Spotlight – dimmed

The Spotlight programme on sectarianism has just finished. The blog on it was offline for much of today (I took it down at Mick’s request) and it is now only available without comment. Mick informs me he received emails that some of the issues raised may have been open to legal action.

As that space for comment has been shut down (at the request/advice of some), curtailed?, hopefully your comments on the programme alone will be allowed here. No names please.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Just caught the end of it – really unpleasant stuff – surely enough evidence for prosecution based on the film.

    It highlights the still deep seated hatreds that lie beneath the surface and that GFA/STA wont resolve but will take a generation of non violence to remove.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    These types of confrontations between the Stoneyford Loyalists and Paul Butler were bound to happen sooner or later and sadly they will continue. Butler shot dead a 50 year old RUC reservist, got a ‘get out of jail free card’ and now he’s an elected representative for a Protestant area, where many IRA victims and their families live. Don’t tell me the Government didn’t see these types of problems arising when they decided to hand out amnesties.

  • Mark McGregor

    Sorry folks. Another member of the Slugger team has advised me it is them, not Mick, behind requesting the closing of these threads and preventing comments. Hopefully Mick will review it all tomorrow.

  • Hercules


    The programme was to demonstrate sectarianism is still here on both sides.

    Most of the programme was about intimidation of catholic families who had moved into Stoneyford. The CCTV footage of a petrol bomb attack on a family home was terrible to watch.

    The PSNI in Lisburn did not come out well.

    But there was also mention of incidents at Cluian Place.

    My point being it was not about loyalists confronting P Butler.

    And I agree there must surely be enough evidence to convict.

  • majordolittle

    No-one came out of it well.
    Least of all Paul Butler. A red rag.And he knew it. The BBC must have known that.
    The loyalist goons – don’t they have jobs?
    PSNI, sadly impotent. But that may not be their fault. Human rights….

    So it goes

  • heck

    Butler shot dead a 50 year old RUC reservist, got a ‘get out of jail free card’ and now he’s an ELECTED representative for a Protestant area, where many IRA victims and their families live

    well why did they vote for him?

  • Rapunsel

    Shocking but hardly surprising to see the impact of sectarianism on ordinary people trying to get on with their lives. I must disagree with you Majordolittle about Mr Butler not coming out well on this programme in relation to Stoneyford and I am far from a Sinn Fein supporter. People have a right to be angry with him and protest against him given his past but the families being intimidated out have a right to go to their elected representative who has a right to go to investigate issues within his constituency ( he is after all also the only nationalist MLA is he not for this constituency?) He was not being unreasonable and pointed out that many people had moved to Stoneyford as they wanted to live in a mixed community. What was obvious to me is that those protesting to his violent past were themselves prepared to and did use violence in the present. I found it extremely depressing that the so called loyalist thugs shown in this programme appear to be able to operate without restraint.

  • cut the bull

    This programme showed that the reality on the ground is far from the manufactured plastic normailisation that is being spun by the NIO and MLA’s in the Assembly.

    It also shows why people have no faith in the PSNI and the justice system because of a failure of both to deal with the low level sectarian war still being waged in this state.

    It raises serious questions in relation to the outworkings of the GFA especially one of the main points of that agreement which states “Everyone has the right to live free from sectarian harrassment”

    People in many areas are definatley not feeling any benefits from the GFA or the new dispensation which politicians keep chirping about.

  • willowfield

    Anti-sectarianism should be made a top priority for the police – accountable to the Policing Board for “delivering” against it.

    “Sectarian harassment” should be made a specific crime, with a high sentence tariff.

    A “zero tolerance” strategy should be introduced, with people arrested and questioned as policy, even for the most minor of offences. Those thugs in Stoneyford should be being stopped and questioned on a regular basis – hassled – and charged with every possible offence.

    Why don’t police use video cameras here? I recall being in Manchester at a football match and seeing the police stopping people and questioning them while filming them.

  • willowfield

    Oh, and flags, murals, graffiti, etc., should be taken down from public property as soon as they appear.

    As far as I understand, these kind of zero tolerance tactics have been shown to work in some US cities.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    Sad to see this awful carry on. Both Spotlight and Panorama hilighted it well the past 2 nights. However I think there is a basic element as well of just plain thuggery/anti social behaviour that can be found throughout Britain and Ireland. The cult of the disillusioned, dis-enfranchised, wanton, PS2, hoody teenager is rife. Just that in Northern Ireland there is the divide in the community as well, to add fuel to the fire.

    However, the ‘Peep O’ Day Boys’ were evident last night on Spotlight as they intimidated the BBC camera crew and the Sinner. They were well passed their teenage years and should have more sense really! Didn’t do the Orange community any favours as the antics at Drumcree, Harryville, and Holy Cross sprang immediately to mind.

  • elvis parker

    ‘he’s an elected representative for a Protestant area’
    Actually he’s an elected representative for Lagan Valley. ‘Areas’ dont have religious affiliations althou voters may do!
    No one seemed to pass any comment that ex DUP Cllr Cecil Calvert was there.
    Was he calming people down?

  • interested

    He might be ex-DUP, but he’s current TUV Councillor.

  • Mark Harbinson

    Shame on those thugs
    They should all be arrested
    i’d like to know who the ringleader is.

  • Mark McGregor

    FYI, the original blog, after being down for review again has been reinstated unabridged, commenting enabled and only some minor trimming of comments.

  • smcgiff

    I would suggest the programme last night was not balanced. Bad and all as it is showing the burning of Orange Order halls it’s nothing compared to young families being hounded out of an area. I assume this goes on in both communities.

    The antics of the loyalist yokels didn’t do “their” community any favours. And did anybody else think of Red Hand Luke (from the hole in the wall gang), especially the guy that spat at the camera. LOL!!!

  • PaddyReilly

    The amusing thing for me was when the commentator said (what sounded to my ears like) “From the other side of the road, someone shites at Paul Butler.”

    Mixture of dirty protest with familiar missile throwing?

    Nasty lot, really. But because of where Stoneyford is located, I’d say the ‘Loyalist’ faction of that town is doomed. 20 years from now it will be 80% Catholic at least. Mayor Tinsley said something about the Alamo or Custer’s last stand, I think.

  • cut the bull

    You could try and imagine what is gonig through the minds of the Stoneyford KKK as they think about the future.

    The amount of Catholics moving out of West Belfast and parts of North Belfast in search of rural homes.

    They may be thinking,

    “Whats that coming over the hill is it the Fenians, is it the Fenians”

  • Bemused

    Paddy – Mayor Tinsley was plainly (and quite cleverly for a young-earther) alluding to Mark “This is Ulster’s alamo” Harbinson in his comments. Harbinson runs the Orange Volunteers and is a renowned police agent – that’s why the PSNI response (or lack thereof) in Stoneyford is such an utter and indefensible disgrace. If this type of open and on-going sectarian intimidation and harassment were going on in any other supposedly civilised country in Europe the perpetrators would have been scooped and banged up years ago.

    P.S. If I hear one more cop wittering on about how “we need the community” to do this, that and the other I’ll scream. The P.S.N.I. are easily possessed of the technology and resources to nail Harbinson and his gang of knuckle-draggers without requiring any ‘support’ or ‘information’ from the community. That they haven’t bothered doing so to date is a profound indictment of them.

  • cut the bull

    What ever happened to the anti power sharing devolved Govt mass rally that was supposed to be held at Stormont by Mark Harbinson?

    Was it postponed to a later date or did the Special Branch think it was a bad idea?

  • Stonebridge

    I live in Stonebridge Meadows and feel that last nights Spotlight was a serious case of biased journalism and bad investigation, i also felt the show was staged in certain aspects. While what has happened to the families shown was utterly terrible and can never be condoned, i do feel it is now my family, our neighbours and our community who are left to pick up the pieces of this show and defend where we live….don’t always believe the media!!

  • Mark McGregor
  • Ulsters my homeland

    majordolittle said [i]”The loyalist goons – don’t they have jobs?”[/i]

    they bloody well should have.

    [i]”PSNI, sadly impotent. But that may not be their fault. Human rights….”[/i]

    you could be right. The RUC wouldn’t have allowed this type of confrontation to happen, but then again if people got physical, if would probably be blamed on the RUC.

    Does IRA/Sinn Fein always travel about with their own minders, as mentioned in the film?


  • greener fields

    Is there any way to view this Spotlight programme online?

  • RepublicanStones

    BBC iplayer has it i think

  • aquifer

    We need some perps caught and caught publicly for these kind of crimes and soon. The cops need to stake out some homes under threat, should it mean kipping in a sleeping back on the floor, CCTV at suspects’ homes, spies in the sky, dogs to sample hoodie DNA.

    The security forces did similar stuff for the last gang of threatmongers, though it is a bit rich for irish separatists to complain now about police inefficiency. Was their miserable bloody sectarian ill-thought out campaign let go on too long?

  • greener fields

    RepublicanStones – thanks for that. Unfortunately, it would seem that I cannot access iPlayer from this side of the Atlantic … bummer.

  • me_me

    Is there a repeat on BBC at any time?

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