Blame game for rioting begins…

'Water is Precious' in ArdoyneIt seems that Sinn Fein is determined to fix the blame for last night’s rioting on dissidents. The two Gerry’s have both been on the BBC this morning pointing the finger at dissident Republican organisations for being behind what at least has the look of premeditated (petrol bombs don’t generally appear spontaneously) violence. Meanwhile Brendan McCionnaith is placing the blame for triggering it on the police and on the Orange Order for persisting with a feeder march that’s not wanted by the residents on the Catholic side of the street. And he emphatically denies Sinn Fein accusations that his organisation eirigi was in anyway responsible:

“The whole PSNI operation in Ardoyne is reminiscent of similar operations on the Garvaghy and Ormeau roads in years gone by. From about 4pm onwards, hundreds of PSNI members in riot gear prevented residents from entering or leaving their area. Those who gathered to peacefully protest were violently attacked – triggering a predictable and undesirable response from a small number of young people, which the PSNI responded to in time honoured fashion with batons, water cannon and plastic bullets.

“The suggestion by Sinn Féin that éirígí orchestrated the rioting that occurred in Ardoyne is a transparent attempt by Sinn Féin to divert attention away from the outrageous actions of the PSNI. I challenge Sinn Féin to produce a shred of evidence to support their claims of éirígí involvement in rioting.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty