moreover, SF wants power in the South, and tormenting Unionism might be fun, be it isn’t going to help that goal.

    “This seems to me to be the logic of PSF policy. Thus minor approaches to unionism are good PR, and might even work. They cost nothing, but don’t alter the fundamental approach.”

    And thus you misunderstand the Republican mindset. Doing the Poppy Day thing might seem symbollic, but it was a hard thing Republicans and not entirely without cost.

    “As for confrontation, the anti-Parades campaign helped PSF gain votes and seats in areas where they previously were weak.”

    That may be the result, but I don’t believe it was down to some magic targetted strategy to cause instability. It was simply because large swathes of Nationalists don’t like Orange Parades and that policy for an assertive Nationalist Party is a shoo-in.

    “On top of that, they captured I would say the overwhelming majority of young nationalist voters, thus depriving the SDLP of a renewed vote. That’s why I think the instability was a deliberate political policy.”

    Again, that’s a result you are pointing out and sthen say that the link is self evident, when it isn’t. Why would instability naturally lead to capturing all the younger votes. The problem for the SDLP has been simple: their policies are wrong. SF produced a more assertive Nationalism and that naturally appealled to a generation who have less hang ups about being irish.

    “The same reason decommissioning was dragged out for so long.”

    There were a lot of reasons it was dragged out, mainly linked to gaining enough support and using it as leverage.

    “I think your last paragraph proves my point in talking about standing up to unionist bluster. we aren’t actually disagreeing that much. Except of course, I think PSF policy is sectarian and increases sectarianism deliberately, and that this is anti-republican. ”

    No, standing up against anti-Catholic parades and pointing out the huge hypocrisy of Unionist policy isn’t sectarian. Only when we have removed these form both sides (and I accept republicans also have work to do) can we ever think of coming together. Brushing it under the carpet helps no one.

  • Maura

    This suggestion may probably be a bit too radical for some, but here goes.
    When parade routes are agreed to everyone’s satisfaction, I think Republicans and even some recgonisable Sinn Fein officials should go along to quietly observe the Orange Parades, in a respectful manner. I am not suggesting that they march and clap to Orange tunes, but I do think it would be politically astute to show some understanding and respect for the traditions of the Unionist community. If we are saying we are looking for an Ireland of Equals, where Unionist, Nationalist and other are respected equally, why not show that? Take the lead!
    Perhaps observing a July 12th parade in a less contentious area such as Rossnowlagh? I have been there when the parade is taking place, there is little to object to. Radical I know, but maybe radical is what we need to stop this nonsense of burning down each others buildings?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “there are always morons who will trash stuff, be it gravestones, churches or orange order halls”

    True- only these attacks are generally not spontaneous,or in response to a rise in community tension. They are well planned, involving several people, often using heavy industrial machionary to effect entry- Moree in County Tyrone has a JCB driven through the security fence for instance.The preferred method is to break through the roof and pour petrol in- a little bit too sophisticated for your average spide’s cider-muddled head to plan.

    “I think the attacks on catholic churches post ceasefires of 1994 would be considerably more than attacks on orange halls since 1989 ”

    Then you would be wrong- and not for the first time. Interestingly, when the Chapel in Crumlin was damaged a few years ago one of the first to open his cheque book to help the rebuilding fund was one James Molyneaux of the Orange Institution. Can’t ever recall Gerry or Marty opening the wallet for an Orange hall in their constituencies- and them with all those Northern Bank notes gathering dust.

    People need to understand that Roman Catholics do use many orange halls- the creche near Magheragall, the irish dancing classes in a hall near Donemana, the dole office in Randalstown in recent years,the blood donation sessions elsewhere, the DPP meetings in Stranocum, a hundred plays, and other local events. The local Roman Catholics have come along to our Lodge fundraising night and auction in recent years.

    It is insightful to see the number of posters from the republican viewpoint trying to deny or minimise or explain these statistics without wanting to overtly justify them.

  • kensei

    “It is insightful to see the number of posters from the republican viewpoint trying to deny or minimise or explain these statistics without wanting to overtly justify them.”

    you ->
    <- point of this thread

  • Crataegus

    Mick

    However there seems to be an assumption at a senior level within Sinn Fein, for instance, that the undermining of the confidence of the ‘other’ is good for ‘us’. Again that is something I’m struggling to see the sense in.

    Occasionally when we set something in motion it builds a momentum all of its own, and this may be such a case. We become trapped by the consequence of what seemed appropriate at a time. Also within sections of the Republican household there are those who would like to see Unionists suffer in purgatory, if not hell. So irrespective of any over arching political scheme these things happen, and making themuns look humbled plays well to the core supporters.

    Of course the current position of the DUP doesn’t help as those that want progress, and be seen to be making progress, are blocked. There are few visible signs of progress so what other outlets? Maintain the policy of attack on the other community albeit at a lesser level, less risky than political initiatives and keeps idle hands busy? After all those carrying out these attacks are likely to have a very different mindset to that of the political class.

    I would have thought that the best policy for both sides would be to make this place work and be seem as being involved in that process, but that is me being simplistic. At present it would seem that the politicians are actively seeking redundancy, which is a strange policy.

    The side that wins the votes of the floaters is the side that will win some future poll and none of them impress this floater. Burning halls and churches is a real turn off. Today the Orange Order tomorrow well you never know what may be expedient.

  • skinbop

    >>I was just commenting on my opinion that the way it is being done has changed significantly over the last number of years.

    So it has changed for the better or worse or??

    >>As for the UVF flag, I could be wrong. If so, I apologise. The flag I saw is sort of orange and purple. There were loads of them. I thought it was (perhaps the old) UVF flag? If not, mea culpa.

    Not sure when you actually did see the flag in question. But its a moot point in any case. Not sure I follow if you are saying it is an improved situation or that is how it used to be.

    You also stated in a much earlier post that Newbuildings was a “new estate”. You will find that it has actually been there for many years. Although once tagged “is this the most sectarian village in Northern Ireland”, Newbuildings was thankfully free of loyalist gangs.

  • páid

    Excellent thread this.

    Not available anywhere else.

  • elfinto

    Elephant in the house – DRUMCREE!!!

    Green Flag, you are neither a nationalist and a republican but an approximately 2 and a half county unionist. Change the treacherous record!

  • Briso

    >>So it has changed for the better or worse or??

    It has changed for the much more visible and organised. Better or worse is a subjective thing. Personally, I think it is bad that the new estates are being marked out in such a way as to make sure no taigs buy houses in them.

    >>Not sure when you actually did see the flag in
    >>question. But its a moot point in any case.
    Last year.

    >>Not sure I follow if you are saying it is an
    >>improved situation or that is how it used to be.
    See above.

    >>You also stated in a much earlier post that
    >>Newbuildings was a “new estate”. You will find
    >>that it has actually been there for many >>years.

    No, I talked about a new estate IN Newbuildings and one in Drumahoe.

    >>Although once tagged “is this the most
    >>sectarian village in Northern Ireland”,
    >>Newbuildings was thankfully free of loyalist >>gangs.

    I know, and I’ve no intention of commenting on this as I don’t live there. That sort of comment doesn’t help anyway as the actions of a few are applied to the whole village which is unfair and counter-productive.

  • Mick Fealty

    Crat,

    It’s interesting that you put the DUP in the dock for this as well as Sinn Fein.

    It has to be said that the settlement of the Tour of the North parade was evidence that these two (or at least their supporters in the community) can broker a de-escalation in community tensions.

    Whilst the detail on the Whiterock parade seems mind bogglingly trivial to an outsider, it may be an improvement that they fall out over detail than major priniciples.

    However, despite the virtual disappearance of (Republican) politically motivated criminality in a few short months, church and Orange Hall burning don’t seem to have become subject to any agreement as yet.

    It gives the impression (whether true or not) that in the Peace Process™ game every last thing must be brought to a table somewhere and billaterally agreed before it can be dealt with by the defaulting community.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “”It is insightful to see the number of posters from the republican viewpoint trying to deny or minimise or explain these statistics without wanting to overtly justify them.”

    you ->
    <- point of this threadPosted by kensei on Jun 20, 2006 @ 05:31 PM"And there's another one! Instead of trying to prescribe the limits of debate by your interpretation of the thread, I present to you the alternative option-to free your mind from its chainsKensei-try it- " I think it's wrong to attack the property of people I don't like,even if the people doing it are people I do like"See? Not so difficult.

  • Crataegus

    Mick

    It’s interesting that you put the DUP in the dock for this as well as Sinn Fein.

    Of course I do; I don’t subscribe to their sanctimonious hypocrisy. The position they take makes sense only if you yourself are whiter than white. If not stop the pretence and get on with it.

    It gives the impression (whether true or not) that in the Peace Process™ game every last thing must be brought to a table somewhere and bilaterally agreed before it can be dealt with by the defaulting community.

    Truly depressing and unfortunately seems to be the case, but this again is one of the reasons (and the DUP position) why I think that neither side is that confident. If you were confident in yourself would you get bogged down in such trivia? No! but here you can’t show weakness and you can’t be seen to back down. Signs of insecurity.

    I remain of the opinion that the best way forward is for Hain to sack the lot of them; widen the consultation, end the side deals, look at the agreement, take on board the various ideas and agree some necessary changes with the government in Dublin and then hold fresh elections. I would also make all candidates enter into a contract next time. If any group want to boycott the election let them.

    The current position is pathetic and there are issues here that we need clear policy on. Basically we have a weak Secretary of State, I think poorly advised, vacillating and being make to look quite ridiculous. How do you deal with a class full of diffident children? Be firm but with a smile, if you don’t have to put up with nonsense don’t.

  • Briso

    MF:It gives the impression (whether true or not) that in the Peace Process™ game every last thing must be brought to a table somewhere and billaterally agreed before it can be dealt with by the defaulting community.

    Whoooaah!! We started this thread considering the possibility that the attacks on Orange halls are an organised campaign. We seem to have moved seamlessly to assuming that this organised campaign exists and is being held back as a bargaining chip in negotiations by SF. Hold your horses Mick!

  • kensei

    “And there’s another one! Instead of trying to prescribe the limits of debate by your interpretation of the thread, I present to you the alternative option-to free your mind from its chains”

    The whole point of this thread is to discuss the underlying reasons for the change. See those questions at the top?

    Complaining about people “offering excuses” official makes you a moron, Darth. Consider like you’ve just wet yourself in public.

    “I think it’s wrong to attack the property of people I don’t like,even if the people doing it are people I do like

    See? Not so difficult.”

    I don’t like scumbags who damage anyone’s property, and I’ve went apeshit on my friends when they decided to kick over bins when drunk. It is a personal pet hate, anytime, anywhere. But that isn’t what the thread is about.

    “Whoooaah!! We started this thread considering the possibility that the attacks on Orange halls are an organised campaign. We seem to have moved seamlessly to assuming that this organised campaign exists and is being held back as a bargaining chip in negotiations by SF. Hold your horses Mick!”

    Seonded. Actually since I already raised this point earlier, thirded. It seems to me this si the type of things are not agreed by parties at the macro political level – they are either dealt with by agreement and resolution within government, or they are tackled by government initiative enforced by the police and the courts. The former is possible, but overshadowed by parades, and the latter is seemingly impossible. You are way, way out here, Mick.

    Seconded

  • Mick Fealty

    Briso,

    I take your point.

    All I have argued is that the party has proved it can be a hugely positive influence in helping settle long running and apparently intractable disputes. However this should not preclude asking why certain areas of unrest are being cleared up and others are not. I underline again, this has to be speculative, since no background other than the crude figures are in the public domain.

    Kensai,

    This is key, I think:

    It seems to me this si the type of things are not agreed by parties at the macro political level – they are either dealt with by agreement and resolution within government, or they are tackled by government initiative enforced by the police and the courts.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Briso, there are further assumptions made as well as those two you have listed. Even if it is an organised campaign, and that campaign is being organised by the leadership of (P)SF, that doesn’t mean that it is fair to blame the nationalist/republican ‘community’. There is no such thing as such a community. NI is either one community or dozens/hundreds, depending on how you look at it.

    If so-called Catholics and/or Republicans and/or Nationalists are attacking Orange Lodges then they are enemies of the Irish Republic (in my little opinion!). All attacks on civilians for nothing more than their religion/culture/politics are unacceptable and their elimination are precisely what the Irish Republic should be about. I place those people firmly in the same box labelled “enemies” as any person who kills a Catholic because of their religion.

    I’m the first to be annoyed at (P)SF turning a blind eye to these b*****ds and while I’m a republican I don’t see myself voting for anyone any time soon (must check out these eirigi folks though). PSF may or may not condemn these attacks (and the leadership may even be genuine) but they are still turning a blind eye to the low level anti-Protestant prejudice that exists right across Republican areas.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Are the increase in attacks since the late 80’s evidence of somebody (insert conspiracy theory here) deliberately making the conflict a primarily religious one, where previously it was a political struggle which some idiots on both sides used as cover for a selfish tribal struggle?

  • Garibaldy

    OC,

    Blantly sectarian murders were higher in the 1970s than the 1980s or since. Perhaps the attacks on Orange halls and churches are an expression of sectarian hatred that had previously more direct expression in murders. Unlikely but possible.

  • DK

    Garibaldy said: “Blantly sectarian murders were higher in the 1970s than the 1980s or since. Perhaps the attacks on Orange halls and churches are an expression of sectarian hatred that had previously more direct expression in murders. Unlikely but possible.”

    You mean that they haven’t gone away, you know.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “The whole point of this thread is to discuss the underlying reasons for the change. See those questions at the top?”
    That would be these one then-
    “So is it a meaningless coincidence? Does it relate to reactionary factors, like changes in the type of Loyalist violence? British countermeasures? Or is it simply part of a ‘war by other means’ designed to undermine confidence in the Unionist community? ”
    To which I pointed out the nature of the attacks, and the mealy-mouthed half-baked condemnation, or more often excuses, from some posters.

    “Consider like you’ve just wet yourself in public”

    No. Consider like I’ve just pissed all over you, cos you’re fooling noone with your juvenile abuse posturing as debate .

  • Garibaldy

    Indeed. The same hatreds and the same ways of thinking still infect our body politic.

  • Briso

    DK:You mean that they haven’t gone away, you know.

    Garibaldy:The same hatreds and the same ways of thinking still infect our body politic.

    I think you can go even further. There are people around who have been brutalised by the troubles. They have killed people, often shutting down the human part of themselves to be able to do it. They definitely haven’t gone away.

    But that’s beside the point as we still haven’t enough information about this ‘campaign’. Some questions I would like answers to.

    How does the rate of attacks change over time since 1989? Is it currently dropping or rising? Are they correlated with parade decisions? Are they correlated with political events? Are they correlated with local factors (i.e. hall burned, church burned, hall burned ……..)? Are they related to demographic hotspots? What is the modus operandi (i.e. are they clearly orchestrated by organised teams or are they ‘low-tech’ such as could be carried out by opportunistic teenagers)?

    That should keep you busy.

  • kensei

    “That would be these one then-
    “So is it a meaningless coincidence? Does it relate to reactionary factors, like changes in the type of Loyalist violence? British countermeasures? Or is it simply part of a ‘war by other means’ designed to undermine confidence in the Unionist community? “”

    Yes. The questions about why the attacks happened.

    “To which I pointed out the nature of the attacks,
    and the mealy-mouthed half-baked condemnation, or more often excuses, from some posters.”

    Which didn’t actually answer those questions, merely went on a rant about people offering excuses when the whole thread is about the rational behind the attacks, which you pointed to as “excuses”. You wanted to have a go, and added nothing to the debate.

    “No. Consider like I’ve just pissed all over you, cos you’re fooling noone with your juvenile abuse posturing as debate.”

    No, Darth, you’re just my special, special punching bag. When you reach an adult level of debate instead of endless whataboutery, I’ll start engaging you on an adult level.

    “This is key, I think:

    It seems to me this si the type of things are not agreed by parties at the macro political level – they are either dealt with by agreement and resolution within government, or they are tackled by government initiative enforced by the police and the courts. ”

    Ach. That first bit should have read “within communities”, but I think the point still stands. It’s not really down to SF or the DUP to trade this at a leadership level like decommissioning, and it wouldn’t work if it did. There is certainly a role for them to provide leadership on the issue though, but making clear it isn’t aceptable, like an anti-racism campaign. But if the Assembly was up it would surely be it’s job to tackle this kind of low level crime.

  • Mick Fealty

    Darth,

    PLAY THE BALL!!!

  • skinbop

    Briso,

    >>I think it is bad that the new estates are being marked out in such a way as to make sure no taigs buy houses in them.

    If you are saying its a new estate IN Newbuildings, well I very much doubt that there is graffitti anywhere on the gable walls of these new houses.

    I don’t think religion has ever been issue at all when it comes to buying new houses in Newbuildings and you would be better to retract your comment.

    To rephrase your statement : the comments of a few are applied to the whole village which is unfair and counter-productive.

  • harpo

    ‘Attacks on Orange halls, like attacks on properties belonging to other political, cultural or religious organisations, are wrong and shouldn’t happen.

    But…’

    Chris Donnelly:

    There’s always a but, isn’t there Chris?

    Except when it comes to things like Holy Cross. In that case there are no buts – the violence and protests by loyalists are just dismissed out of hand. ‘Think of the wee girls’ is the cry, and you don’t want any consideration of the context or circumstances of the protests and attacks. No consideration of ‘cultivating a frightening intimidatory atmosphere’ there was there. No indeed – just focus on the violence and don’t think of any wider considerations.

    Why is that Chris?

    Why is there a but when it comes to the OO? Your message is essentially ‘anti-OO violence is of course wrong, BUT they created the circumstances that led to it’.

    Why the double standard Chris?

    Why no statements like this: ‘the Holy Cross violence was wrong, but you have to understand that nationalist attacks on the loyalists created the circumstances that led to it’?

    As usual it’s blaming the victim when the victim is from the unionist side.

  • harpo

    ‘For instance one cannot infer that Republicans per se are responsible for these individual actions.’

    Who do you suspect then Mick? A bad ass unit of the Brownies?

    If by ‘Republicans’ (your capitalization) you mean fully paid up members of the local Sinn Fein branch then no, it can’t be proven that any attack on an Orange Hall was done by them. But I think it is fair to say that it is those from ‘the republican community’ who do this sort of thing. They may not be fully paid up members of anything in particular, but they have the republican mentality, and the lesser brained of them carry out such sectarian attacks. Or even those with a brain and an agenda.

    If its ‘loyalists’ who carry out sectarian attacks on catholics and Catholic property then I think its entirely reasonable to call those who attack OO halls republicans.

    Of course if you want to go the ‘it may all be done by non-political hoods’ route then feel free. But I don’t think anyone is buying into that.

  • harpo

    ‘i think the attacks on catholic churches post ceasefires of 1994 would be considerably more than attacks on orange halls since 1989’

    reality check:

    That’s nice. Does that mean burning down OO halls is OK then?

    Any other things you’d like to throw into this shallow bit of whataboutery?

  • harpo

    ‘you ->
    <- point of this thread'kensei:I thought darth's post was very good. And I thought your post here was a poor attempt to ignore the contents of it.Are you that scared of actual facts that you dismiss his post with a 'you missed the point of the thread' response?He didn't miss the point of the thread - he is spot on, with actual facts. A number of posters have tried to downplay the attacks, or blame the victim, or engage in whataboutery (whatabout attacks on Catholic churches?). Anything but give an unqualified 'these attacks are wrong' response.It is indeed insightful to see the number of posters from the republican viewpoint trying to deny or minimise or explain these statistics without wanting to overtly justify them.

  • Garibaldy

    I see the Daily Ireland has a story with the INLA accusing Special Branch of using an agent provocateur to attack Orange halls in the area of south Derry. I won’t link it as it would screw up the page as I can’t do it properly.

    A novel explanation for attacks on Orange halls.

  • harpo

    ‘And there’s another one! Instead of trying to prescribe the limits of debate by your interpretation of the thread, I present to you the alternative option-to free your mind from its chains’

    darth:

    Good post. You set out actual facts, and he didn’t like it. So he tries to box you in by defining what he sees the thread as being about. In the course of which he decides not to deal with your points.

    Many posts from nationalists are like that. Ignore the issue, engage in whataboutery, blame the victim, state that the victim was asking for it, say it’s not that serious anyway. Anything to avoid condemning those who carry out the violence.

    If this was about Holy Cross I doubt these folks would be so interested in examining context, other similar acts of violence, contributing factors etc. No – in that case it’s simply bad loyalists/unionists who have to be condemned in an unqualified fashion. Why is that?

  • harpo

    ‘No. Consider like I’ve just pissed all over you, cos you’re fooling noone with your juvenile abuse posturing as debate .’

    Darth:

    Well said.

    His is the typical republican tactic when there is a debate. He defines what the debate is supposed to be about, so that he doesn’t have to address your points. As you say, when confronted with the fact that there has been a change in the number of attacks, many posters did not take this as fact and try to explain it. As you say they preferred to try to make out that the fact isn’t true, or to enage in whataboutery. Or to try to minimize the impact of it.

    But he doesn’t criticise these people for not addressing what he sees as the point of the debate. No – he waits until you point out that those people engaged in all manner of issue avoidance tactics and then attacks you, as presumably in his eyes the first person to take the debate outside his parameters. It is juvenile abuse on his part.

    According to him of course, the point of the thread is not to condemn such violence, but to explain reasons for it. So you get hammered for daring to introduce the radical concept of people who don’t condemn and instead excuse it, or try to wish it away.

  • kensei

    “I thought darth’s post was very good.”

    Of course you do. Judging by your crazy, crazy rants on the other thread, your like his younger brother, or something.

    “Are you that scared of actual facts that you dismiss his post with a ‘you missed the point of the thread’ response?”

    No, I was just pointing out he misse dth epoint of the thread. Of course reasons (‘excuses’)are for things are going to be offered up, because reasons were asked for.

    “He didn’t miss the point of the thread – he is spot on, with actual facts. A number of posters have tried to downplay the attacks, or blame the victim, or engage in whataboutery (whatabout attacks on Catholic churches?). Anything but give an unqualified ‘these attacks are wrong’ response.”

    No, a number of posters offered up reasons as asked, and asked about other buildings, because we are interested in whether or not this is a general trend, or specific to OO halls. It would be very revealing. Were there a few taht were borderline whatobutery? Sure. Did his rant help? No.

    “It is indeed insightful to see the number of posters from the republican viewpoint trying to deny or minimise or explain these statistics without wanting to overtly justify them. ”

    Sigh.
    you ——–>
    < - point of thread"Good post. You set out actual facts, and he didn’t like it. So he tries to box you in by defining what he sees the thread as being about. In the course of which he decides not to deal with your points."No, I refered to what the thread is actually about. Try, you know, reading the post."Many posts from nationalists are like that. Ignore the issue, engage in whataboutery, blame the victim, state that the victim was asking for it, say it’s not that serious anyway. Anything to avoid condemning those who carry out the violence."I know, I know. *Ahem*I don’t like scumbags who damage anyone’s property, and I’ve went apeshit on my friends when they decided to kick over bins when drunk. It is a personal pet hate, anytime, anywhere. But that isn’t what the thread is about.

    “If this was about Holy Cross I doubt these folks would be so interested in examining context, other similar acts of violence, contributing factors etc.”

    In a specific thread, no. In a thread that said attacks on schoolchildren have increased dramatically in a shortt period, yes. Do you see?

    “No – in that case it’s simply bad loyalists/unionists who have to be condemned in an unqualified fashion. Why is that?”

    I don’t condemn Unionists. I pity them. I condemn people who make moronic points.

    And as a thread backing up someone who missed the point, yours is even less useful than the intial one. Congratulations! I look forward to your next foaming at the mouth rant.

  • harpo

    ‘A novel explanation for attacks on Orange halls.’

    Garibaldy:

    Indeed that is novel.

    I don’t suppose the obvious answer to why nationalists are increasingly attacking Orange Halls is allowed to be stated.

    I’d say it’s because a certain amount of nationalists are sectarian bigots and they think it’s fun to do so. Now that the official campaign of violence has been wound down, they have to find some way to get their jollies.

    As the official armed campaign wound down in the late 80s and early 90s, the low intensity stuff ramps up. It seems blazingly obvious to me.

  • kensei

    “As the official armed campaign wound down in the late 80s and early 90s, the low intensity stuff ramps up. It seems blazingly obvious to me.”

    I know this is a novel idea, and I hope it doesn’t blow your mind or anything, but have you any actual evidence of that, or is your “blindingly obvious” view just as much speculation as anyone else here?

    You do realise that merely thinking something isn’t enough to make it true, right? I tried that once, but Natalie Portman got the police after see insisted she wasn’t my girlfriend.

  • Garibaldy

    Harpo,

    I wasn’t endorsing the argument, just bringing people’s attention to it as it seemed relevant to the thread.

    If you read the thread the whole way through you’ll see me, and others, making similar arguments to your own.

  • Garibaldy

    Kensei,

    Have you seen Closer? If not you’d like it a lot.

    Although Lucy Liu is clearly top of the range.

  • kensei

    “I’d say it’s because a certain amount of nationalists are sectarian ###### and they think it’s fun to do so. Now that the official campaign of violence has been wound down, they have to find some way to get their jollies.”

    Though to be fair, let’s see if we can channel this to the actual topic of debate.

    Some elements of Nationalism have always held sectarian attitudes. Why the did the number of attacks on OO halls suddenly increase in a short period? Does it fit a wider pattern of escalating attacks on both sides?

    I know you are going to come back with it’s all the IRA/SF/Evil Nationalists instead of something intelligent, but hey! at least I’ll give you a chance.

    “Have you seen Closer? If not you’d like it a lot.

    Although Lucy Liu is clearly top of the range. ”

    No, I shall have to check it out. I just realised I forgot about Scarlett Johannsen, who is clearly the finest thing walking the Earth right now. Please accept this picture as apology:

    http://www.keebler.net/blog/wp-content/images/2005/7/Scarlett_Johansson_Esquire003.jpg

  • Garibaldy

    Ms Johansson certainly has her attractions. But (a) seems to be Woody Allen’s new actress of choice, which is in no way disturbing
    (b) is going out with the total moron Josh Hartnett

    Thus she lacks Lucy Liu’s brains. I mean, Lucy in the snow outside the restaurant in Kill Bill.

    As for Closer, for the only time in your life you’ll wish you were Clive Owen.

    As for burning Orange halls, maybe they should put pictures of such beauties on them, and no-one will dare violate them

  • harpo

    ‘No, I was just pointing out he misse dth epoint of the thread. Of course reasons (’excuses’)are for things are going to be offered up, because reasons were asked for.’

    But many posters went beyond ‘reasons’ (or even ignored giving reasons) and engaged in the usual issue avoidance stuff, engaging in whataboutery and denial that it even is happening or is worth bothering about. He simply addressed those points, given that they had been raised.

    How is it that you didn’t have a go at the guys who didn’t give reasons either? Those who said ‘whatabout attacks on Catholic churches’ etc? Why don’t they come in for your ‘stick to the exact point of the thread’ mantra? I’d say it’s because you are quite happy for them to post that stuff. Darth didn’t post what he did in a vacuum – he responded to many who went outside your stated parameters. Yet you attack only him. Why is that?

    Most threads deviate from the main thrust of the thread, often to ridiculous extremes. It’s even up to interpretation about what is being sought in many threads. So why does Garth draw your ire for simply responding to what people posted? Are we all just supposed to stick to the main point (as defined by you) and not address the responses that others come up with? That would mean pretty boring threads. Is there no room for tangents or slight deviations from the main point when people bring them up?

    ‘Judging by your crazy, crazy rants on the other thread, your like his younger brother, or something.’

    I’d say your stuff comes closer to crazy, crazy rants, but I’m too polite to say so. And who are you by the way? The elder sister of Martin McGuinness? You seem like it by the way you went into ‘we’re not here to talk about that’ mode. Very MM in style. Attempt to limit the discussion to what you see the isue as and howl down any fiollow up questions with the usual ‘we’re not here to talk about that’ tactic.

    ‘and asked about other buildings, because we are interested in whether or not this is a general trend, or specific to OO halls. It would be very revealing.’

    Now here we have it. Who is this ‘we’ who decided they would be interested in this tangent? Here’s your double standard – you accuse Darth of deviating from the purpose of the thread, but in the next breath you deem this ‘other buildings’ deviation to be worthy of our consideration. You stated quite strongly to darth that the only purpose of the thread is reasons as to why these specific attacks increased, now you allow a deviation away from that. But on that you like of course.

    Who died and made you queen of what deviations in a thread are to be allowed and which are not? SFAIK you aren’t in charge of policing the tangents or deviations that threads go on, and I’d say that your put down of Darth is simply based on his politics. And yours. So a deviation into other types of buildings (that of course naturally brings in attacks on buildings where your side is the victim) is allowed by you, whereas a follow up on the nonsense posted by severl other posters (where the follow up is posted by a unionist) is disallowed by you.

    I’d say if you don’t like a post ignore it. But don’t start playing the drama queeen as if no one else has started deviating from the central theme and YOU aren’t going to stand for it. So you attack it.

    ‘Were there a few taht were borderline whatobutery? Sure.’

    No – at least 2 of them were outright in your face whataboutery. No attempt to disguise it. Why do they get excused as ‘borderline’?

    ‘Did his rant help? No.’

    He didn’t rant. He posted a reasonable response to what several posters had posted. Is that not allowed your highness?

    You sound like one of my daughters did when she was about 7 – anything she didn’t like to hear was dismissed as us screaming at her. So you dismiss Garth as ranting and me as posting crazy crazy posts.

    Is there any chance that you would stop these attacks on us and address what we actually say and not have a go at us for how you perceive we deliver it?

    ‘No, I refered to what the thread is actually about. Try, you know, reading the post.’

    Except of course when someone moves the discusion onto a tangent that wasn’t, you know, in that original post that you refer to. I didn’t see any reference to, you know, ‘other buildings’? Did you? Try, you know, reading the post.

    Again, I’ll say it. You only object to deviations when it’s a unionist posting them about some related aspect that you don’t want to, you know, address. When it’s one that drags in nationalists as victims, you know, that’s fine with you, and ‘we’ suddenly become interested. ‘We’ being nationalists who want to broaden the discussion on your approved lines.

  • harpo

    More for kensai:

    ‘In a specific thread, no. In a thread that said attacks on schoolchildren have increased dramatically in a shortt period, yes. Do you see?’

    No I don’t. You are getting mixed up again. This was a specific thread about attacks on one sort of buildings. It was not about attacks on all sorts of buildings generally. It was specifically about attacks on OO halls. Not buildings generally. Thus by your own rules of sticking to the subject you should limit yourself to that subject and not go on a tangent about attacks on all buildings.

    If OO halls are the Holy Cross kids in your analogy, then this thread was specifically about only those kids. What you did here was open up the discussion to a discussion about all schoolkids and not just those that the original post was about. Do YOU see? You broke your own stated rule. I’d say you did that on purpose as it deflects the focus from the attacks on OO halls.

    I’d like to hear you if a unionist pulled a similar ploy and opened up a debate about the Holy Cross kids to a general discussion about attacks on all schoolkids. Yet that’s what you are advocating here, on the basis that ‘we’ would be interested. It’s issue avoidance. Not all of us are interested in your tangent.

    ‘I pity them’

    Just as I pity nationalists like you. What’s next in your arsenal? Nah nah nah nah nah?

    ‘I condemn people who make moronic points.’

    Does that include yourself? You’ve made several in this reply. I thought your getting the schoolkids analogy backwards was your best.

    ‘And as a thread backing up someone who missed the point, yours is even less useful than the intial one.’

    He didn’t miss the point and neither did I. You just don’t like what we are saying. He responded to specific posts. You don’t like what he said so you attack him.

    ‘Congratulations! I look forward to your next foaming at the mouth rant.

    Again here we see the attitude of your sort of nationalist – anything you don’t want to hear is dismissed as a rant.

  • harpo

    ‘Why the did the number of attacks on OO halls suddenly increase in a short period?’

    I answered that in the next sentence, Did you miss it? I said it’s because as the official armed campaign wound down, they have to find some way to get their jollies. Low intensity attacks instead of the former stuff.

    ‘Though to be fair, let’s see if we can channel this to the actual topic of debate.’

    I did address the actual topic of debate. You just didn’t read my second sentence. I gave a reason for why these attacks increased. First you ask for reasons why these attacks increase, I give you one, and you ignore it and pretend that I didn’t address the topic. No channeling was required if you could have concentrated.

    Sad.

    ‘Does it fit a wider pattern of escalating attacks on both sides?’

    By your own stated rules this is irrelevant, Didn’t you want reasons on these specific types of attacks? Suddenly you introduce a totally irrelevant issue – ‘let’s ignore the reasons for the increase in these attacks and see what we can compare them to.

    If you didn’t know, comparing one type of attack to another is not coming up with a reason as to why the first sort increased. That’s like talking about the issue of ‘why have rapes increased’ and diverting it to include a discussion of ‘let’s compare it to increases in other sorts of crime’.

    Your ‘Does it fit a wider pattern of escalating attacks on both sides?’ isn’t a reason for why attacks on OO hlls specifically increased. It’s just an attempt to get the debate to the level of ‘well themmuns were doing it to our buildings, so of course there were going to be more attacks on their buildings’.

    ‘I know you are going to come back with it’s all the IRA/SF/Evil Nationalists instead of something intelligent’

    I didn’t. So much for your channeling abilities.

    But what if that is the reason? That PSF/PIRA deliberately started a low intensity campaign of attacks on OO halls? Is no one allowed to state that as a potential reason? PSF/PIRA did far worse things – shooting Prod workers, a census worker, firebombing dinner dancers, bombing kids on the streets of Warrington, so I doubt the likes of skinny Bobby Sands or Martin Ferris would have lost much sleep over a lot of OO halls going up in flames. Skinny Bobby certainly didn’t think bombing a furniture store was anything much to get worked up about. In his fanatic mind that was an act of war. War crime more like.

    I have never been of the view that all nationalists are evil but the PSF/PIRA sort definitely are. I wouldn’t put this OO hall campaign past them. When you support bombing kids to death on the streets of Warrington, or shooting a van load of Prod workers, what’s the odd OO hall? Nothing.

  • Crataegus

    Harpo

    Thanks this reminds me of something

    I have never been of the view that all nationalists are evil

    Could someone explain to me the concept of original sin, does it mean that the assumption of the church is that we are all intrinsically evil?

    Original sin may be taken to mean:
    (1) the sin that Adam committed;
    (2) a consequence of this first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam.

    For me it is one of those Christian concepts that always struck me as decidedly dodgy. It has been rattling around in my head since I was 10, who would want to belong to a religion which views you with such low esteem? Your father was a sinner, therefore you will be a sinner and so will your children and grandchildren. Good for self esteem!

    Sorry bit off topic.

  • kensei

    In work, this will have to be brief:

    “I’d say if you don’t like a post ignore it. But don’t start playing the drama queeen as if no one else has started deviating from the central theme and YOU aren’t going to stand for it. So you attack it.”

    When it is so obviously missing the point, in fact, basicaly attacking the point of thread, I’m free to attack it. As for thread creep, fine if it happens naturally. Less so when someone comes in and has a wee rant.

    “Is there any chance that you would stop these attacks on us and address what we actually say and not have a go at us for how you perceive we deliver it?”

    I’ve addressed it several times, bud.

    “Except of course when someone moves the discusion onto a tangent that wasn’t, you know, in that original post that you refer to. I didn’t see any reference to, you know, ‘other buildings’? Did you? Try, you know, reading the post.”

    No, the general pattern is directly relevant. I’m more interested in the wider pattern on the Nationalist side, to be honest.

    “Again, I’ll say it. You only object to deviations when it’s a unionist posting them about some related aspect that you don’t want to, you know, address.”

    Well, that is a large generalisation to make for a single thread. But it is also untrue. I have on several occassions made my opposition to violence or something stupid that Nationalism has done. But the quality of debate from Unionist bloggers, probably fair_deal accepted, is at all time low here. It’s either the IRA, still the IRA, “parapoliticians”, ranting on “Nationalists” a la you, the IRA, whataboutery, the IRA, or adding “but sure it’s all just Prods that are sectarian” at the end of posts.

    “I didn’t. So much for your channeling abilities.”

    You did, you implied it in your original post (which I ignored) and then you said it without saying in your follow up here.

    Not ranting? How many half page long posts have you had in the last few days?

  • kensei

    Actually, that “probably” is unfair on fair_deal there, as he’s a more reasoned poster than me 😛 and has certainly gave me pause for thought. Just needs to drop the questionable sources.

  • DK

    No-one has answered my earier question, so I’ll ask it again: Are the Orange Halls used by the nationalist community? If not – could they be, as this would make them less of a target.

    Also, has anyone ever been caught? This might reveal the kind of people doing the attacks (teenagers, adults, RSF members etc.).

  • Nevin

    Kensie,

    Here are some statistics on some of the ‘low intensity stuff’ indulged in by loyalist and republican paramilitaries. The statistics highlight the hypocrisy of those paramilitary leaders who attempt to brand themselves as peacemakers.

    Paramilitary-style shootings and assaults 1973-2005

    The growth of assaults in the the 1990s reflect the desire of loyalist and republican paramilitary leaders to control ‘justice’ in their fiefdoms. Presumably those close to the leadership will usually be exempt from such barbaric justice.

  • kensei

    Am I looking at those figures wrong? The Republican figures seem to be relatively static aside form a spike 94-95 (coincidence around 1st ceasefire), beginning to tail in the last few years.

    Loyalists seem the growth area in those figures?

    There is also no breakdown of attacks by group, or community breakdown. And yes, I know it isn’t acceptable for paramilitaries to beat the crap of their own communities, but the thrust of your argument is low intensity “war”, which must be directed on the other side to hold.

  • kensei

    “Are the Orange Halls used by the nationalist community? If not – could they be, as this would make them less of a target.”

    Rumsfield covered it earlier I think, in which he gave some examples where they were. I don’t know how widespread this is though. Are the attacks in more urban areas, as these would seem to be less likely to be shared?

  • Nevin

    Kensei,

    The 1995-6 republican bulge in assaults coincides with a dramatic cut in shootings; presumably such shootings would have been difficult to explain during a ceasefire/cessation.

    Loyalist statistics are much higher than republican ones. This could be due to a number of factors. Many attacks will have gone unreported to the police, especially in republican fiefdoms. Loyalists have sought to emulate republicans in the ‘justice’ sphere and this has needed stronger measures to lessen state control in their fiefdoms. Also, loyalists have been subjected to much less political pressure by governments and local politicians as few, if any, of their parapoliticians were likely to achieve positions in a NI Executive.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Also, has anyone ever been caught? This might reveal the kind of people doing the attacks (teenagers, adults, RSF members etc.). ”

    Surprisingly, given our..ahem..brilliant new police force, there have been virtually no arrests, nevermind charges. I bow to the ingenuity of our teenage generation, but the manner of attacks detailed elsewhere by me does suggest the involvement of older and more focussed individuals, who understand how things like insurance companies,and criminal damage
    claims work.

    Attacks are predominantly in rural areas kensei, where the Hall is the focus for much of the protestant community’s activity, and where it’s easier to mount the time-consuming and laborious preliminaries of breaking through a roof without alerting the neighbours.

    And as for special branch agents provocateurs being behind the attacks in County Londond’y, I very much doubt that the MP for the area has been near Killygullib-or anywhere else in his constituency for that matter. :0)

  • harpo

    ‘I know this is a novel idea, and I hope it doesn’t blow your mind or anything, but have you any actual evidence of that’

    kensei:

    I thought the point of this thread (as stated by yourself) was to put forward potential reasons for why these attacks increased. I have just done so.

    When did anyone mention having evidence to back up the potential reason?

    ‘You do realise that merely thinking something isn’t enough to make it true, right?’

    I do. Where did I claim that my potential reason was actually true?

  • http://tinyurl.com/lq62q
    THe securocrats. The INLA claims they unmasked a tout the securocrats got to attack Oroange Order halls. I am sure there are plenty who would deem the demise of those incubators of sectarianism no great loss.

  • kensei

    “I bow to the ingenuity of our teenage generation, but the manner of attacks detailed elsewhere by me does suggest the involvement of older and more focussed individuals, who understand how things like insurance companies,and criminal damage
    claims work.”

    Forgive me for not understanding this point, but why would you need to understand a criminal damage claim unless it was an inside job?

    “When did anyone mention having evidence to back up the potential reason?”

    Never, my point was your guess is merely as good as anyone else’s here, so don’t rubbish their views in rant-o-vision.

  • George

    Interesting question.

    I don’t know about north of the border but south of the border Drumcree had a huge influence on attitudes to the OO. It would be, as elfinito described it, the elephant in the room for this discussion.

    (Continues to write with the nationalist goggles on)

    The Orange Order went to war with the nationalist community for a variety of reasons, showing total ambivalence to the health, concerns and welfare of the nationalist community.

    Any sense your average Irish nationalist may have had of the Orange Order being anything other than a tool of unionist power and control disappeared in the last decade and a bit. (takes off nationalist goggles)

    I do think the increase in nationalist “confidence” such as over 200,000 Irish citizens north of the border today as opposed to just 28,000 ten years ago has led to an intolerance of groups like the Orange Order.

    More importantly, I have the horrible feeling that many northern nationalists see the OO as the flagship of unionist culture and if they can hole this below the water-line then a great victory will have been achieved.

    Unionists say no surrender so for many there is no point in negotiating. The long war has begun and just like Highlander, “there can only be one”.

    All this talk of cross-community is a joke which is why Greenflag is nearer to the truth than many would like him to be when he mentions the 2 county solution as being something both sides could live with.

    The nationalist community don’t want to accept being “British” in any way shape or form anymore now that they “officially” have the choice of being Irish and the unionist community want nothing to do with being Irish.

    The next generation of northern nationalists will be less accommodating than this group on the nationality question, as will their unionist counterparts.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Forgive me for not understanding this point, but why would you need to understand a criminal damage claim unless it was an inside job? ”

    because my unduly cynical friend, there are certain evidential requirements for a criminal damage claim to succeed, and if they are not met then the NIO doesn’t pay out, and the insurance company foots the bill, and hikes the premiums for all Halls. One of those tests is whether the act was carried out by a paramilitary group, so if the Provos pre-“ceasefire” had claimed an attack the compo would have been a formality

  • kensei

    “because my unduly cynical friend, there are certain evidential requirements for a criminal damage claim to succeed, and if they are not met then the NIO doesn’t pay out, and the insurance company foots the bill, and hikes the premiums for all Halls. One of those tests is whether the act was carried out by a paramilitary group, so if the Provos pre-“ceasefire” had claimed an attack the compo would have been a formality”

    So, you are claiming this is professional done to force insurance claims up? Good grief that’s criminal genius. I don’t think you could make that jump without evidence.

  • steven

    There has never been a UVF flag on display in Newbuildings village, this is utter lies