There was a delightful article in the Sunday Times Culture supplement a couple of weeks ago. I’m sorry I cannot link to it, but it described Rostrevor and the annual Fiddler’s Green Festival in pastoral and most attractive terms. A village Joyce is said to have called ‘tip top’, and a festival called the ‘hidden gem in Ireland’s festival circuit’. But all is not what it seems.Just past midnight, I walked my dog through the village, and was met by a youth with his penis in his hand, intimidating 2 young women. He threatened me and them, and proceeded to urinate over all of us as he walked away. It appears that the police had been called to the village at 8pm, but had been stoned and attacked by a group of 30 youths. Later last night, 2 men were attacked on their way home from Brian Kennedy’s concert and were left on the side of the road with serious head injuries. I first learned of this on my way to Belfast this morning when I saw the SOCOs on the road doing a finger tip search.
When the police called for back up last night, they were told that no TSG units were available for Rostrevor. So the village was left in the grip of a drunken rampage, with no protection at all. Street drinking, public disorder and general mayhem was what was left.
There is no excuse for 2 sets of rules. If we look to place order and control on Unionist parades and celebrations, we should do the same for all events where there is a likelihood for public disorder. I found it shocking and shaking that when you let the genie out of the bottle, you are left with feral youths who can control, intimidate and attack without any fear of being stopped.
The doctor and solicitor who were attacked are now said to be in much better condition and out of danger. 4 men and a woman are under arrest.
But having created this vaccum of law and order, is this what we are left with? Fear of being out of our houses?
Drunken disorderly behaviour is not the curse of any one community. It is the curse of us all. A concerted and coordinated effort is required now to make sure we do not let the lunatics continue to run the asylum, and we must take our towns, villages and streets back to ourselves, no matter where we live.