“It seems the Bogside has become like the Wild West.”

That’s according to Declan McLaughlin, of the Bogside and Brandywell Initiative, as reported by the Derry Journal. He then goes on to claim “These people have no political mandate here..” – a by now familar, but flawed, argument. The “no popular support” argument is also being deployed in Londonderry by Sinn Féin Councillor Lynn Fleming, this time against an armed vigilante group calling itself CRAD (Concerned Residents Against Drugs) who have contacted the Derry Journal. Meanwhile, in Belfast, the Irish News reports that “A show of strength by armed and masked members of the INLA in north Belfast has been condemned by community workers as ‘defying logic’.” [added link] According to the report – A spokesperson for the INLA said the men had been “patrolling Ardoyne to defend [it] from loyalist attack”.

North Belfast interface worker Joe Marley branded the INLA members’ actions ‘crazy’. “People who had the best interest of the community at heart were standing at the interfaces on Friday and Saturday and a lot of work was done, both over the weekend [added link] and in the run-up to it, including diversionary work with young people,” he said.

“Their presence at the interface was a deterrent against any potential attack and was the mature and sensible approach. Masked-up men running around is just a crazy approach. These same people were also engaged in trying to stir up tensions at the interface on Saturday. Their energies would have been better spent working for the good of the community rather than harking back to this type of senseless behaviour.”

Adds It seems appropriate to link to this previous post.