A boney and SF confusion

This year’s Pitt Park bonfire has got Sinn Fein in a state of confusion. The Andersonstown News reported that a UVF show of strength took place, based on a single source. This led to West Belfast MLA and Falls Councillor Fra McCann to call for the end to such funding:

“Eleventh night bonfires are nothing more than sectarian coat-trailing exercises. We have been promised in the past that these displays would cease, but given what happened at Pitt Park the other night this is clearly not the case. The council has no other choice but to stop funding these sectarian bonfires.”

However, organisers and the City Council strongly disputed the claim and have received praise from the Short Strand SF spokesperson who described how well issues in the area had been handled saying:

“I was in the Short Strand in the grounds of Saint Matthew’s chapel on the Eleventh night and what I witnessed in comparison to other years was vastly different work. This is work to build on for the future.”

  • Shore Road Resident

    There’s quite enough sectarianism at bonfires without some spide from the ATN Group’s South Belfast outpost making stuff up.
    He must have felt a bit left out, what with all the goings on the North Belfast crew had to report on.
    Fair play to the Shinners for setting the record straight.

  • Shore Road Resident

    PS – just checked. Ciarán Barnes. Say no more. The man’s a balloon.

  • HECK

    am i reading this right?

    fair deal and shore road resident using a sinn fein spokeman as the source of wisdom and truth for what happened on 12th.

    what next ian paisley converting to catholicism along with Honest Tony?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Bonfires, in their present guise, *are* sectarian coat trailing exercises. But they aren’t the only examples of it in this country. They’re here to stay for the time being.

    What we all should be doing is supporting the police and the authorities in cracking down on the illegal activity associated with bonfires; not the bonfires themselves.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Am I reading this right – Heck taking the word of a journalist over the word of Sinn Fein?

    What next etc.

  • The very idea that the UVF weould put on a display at an Orange bonfire is ludicrous as they usually spend their time reciting the Rosary and helping old ladies across the road and Harry Potter type youngsters to chase the dragon. Ulster’s finest.

  • ranger1640

    Is this be another attempt by Sinn Fein to rewrite history?

  • T.Ruth

    There used to be lots of streets on that side of Newtownards Road=opposite St.Matthew’s and lots of Protestants lived in Short Strand and Mountpottinger then.There was a Salvation Army Citadel at Carlton Street opposite Mountpottinger Barracks.In those days the National Anthem was played at the conclusion of cinema shows in places like the Popular Cinema below Seaforde Street or the Picturedrome at Cluan Place and admittedly that caused some tension-but small beer compared to what was ahead for us all

    … We were just recovering from the war.We took our scrap metal and waste paper to a scrapyard in Seaforde Street to make a few pence..Was the owner a McCartney? No one cared whether Mickey Marley was Buddhist,Hindu or Jew=he brought magic and his roundabout to all the streets.

    ..Do people remember Austin Street,Edgar Street,Central Street,Wolff Street,Fraser Street,Scotch Row, Duke Street,Thistle Street,Tower Street.I remember my dentist at the corner of Susan Street,was it Mr.Madden?-no one cared what religion someone was-especially if you needed a dentist.I went to the 39th.Life Boys in Pitt street Mission Hall just where the bonfire gets built now.The houses on both sides of the religious equation had much in common. No hot water. Outside toilets.Tin baths in the kitchen on Saturday night.The people in those houses had a lot in common-it was called poverty.It did not seem to discriminate between Catholic and Prod.There was a sense of community then that I remeber still. I was never to experience it again and life was the poorer for that.

    Then when I was older I remember when some Protestants were shot from the tower of St. Matthews. The IRA from West Belfast drilled in Mountpottinger before the event and before instigating a pogrom against Protestants in East belfast to widen the conflict and create instability. Over a period of time all my extended family,uncles ,aunts ,cousins,etc. had to move out of the area.

    A bonfire on the eleventh night is no more than a minor inconvenience in relation to the devastation wreaked on the Protestant community of the lower Newtownards Road by everyone from the IRA to the Housing Executive.

    The Protestant working class people were uprooted and banished to the normlessness of housing estates built in country fields at Dundonald ,Cregagh and Castlereagh.The Roman Catholic Short Strand area was left intact and the Catholic community and the IRA eliminated or expelled the Protestants who had lived peacefully among them.In my memory of things it was one way traffic because historically there were no Catholics living beyond Bryson Street at that time.In those days also the Markets was exclusively Catholic-the Holy land and the Ormeau Road above the cricket ground was Protestant..
    .
    I am glad we have peace but its time for people to get off the back of the Protestant Unionist community and let them have parity of cultural esteem. I have to live with terrorists and criminals and bombers in the government -people with two votes -one by the ballot and another by the bomb.I have to accept an apologist for the “Columbia Three” as Minister of Education and a director of terrorism as Deputy First Minister.I dont get upset when the Pope tells me my religion doesn’t really qualify as a Christian religion or tells me St.Patrick’s Day is to be moved to suit him.I cant think of any organisation more exclusive than the Roman catholic Church.

    So give us Prods a break. Let us parade and process,have our bonfires and fun and enjoy our culture and civil and human rights in peace. We are all signed up to support Northern Ireland and its institutions so lets enjoy the richness of our diversity.
    T.Ruth

  • HECK

    t.ruth

    exactly–it was a great wee Ulster until those uppity fenians started acting up!!

    jezzz

  • john

    Yep, T.Ruth that’s when the 3,000 inhabitants of the Strand atacked the 70,000 loyalist residents of East Belfast-in your world anyway.

    The t.ruth is that vast numbers of armed loyalists tried to invade the grounds of St. Matthews Chapel in 1970 with the RUC and British soldiers turning a blind eye. The attackers were duly repelled by a smaller number of people from the area with the assistance of one or two republicans from outside the district.
    For the record there are still many protestants living in the Strand. How many catholics live on the Lower Newtownards Road or ever did? Contrary to what you say, many catholics were burned out of nearby areas including Willowfield, Albertbridge Road and Bloomfield Avenue.
    I firmly believe that both communities on each side of the interface then suffered terribly as a result of the violence stemming from the other side of the divide.
    However it is sad to see that after all this time that you still profess to believe the ‘other’ side was entirely to blame whilst your own side was completely
    blameless.Even now, I suppose you believe that it is republicans selling drugs in loyalist areas and extorting money from local shopkeepers. Look at the Lower Newtownards Road now. It is a wasteland because the shopkeepers could not pay protection money especially after catholis were intimidated away from the shops by the UDA.-Ever heard of Jim Gray?
    Take the blinkers off, mate

  • Shore Road Resident

    …still doesn’t explain why Ciarán Barnes pulled yet another story out of his arse.

  • Chris Donnelly

    T Ruth

    Just goes to show the vastly different recollections of people living in the north of Ireland in the past 35 years.

    I can tell you from the experiences retold to me by in-laws and many friends that the nationalist people of the Short Strand were hardly the instigators of a ‘pogrom,’but rather the victims of a concerted attack on their area by loyalists.

    The picture of a demoralised and banished protestant working class in the overwhelmingly protestant East Belfast area is hard to believe if you are implying that it is a consequence of republican aggression. The ‘banishment’ you refer to surely owes more to individuals with the choice deciding to move to either public or private housing in the suburban belt around the city, hardly a phenomenon unique to Belfast.

    That it ‘affected’ Belfast’s protestant population (in the sense that it left communities with dwindling populations) more than the city’s catholic dwellers is attributable to the fact that the ‘metropolitan’ areas of Belfast were traditionally protestant and unionist, and therefore not particularly welcoming to nationalists looking out of the city- hence the legacy of a north and west Belfast catholic population constituting the greater numbers on the housing waiting lists.

    As for your plea for tolerance, it cuts both ways. Would you be happy with council-funded bonfires burning the Union flag, posters of unionist politicians and draped with the names of dead protestant children? Would you support a republican parade across the Shankill Road from Ardoyne to Ballymurphy?

    We are all having to accept places in governance for individuals and political parties whom we have little time for- do you honestly think nationalists are cock-a-hoop at the site of Paisley as First Minister- never mind his political baggage for nationalists, let’s not forget that he believes the religious leader of the catholic community on earth is, in fact, the anti-christ?

    So let’s move together on the basis of tolerance and mutual respect, with all that entails for parity of esteem for unionism and nationalism in the north of Ireland.

  • McGrath

    T.Ruth…

    “The houses on both sides of the religious equation had much in common. No hot water. Outside toilets. Tin baths in the kitchen on Saturday night.”

    “The Protestant working class people were uprooted and banished to the normlessness of housing estates built in country fields at Dundonald ,Cregagh and Castlereagh.”

    “Up rooted and Banished”, were they? Forced to leave their no hot water, outside toilet, tin bath shitholes. How many catholics were allowed to make the move to these “country fields”?

    The allotment of public housing was one of the major catalysts of the troubles.

  • andrew

    T.ruth

    I remember the area well.

    We were burned out of Madrid St in early 1970 by loyalists, my father got us a house at the bottom of Bryson Street in late 1970. We lasted 3 weeks before the house was petrol bombed. We escaped over a back garden wall and lost all our possesions.

    my parents started again in another area.

    T.Ruth without playing the man/ball thing

    You are talking bo**ocks.

  • Cruimh

    More than one version of events in those days.

  • me

    jayus chris what are ye ateing? Look at the size of that rant, and the post on the bonfires. Are yer fingers not sore.

  • Chris Donnelly

    me

    They’re aching- thanks for the concern….

  • For the record there are still many protestants living in the Strand.

    The 2001 Census says otherwise.
    What “record” are you using?

  • john

    provide the link to the census details, O’Neill. I’m from the Strand and I know of many protestants living in the area all of whom are fine, decent people.

  • Comrade Stalin

    T.Ruth is a troll. He/she comes in, drops whatever argument that there is, and then buggers off without stopping to respond to any of the rebuttals.

    You do not need to be familiar with the history of what happened at St Matthews to see the falsehood of statements like this :

    The Protestant working class people were uprooted and banished to the normlessness of housing estates built in country fields at Dundonald ,Cregagh and Castlereagh.

    This is such a massive lie that it is hard to know where to start. The post-war estates around Belfast were created as part of slum-clearance programmes. It was the unionist-controlled councils and unionist-controlled administration at Stormont that drove this. In their own misguided way, they were trying do good, just like other administrations throughout the UK and Ireland who embarked on similar public housing schemes. The governments underestimated the impact of breaking up communities. You cannot say it was an anti-unionist pogrom when the unionist-controlled councils built brand new houses and moved all the unionists out to them!

    Short Strand is not a large area. I wouldn’t doubt for a second that the IRA put Protestants out of their houses there, in the same way as they recently put people connected with the McCartney business out. But the the idea that East Belfast – still vastly Protestant – was subjected to some kind of anti-Prod pogrom is ridiculous.

    The real question for Slugger readers might be this. When the unionists were building these lovely shiny new state of the art houses, who do you think got first call on them – unionists or nationalists ? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

  • john,

    I’m from the Strand and I know of many protestants living in the area all of whom are fine, decent people.

    Here you go.

    If you are interested, you can work through each individual postcode via the table on the left; it will give you a breakdowm almost street by street. You can also try the thematic map.

    I suppose it all depends what you mean by “many”; I make it between a 5 -10% protestant population. The age-breakdown is interesting as well, but with you living there you’ll already be aware of that.

  • observer

    The allotment of public housing was one of the major catalysts of the troubles.
    Posted by McGrath on Jul 21, 2007 @ 10:39 PM

    Was it? i thought it was about achieving a United ireland by killing as many prods as possible.

    Hot water and inside loos had nothing to do with it

  • Cruimh

    Must agree – the housing claim really was ridiculous.

  • john

    Going by these figures there is anything between 150-300 protestant people living within the population of the Strand of 3,000 people. Contrast that with how many catholics living in the Lower Newtownards Road?

  • comment

    this is alot of nonsense and nothing to do with the actual original posting…regardless of previous events/bonfires/attacks on pittpark/the strand….

    …there was an improved 11th night, no show of strength (hasnt been in years) and strand residents joining in….the anderstown news story was a complete fabrication…..

    what is worrying is that it wasnt a simple mistake…they had one source which they obviously then went to fra mccann with who jumped before checking…..but they also quoted a ‘tourist’ who witnessed the events was disgusted and wouldnt be back to belfast…now either this person intentionally tried to plant the story or the person themselves is made up…either way a manipulation of the media to attempt to discredit loyalism…..now we need no help with this we can discredit ourselves all by ourselves thankyou very much….so when we manage to make real change and improvement please dont make stuff up andetown news

  • strange

    john I take your point, although i havent bothered to check the census although I am surprised assuming your figures are right. There are however also a sizable jedi population now living in the uk also.

  • I suppose it all depends what you mean by “many”; I make it between a 5 -10% protestant population.

    Probably less than that – the Census Output Areas unhelpfully leap across peace walls and main roads, so some of that 5-10% actually live on the other side of the Newtownards or Woodstock Roads. This isn’t unusual. I don’t know if it’s a matter of accident or design.

  • No Dozer

    Two work colleagues of mine attended the pitt park boney and took along two catholic friends who were intersted in experiencing an 11th night boney.

    I personally don’t enjoy them but they had no problems and as far as I know are still alive.

    The Andytown news is a joke. This display did not happen.

  • [i]john I take your point, although i havent bothered to check the census although I am surprised assuming your figures are right. There are however also a sizable jedi population now living in the uk also.

    Posted by strange on Jul 23, 2007 @ 12:07 PM[/i]

    Yeah 10,000 Jedi, I’m one of them. Now if only I could get the Midichlorian’s to work.

    *waves hand* you will sit down and listen to each other, not just wait for your turn to point the finger.

  • kensei

    “Must agree – the housing claim really was ridiculous.”

    Really? My grandmother from time to time still complains, bitterly, that large Catholic families were denied housing in favour newly wed Protestants.

    Of course, why bother listening to what people say, when you know it all already?

  • willowfield

    Kensei

    It sounds like your grandmother is referring to the Caledon cause celebre.

    In general, though, RCs were actually disproportionately represented in public housing, while Protestants were disproportionately represented in poorer standard private rented housing.

    There were many individual cases of discrimination, of course, and Caledon was a spark for the civil rights movement, but in the general picture there actually wasn’t RC disadvantage.

    Check this out on CAIN (chapter 4, public housing):

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/discrimination/whyte.htm

    “Rose (1971: 293-4) used survey data to test allegations of discrimination in housing. He found that 35 per cent of his Catholic respondents, as against 30 per cent of his Protestant ones, lived in public housing. As he points out, this figure does not by itself disprove discrimination: maybe Catholics had a greater need for public housing. He then re-ran his figures, controlling for income size, and found that in all but one income category ‘the proportion of Catholics in subsidised housing is slightly higher than that of Protestants’. He also broke down his figures by county and county borough, and found that the generally fair pattern remained. In four of the eight counties and county boroughs- Belfast, Derry city, Armagh and Tyrone – a majority of respondents in public housing were Catholics. The only evidence he found of any bias against Catholics came when he tested for family size, and found that among the very largest families (six children or more), there was a 12 per cent difference against Catholics in the proportion assigned public housing. But such families must have been a small minority of the total.”

  • Sean

    Lies, damned lies and statistics

    The author presupposes the result and naturally finds the statistics to back it up

  • I’m not disputing you Sean, but can you provide any numbers to the contrary? Not being sarcastic, I’m geniunely interested.

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  • willowfield

    Sean

    It is a serious allegation to accuse an academic of presupposing the result of his research. Have you evidence to dispute Professor Rose’s research?

    Or are inconvenient facts simply to be dismissed by those more interested in simplistic political narratives than the truth?

  • Sean

    all academics presuppose the results and then find the results they wanted

    Have you never figured out why with one set of rats coffe causes cancer and with another it doesnt? Its because the researchers choos their test animals based on their inclination or disinclination to cancer and they skew the results to favour their presupposed answer

  • willowfield

    I’ll take that as a “no”, then: you don’t have any evidence to the contrary.

    Any reason why you think Professor Rose would have engaged in biased research?

    Which particular figures do you dispute?

  • Sean
    You’ll greatly strengthen your case if you can provide reliable data contradicting the previous research findings.

  • willowfield

    Sean?

  • Cruimh

    Kensei – regardless of what your Granny thought, I was dismissing this claim by McGrath.

    “The allotment of public housing was one of the major catalysts of the troubles. ”

    Do you really think public housing allotment was a major catalyst?

    If housing allotment had been fairer Gusty Spence wouldn’t have murdered that barman? The UVF wouldn’t have started their bombings ?

    It was a catalyst of NICRA and as WF has show the extent to which it happened has been greatly exaggerated by republican spin.

    Quit looking for excuses for republican evil.

  • Sean

    Willowfield

    Lets start at the single easiest part of his premise

    Does usage presuppose a reflection of the needs of the communities.

    For instance as the protestant were over represented in the higher paid more secure jobs in the industrial sector were they really in need of sunsidised housing

    Whith out knowing what the waiting lists for housing were from each community a study based on usage is as useless as tits on a boar.

    Its how are each community is represented by need compared to usage that would reflect the real fairness in asigning houses

    Does the nice wee prod newlyweds move into their subsudised house the day of their wedding while the nasty taig family of 6 have to double up with relatives because they have been on the list waiting for 2 years

    Rose’s study presupposed usage reflected need and therefor presupposed the result

  • willowfield

    SEAN

    Does usage presuppose a reflection of the needs of the communities. For instance as the protestant were over represented in the higher paid more secure jobs in the industrial sector were they really in need of sunsidised housing

    Very, very odd reasoning. Protestants being over-represented in higher-paid jobs doesn’t mean that no Protestants needed subsidised housing! That’s absurd!

    Whith out [sic] knowing what the waiting lists for housing were from each community a study based on usage is as useless as tits on a boar.

    If you read the quotation, Rose himself acknowledged that the 35% RC/30% Prod figure “does not by itself disprove discrimination: maybe Catholics had a greater need for public housing”. It goes on, though: “He then re-ran his figures, controlling for income size, and found that in all but one income category ‘the proportion of Catholics in subsidised housing is slightly higher than that of Protestants’. He also broke down his figures by county and county borough, and found that the generally fair pattern remained. … The only evidence he found of any bias against Catholics came when he tested for family size, and found that among the very largest families (six children or more), there was a 12 per cent difference against Catholics in the proportion assigned public housing. But such families must have been a small minority of the total.”

    So he tested by income and found little evidence of bias.

    Note also that in Belfast – at that time with a large Protestant majority – “a majority of respondents in public housing were Catholics”.

    Does the nice wee prod newlyweds move into their subsudised house the day of their wedding while the nasty taig family of 6 have to double up with relatives because they have been on the list waiting for 2 years

    Your resort to stereotyping does your “argument” little service. You’re back to your granny’s stories again. Try looking at objective facts.

    Clearly you have no data or evidence to demonstrate widespread discrimination in housing. We all know about Caledon and other individual cases of discrimination (including by nationalist councils against Protestants), but the general pictures reveals a much less malign system.

  • Sean

    Willowfield

    way to miss the arguement and make up your own one

    He presupposed usage reflected need, therefore he presupposed the housing was alloted fairly so there fore he found that it was!

    Hilarious that isn’t it he presupposed the result and amazingly enough he found what he was expecting

  • willowfield

    No.

    If you read the quotation, Rose himself acknowledged that the 35% RC/30% Prod figure “does not by itself disprove discrimination: maybe Catholics had a greater need for public housing”. It goes on, though: “He then re-ran his figures, controlling for income size, and found that in all but one income category ‘the proportion of Catholics in subsidised housing is slightly higher than that of Protestants’. He also broke down his figures by county and county borough, and found that the generally fair pattern remained. … The only evidence he found of any bias against Catholics came when he tested for family size, and found that among the very largest families (six children or more), there was a 12 per cent difference against Catholics in the proportion assigned public housing. But such families must have been a small minority of the total.”

    So he tested by income – which you acknowledged above would indicate greater need – and found little evidence of bias.

    I take it you don’t have any data or evidence to demonstrate widespread discrimination in housing? You’re content simply to try to rubbish the Rose study and rely on your granny.

  • Sean

    yes, but he isnt using NI housing board lists of requests for housing he chose usage as his control. When you choose usage as your control you automatically presuppose that it was allotted fairly in the first place. And funnily enough when you presuppose your control you find exactly the result you were looking for

  • willowfield

    When you choose usage as your control you automatically presuppose that it was allotted fairly in the first place.

    No. He didn’t presuppose, because if you read the quotation, Rose himself acknowledged that the 35% RC/30% Prod figure “does not by itself disprove discrimination: maybe Catholics had a greater need for public housing”.

    He acknowledges that RCs could have had greater need.

    So … “He then re-ran his figures, controlling for income size, and found that in all but one income category ‘the proportion of Catholics in subsidised housing is slightly higher than that of Protestants’. He also broke down his figures by county and county borough, and found that the generally fair pattern remained. … The only evidence he found of any bias against Catholics came when he tested for family size, and found that among the very largest families (six children or more), there was a 12 per cent difference against Catholics in the proportion assigned public housing. But such families must have been a small minority of the total.”

    So he tested by income – which you acknowledged above would indicate greater need – and found little evidence of bias.

    It’s quite clear that have no data or evidence to demonstrate widespread discrimination in housing.

  • Sean

    Income has nothing to do with need he should have tested length of waiting lists and amount of time spent on waiting list not usage

    usage is completely USELESS as a method of testing it only shows if usage is proportionate to demographics not if it is proportionate to need

  • willowfield

    Income has nothing to do with need he should have tested length of waiting lists and amount of time spent on waiting list not usage

    Wrong. Income is connected to need since subsidised housing is provided for those on relatively low incomes who cannot afford to buy their own home. You already acknowledged this:

    Does usage presuppose a reflection of the needs of the communities. For instance as the protestant were over represented in the higher paid more secure jobs in the industrial sector were they really in need of sunsidised housing (8.35pm, 24th July).

    usage is completely USELESS as a method of testing it only shows if usage is proportionate to demographics not if it is proportionate to need

    Except he tested for income and family size, too.

    Where is your data or do you still prefer to rely on granny?

  • Cruimh

    Back to the Story-

    Wednesday he wrote that the story stands and the PCC is now (to be)involved according to the publisher.

    http://apublishersblog.blogspot.com/

  • McGrath

    “The allotment of public housing was one of the major catalysts of the troubles.”

    Cruimh / Observer:

    Bollix and triple bollix on both of you.

    Public housing and the allotment of such, allowed both communities to retreat into enclaves that fermented trouble. Do I have a point?

  • kensei

    “Kensei – regardless of what your Granny thought, I was dismissing this claim by McGrath.

    “The allotment of public housing was one of the major catalysts of the troubles. “

    Do you really think public housing allotment was a major catalyst?”

    It depends what you mean by “major”.

    “If housing allotment had been fairer Gusty Spence wouldn’t have murdered that barman? The UVF wouldn’t have started their bombings ?

    It was a catalyst of NICRA and as WF has show the extent to which it happened has been greatly exaggerated by republican spin.

    Quit looking for excuses for republican evil.”

    It was part of a set of reasons that allowed the IRA to discredit the state and claim moral force. It generated real anger among ordinary working class Catholics. I think it was undoubtedly significant. You can split hairs over “major” if you like.

    If I wanted to “find excuses for Republican evil”, I could produce a hundred and keep going. Many people have already. I’m not really into that game though, or indeed generalising to “evil”. your comment just irritated me.

  • Cruimh

    “It was part of a set of reasons that allowed the IRA to discredit the state”

    I’ll agree with that kensei. It, and specifically how it was presented, was part of a major problem – one reflected round the world in huge social unrest and violence, where people rose up against “the system”. I’m a reasonable man – what I was objecting to was the claim that it was a “major catalyst”.