A time to stop appeasing criminals

The Bible states that “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3) In the aftermath of the latest murder it is a “Time to Mourn” (v4). The latest sectarian murder in Northern Ireland, this time in Coleraine, is as sickening and evil as all the ones which have gone before. It is being reported that the UDA was behind the attack.

Reading the Belfast Telegraph’s account of the murder it seems clear that there was some sort of organisation of this crime and as such the report of UDA organisation seems overwhelmingly likely. Clearly the first and most important thing at this time is to condemn the murder and offer sympathies to the family of Mr. McDaid; it seems his wife was also injured in the attack, hence our thoughts and prayers must be with her for a speedy physical recovery as well as the other individuals injured. The next thing to be demanded is the rapid arrest, charging, prosecution and prolonged imprisonment of all those involved in this murder: it was clearly a conspiracy of many individuals and all those who can be should be prosecuted to the limit of the law.

There are also of course political ramifications to this murder. It seems that the UDA have added yet another sickening crime to their revolting tally. Hence, this murder demands political repercussions for that organisation. Shaun Woodward must surely now see that his claims that the loyalists are moving towards decommissioning are completely specious: even if by some miracle it were true it; last night’s events demonstrate that not merely the possession of firearms but the very existence of loyalist paramilitaries is utterly unacceptable. In this context surely it is time for the well meaning but utterly futile and indeed counter productive meetings between various politicians, legitimate leaders of society and loyalist leaders to end?

It is time for appeasement of these thugs to stop permanently and for robust police action to arrest and imprison for prolonged periods those responsible including their leaders. It is completely unacceptable in a supposedly civilised society that leaders of proscribed criminal organisations are permitted to roam free with seemingly little or no fear of the law. The loyalist terrorists have received all carrot and no stick for years. Last night’s terrible events are, tragically only the most obvious result of this folly; less obvious is the destruction of the lives of people in working class unionist communities by the racketeering, criminality, drug dealing, prostitution etc. which loyalist organised criminals have visited upon them.

Although today is a time to mourn, tomorrow (quite literally) should be “A time of war” (Ecclesiastes 3 v8): a legal war within the rules of the law but a war non the less on the loyalist terrorists who continue to bring dishonour on our province. Surely a start would be to rush legislation through to end the funding of the CTI. The carrot must stop: the time of the stick is long overdue.

  • Brendan,belfast

    Turgon

    Where is it being reported that the UDA were involved in the attack?

  • Neil

    It is time for appeasement of these thugs to stop permanently and for robust police action to arrest and imprison for prolonged periods those responsible including their leaders.

    Unfortunately it never seems to be the case, very few people get a prolonged period in prison after a murder. If they get caught bang to rights, they hold their hands up and get 10 – 13 years out in considerably less.

    Any time I ask why we can’t lock people up for prolonged periods I’m informed that the European Human Rights Act is to blame, is that the case? And if so, how come other countries such as the Czech Republic can chemically castrate pedophiles and we can’t? And I happen to know that if you’re lifted in Spain the Human Rights go right out the window, especially if you did something reprehensible like mug an old person, you can seriously expect to get the shit kicked out of you.

    But in this country the penalties for committing crime are laughable. You can break the law a hundred times in two years and still get sent home from court. Sickens me.

  • Turgon

    Brendan,
    At the moment John Dallat is claiming UDA involvement.

    Whilst I do not always have a lot of time for Dallat, the description of an organised mob does make paramilitary involvement extremely likely. I could be wrong but we will wait and see. Of course there may be an attempt to deny “corporate responsibility” but that needs to be treated with the same contempt with which the last such claims received.

  • Dallat John

    The UDA are working tirelessly to work with those who hate the union jack

  • loftholdingswood

    I extend my sympathies to the family of the deceased. This is a crime of murder and reprehensible. It is futile and serves no purpose other than to cause untold grief to a family.It is wrong.

    To then extrapolate from limited information that the UDA are responsible only serves to cause further anguish. The PSNI will no doubt offer an analysis in due course.

  • alan56

    Mr Woodward we await

  • A Protestant state for a Protestant people

    [i]Mr Woodward we await [/i]

    I don’t think his butler has woken him up yet. Or else Jeeves has just handed him a copy of the Daily Express along with his cafe latte but he’s chosen to ignore that deplorable, ghastly little outpost he’s in charge of.

  • alan56

    No word either from UPRG hmmmm..

  • New Blue

    What we need to see is the community harbouring these muderers turning them in.

    There are people in Coleraine today who know the names of those involved. The community must react to acts like this immediately, by supporting the rule of law and refusing to accept such barbarosity in ‘their’ name.

  • Would this be the same Damien Fleming whose brother Patrick was murdered in the same estate three years ago?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Quite possibly Nevin. Can’t rule out a drugs link, but sectarianism sells newspapers.

  • Neil

    Can’t rule out a drugs link, but sectarianism sells newspapers.

    Yeah, you can’t rule anything out, though you repeatedly attempt to rule out sectarianism. This in spite of a plethora of witnesses, Unionist politicians and the press, all thinking you’re talking through your ignorant hole, as per usual.

    You’re barking up the wrong tree, again. Will you admit that when you’re proven to be totally wrong? Will you fuck. You’ll just move on to excusing the next inexcusable behaviour from your community while blaming everything on ‘da fenians’.

    Why don’t you face up to the fact that everyone knows what happened here. It was a sectarian murder by people from your community. That is not a indictment of your entire community, it’s simply the truth. Can you manage to acknowledge that, or is your tiny mind too closed even to see the simple truth?

  • underwood

    “Shortly after the Mr Gilmore was charged, the brother of Patrick Fleming appeared in the same court, charged with possessing a knife and making a threat to kill.
    Damien Fleming, 42, from Coleraine, was also remanded in custody.”

    It certainly does seem that a fallout amongst local druggies cannot be ruled out at this stage. We should keep our eyes on this one.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Isn’t it funny how so-called “druggie feuds” seem to happen around Old Firm football games ?

  • Rory Carr

    It’s as the Bible says:

    There is a time for a druggie cap-bustin’-in-de head, man. Which is ordained after a deal done gone down bad, man …and

    There is a time when it is ordained to whup de ass o’ de Taigs an’ de Philistines an’ such, which is called ‘smiting’. (You gots to smite them muthfas real good. In a Christian kinda way). Which is ordained after a big ol’ Ol’ Firm game. Halllelujah!”.

  • “A heavy police presence remained in the estate today.” BT link

    I drove up Pate’s Lane today just before 1pm. I saw no such presence. I saw a police landrover and a few people in white boilersuits within the small roped off area towards the Pate’s Lane end of Somerset Drive. If there was more than one other police vehicle there I must have missed them.

  • New Blue

    Regardless of whether the murder was sectarian, drugs related or for any other reason, is it just not enought to say that murder is wrong and we all condem it.

    Does every persons life have to be made a political (or sectarian) football?

    There are still bigots on both sides, bigots who have no problem with murder, as long as one person tries to defend the murder of any innocent for any reason then the bigots will always win.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    New Blue,

    “is it just not enought to say that murder is wrong and we all condem it.”

    No – not if it relates to a societal problem such as sectarianism or racism which is encouraged or tolerated by some individuals or organisations as is clearly the case in Norn Iron.

    Your comments smack of denial of this problem.

  • Just a thought. Many of the electorate voted for the exponents of barbarity, bigotry and incompetence; they can even be seen in the Executive. How can the Executive speak with authority against these and similar outrages without sounding like hypocrites?

  • alan56

    These disgustin attacks must be condemned whatever the circumstances period. On the issue of sectarianism surely politicians on both sides cannot wash their hands of these people. They grew up in a polarised society where many of the currrent batch of politicians cut their teeth. They depended then (and still do) on votes from these communities. They were often reliant on the sectarian differences in order to get their vote out. Now, simple condemnation is not enough. They should let us know what their strategy is within their parties and in the community to end these attitudes which give succour to these disgusting acts.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Billy Leonard is on UTV player saying the attackers shouted UDA chants as they hit people.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    The Belfast Telegragh reports that:

    “They reportedly attacked a house belonging to a friend of Mr McDaid before going on the rampage. It is understood Mr McDaid went out of his house to help another man who was being attacked when he was killed.”

    UTV reports that:

    “It is understood he was looking for his son at the time.”

  • joeCanuck

    Don’t credit anything you read on UTV’s site. They said that the man died after a serious assault.

  • Driftwood

    Greagoir O Franclain
    On another thread, is saying it’s Rangers fault, for winning the SPL????

    The people (I never use the term animals, because that demeans nature)who murdered the man tonight, needed no excuse, they were murderers because of sheer hate. Stephen Lawrence style. People can blame Rangers, Unionist politicians, David Cameron or who ever. Only the murderers know why. And while 6 have been arrested tonight – good- There were an estimated 30-40 people involved. Most will escape justice unfortunately, as they did for 40 years.
    My sad prediction is that he will not be the last victim of religious hatred here, or even elsewhere on our planet.
    But the antidote to this hatred (Richard Dawkins, and my hero, the late Carl Sagan etc are sielined) So it goes.

  • frustrated democrat

    Samnmy

    For once I agree with you, in the 12 tears since the GFA we have not managed to rid NI of all bigots and thugs on both sides of the current divide. To unequivocally condem the murders of Mr Kincaid and the assaults on two other Catholics in Coleraine and Ballymena is all too easy, to come up policies to change our society to prevent this happening for another 20 years is much more difficult. The ‘smash SF’ and ‘a UI is just around the corner’ rhetoric have destablising effect and do nothing to move us forward and forment continued division.

    We are therfore left left with an underclass who have been brought up on bigotry and hate, they are a mirror image of each other.

    How do we ensure we get rid off them in the next 20 years? The one thing we must do is to rid ourselves of all representatives who give them any cover, unfortunately this means all too many at all levels. If we do not do it from the top down we will never achieve it at the bottom.

    The one thing that would do most to start to solve the problem is secular education our current system perpetuates division. I would like to see a referendum on secular education without the intervention of the churches pushing continued separatism. The churches have no right to keep our children apart from each other and to sow the seeds of sectarianism in some that manifests itself in the events we see in our streets all too often.

    Do you or anyone else have any other ideas?

  • New Blue

    Sammy

    “as long as one person tries to defend the murder of any innocent for any reason then the bigots will always win. ”

    I do not think that my comment smacks of denial of any such thing.

    We have had enough contact on Slugger for you to understand my feelings on the curse of sectarianism and bigotry that we still face.

    My point was that people should condemn this barbaric act, and never attempt to place responsibility at the doors of anyone other than those who either planned or carried out such an act.

  • New Blue

    Fd

    We must combine this work from top-down and from bottom-up.

    I have been fortunate enough to work with young people from New lodge and from Dundonald a number of years ago, one of the most interesting things I found was that these ‘kids’ (aged 17-21) had neve met anyone from ‘the other’ side. 10 Years on and I am still in contact with a number of these (now not-so young) people, and see such a change in their attitude to ‘themmuns’. The number of friendships between members of both communities that still stand strong really gives me hope that, if you work hard on integration, from the earliest possible age, and instill a sense of openness and fairness amongst our ‘leaders’ and stop (or at least try to reduce)the backward looking (as hard as that may be)then maybe, just maybe in 2 generations time, this type of bigotry will be greatly reduced.

  • Neil

    I would suggest that the ineffectiveness of the justice system has a a part to play. People are rarely caught and when they are they either don’t do any time or they get some ridiculous sentence. The barter system in our courts is a large part of the problem, but the cops are useless too.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    New Blue,

    if we simply concentratre on individual responsiblity we miss the more fundamentsl problem which allows a maintream party like the DUP to have one of its elected politicians suggesting that the flying of on an Irish flag and murder is tit-for-tat.

    It allows parties like the UUP (of which you are a member) to avoid confronting uncomfortable aspects about its own toleration of sectarianism by steering the debate AWAY from sectariansim – which is clearly a contributory motivation for many of these types of attacks.

    So, notwithstanding the fact that you clearly have worked against sectarianism in the New Lodge and have argued against it here on Slugger, your arguement about solely concentrating on individual responsibility smacks to me of deflection.

    FD,

    I agree with your comments about secular education but do not agree with your comments that “We are therfore left left with an underclass who have been brought up on bigotry and hate, they are a mirror image of each other.”
    Sectarianism is far more of a problem within the Uninoist community – which any exmaination of the facts over the recent and not so recent history clearly shows – Unionists are in serious (if understandable ) denial on this issue. Linking up with the Tories is seen by some in the UU as a way of rectifying this problem (and desreve credit for that) but not facing up to the serious sectarianism tolerated/encouraged by the UU does not inspire confidence that the issue is going to be properly dealt with.

  • New Blue

    Sammy

    I fully understand your point, and would say that, in my opinion, the only way to isolate those mindless thugs who plan or carry out disgusting acts like this is to provide a vehicle for understanding for those from that community who are not mindless thugs.

    We have to be careful that we don’t isolate people who are not sectarian bigots by making sweeping statements like “this was the fault of unionists / nationalists”. Ordinary Unionist / protestants will be horrified and disgusted by this act and would not want anyone to tar them with the same brush as these animals.

    The mindless thuggery that took place in Coleraine was carried out by pathetic mindless cretins who have no right to attempt to claim to be Unionist, protestant or even human.

    That is the basis of the point I was trying to make.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Sammy

    ‘Sectarianism is far more of a problem within the Uninoist community’

    There you go again you want to blame themun’s by not looking at the problems on both sides. It does exists on both sides, even in Coleraine.

    I won’t get into whataboutery as it is futile but your blinkered view on this is disappointing. It will not lead to a solution if you only want to see loyalist violence.

  • loftholdingswood
  • Old Orange

    Well, I suppose if it had have been a Roman Catholic mob or gang killing Prod or other civilians, or even security forces, we would all have to be content with Sinn Fein stating that the acts were merely a matter of ‘poor strategy’. Comforting.

  • Big Maggie

    Old Orange,

    “I suppose if it had have been a Roman Catholic mob or gang killing Prod or other civilians”

    Did such a thing ever happen in the North? I’m still a bit of a blow-in here and don’t honestly know.

  • Big Maggie

    Old Orange,

    I’m still waiting patiently for your reply.

    In the meantime I read with dismay what “USA” posted (nr 25) on this thread.

    Can it really be that this sort of behaviour is solely a Unionist trait? Hard to believe, yet in the absence of evidence to the contrary…

  • New Blue

    BM

    With the exception of some muppet DUPers, most political leaders have been very forthright in their condemnation of this.

    As I discussed with Sammy above, As long as people blame all of Unionism or Nationalism for these disgusting acts, ordinary Unionists and Nationalists will feel that ‘themmuns’ are just bitter and full of hatred.

    If this murder had have been a muslim guy in Bolton Beaten to death by skinheads would all whites be bastards?

    We need to stop giving these scum an agenda they can use to keep isolating ordinary folk in these ‘sinkhole’ estates and start showing that we understand that scum is scum is scum.

    I have been surprised by the lack of coordination of churces in coleraine (or unions for that matter). A show of strength (of the good kind) from both communities in the form of a vigil or some such could go a long way in showing that, for most of us, the similarities far outweigh the differences.

  • Big Maggie

    New Blue,

    Neither you nor Old Orange has responded to my question. How many times has a Nationalist mob murdered a Protestant in Northern Ireland? I can’t seem to find an answer in a trawl of CAIN so perhaps you can help me out.

  • New Blue

    BM

    Is that really the issue, I have not attempted to defend this actrocity, or the people who are responsible.

    As far as I am concerned, mindless thugs killed an innocent man, I don’s care if they are catholics and he is protestant or vice-versa.

    The act, and the ignorance of those who defend the act is the issue here, “how many of ours and how many of yours” resolves nothing.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    New Blue,

    “The act, and the ignorance of those who defend the act is the issue here”

    There is also the issue as to whether Unionism is denial about the extent of sectarianism within its own community – you remarks simply feed into that perception – as do most of the remarks posted here by Unionists.

  • New Blue

    Sammy

    You need to define your parameters here.

    “whether Unionism is denial about the extent of sectarianism within its own community”

    Are you talking about ordinary folk being unsure of ‘themmuns’ or people who support the type of thuggery that took place at the weekend.

    Sectraianism is an issue for all of Northern Ireland and laying it on the doorstep of one community is neither helpful or constructive.

    The question should be how do we help to lessen the sectarianism in communities, regardless of whether catholic or protestant.

    Am I in denial of the level of sectarianism in Unionism (in Northern Ireland)? NO ! That is why I have made it a key part of my adult life to create opportunities where individuals from protestant and catholic, nationalist and unionist backgrounds can come together under common ground and see that there is more that binds us than seperates us.

    Sammy, not wanting to preach, but if you took some time to do the same, you might see the ‘real’ issues that cause and enforce sectarianism in Northern Ireland.

  • Big Maggie

    New Blue,

    You sound like a worthy and sincere man and I respect that. To return to my question, have you or any of your colleagues asked yourself why Unionists have a propensity to gather in mobs and murder lone Nationalists?

    You say that you seek to show young people of both backgrounds that there’s more that binds than separates. I’m sure that’s the case. But why don’t such mob murders by Unionist youths have a correspondence among Nationalist youths?

    I know it’s a tricky sociological question. I’m no sociologist so perhaps someone like yourself can explain this to me.

  • New Blue

    BM

    I am by no ways an expert on any of these matters, I can only speak from my own view and experiences.

    Deprevation (social and moral) is possibly (watch me get crucified for this) more common amongst low income Protestant areas because, the very structure of loyalist paramilitarianism has always been more about ‘survival of the most selfish’ over ‘survivial of the community’.

    Conversations I have had with ex prisioners from both communities has highlighted a desire for self improvement being more highly actioned amongst Republican prisoners than amongst loyalists (I have no hard facts and am totally relient on the comments I have picked up from individuals who have served time on both sides).

    When you compare largely loyalist areas to largely republican areas you normally find (the Nisra web site is good for this) that the loyalist areas have a higher example of deprevation indicators.

    Basically, in my opinion (and that’s all any of this is), young people in Loyalist estates / areas are more likely to feel completely isolated, and socially worthless, causing resentment, anger and hatred.

    These feelings are very easy to minipulate if you are that way inclined, and membership of a ‘club’ that allows you to feel ‘like you are someone’ is appealing.

    It is very easy for people who have grown up with a sense of social worthlessness, and the anger and hatred (often at and of self)to turn that ‘blame’ on to another group or culture (not all germans were Nazi’s in 1930’s germany, but the hatred for Jews was a release from the sense of social worthlessness).

    It is very easy for those who are intellectually os socially detached from this environment to ‘just blame them all’ but (again only my opinion) the only way to change things is to provide aspiration and opportunity to thosewho have no concept of either.

    That can’t happen overnight (I personally believe it will take a high level of quality work over 2 generations to start seeing real differences) but, if we want to stop asking why and start trying to make a difference then we have to be prepared for the long, and painful road ahead.

    Unfortunately, I believe that this ‘detatchment’ is becoming more widespread, and is maybe less and less the stomping ground of just one community.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    New Blue,

    Sectarianism manifests itself differently in the 2 communities – that is because in a divided society, there are, as you might expect, differences between the 2 communities for a variety of historical and sociological reasons.

    When a particular nasty sectarian incident occurs then it is reasonable to ask the representatives of the community from which the incident occurs to reflect on whether the organisations e.g. political parties to which they belong e.g. UUP or DUP are doing enough to eradicate the problem and showing the proper leadership. What your analyis above does not include is the role of these various organisations within each community – the record of the main Unionist parties – before, during and after the troubles has been shocking in this regard. Promises of better times becuase of a link with the Tories does not address the contiuning sectarianism with the UUP as will be witnessed when the marching season gets underway.

    (There may well be an opportunity for responsible leadership for both parties with the calls by church leaders to cancel/re-route a parade which is due to pass the scene of the sectarian murder. )

    It is often not very helpful for generalised statements about sectariansim being a problem for both communities in the wake of particular incidents as it appears like an exercise in deflection/whataboutery.

  • Big Maggie

    New Blue,

    Thank you for taking the time to explain that. It makes for very interesting reading.

    “When you compare largely loyalist areas to largely republican areas you normally find (the Nisra web site is good for this) that the loyalist areas have a higher example of deprevation indicators.”

    And there I was believing that poverty was fairly evenly distributed across the divide! I can see how those feelings of neglect, isolation and deprivation could generate anger and an urge to strike out, no matter what the target might be, deserving or not.

    Would you say that there’s also a feeling among working-class Unionists that their “opposite numbers” have everything to play for and that Unionist politicians have sold them out? That’s what I’m extrapolating from what you say over a willingness among Republican ex-prisoners to wish to better themselves.

    Could it be that the Loyalist ex-prisoners were released into an altered Northern Ireland, one they no longer recognized, and one that seemed to be slipping from their grasp as their politicians ceded more and more to the other side?

  • New Blue

    BM

    Personally I believe that working class protestant Unionists have suffered from the ‘only one issue’ direction that has been the focal point for both the political and “community” aspects of loyalism.

    To address Sammy’s points, and to hopefully answer your question, I beileve that the Unionist people have suffered from weak, selfish and confused leadership since the partition.

    I have mentioned many times on Slugger that I have only recently decided to dip my toe into the ‘wacky world of local politics’ and many have challenged me for my decision to support the UUP, ‘a bastion of all that is wrong with bigotted unionism’ (not my words or my belief).

    In my opinion (getting sick of my opinions yet?) the partnership creates a real opportunity to change the outlook for politics in Northern Ireland.

    I want to see a change within the UUP in relation to the OO, ‘six county unionism’ and the perception that the party is unwelcoming to those with differing views.

    In the last six months I have seen very positive change within the party. The freedom to discuss openly challenging issues, how we can work to make the party more acceptable to pro-union supporters, regardless of background or religion.

    We are also able to look at the inherent issues which affect those most disadvantaged, with the aim of building opportunity and trust.

    I didn’t get involved because I see this as a ‘quick fix’ and I believe that the partnership will undergo very serious challenges before we convince people that we are serious about this, and I am committed to giving my all to support those changes.

    We need to empower ‘ordinary working class people’ so that Unionists and Nationalists alike can retake their communities and, ultimately, really address sectarianism on both sides.

  • Big Maggie

    New Blue,

    Those are all worthwhile aims and I applaud them. I increasingly find that the UUP is coming out of many recent difficulties looking good. Jim Nicholson for example comes across as a man I’d back for Europe.

    Also someone on another thread responded to a question I asked as to how many Unionist politicians had come right out and condemned unreservedly the murder in Coleraine. It seems that Sir Reg Empey and David McClarty did just that. Fair dues to them. It bodes well.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    BM

    “It seems that Sir Reg Empey and David McClarty did just that. Fair dues to them. It bodes well. ”

    Jeez – thats some low threshold for triggering praise you have. Bad and all as I might think the UUP are in terms of sectarianism I wouldnt for a minute think they would say (or mean) anything else.

  • Big Maggie

    Sammy,

    I said it “bodes well”. The road is still long and winding but a far-off destination has been sighted.

    It’s a shame it’s the DUP that’s in govt with SF.

  • New Blue

    To be honest Maggie, if the UUP had have been in power with Sinn Fein, I’m not sure that this partnership would have happened.

    It has required the UUP to have to reconsider it’s reason for existence after the last few years for this partnership to become a reality.

    Accepting the challenge of moving from a ‘ulster unionist’ to a ‘Northern Ireland pro-unionist’ party, has been a massive task, one which I congratulate Reg and the other ‘visionarys’ who have worked so hard to move this forward.

  • Big Maggie

    New Blue,

    I agree. I can’t see how the UUP could have worked with Sinn Féin—not that the DUP have fared so well!

    If only Reg rather than David Trimble had been at the helm in the time of the first Assembly. I blame Trimble for wrecking it. It seemed to me he was simply looking for an excuse to cry “foul”. The idea of working side by side with Nationalists seemed to be too much for him to stomach.

    Oh well, there’s always next year :^)

  • Thanks you very mach.