Another sectarian assault in Derry

In what is being described as a life threatening sectarian attack, a 29-year old catholic has been left critically injured after being assaulted by a gang in the Waterside area of the city. The assault precipitated a night of violence in the area and comes after numerous sectarian attacks across the city in recent weeks, reported and discussed on this site on a number of occasions.
Not being too familair with goings-on in the city (beyond what is reported in the media), I would like to hear from Derry people some possible reasons for the alarming rise in sectarian incidents in the city this year, just as similar incidents appear on the wane in Belfast and in other parts of the north.

  • Pete Baker

    “the alarming rise in sectarian incidents in the city this year, just as similar incidents appear on the wane in Belfast and in other parts of the north.”

    Hmmm.. compared to when, Chris? Or indeed, to what level of sectarian incidents? Or is the question just based on a perception of the media coverage?

    Here are the latest, and indeed, the only recorded statistics on sectarian motivated crime (with other hate crime statistics) – recorded as such for the first time for the year 2005/2006. – 1st April 2005 to 31st March 2006.

    As the PSNI Stats branch say – “The next monthly updates will be available on the 28th July 2006.”

  • Fanny

    “I would like to hear from Derry people some possible reasons for the alarming rise in sectarian incidents..”

    Here’s the principal one, Chris: alcohol abuse, the Irish sickness. Does it every time.

  • Eamonn

    We should take note that the large majority of attacks are by the Unionist community. Which should silence those that say Derry Protestants are “under seige”.

  • skinbop

    “We should take note that the large majority of attacks are by the Unionist community. Which should silence those that say Derry Protestants are “under seige”.”

    Eamonn – the amount of attacks in the area each weekend is, as Fanny points out, due mainly to alcohol abuse. I am sure that this is seasonal and there are fewer incidents of this nature in the winter.

    But Eamonn, I am sure you will have the statistics to confirm this or not?

    And your seige/siege argument doesn’t make any sense, from a literal perspective – because you are “under seige” – you are not allowed to attack?

  • Chris Donnelly

    Peter
    hmmmm aside, the question relates to the fact that there appears to be- yes, largely from media coverage- a consistency of sectarian incidents in Derry in recent times. This has been picked up on this site and posted by Mick, FD and myself over the course of that period.

    Whilst the reported crime stats may tell us something, I’m interested in hearing local people’s opinions, which often can paint a more comprehensive picture- albeit subjective.

  • Pete Baker

    Chris

    If, as you have done, you are going to assert that there has been “an alarming rise in sectarian incidents” in Derry City this year, along with the claim that there appears to have been a waning of similar incidents elsewhere, then you need to be able to rely on more than a perception based on media coverage [as noted here or anywhere else].. or, for that matter, purely subjective opinion.

    Fanny has a more accurate interpretation of an assault at 3.40am on a Sunday morning in a city during a particularly hot summer. Those factors are the most likely to have played a main role in this particular incident.

  • wa wa waaaaaaa

    [Play the ball – edited Moderator]

  • Rubicon

    Chris – I’m not from Derry and have no “ground knowledge” of what’s happening there. I tend to agree with Pete’s points and at their very best the media in NI need a critical eye.

    The history, settlement pattern and topography of Derry added to alcohol on warm days – seems a likely explanation.

    While sceptical – it would be interesting to see if a medium like slugger can unearth anything. But – if it doesn’t it could just be that there isn’t anything to discover.

  • faartrick

    ill bet there were scotchmen involved…there always is in this type of assault

  • Carnhill

    Low-level sectarian attacks & gang-fighting tends to be something that is quite common on the Irish Street / Gobnascale interface (in the Waterside)and has been for as long as I remember. The areas, one staunchly republican, and one staunchly loyalist, being right next to each other makes the area Derrys only really open interface area. There have however been a few more serious incidents recently with people being hospitalised with life-threatening injuries. Coming from the Cityside myself and with no real local knowledge all I would say is that most people over here are just surprised that no-one has been killed yet as the areas are so close together and the mutual hatred felt so strongly. (there is no peace-line wall / fence at all in this area).
    In the other main interface – the Fountain / Bishop Street interface in the Cityside – the only real trouble over the years tended to be limited to stone throwing with the odd paint / petrol bomb thrown in (from both sides). This is due to the fact that the ‘opposing sides’ so to speak are seperated by a 30-foot wall / fence, added to the fact that an army / police barracks pretty much sits on the interface. In the past year / 18 months however tensions have been ratcheted up and a number of serious assaults have taken place on people walking home along bishop Street after a night out. These assaults on the whole have been carried out by one particular gang of loyalists from within the Fountain estate and have led to police locking the gate in the peace-wall every night for the past few weeks now. The source of alot of the trouble appears to lie in a bit of loyalist in-fighting / feuding in the Waterside area approx 12-18 months ago which led to a number of loyalists being forced to ‘relocate’ and choosing the Fountain estate as their next home-from-home. The PSNI were well-aware of this development and intimated that these loyalist ‘outsiders’ would cause further trouble after an incident a while back where they threw a pipe-bomb over the peace-wall into a nearby Nationalist street ( a sort of announcement of their arrival into the fountain !). As far as I remember the element in question seem to be aligned to the UDA, though I’m open to correction on that matter as my memory isn’t what it used to be !

  • Yokel

    Its strange, I know which posts are started by Chris Donnelly just by seeing the headlines..why is that?

  • Dec

    Its strange, I know which posts are started by Chris Donnelly just by seeing the headlines..why is that?

    I know what you mean, Yokel. If the headline had been Another sectarian assault in Londonderry, no prizes would have awarded for spotting Fair-Deal’s hand at work. This ‘one thread per incident’ (from each camp) approach is really beginning to wear thin.

  • Fanny

    Don’t be mean, Dec. This is a good thread, very fair-minded and civilized. Up till now of that is – I’m discounting troll faartrick’s “contribution.”

  • JD

    I don’t know if Faartrick is a troll or someone with inside information, because there are indeed a couple of scottish people involved, who have located themselves in the Fountain. The involvement of these people has been widely reported in the local media.

  • TAFKABO

    As of late people have started to attack bloggers for daring to make blogs which reflect their own politics and viewpoint.
    This is not only unfortunate but patently stupid and reflective of an inability on the part of the attacker to fully comprehend what a blog is supposed to be.

    I’m sure most right thinking people will understand the need for partisan viewpoints in a site such as this.
    Questioning the motives of either Chris or Fair Deal is man playing at it’s worst. The moderators could do worse that automatically removing posts of this nature.

  • Fanny

    Well said, TAFKABO.

  • joeCanuck

    quite agree TAFKABO.

    Being sort of politically neutral, I find the posts by both these bloggers to be be stimulating and their posts do arouse a lot of useful comment apart from the crap from the usual suspects.

  • Dec

    TAF

    As of late people have started to attack bloggers for daring to make blogs which reflect their own politics and viewpoint.

    Agreed. That would appear to have been Yokel’s intention. I tried to introduce some balance to his comments.

    This is not only unfortunate but patently stupid and reflective of an inability on the part of the attacker to fully comprehend what a blog is supposed to be.

    What is the blog supposed to be? Whilst sectarian attacks should be highlighted and discussed I fail to see the need to start a new thread on every single one. What is now starting to look as (imo and however unintentionally) a one-upmanship exercise on the part of one or two bloggers, is running the real risk of turning the blog into an interactive version of CAIN. If you disagree by all means tell me why.

  • Fanny

    Your last is a fair point, Dec, but I do feel that this present thread differs from most others insofar it invites analysis. That’s validation enough for me.

  • Dec

    Fanny

    Regarding the analysis aspect of this thread, point taken

  • peter fallow

    It’s the unedifying way that the wrongdoings of one side are held aloft in triumph by the other side in these threads that gets me.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    Fanny, I found it interesting that you feel the reason there is a rise of sectarianism in Derry is due to , “alcohol abuse, the Irish sickness. Does it everytime.”

    the ones who beat up the Catholic were loyalist…aka british subjects. So, if I’m to understand you correctly….the Catholic man who is in critical condition

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/5186604.stm

    is there lying on the hospital bed because of…the Irish sickness…alcohol abuse.

    WOW….now that’s a stretch- blame it and label it as the IRISH SICKNESS the fact that an Irishman is beaten up by british loyalist. Instead of besmirching the Irish and labeling alcohol abuse as the Irish Sickness…why not call it as it is…he was targeted by and beaten up by the british loyalist because he was Catholic and Irish. To me, that’s not an Irish Sickness…it is a loyalist sickness….and anti-Catholic sickness….

  • Fanny

    “It’s the unedifying way that the wrongdoings of one side are held aloft in triumph by the other side in these threads that gets me.”

    You can’t expect anything else, Peter, in all honesty. It’s human nature. But isn’t it better that we can discuss such matters here in a balanced way, rather than read the skewed reporting of the News Letter and Daily Ireland? (Apologies to other partisan rags for not mentioning them.)

  • Fanny

    Kathy, your post arrived with mine. Truth be told, I’m neutral and regard anybody born or raised in the island of Ireland as Irish.

    The races who’ve inhabited these islands for centuries have always had a problem with alcohol. Why is it those who can’t handle it abuse it the most? I don’t know. They could sure learn from, say, the Italians.

    Hope that clarifies my position.

  • eranu

    ive only stayed in derry a few times, but the problem for the city centre that i can see is the fact that it is swarming with spides day and night. much more so than belfast and other ni towns ive been in. the spide to nice working/middle class ratio seems to be way off.
    also the fact that the city is so small that there are plenty of rough estates within 10 mins walk of the city centre doesnt help.

  • Fanny

    There you are you see, a simple equation:

    s + a = m

    or spide plus alcohol generates mayhem.

    I don’t know if real sectarianism is at play here. The nastiest kind is at work among the middle classes. The fact that it’s less overt than the spidean variety doesn’t make it less odious.

  • slug

    I just hope and pray the guy lives.

  • heres hoping

    I live in Derry and what is currently taking place is nothing to do with alcohol, spides (what ever they are) or rough estates its pure and simple hatred, sectarianism and racism. Without any way of proving this i am convinced that those responsible for these assualts are the same gang of loyalist thugs who have been attacking people for the last couple of months, be they Irish catholics, Italians, Poles, Basques and homosexuals have all been targetted by these thugs. Loyalism as its leaders try to portray a softer side needs to get a hold of its young turks that its been winding up and tell the the craic.

  • faartrick

    i agree, heres hoping,in fact the very same hatred thatcaused this man to be beaten is rampant among the moderators of this site;their heads are just too far up their own arses to see that. they think denial is still a big river in egypt

  • Weefy van der trout

    Nice to see that Derry Loyalists showed those bloody Fenians and Foreigners whos boss.

    Thatll teach em – having a barbeque and even mixing with prods. Bastards.

    of coure theres no link between the way loyalists behave and the annual hate fest, ahem marching season.

    Impotent moronic redneck scum.

    Go on Unionists explain it away…. just like every other time.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    Fanny, the men who beat up the Catholic who is lying near death in a hospital…consider themselves loyal to the british monarch…they consider themselves british….they are british…to state that they are Irish so you can link them to the “IRISH SICKNESS” of “Alcohol abuse” is an attempt to negate what you were doing…linking the Irish to Alcohol abuses and linking the loyalist thugs in people’s minds to being Irish thugs…because they were born in the north of Ireland.
    The loyalist who beat this man may have alcoholic problems…and they may have become more agressive after drinking….however, they were british loyalist thugs and if they are alcoholic then they are british alcoholics.

  • rab

    [Play the ball! – edited moderator]

  • Yer Woman

    Just to note folks. In the predominantly cafflick area of Rosemount, Poles and other European nationals who are over to work in Derry have chosen to set up home there(it’s also a student area.) They are left alone and never attacked/beaten up. European nationals living in Loyalist areas in Derry however, are being burned out of their homes.

    This is fact.

  • Fanny

    Kathy, “loyalists” may consider themselves British but let me assure you that genuine British people consider them Irish, and indeed the type of Irish that the British feel they could well do without.

    I’ll leave you with this thought to ponder. What happens when a spide drinks himself almost unconscious, so that he’s “out of it”? When he’s not himself. If his consciousness leaves him temporarily, what replaces it? Something does.

    Scary thought or what?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fanny: ““loyalists” may consider themselves British but let me assure you that genuine British people consider them Irish, and indeed the type of Irish that the British feel they could well do without. ”

    Could someone please kindly ‘splain that to them?

    Fanny: “I’ll leave you with this thought to ponder. What happens when a spide drinks himself almost unconscious, so that he’s “out of it”? When he’s not himself. If his consciousness leaves him temporarily, what replaces it? Something does. ”

    That is a fallacy — you’re still you, regardless of how much you drink. Distorted judgement, lowered inhibitions, etc. but still yourself. It has been a long time since “drunk” was an affirmative defense against anything. Anything you do whilst drunk still goes on your tab, leastwise so far as the law is concerned.

  • Fanny

    “That is a fallacy—you’re still you, regardless of how much you drink.”

    Define “you.” I doubt if anyone really can. And no, I don’t want to get into a psychoanalytical discussion here – it’s hard enough to spell the damned word. I’m just offering the thought. Why is so much evil perpetrated by drunks, even “respectable” drunks?

  • Paul

    This was not a random, drunken attack. It involved at least eight people. They sneaked up to the house from the rear and hid themselves in gorse or bushes adjoining the garden. They waited until the majority of the BBQ guests had left and attacked three people left at the end. The BBQ was for a young man who was leaving Derry on Wednesday to teach English in Azerbaijan.He was left for dead and had to be resuscitated by paramedics. He is now seriously injured in the RVH and will suffer permanent brain damage. The people at the BBQ included both denominations as well as Polish and Romanian friends of the young man.
    It’s about time unionism faced up to the poisonous sectarianism in their midst. The local DUP rep, Gregory Campbell tried to draw parallels between this vicious attack and a war memorial being paint-bombed, get real.

  • Fanny

    Yes, Paul, this is evil right enough. Where does it come from? And not confronting its presence (like Gregory Campbell refuses to) will only allow it to spread further.

  • Reader

    Weefy van der Trout: even mixing with prods…Go on Unionists explain it away
    Why not ask the prods who were at the barbecue? After all – most likely they are unionists too.
    But in reality, I haven’t seen any unionist try to explain it away.

  • Kenny

    It was interesting to note that the News Letter managed to report this without ever mentioning the fact that the victim was Catholic and said that it “may have been sectarian”.

    Good old Gregory Campbell – throwing paint at a war memorial equates to kicking a Catholic man so that he’s critically injured and may die. I’d say that this is an accurate representation of the value the DUP puts on Catholic lives.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,
    Dear Fanny, your statement that the loyalist may consider themselves british but that geniune british people consider this brits to be Irish is amamzing. Ergo…these geniune british people then are into total occupation of Ireland. There are no brits in the north of Ireland just Irish…then why are these geniune british spending so very much of their tax dollars in Ireland on the Irish…. And who are these geniune british people you are talking about?

    Isn’t it interesting that in a drunken brawl outside of a pub…Mr. McCarthy(Catholic) was murdered and was murdered by a Catholic and a political party is punished…yet…a Catholic is lying in critical condition being beat up by drunken loyalist…and the excuse is…they had been drinking….extremely interesting how things work in the north of Ireland.

  • Those boys did well to get themselves across a big steep field with difficult terrain in the dark, lie in wait til numbers dwindled, attack, and then get back up the hill again, all whilst steaming drunk.
    Regarding perceptions of unionists/Protestants in England – I have spoken to a lot of English people, just last week in fact I had a conversation with a woman from London and most English people do not see a distinction between North, South, Catholic Protestant, we’re all Irish. And we’re a big financial drain.
    My Dad, a more loyal subject to the crown you could never find, went to England to work in the 1970s and all he was ever called was a “Mick” and a “Paddy”.
    He was mortified, as he regarded himself as being “just like them”.
    Oh and Kathy, it was the Robert McCartney case you were thinking of. This cannot be compared to the attack at the weekend.
    And if we are going to talk occupation, remember you are sitting on a big piece of “stolen land” yourself.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fanny: “And no, I don’t want to get into a psychoanalytical discussion here – it’s hard enough to spell the damned word. I’m just offering the thought. Why is so much evil perpetrated by drunks, even “respectable” drunks? ”

    As compared to the “evil” performed by men stone cold sober? Its a just a bucket-worth in the well.

  • Rubicon

    Kathy_C – I believe it is the murder of Robert McCartney you were referring to. For people outside NI name errors can be easily made – but there are others who deliberately mis-name people to make a political point.

    The notion of determining who are “genuine” British people I find grossly offensive – not just to my own thick skin but to fundamental rights of expression and identity.

    What bestows anyone here with the right to determine another’s identity?

    Being Irish and British is only irreconcilable to a mind that has already determined what “Irish” means. Such thinking finds ethnic diversity offensive and rarely (in my experience) can deal with political diversity without resorting to veiled threats of violence.

    It is that mentality that worries me much more than unionists seeking another word to describe their identity. It’s pretty much in unionists hands to define a reality to “Northern Irish & British”. Even if they fail – their identity will need respected as they drift to the united Ireland that will follow.

    Perhaps I’m off-thread here – but may be not. What were these loyalists attacking?

    Could it have been diversity – that of, “you’re not with us so you’re against us”. Nationalist/republican expression can be worse – it sets out what membership of the “Irish club” is and then lays out what you are and are not entitled to think or conceive.

  • Fanny

    I have to say I’m a little disappointed in my fellow posters, esp. unionists.

    Surely when the inane (the “s” is silent) topic of British vs Irish nationality for northerners is up for discussion yet again, the Duke of Wellington MUST be quoted.

    As we all know, when asked if was Irish, he responded, somewhat indignantly: “Being born in a stable does not make one a horse.”

    Fact: in the Gansu province of China they believe us ALL to be Americans.

  • Resolve

    FAO Rubicon…

    Because my experiences and impressions are so obviously at odds with yours, i am interested in what has led you to form such a belief in this concept of Irishness, one that you feel excluded from as a northern Unionist… because I have always viewed northern protestants and unionists, even Orangemen, as Irishmen… and nearly all of my nationalist friends think the same… where did this feeling of isolation originate?

    If misinterpreted, you may be offended by what i am about to say.. please don’t be, it is not meant like that… It sounds like you base your views on fears, e.g. fears of what it WOULD be like for northern protestants in a UI, just like such fears motivated the birth of the NI state in the first place. Nationalists, on the other hand, seem to have no problem being “Irish” yet accepting that they are, for the meantime at least, within the UK. I read the Times, I watch PMQs and Question Time on the BBC, and i am culturally Anglo-American-Irishmen. We all are. Seems simple enough to me. Why do you feel we have prevented any evolution of the “Irish identity”? Look at how different the 26 counties are today.. how could this have happened w/o an open-endedness concerning what defines us? In a UI, trust me, northern irishmen would quickly realise how much they had in common as compared with Cork people, Dublin people, etc… so, in a sense, a UI wouldn’t be as much about uniting us with those people, but about uniting us as Northern Irishmen… you may ask, as a Unionist: “Why can’t that happen the way things are now???” See Post17, from Cave Canem… common sense, Rubicon.. this is a tiny little island. The “main”-landers don’t want us, not really… and it is futile trying to escape from your neighbour on an island this small… please believe me that, although we may have slightly different religious/political/cultural beliefs, I see myself as no more Irish than you… remind me, what is supposed to be the spice of life again???

  • Resolve

    And please don’t point out that “some” narrow-minded eejits see things in that way… that’s hardly even worth saying… the same could be said of brainless numbskulls everywhere… especially in a place like NI, with its traumatic and confusing history

  • Rubicon

    Resolve – I appreciate your reply and I think much of what you say is correct. Thanks for the courtesy but there was nothing in your reply I took offence to.

    You’re mistaken as to my own identity – I’m not a unionist but a son of a Munsterman who was part of the Irish Diaspora of the 50’s that returned in the early 70’s.

    Your response clearly acknowledges a modern and cosmopolitan view of “Irish” and I very much hope yours is the vision that Ireland embraces. Without doubt, unionism would be able to deliver for its own people within a UI in a way that it can’t within the UK. Their best hope is to for a chance of holding the balance of power in Westminster once a century.

    It doesn’t stop the reactionary responses though does it? My point is that this “exclusionary identity” doesn’t belong to unionism alone but is very much a part of nationalism. People using terms as “genuine British” more than suggests that there is a “false British”. Who decides what is false?

    Having lived north and south of the border but not having grown up here has given me an insight in to what it’s like to be different in Ireland.

    I agree with your description of “narrow minded eejits” but disagree as to their preponderance.

  • lib2016

    Regular readers of Slugger will know enough about Ireland to realise that South Armagh is not renowned for it’s good community relations, and that the GAA, particularly Armagh GAA, is seen as being both immensely influential in it’s community and er- in touch with republican feeling in that community.

    The Armagh Gaelic football team play in Orange shirts. In fact no less an organ than the Irish Times as described them jokingly as the ‘Orangemen’.

    It’s not the colour of the flags that people object to but the fact that the politics hasn’t changed in 200 years. Modernise, become part of the 21st Century and start a dialogue with the neighbours. Is that really too much to ask for?

  • Resolve

    lib, i almost fancy you, some of the things you say on here (jk)… maybe in 2016, yeah? lol…