“it is all too easy to find fault with what the authorities have done..”

The BBC report on the Law Lord’s criticism of the NI Human Right Commission’s intervention in support of a case brought by a mother of a child who was a pupil at the Holy Cross School during 2001. Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Monica McWilliams, has claimed the Commission’s intervention, in support of the case, had been vindicated by the clarification of an issue of law used by the Appeal Court. But from the unanimous law lords ruling

[Lord Hoffman]”It is not the role of an intervener to be an additional counsel for one of the parties. This is particularly important in the case of an oral intervention. I am bound to say that in this appeal the oral submissions on behalf of the NIHRC only repeated in rather more emphatic terms the points which had already been quite adequately argued by counsel for the appellant.”

Lord Hoffman’s full comment.

My Lords,

1. I have had the privilege of reading in draft the opinion of my noble and learned friend Lord Carswell. I agree with it and, as he has dealt fully with the facts and the law, I shall not detain your Lordships by covering the same ground. For the reasons he gives, I would dismiss the appeal.

2. It may however be of some assistance in future cases if I comment on the intervention by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. In recent years the House has frequently been assisted by the submissions of statutory bodies and non-governmental organisations on questions of general public importance. Leave is given to such bodies to intervene and make submissions, usually in writing but sometimes orally from the bar, in the expectation that their fund of knowledge or particular point of view will enable them to provide the House with a more rounded picture than it would otherwise obtain. The House is grateful to such bodies for their help.

3. An intervention is however of no assistance if it merely repeats points which the appellant or respondent has already made. An intervener will have had sight of their printed cases and, if it has nothing to add, should not add anything. It is not the role of an intervener to be an additional counsel for one of the parties. This is particularly important in the case of an oral intervention. I am bound to say that in this appeal the oral submissions on behalf of the NIHRC only repeated in rather more emphatic terms the points which had already been quite adequately argued by counsel for the appellant. In future, I hope that interveners will avoid unnecessarily taking up the time of the House in this way. [added emphasis]

Additionally, Baroness Hale of Richmond focussed on the issue of law the NIHRC Williams referred to

12. Hence the essential dispute before us is whether the police were entitled to take into account the risk of serious harm and even death to unspecified people elsewhere in Belfast when deciding how to protect the Holy Cross school children. Had they not done so, it is argued, they could and should have taken a more robust attitude to the aggressors from the outset, arresting the ring-leaders and driving the others off the street. This, it is said, is what they finally decided to do after the aggression had been going on for half a term, and shortly after they signalled their intentions, the so-called ‘protest’ was abandoned.

13. Both the trial judge and the Court of Appeal thought that the police were entitled to take those wider considerations into account. The Court of Appeal, perhaps understandably as their judgment came before this House had further clarified the matter in Huang v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2007] UKHL 11, [2007] 2 AC 167, mistakenly applied the test derived from R v Ministry of Defence, Ex p Smith [1996] QB 517, 554 to their assessment of the police behaviour. It is now clear that, under the Human Rights Act, the court must make its own assessment of whether a public authority has acted incompatibly with the convention rights. That said, as Lord Bingham said in Huang, para 16, the court has to “give appropriate weight to the judgment of a person with responsibility for a given subject matter and access to special sources of knowledge and advice”. [added emphasis]

14. As a general principle, a police officer is not entitled to stand by and let one person kill or seriously ill-treat another, when he has the means of preventing it, just because he fears the wider consequences of doing so. He has to step in, come what may. But this situation was not as straightforward as that. In Z v United Kingdom and Kontrova v Slovakia it was quite obvious what could have been done to protect the children from harm: the Z children could have been taken into care and the Kontrova children’s father could have been arrested when he first threatened to kill them. It was rather less obvious what the authorities should have done to protect the children in E v United Kingdom and I have been troubled by the rejection of the “but for” test in the passage quoted in para 7 above. In the end, however, I do not think that it has been demonstrated that, had the police behaved at the outset in the way in which it is now said that they should have behaved, the children’s experience would have been any better. Indeed, it could have been a great deal worse. They were in very real physical danger at the beginning. On 5 September an explosive device was thrown into the road where they were walking but thankfully injured no-one. The difficulties and dangers to them in doing what it is now suggested should have been done cannot be ignored. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and no doubt the police have learned lessons from this whole experience. But in a highly charged community dispute such as this, it is all too easy to find fault with what the authorities have done, when the real responsibility lies elsewhere. [added emphasis]

15. For that reason, therefore, despite all the features which distinguish this case from those where no breach of duty has been found, and in agreement with Lord Carswell, I too would dismiss this appeal.

And in one of the references to the NIHRC in the leading ruling by Lord Carswell

39. Several deponents criticised the effectiveness of the steps taken by the police. Some, notably the appellant herself and Father Aidan Troy, the chairman of the board of governors of the school, described the screens as inadequate. It is apparent, however, that these criticisms are largely directed to the screening on 3 September 2001, whereas it was accepted by the police on reviewing that day’s events that this had not been satisfactory and that other steps should be adopted. Others have complained that there were gaps in the line of vehicles subsequently used, which enabled protesters to get too close to the children as they walked along the roadway. Mr Frank McGuinness, a member of NIHRC, regarded the riot gear worn by the police as intimidating and there were also complaints that the police vehicles faced the children instead of the protestors and that offensive posters were not removed. The major complaint, however, made by a number of critics, was that the police should have taken more robust action, in particular by forcing protesters off the street and making more widespread arrests, with the object of terminating the protest at an early stage. This complaint formed the leitmotiv of much of the submissions made by counsel for the appellant and the first intervener NIHRC. [added emphasis]

And later in that ruling

58. It was suggested on behalf of NIHRC that the risk of provoking collateral disorder was “essentially speculative and unquantified” and that reliance should not be placed on the ipse dixit of the police. There is, however, clear evidence of the volatile nature of the security situation in north Belfast at the time. The potential for the sudden development of violent disorder is shown by the speed with which it broke out when an incident occurred on 19 June 2001 and the length of time which it took to subside. When the police cleared the road on 3 September, using, as Mr McQuillan states, conventional crowd tactics, very violent protests ensued and serious rioting took place in the Upper Ardoyne area. The police view was that only a negotiated community solution would end the protest, a view shared by Government ministers. The efforts made to achieve this eventually bore fruit and the protest was ended and not recommenced. Acceptance of the validity of proceeding in this manner is not merely deferring to the police view, although it would be quite proper to accord a measure of discretion to them as a body with expertise in handling matters of public security, as both Kerr LCJ and the Court of Appeal recognised. Independently of according such latitude of judgment to the police, acceptance of the validity of the course which they adopted is a matter of what Lord Bingham of Cornhill described in Huang v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2007] 2 AC 167, 185, para 16 as

“performance of the ordinary judicial task of weighing up the competing considerations on each side and according appropriate weight to the judgment of a person with responsibility for a given subject matter and access to special sources of knowledge and advice.”

The police had such responsibility and were uniquely placed through their experience and intelligence to make a judgment on the wisest course to take in all the circumstances. They had long and hard experience of the problems encountered in dealing with riotous situations in urban areas in Northern Ireland. The difficulty of catching and arresting malefactors who had means of retreat available through paths and gardens are self-evident. The police had available to them sources of information about what was happening in the community and what was likely to happen if they took certain courses of action, which they were experienced in assessing.

59. In my judgment the evidence supports the overall wisdom of the course which they adopted. The assertions made by the appellant and NIHRC that they might possibly have adopted more robust action are in my view quite insufficient to establish that the course adopted was misguided, let alone unreasonable. [added emphasis]

60. A further argument was presented on behalf of the appellant that the police had failed to have regard to the best interests of the children in carrying out the operation. This is based on the requirement in article 3(1) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, that in all actions concerning children “the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.” The Convention was ratified by the United Kingdom in 1991, but has not been incorporated into domestic law. The requirement is nevertheless a consideration which should properly be taken into account by the state and its emanations in determining upon their actions. It is accordingly a matter which may be relevant in determining whether the actions of the police satisfied the obligations placed upon them by article 3 of the Convention.

61. There was some conflict of evidence between the Chief Constable and members of NIHRC about an admission attributed to the former that the police had not paid proper regard to the best interests principle. Like the trial judge and the Court of Appeal, I do not find it either appropriate or necessary to attempt to resolve this conflict. I am satisfied that the senior police officers did at all stages pay regard to the interests of the children, with particular concern for their physical safety. Moreover, the evidence points sufficiently clearly to the conclusion that the action taken was in fact in their best interests. I do not find any substance in this argument. [added emphasis]

You can read the full ruling here.

, , ,

  • Ulstes my homeland

    who would force their children through a canyon of opposition?

    I would not force my child through this, never.

  • William

    I would concur with what the Learned Lord said in relation to the ‘uman rites body in Northern Ireland….Monica McWilliams and her cronies stick their noses into matters that don’t concern them.

    As to the appellant who took the original case…to me it was without merit. Not one child was injured during the protests at Holy Cross school, but quite a number of Policemen were, yet this ‘mother with no name’ could take a case all the way to the House of Lords. Such cases aren’t cheap and had she not being on legal aid, she and her legal representatives wouldn’t have been as keen to have their days in court. That is one of the problems of Nationalist / Republicans. They won’t accept the verdict of the Courts when their murderers and other criminals were being rightly convicted for their many crimes during the Troubles, yet they seek to misusse the Courts, especially when the UK taxpayer is picking up the tab.
    This case was without merit and thankfully the Lord Lords saw that and threw it out.

  • edward

    what a sad couple of comments

    One wants other people to teach their kids to back down to bullies and intimidation and hide away from the bigots instead of showing them for what they are

    The other is pure assinine whataboutery

  • Pete Baker

    Guys

    If we could focus on the topic – the Law Lords’ ruling.

    And try to keep it keep it civil.

  • aquifer

    So in this matter the law lords have judged Monica’s NIHRC to be redundant.

    Whatever happened to our bill of rights anyhow?

  • Ranger1640

    The fact is that the whole holly cross debacle was nothing to do with the children. However, it was with the groups of known Sinn Fein/IRA personnel accessing the Upper Ardoyne road, on the ruse of picking up their children from the holly cross school, then when travelling to and from the school, the Sinn Fein/IRA personnel were terrorising the local Unionist/Protestant children and adult population?

    But once again the nationalist/republican media ignored the real issue and focused in on the holly cross children. Never a mention of the Unionist/Protestant children, terrorised by the republican thugs on their way to and from school! Do the stones from nationalist/republican Ardoyne not break Unionist/Protestant children’s bones?

    So the protest was with the Sinn Fein/IRA personnel terrorising Unionists/Protestants and NOT WITH THE CHILDREN. But there we go again the pious nationalist/republican community rewriting history again!

    Now the next question is? What right minded parent, would have put their children in the front line, and put them through that terrible situation. The same parents who would not take their children on the non contentious way to their school via the Crumlin road, and try and defuse, not inflame the situation?

    The Unionist/Protestant population of the Upper Ardoyne road are starting to galvanise their community in the face of an unprecedented nationalist/republican hatred and violence.

    Now you will ask what caused this violence to be vented on this peaceful Unionist/Protestant population. Well, it all comes down to housing! Sinn Fein/IRA has for years tried to ethnically cleanse this area of anything Unionist or Protestant!

    But now the Unionist/Protestant community have started to get the new housing they demanded before this debacle. There are now new young families moving into the Upper Ardoyne from the Unionist/Protestant tradition, into the new housing being built in the Upper Ardoyne!

    So if you visit the Ardoyne remember that Unionist/Protestant live there too!

    Just a quick Question? What of the Unionist/Protestant people ethnically cleansed from Torrens? Or do we not speak or deal with Unionist/Protestants being ethnically cleansed?

    There you go again trying to rewrite history and deleting the suffering of the Unionist/Protestant people and playing the same old worn out rhetoric of we were the only victims!

    I say again and question the parent’s wisdom in putting their children in the front line of this debacle?

    Do you deny the facts of the acts visited on the Unionist/Protestant population of this area from Sinn Fein/IRA?

    By the way I did not deny the facts, that the holly cross children did suffer form an unacceptable level of aggression.

    I was just putting into the arena of public knowledge some of the facts that the nationalist/republican media did not cover. Why would the nationalist/republican media, let the truth or facts get in the way of a good story!

    By the way you forgot to mention the ethnic cleansing in Torrens form Sinn Fein/IRA and that is a fact!

  • latcheeco

    I hate legalese,
    Are they saying that the PSNI had a right not to properly protect these actual little girls and their actual parents because they were more concerned with hypothetical dangers that might be hypothetically be exacerbated in hypothetical places elsewhere? Are they also saying that the HRC ought not to be advocating on the side of basic HR?

  • latcheeco

    Psst…Ranger,
    Holly=kisses, Holy=sacred

  • ??

    #

    I hate legalese,
    Are they saying that the PSNI had a right not to properly protect these actual little girls and their actual parents because they were more concerned with hypothetical dangers that might be hypothetically be exacerbated in hypothetical places elsewhere? Are they also saying that the HRC ought not to be advocating on the side of basic HR?
    Posted by latcheeco on Nov 12, 2008 @ 11:22 PM

    if the police did not protect them , then tell me how many children were injured? and how many police officers were injured?

  • cynic

    Reading this judgement reinforces just how far from reality NIHRC has drifted.

    On one hand they wanted the police to fight with the loyalists and on the other complained that police wearing riot gear upset the children.

    Not one child was injured but scores of police were hurt protecting them. This was ignored in the rush to legal action. The police even offered an armoured bus to get the children safely up and down the road but this was rejected. One must ask why?

    This case has now dragged on for over 7 years through every level of court and at every stage, supported by NIHRC, they lost and lost and lost again. Public money funded all this.

    The verdict on NIHRC’s own role in the case was totally, utterly damning. They added nothing, made no points of value and, in the view of the Court, wasted it’s time by simply repeating points already made by the applicant. Monica seems in denial. She clings to the fact that the court agreed with them on one point. That wasn’t the issue. What Lord Hoffmann said was that the applicant had already dealt with that point. NIHRC added nothing new. They just repeated points again and again and wasted time and money.

    Serious questions need to be asked about all this and about the internal controls in the Commission. How much of their budget went on this one case which they lost so spectacularly? Why were they there when they had nothing new or useful to say? What other cases were denied funding so this one could be done?

    Can anyone actually recall any other cases that NIHC has done? The website is illuminating:-

    http://www.nihrc.org/index.php?page=subresources&category_id=25&from=7&resources_id=43&Itemid=1

    At first there appears to be an impressive list of reports and investigations until you look in more detail.

    Almost all these (and certainly all the contentious ones) date back to 2001-3. Where has the Commission been since 2004? Even then some of them just amount to a barristers opinion and others are on such esoteric subjects as ‘Mobile Phone Masts and Human Rights.’

    The website also identifies some 10 cases where the Commission has intervened – 10 cases in 10 years? Wow. That’s impressive. We can all sleep safe in our beds now, can’t we?

    Now to be fair, they do seem to run a lot of conferences and produce some glossy booklets but if we are serious about Human Rights we need a commission that works. We need one that takes the right cases and wins them. One that focuses on real issues with a real impact in society and that spends our money wisely.

    It really is time to review what is going on here and for the Auditors to look at whether or not this Quango is value for money.

  • latcheeco

    Riddler,
    Physically or psychologically?

  • ??

    #

    Riddler,
    Physically or psychologically?
    Posted by latcheeco on Nov 12, 2008 @ 11:50 PM

    both

  • niall

    William,

    Surely the point you should consider is that this case making it’s way to the house of lords is an endorsement of the UK legal system. You speak for the UK taxpayer? I know a lot of UK taxpayers who would consider such cases from NI being addressed as money well spent in affirming the decision making of the new PSNI at a national level?

    I do take your point about the Law being expensive but always beware those who say the process of Law is too expensive! The fact that such a case as this ends up before the law lords is no bad thing whatever the result.

    Latcheeco,

    I think they are saying the police must be allowed to use their discretion to make decisions and in their view despite the horrible events surrounding this whole episode ultimately the police made the most reasonable decision they could and the outcomes reinforce their view.

    Ranger1640,

    You ask many questions I can’t answer and that are well beyond what the case before the lawlords asked as I understand it.

    I remember watching clips of this whole thing abroad, on CNN somewhere as it happens and a typical Belfast mawn, tracksuit and all giving it the “Let the world see, let the world see”

    The world is a much tougher place than all these Belfast hard chaws on either side would care to imagine, full of death, abuse, torture pain, millions are dead in violence that rumbles on and on while starvation poverty grips the poorest.

    I really did despair for my country when I watched all this.

    Why weren’t the “protesters” and “counter protesters” at work?

    Northern Ireland a land of sectarian rights and excused responsibilities.

  • latcheeco

    Niall,
    That’s all very nice but the truth is the cops copped out and had neither the balls nor the inclination to end this outrage until peaceful Ulster, HMG and themselves started to look really bad internationally. Neither their decisions nor the outcomes were reasonable for those children who should have been paramount because they were actual victims as opposed to guff about hypothetical ones. All these judges are doing is what they’ve always done in Ireland, providing defence for the indefensible.
    Riddler,
    My bad I’m sure they’re all fine what with piss bombs and grenades and abuse that were hurled at them.

  • niall

    Latcheeco,

    It is of course a convenient outcome to the state. And when it comes to NI convenience is what London cares for.

  • latcheeco

    And of course, your honour sir, the police response would have been just the same if the protestors were republican and the school girls unionist.

  • niall

    …………..with “justice” whatever that is appearing to have been done.

  • Harry Flashman

    “If we could focus on the topic – the Law Lords’ ruling.”

    We would Pete if we could understand what it’s about, any chance of some sort of summary for those of us not entirely up to speed with the issue.

    As to UMH, William and Ranger, there may well be some serious problems with Republican intimidation of Unionists in North Belfast and around that area however that is not actually the issue in discussion. Whether you like it or not the issue in discussion is the appalling and dreadful scenes of mobs, and mobs are what they were, of vile lowlife and scum hurling abuse and worse at groups of little children going to school.

    Now you may dress it up as a protest “against Sinn Fein” but you know in your heart that that is absolute garbage, we have all got two functioning eyeballs and two ears, we saw very clearly and heard without problem what was going on in Holy Cross. If you wished to protest against Sinn Fein then you go to the Sinn Fein office and you protest there, you do not protest against Sinn Fein by throwing abuse and bags of urine at little girls, trust me you don’t, I know it’s a hard concept for some people in Northern Ireland to understand, but screaming foul mouthed sectarian abuse at primary schoolchildren is not in fact a legitimate form of protest.

    Not. Legitimate. Protest. Got that? Understand?

    Good, now hopefully we can move on from here and if there are problems facing the protestant community in Ardoyne they can be addressed.

  • KieranJ

    The ultimate insult. A contemptible British tribunal issuing an edict for a problem caused by their occupation of a foreign land.

    God damn these bastards to hell.

  • cynic

    Dear Kieran

    Yet again you show your ignorance of Northern Ireland.

    The main problem here was with the Protestants in Ardoyne and their conflict with their Catholic neighbours. They are the ones who “occupy” Ireland. They have lived here for hundreds of years – mostly far longer than you or any of your neighbours have lived in America – and no matter what the UK Government does, they aren’t going to go away or leave Ireland.

    But look on the positive side. When they moved into Ireland they didn’t commit genocide and eliminate the natives …. unlike in America.

  • Comrade Stalin

    cynic, I suspect Kieran is merely a troll. He hasn’t posted a single substantive argument on anything since he showed up a couple of weeks ago.

    Harry, you’re absolutely right, I’ve nothing to add to what you said. Sadly, it’s not at all surprising that some people think that the protest was justified, and that the person who had the teremity to take this case to court must be a Republican to be lumped together with the IRA. It’s funny how, depending on the time or place, there is either a right to walk down a road, or there is no right to walk down the road. This is the same logic that allows people to come out to “support the troops”, after having fired live rounds and crossbow bolts at them two years previously.

  • Glencoppagagh

    Of course the Lords completely failed to understand that the principal function of NIHRC is to generate revenue for the legal aid junkies. It was only doing its job.

  • RepublicanStones

    Harry’s game…on with his post (see what I did there). And Companero highlights the twisted logic of those involved. Latch is also right to allude to the no doubt diffrent attitude the police would have taken if the shoe had been on the other foot. Instead of forming a cordon and path for the schoolgirls to walk through, the protesters would have been batoned away, back into their homes.

  • spiritof07

    The NIHRC. A complete waste of time. Monica McWilliams, an even bigger waste of time. Some performance on GMU this morning. What a waste of resources, time and energy.

  • William

    What must never be forgotten was, that on the first day of the children be led up to Holy Cross School, they were surrounded by known IRA terrorists dressed in their black faux leather jackets. That is what commenced the protests….then ‘Father’ Troy, a trained propagandist made the protest into a ’cause’ and of course the Loyalist folk fell into the trap and were shown to be the bad guys.
    Why the children had to be ‘marched’ through the protesters, when there was an alternative route, easily as accessable. Is that what these same Shinners / terrorists tell the Orange Order….use an alternative route.
    As other posters have said…the Holy Cross children’s march with IRA bodyguards was about marking out territory that they want Protestants removed from, not just taking their children to school.
    As to the ‘mother with no name’ – I repeat again….she wouldn’t have been as keen to take her case of ‘little merit’ had she been not been bankrolled by the UK taxpayer through legal aid.

  • darth rumsfeld

    It’s gonna be hard for some, but try to keep on topic. The treatment of the children was- I hope we can all agree with Harry- just awful. Not the issue here. Go look the Slugger archives and reactivate one of those threads if you want.

    The issue here is the performance of the NIHRC. It just beggars belief that McWilliams can put out a statement that they were vindicated on sloshing some of our cash into lawyers’ pockets because one of the law lords thought there might have been some kernel of a point. Four didn’t.

    Now I apppreciate Monica has to say something – and rememember Law Lords generally use mild vocabulary in comparison to we mortals. But 4-1 is..er.. a loss. I know the Womens’ Coalition could juggle the figures in the assembly by redesignating as Unionist, butit’s not so easy in the House of Lords

    How anyone can seriously consider this case a productive exercise in litigation is beyond me. And for the NIHRC to give its shabby credibility to the case is risible. It is a thundering waste of money, and an embarassment to real Human Rights activists.

  • pacman

    So tell us all William, given that you purport to be a UUP member in favour of a pact with the Conservative party, do your two posts on this subject represent the sort of inclusive non-partisan, non-sectarian politics that you, and others, expect great swathes of Nationalists to rush to vote for?

    It amazes me that some Unionists can’t fathom why world opinion tends to Nationalist sympathies. We have never had to sell our case when we have Unionists to do it for us.

  • cut the bull

    If the actions of those who took part in what are described as protests are representitive of the the Unionist/Loyalist community then God help the Unionist/Loyalist people.

    These so called protestors wved pornographic photographs and threw balloons filled with piss at primary school children and their parents.

    Thats not a form of legitimate protest, it’s child abuse by sick and warped adults.

  • edward

    Ahh yes now I understand the IRA often used 8 year old girls as the vanguard for an assault on the community.

    These parents showed their children a very important lesson, that you can’t let the numbskulls win

    As for the law lords To me I also read it as meaning that the police were right not to take propper action in defending the little girls incase the haus fraus got a curler out of place. damn sad ruling I think

  • cut the bull

    A question; Does any body believe that so called protests which involve bullying and mentally abusing primary school children or grieving relatives at cemeteries,should be allowed to continue or be permitted by law?

    Or are some actions to be permitted to remain. beyond the realm of decency and morality

  • lorraine

    all the semantics here are smoke and mirrors to disguise the fact that pete’s good people consciously targeted and abused school-girls to further their cause of god and ulster.

    hyperbole from legal people will never cover the disgrace of what those unionists engaged in during that shameful time.

  • Rory

    Three things happened:

    1. Young children were attacked and vilely abused by sectarian thugs every morning as they attempted to make their way to school (as they were obliged to do by law).

    2. The police failed over a protracted period of time to take action to ensure that these assaults were stopped.

    3. The English House of Lords ruled that the police’s inaction was proper.

    Perhaps I should add:

    4. And Jesus wept!

  • Of all the peoples in all the world pity the poor unionists to end up sharing a piece of ground with Irish Republicans.

    Republicans’ default setting is victimhood and nothing that could have been done by the police during the Holy Cross protest would have prevented the automatic whingefest that was bound to follow.

    The reasoned Law Lords’ ruling is simply sidestepped (i.e. no arguments put forward to challenge the detail of the ruling) by the usual republican trolls who dominate slugger and have turned the site into yet another one-dimensional anti-unionist vehicle.

    The Holy Cross protest was despicable and should never have happened. It was policed and the police operation has now been reviewed. That review has found the police operation acceptable.

    If slugger’s republican trolls are unhappy let them fund an action to try again for an outcome that meets their bitter sectarian desires.

  • edward

    The reasoned Law Lords’ ruling is simply sidestepped (i.e. no arguments put forward to challenge the detail of the ruling) by the usual republican trolls who dominate slugger and have turned the site into yet another one-dimensional anti-unionist vehicle.

    The Holy Cross protest was despicable and should never have happened. It was policed and the police operation has now been reviewed. That review has found the police operation acceptable.

    If slugger’s republican trolls are unhappy let them fund an action to try again for an outcome that meets their bitter sectarian desires.

    Posted by slievenanee on Nov 13, 2008 @ 01:22 PM

    The sites top 2 or 3 posters are unionists so how is it a anti-unionist vehicle

    When have police actions ever been found to be wanting by the powers that be unless its for not cracking enough fenian skulls

    The desire for human rights is not a bitter sectarian struggle it is the desire to squash sectarianism not promote it

  • Dec

    by the usual republican trolls who dominate slugger and have turned the site into yet another one-dimensional anti-unionist vehicle.

    Rich indeed coming from a Unionist calling him/herself Slievenanee and whose url is Aol.com. Incidentally, I would urge anyone who thinks this site is a “one-dimensional anti-unionist vehicle” to seek immediate medical treatment.

  • edward

    it may be that the ‘top’ (btw is that quality or quantity?) posters are ‘unionist’. However I ask you to read over some of the responses they generate.

    Of course seeking human rights is a laudable goal. However the same people calling for human rights were calling for the others to be ” beaten off the streets”.

    Dec

    You surprise me, or rather you do not. Is use of Irish place names the sole preserve of republicans? I thought in the republican reality it was the “onionists” who were responsible for making the Irish language political?

  • cynic

    There are two stories here.

    First, the police action at Holy Cross has been reviewed and reviewed again through the courts and every time the conclusion has been that, in the context of the situation in NI at that time, they did the right thing and protected the children as best they could.

    Second, is the awful performance of NIHRC. The criticism by the Law Lords is truely scathing. If you go beyond this one case and look at what they are achieveing as a Human Rights Body (not the favourite child of many Unionists anyway) it’s poor. Just look at their last annual accounts to see where the money is going:

    Salaries of Commissioners £151,811
    Advertising £ 86,000
    Conferences £ 53,000
    Travel and Hospitality £ 69,984
    Casework costs £ 27,734
    Staff Training £ 54,307
    (They only have 18.5 staff!!!!)

    These are amazing figures. The true costs of casework appear to be hidden as they seem to assume they will win and have costs awarded to them so they don’t have to show these seperately in the accounts but, in 2006 for example, it looks like they had to pay out £89,000 in fees for cases that were lost by the Commission just that year

    http://www.nihrc.org/dms/data/NIHRC/attachments/dd/files/30/Annual_Report_06-07_final.pdf

    So we have a commission that seems to spend more on travel and advertising than it does on casework and whose management costs seem extraordinarily high for a body of its size.

    Why can this all not be done by the Equality Commission instead? There is a clear overlap in roles and they have a much stronger record of success in their casework?

    As it stands, is this really value for money?

  • DC

    There are no rights without responsibility, one word: resign.

  • Dec

    You surprise me, or rather you do not. Is use of Irish place names the sole preserve of republicans? I thought in the republican reality it was the “onionists” who were responsible for making the Irish language political?

    Whether I surprise you (or not) is irrelevant. However, you clearly misunderstand me. I was merely pointing out the irony of someone calling others trolls whilst using an obvious pseudonym and listing Aol.co as their URL. Also, your claim that Slugger is dominated by Republicans is too bizarre for words.

  • Neil

    Republicans’ default setting is victimhood and nothing that could have been done by the police during the Holy Cross protest would have prevented the automatic whingefest that was bound to follow.

    What exactly would have been the response had Unionist kids been attached by a braying mob of Republican grown men? Would unionists have been accused by you of a whingefest if they had complained about the violent harrasment of their children? What the fuck do you expect?

    Typical prod, you probably complain about how the international community favours the nationalist, but how could it not, when the best the dour prods can do is attack small kids.

    Then laughably, when them dirty fenians complain about your lot throwing blast bombs at innocent kids (and peelers), they’re kickstarting their ‘automatic whingefest’.

    As pointed out above, I’m sure the right to walk the queen’s highway is very important to you on the 12th July. Guess those rules don’t apply to taigs under the age of 10.

  • Neil

    Have I misuderstood? I thought the Law Lords’ ruling applied to the way the protest was policed, not the protest itself? Indeed is this thread supposed to be focused on the ruling on the police operation and reaction to it?

    BTW I’ll let your classification of me stand. I’m sure such certainties make you feel ever so comfortable in your little world.

    Dec

    Using a sobriquet on slugger how very noteworthy! How very modern of you to have a one-word name, must make filling out all those tiresome official forms we all encounter so easy.

  • Neil

    I am arguing with these words. The ones you typed, look:

    Republicans’ default setting is victimhood and nothing that could have been done by the police during the Holy Cross protest would have prevented the automatic whingefest that was bound to follow.

    As is often the case, these threads digress, like say for example this thread is not about catholic’s automatic whingefest, or indeed their default setting of victimhood, (you should keep tarring large swathes of the population with one brush, not because you’re correct, but because it makes you look like a dick) yet you feel that you should draw attention to it.

    I in my turn am drawing attention to the latent, obvious sectarianism in your remark.

  • Sneakers O’Toole

    I hate legalese myself and must confess I only skimmed the original post. But if it means what I think it means, I have to say from what I remember of the coverage there was a colossal police presence to accompany the children. Maybe I missed something but in this case they seemed to do a decent job in a difficult situation.

    What nationalists should remember is that many of the police live and drink among these protesters; if they can exhibit such hatred towards 4 year old girls imagine what they’d be capable of to a cop they thought was treacherous enough to protect them. So they had a difficult job.

    On a slightly more personal note, I remember this coming on the news at the time. I was living with a few friends, all protestants. Every time it came on I had to change channels to spare their blushes. The shame on their faces was painful to look at, even though they had nothing to feel bad about.

    So it astonishes me that some people can come onto this board, to this day, and defend those protests. Beggars belief. Sometimes this fucking country makes me ashamed to be Irish.

  • Comrade Stalin

    and of course the Loyalist folk fell into the trap and were shown to be the bad guys.

    They fell into a trap ? How do you allow yourself to be fooled into launching a protest and throwing bags of urine and excrement at five year old girls ?

    I don’t know who is more sick – the protestors themselves, or the people who try to portray the protestors as innocent and the people they targeted as being on some kind of contrived victimhood campaign. Anyone who attempts to justify the abuse of small schoolchildren in this way needs some serious help. Shame on you.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Sigh..
    for the slow learners out there. Slieveanee is quite right that there seems to be an inability on the part of some posters to actually debate the issue. There is indeed an automatic default setting of whinge and MOPE for some.

    Let’s make it nice and clear. Noone with any decency would justify what was visited on the children. A few Unionists may well read more into the undoubted exploitation of the situation by the Shinners ( but then again, they could hardly miss such a golden opportunity) and hence fail to give due weight to the suffering of the children. They would be wrong. OK?

    Parked.

    Only you won’t. Because then you’d have to ..er…address the issue of the thread.Which, allow me to remind you, is the woeful performance of the NIHRC. It instructed lwayers to go to the Lords as experts on human rights, but couldn’t then add a thing to the case being brought by the applicant. And that case was , remember, really arguing that the police hadn’t done enough to protect the children.

    The NIHRC representative was concerned that the police wore riot gear, and had parked their landrovers the wrong way round. So next time such a wretched confrontation arises (hopefully never) he’ll be happy if the cops wear sarongs and flipflops, and draw their teddy bears which replaced batons as more child friendly.

    Now that might mean that they’re a wee bit less effective in protecting the kids, and they might suffer even more injuries at the hands of the lumpens. Brilliant! The prods hurt more peelers. The cameras get more victimhood. And someone brings another legally aided case because plod wasn’t robust enough. What a wonderful investment of our taxes.

    See what happens when you have toaddress the issue? You get caught up in these inconvenient things called facts. Aren’t we Prods such bastards, not allowing you free reign to prance about flaunting yer victim badges?

  • William

    I know it’s over four years since the Protests, but Trevor Kells murderer is still prancing up and down the road, supposedly taking children to school.

    That was the reason for the protest, but of course the media never mentioned that and ‘Father’ Propaganda didn’t acknowledge that fact.

  • latcheeco

    Nonsense Darth and you know it,
    Their counsel was suggesting that by facing the schoolgirls and not the protestors the stance and demeanor of the peelers was deliberately designed to treat the girls and their parents as the troublemakers and thereby further intimidate them on their way to school. The NIHRC obviously felt the need as a statutary human rights body to weigh in behind the victims because the case was so clearly egregious. That they could add nothing further in new evidence is irrelevent. What more could be said?

  • cynic

    “Their counsel was suggesting that by facing the schoolgirls and not the protestors the stance and demeanor of the peelers was deliberately designed to treat the girls and their parents as the troublemakers and thereby further intimidate them on their way to school. ”

    Of course. Its obvious. The Peelers were so much in favour of the Prods that they were involved in hand to hand fighting with them, were shot at and bombed and made sure the children got to school every day without one being physically injured at all, despite all the talk about missiles and bags of urine being thrown at them. Offering an armoured bus to get them safely down the road was also obviously a blatant attempt by the Police to lead them down the slippery slope of compromise and infringe their rights. The parents were perfectly correct to refuse to co-operate with the Police and use it, and instead drag their children past the protest every day.

    And all that talk of scores of police being injured was clearly just a smokescreen to hide their true intentions.

  • pixie

    Sneakers
    What nationalists should remember is that many of the police live and drink among these protesters;

    Where did you get this idea from? There are less cops living traditional loyalist areas than there are living in republican areas these days.

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/Loyalist-Shankill-Road-rejects-jobs.3971347.jp

  • Harry Flashman

    In fairness Darth I did ask for a summary earlier (I ain’t ploughing through all the verbiage above) so that we could discuss the matter in hand, there being none offered (until you yourself just did so) we rather went down the path of discussing the protests.

    I take aboard what you say about the PSNI being in a no win situation in such an instance and it did seem a bit fatuous to bring a case against the very men and women who were protecting the kids but presumably the option that could have been used was to push the protesters much further down the street away from the children so that the children wouldn’t even have been aware that they were being targetted.

    This would have been surely both feasible and legally permissible, after all if I stood up close and personal to a group of schoolchildren and started screaming foul language at them not only would I be in the slammer before you could say “legitimate protest” I dare say I’d also find my name on the nonce’s register for life.

    The police did a very good job in protecting the kids, they perhaps however could have done better, not worth going all the way to the House of Lords to find out I grant you.

  • Dev

    There are plenty of cases that go the whole way to the HoL that perhaps shouldn’t. I’m glad I live in a country where the legal system facilitates people’s ability to pursue their legal claims to the highest authority even if they personally do not have the money to pay for expensive barristers.

    You may not feel this particular case should have been pushed through the legal system, fine – if something similar happens to you or your children you won’t take legal action. This women clearly felt she wanted to follow this course of action.

    Some posters on Slugger have suggested she did take this case all the way to the top for political reasons. Again, I see no problem with this as it happens all the time. Politics & the law are intimately linked.

    In essence, we have a British citizen exercising her right to fair use of the legal system, surely unionist posters would welcome that?

  • cynic

    “Again, I see no problem with this as it happens all the time.”

    Dev

    Nor do I if she is paying for it. When all the rest of us are paying its a different matter …and we are talking perhaps a hundred thousnad here.

  • Dev

    Cynic,

    Yes the taxpayer pays for literally thousands of cases each year, that’s the only way to ensure the maintenance of the rule of law, otherwise only the rich would receive justice. Now this women, her lawyers & the NIHRC all thought her case was worth taking to the HoL, when it got there the ruling went against them, is this what the problme is, that they didn’t win the case? That only cases which – by some amazing power of presentiment – people know they are ultimately going to win should be taken to the HoL?

    The only way they were to find out what way the HoL would rule was by taking that case to the highest court in the land, the Court of Appeal allowed their appeal so there case must not have been totally without merit. You may not like the politics behind the case but that doesn’t mean it was right & proper to appeal it all the way to the top.