“self-perpetuating cycle of provocation and retaliation..”

After the Sinn Féin rally, to mark the closure of Mountpottinger Police Station in east Belfast, the riot by “sinister elements”. And after the riot, during which a number of baton rounds were fired, the blame game. From the BBC report

“Once again our country is caught in the spotlight of disorder and communal hatred,” a PSNI statement said. “Let’s be clear where the blame lies here, it lies with the criminal who picked up a stone, or a bottle, or any other missile and who attacked the police and other citizens going about their business. “As often happens, the police were caught between two opposing groups determined to attack each other.”

Which all sounds very familiar.. Adds Three arrests in second night of disturbances.

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  • Archie P

    The blame lies fairly and squarely with Sinn Fein/IRA who had a ‘celebration’ of the closure of Mountpottinger Police Station…

    How a party of Government can organise any sort of street demonstration that glories in the closure of a police station used by the service that they claim to support, amazes me….

    Secondly, it was well known by those of the party of ‘reformed’ terrorists that the their Unionist neighbours were deeply unhappy about the station closing and it would seem that this so-called ‘celebration’ was designed to antagonise those neigbours….

    Furthermore, the young Ogre [of] Sinn Fein who was given the ‘oxygen of publicity’ on Radio Ulster today and is quoted in the media as the organiser of the event, moans that those he brought on to the streets ‘stoned his mother’s house’. Well, I suppose you reap what you sow !!!!

    Whilst the Sinn Fein / IRA spokesperson’s are forever blaming the their former colleagues, now called ‘micro groups’ or dissidents, they are truely birds of a feather, flocking together, as was witnessed last night in East Belast, in Rasharkin recently and in Londonderry on the 13th July, when they joined together to riot after the 12th July parade.

    Obviously, they operate under the maxim, ‘my enemies enemy is also my enemy and together we shall fight that common enemy’.

  • Neil

    Worth pointing out that witnesses stated the trouble began when approximately ten people from either side started antagonising each other, and gradually escalated (which it does, cause kids just love a good riot).

    Should have been child’s play for the cops to have nipped it in the bud really. It makes this line:

    Let’s be clear where the blame lies here

    I.e. not with us. Sounds like an attempt to dodge any blame heading their way. Attack being the best form of defense.

    Not in any way to take away from the fact that the shinners seem to be riding two horses at once. The Revolutionary Party/Government; bugs the shit out of me.

  • Quagmire

    What “country” is the PSNI referring to? This region is not a country. We wouldn’t have had the troubles nor the disturbances last night if the people of Ireland did not have imposed upon them an arbitrary border by a foreign power against their democratic expressed wishes. People can say what they like, or bury their heads in the sand but the simple fact remains that the northern state is a failed one and trouble will continue as long as the border remains. This Island will never be at peace until it has gone along with Britain’s meddling, malevolent influence.

  • DC

    Sinn Fein’s celebrations are incredibly dated, couldn’t they have booked out the Odyssey and brought over a euphoric dance Dj, paid for by the council, and opened it up to all the community.

    ‘Tranceforming’ live at the Odyssey

    Marking positive change

    No, instead we get all this nonsense on the street that draws in police, bricks and stones.

    It’s the complete opposite of creative and inclusive if not stupid. Conservatism at it’s best though, if you’re into that kind of thing!

  • random_quotes

    I wish I could see everything in such black and white terms Quagmire. You say people can bury their heads in the sand…which is exactly what you’re doing.
    Sinn Fein endorsed policing, but they now feel they must hold a rally to celebrate the closure of a police station to keep there more extreme supporters appeased. Bloody disgraceful, and alomost as petty as the region/country debate you kicked off your post with.

  • DC

    Basically, if you create right-winger-style celebrations you get the wingnuts out on the streets.

    End of.

  • Driftwood

    Not 1 single arrest. Sure they’re all back at school today, and lets face it, the TV last night was crap.
    Only Newcastle y Leicester for the oppressed people of Short Strand to watch on Sky. The Saxon invaders have once again shown their evil intent by forcing a situation where kids had no option but to take action……
    Our revenge shall be the laughter of our children?? something like that.

  • Brit

    “This Island will never be at peace until it has gone along with Britain’s meddling, malevolent influence”

    This is the starting point and the end point to the Republican analysis and it is an article of faith for them. Specific issues may be subject to moral argument and logical analysis and competing factual claims but only within the accepted paradigm.

    Most borders around the world were imposed arbitrarily against the will of citizens and/or as a result of war and conquest. The partition of the island of Ireland is nothing exceptional.

    NI now contains a British Unionist majority (albeit with a large non-Unionist non-British minority). Your talk of “meddling” is to deny the reality that NI is British because most of its inhabitants are British citizens who willing identify as such. Britain will continue to meddle in NI so long as the majority of its citizens want to remain British.

    If that changes then (like Scotland or Wales, Cornwall or anywhere else) it can secede from Britain and in NI’s case join up with RoI.

    So long as you try to persuade Unionists by advocacy rather than murder then good luck to you – although treating them as foreigners suffering from false consciousness is a strategy with a low probability of success.

  • barnshee

    Time for another wall chaps-small start to recovery of building trade

  • DC

    Driftwood, arrests pff no point.

    ‘As the violence failed to subside, police issued a warning to the rioters over a loud speaker that if they did not disperse force would be used and impact rounds fired. The crowd refused to stop rioting and officers fired a number of rounds.’

    Here’s a tip, instead of using a loud speaker to issue warnings, use a loud speaker to play an uplifting and calming Ibiza classic.

    Use a loud speaker for this: http://tinyurl.com/nrf2vp

    People of the Short Strand enjoy and goodnight, let’s not see you here next week.

  • Dec

    I’d be interested to hear from any unionist how anti-Catholic organisations marching past St Matthew’s Church is all fine and dandy but peacefully marking the closure of a police station is a hoods charter. Robin Newton’s observation that his community wre so incensed by others celebrating the closure of a decrepit police barracks that they were driven to pelting the police with stones and bottles, was amusing though.

    On a side note, hopefully somebody on the Policing Board will pull the PSNI up on that statement. All that’s missing from it is an observation “this would be a great wee country if it wasn’t for themmuns.”

  • joeCanuck

    I know this was not a march but I’ve always been curious as to the start and end dates of the “marching season”. Anyone know?

  • random_quotes

    Dec, both the marching and the ‘peacful marking of the closure of a police station’ as you put it are wrong. but do you not see how you have condoned one by calling it peaceful (when it quite clearly wasn’t) and slandered the other, and by thus, you are perpetuating the madness!?

  • DC

    Both marches are like silent earthquakes, a reliable indicator of a bigger impact to come.

  • Tim

    Strange that unionists failed to mention the 500+ loyalists(many hooded), who appeared at the flashpoint prior to the outbreak of the serious trouble.

    I can’t believe the police could miss the massing gangs and fail to nip it in the bud before it got out of hand.

    In saying that, what was the point of having a rally ,the shinners are on the policing board and facilitated the recent District Policing Partnership meeting in the area.

    The rally was poorly attended because many locals saw it as a pointless exercise.

    So while the shinners were eating their post rally buffet, local residents had to put up with the worst rioting seen in the area in several years , and not a shinner in sight.

  • misses the old days

    Goodness. Slugger has really gone down the tubes over the past several months. Not long ago you could read a page of comments and enjoy some intelligent discussion. Now all we have is a constant slagging match.

    Time to pull out the weeds, I reckon.

  • Tamney

    How civic minded of the Shinners to call folks out to mark the closure of a polis barracks and thereby the saving of money from the policing budget. At least that’s what is was about, wasn’t it?

    Or was it simply a way to rack up tension over what was a contested decision in the local area and to wallow in a little victimhood of yesteryear over how the mad, bad and dangerous to know peelers treated the poor Short Strand Gaels?

    I wonder how much it cost to police the cost-saving closure celebration? Any answers from the Shinner Polis Board reps?

  • Neil

    How civic minded of the Shinners to call folks out to mark the closure of a polis barracks and thereby the saving of money from the policing budget. At least that’s what is was about, wasn’t it?

    No it was not. As stated by SF it was to mark the closure of a station, notorious for the mistreatment dealt out to suspected Republicans over the years.

    Or was it simply a way to rack up tension over what was a contested decision in the local area and to wallow in a little victimhood of yesteryear over how the mad, bad and dangerous to know peelers treated the poor Short Strand Gaels?

    Not really, as pointed out above by more than one person, it’s simply an ill conceived attempt to appease Republican hardliners. And again, it was not the residents of the Short Strand who were subject to mistreatment though I’m certain a few people from the area will have suffered there, but Republicans from all over the city and beyond would have been mistreated by the RUC (which, incidentally, SF never supported that would be the PSNI).

    I wonder how much it cost to police the cost-saving closure celebration? Any answers from the Shinner Polis Board reps?

    You have a good point, I’d be the first to suggest that all protests should pay from their own pocket the policing costs – this should obviously include the eleventh & twelfth of July celebrations as they are suggesting will happen in Glasgae. It’s a marvelous idea and should save the taxpayer millions upon millions of pounds.

    Buck this, I’m away home.

  • borderline

    Yes Brit, NI has a British majority.

    But don’t think we have forgotten why it has one.

    It is because the Brits sharpened their pencil and drew a line on a map through our province and our country.

    To maximize the amount of land for the British whilst keeping a workable majority.

    So was born the bastard state of Northern Ireland, doomed to sectarianism until it dies.

    Which it will Brit, have no doubt.

  • barnshee

    “To maximize the amount of land for the British whilst keeping a workable majority”

    Hardly –created to protect as many protestants as possible from catholic republicsan ireland.
    Boy were they proved right.

    inter alia

    “The Altnaveigh Massacre is only one example of the Human Rights abuse and Ethnic Cleansing of our people. It goes a long way to proving the unchanging evil face of Republicanism and the role played by senior members of the Dublin Government in the murders in our area. The murders were co-ordinated by Frank Aiken, who went on to become External Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister in the Republic during the fifties under De Valera. He continued in the Irish cabinet until 1969.

    The carnage began with the ambush of a 14-strong B-Special patrol mounted from McGuill’s public house at Drumintee, later site of the Three Steps Inn pub from which SAS man Captain Robert Nairac was abducted and later murdered in May 1977. About 50 IRA men opened fire from in and around the pub, which, according to police documents, “was being used as a meeting place for Drumintee Company IRA”,

    Special Constable Thomas Russell was shot in the head and killed and Special Constable George Hughes wounded. The ambush had been planned to divert Crown forces away from Altnaveigh where the sectarian killings were to take place. The Altnaveigh killings all took place after 2.30 am and lasted about an hour.
    John Gray and his family at Lisdrumliska were the first to be woken and he and his wife, four daughters, five sons and two cousins were ordered downstairs. The house was set alight, while the family huddled together outside. Ordering the Grays to remain where they were, the raiders moved on to the Heslip household next door.

    Finding John Heslip (54) his wife and two sons Robert (19) and William (16) hiding in a stable – they pulled them out and made then stand with their hands up as the house was burned, John and Robert Heslip were taken outside and shot dead. The IRA gang then returned to the Gray House, picking out Joseph Gray (20) and shooting him dead.

    At 3 am, the same IRA group arrived at the house of Thomas Crozier, and elderly farmer, and his wife Elizabeth. Mr Crozier was shot and mortally wounded, falling into the arms of his son. When Mrs Crozier came out of the house she was shot twice and died 45 minutes later. The raiders exploded a bomb in the parlour before making off.

    Meanwhile a second IRA group raided the Little and Lockhart households some distance away in the Altnaveigh townland. William Lockhart, his wife and their only son James (25) were ordered out before the house was burned. They were lined up with neighbours, the Littles. William Lockhart, his son James and John Little were then ordered to walk down the road. Mrs Lockhart protested and when her son turned to speak to her he was grabbed by one of the raiders who told him he has disobeyed orders and shot him dead at this mother’s feet. His father and Mr Little were spared.
    In the same period, a seventh Altnaveigh Protestant, Draper C Holmes, was also singled out and murdered.
    Five other Protestant homes in the Altnaveigh area were also attacked and burned by the IRA that night.

    Filth

  • Pete Baker: putting the ‘Tool’ in Slugger O’Toole

    Pete,

    you clearly attended the Alan ‘Fat Fuck’ McQuillan ‘What Did They Expect?’ School of Whatabouterry. Do you watch TV in black and white too?

    This site is pathetic, ad infinitum us v them pieces daily. Still, at least Baker had the decency not to accuse Catholics of ethnic cleansing as seems to be in vogue amongst other Slugger team members.

    P.S. Any recent spelling/grammatical errors in recent SF press releases that we should be aware of, Pete?

  • michael

    “This Island will never be at peace until it has gone along with Britain’s meddling, malevolent influence. ”

    be at peace?? ireland ( the republic) is an economic basket case full of drug gangs tearing the heart out of its cities..

    is that at peace? if so you can keep it

  • DC

    I’d like to know who the police are if not Irishmen and women, albeit Northern ones.

    The above “Britain’s meddling” is tantamount to looking at the police as abstract non-human entities, they’re our own people who live and work in N Ireland. You know the sort of people who buy food from Tescos or maybe drink from Curleys and socialise in places like Belfast.

    Failure to see them as that and local people is a failure of the human condition which usually has empathy somewhere in it.

  • DC

    Just to add, at the macro level our police are now brought up to be very PC to the point of being non-political, if not too acquiescent to human rights to be effective!

    So this national charge by republican commenters on here is balls if you ask me, it’s the micro level that needs sorted out somewhat, a better mix of locals is needed, perhaps p-timers, to help inject that much needed local knowledge and desire to help their own communities. The problem rests with having too many careerists as a result of the bureaucratic application process and not with those historical discriminatory motivations derived from national identity concerns. A careerist is a careerist, but they’re still our own lot nonetheless.

    To look at them as politicised British or even Irish actors say isn’t correct in my opinion, perhaps more like inexperienced and timid administrative box tickers.

  • Coll Ciotach

    The demo was to highlight the need for housing in the area and hopefully keep the powers to be mindful of this as a possible use when the station was disposed off. The Unionist spin that it was some sort of celebration of a retreat of their police is a smoke screen to hide their guilt in sending in the mobsters to ensure that the uppity taigs were put in their place.

    What this incident tells me is that Unionists are prepared to create mayhem on the streets to ensure that they maintain territory and to ensure that adequate housing should not be built in certain areas which may jeopardise the territorial advantage.

  • Driftwood

    DC
    The police in the rest of the UK and the Garda are little different. despite the myriad of ‘reality’ TV shows on every bloody night showing high speed car chases, helicopters and dog handlers with successful ‘results’.

    I suppose I’m just nostalgic for ‘The Sweeney’!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Get your clothes on, you’re nicked.

    BTW if it is the responsibility of an organization to halt any demonstration or event if there is a potential that it might cause riots, then why don’t unionists cancel the 12th ? Riots are widely predicted over the 12th especially in places like Ardoyne, so are they therefore the OO’s fault ?

  • latcheeco

    Comrade,

    Yes.

  • oldruss

    The Belfast Telegraph article (link provided at the top by Pete Baker) included remarks from a couple of Unionist politicians, DUP Cllr Robert Newton and Dawn Purvis of the PUP, who both were quick to place blame for the “riot” on Sinn Fein. How dare SF organize anything where unionists might be offended.

    I’m reminded of DUP Cllr Adrian McQuillan of Coleraine, who was quick to blame Catholics in the Heights for Kevin McDaid’s murder, because they dared to display a Tricolour. This apparently upset the unionist/loyalist mob so much that it provoked them into killing Mr. McDaid, brutally beating his wife, and nearly killing a second Catholic man.

  • westone

    ”The demo was to highlight the need for housing in the area and hopefully keep the powers to be mindful of this as a possible use when the station was disposed off.”

    fack aff n dont talk shite….

  • Coll Ciotach

    Or indeed fack aff – no pope here

  • Gary

    I wonder why unionist politicians failed to make an appearance at the trouble hot spot this evening.

    I drove past around 9pm and saw approx. 200 loyalists all hooded & tooled up for action.

    Perhaps mr Newton could have persuaded the mob to go home.

  • DC

    Perhaps Newton could go into retirement 🙂

  • faz

    ‘I wonder why unionist politicians failed to make an appearance at the trouble hot spot this evening.
    I drove past around 9pm and saw approx. 200 loyalists all hooded & tooled up for action’

    Indeed. There must have been another rally at the PSNI station last night to provoke these loyalists to travel all the way down to the Strand to be offended and outraged. There also must have been an earlier rally in July which quite properly provoked loyalists to respond by scaling the fence into St. Matthews Chapel to daub paint on the newly-renovated Building and scrawl secctarian slogans.
    What other explanation could there be, eh Robin?

  • djc

    “I drove past around 9pm and saw approx. 200 loyalists all hooded & tooled up for action”

    I was there at the same time and it was probably closer to 30 or 40 people standing at the bookies. Didn’t see if they were tooled up or not.

  • Archie P

    What amazes me is how all those members of ‘micro groups’,as Grizzly calls them but in reality lapsed Sinn Fein / IRA activists and their supporters, who can mix with ‘mainstream’ Provos and join together in a common purpose…..and they’re supposed to despise each other!!!!

    Birds of a feather ????

  • Realist

    “The demo was to highlight the need for housing in the area and hopefully keep the powers to be mindful of this as a possible use when the station was disposed off. The Unionist spin that it was some sort of celebration of a retreat of their police is a smoke screen”

    You may place the spin blame on the Provo News Coll.

    An entry in the events section of their publication last week stated:

    RALLY: Rally to celebrate closure of Mountpottinger Barracks, Short Strand. 7pm Monday 31 August.

    Kinda removes your smokescreen.

  • Neil

    At the same time Realist can you see the similarities between this kind of protest, and the Orange Order protests which are equally unwanted? What do you reckon would happen if a Republican band decided to parade in that area, which would be comparable to what happens several times a year in Ardoyne.

    I’ve heard about the right to protest, and the right to walk the queen’s highway, however it appears to me that if Nationalists wanted to antagonise Unionists by doing exactly what Unionists do, then Unionists wouldn’t give two hoots about anyone’s right to protest or march anywhere.

    They were within their rights to protest, and after a summer of hundreds if not thousands of Orange marches many of which were contentious, I would have thought that the PSNI would have been out in force and could have dealt with this easily – especially as it started with a small number of people. And also given the fact that they can accomodate hundreds of Loyalists marching through Ardoyne a few times a year then they could have managed to allow the shinners their right to protest.

  • Realist

    Neil,

    I don’t think it was a “protest” in the Strand – it was, according to the Provo News, a “celebration”.

    The “celebration” resulted in local hoods and riff raff taking the opportunity to attack the PSNI.

    I do not question their right to lawful protests, or “celebrations”.

    Evidence that the Provos no longer rule the roost in the Strand?

  • Tim

    ‘The “celebration” resulted in local hoods and riff raff taking the opportunity to attack the PSNI.’

    The skip rats on both sides of the divide have been at this since last week. It started up again after a local underage football team from the Short Strand were attacked in their minibus by loyalists after a ‘friendly game’ at pitches in East Belfast.

    I presume your use of ‘local hoods’ includes the hundreds of loyalist hoods who have been heavily involved in the disturbances.

  • AN Other

    “This Island will never be at peace until it has gone along with Britain’s meddling, malevolent influence. “

    be at peace?? ireland ( the republic) is an economic basket case full of drug gangs tearing the heart out of its cities..

    is that at peace? if so you can keep it

    Posted by michael on Sep 01, 2009 @ 06:38 PM

    I like the economic basket case piece; in particular, after watching Nolan’s CAB credit-crunch piece on the Beeb last night.

    In particular, the guy with 11p in his account is just what NI needs to remove itself from the gross over-dependency on the public purse; probably get a 3-bedroom gaff in one of the statelet’s finest salbrious area [Skegoneill being particularly nice…]

    You’re a bog standard unionist troll; South “bad”; good unionist folk “ok….*yawn*

  • Driftwood

    Any ‘politics’involved in all of these riots is completely overshadowed by the fact spides like to fight and riot. Just add alcohol.

    West Ham v Millwall.

    AN Other, I watched a bit of that programme. Bit distasteful watching Nolan drive up in his 7 series to ruminate and offer faux sympathy on the misfortunes of some people.

  • Realist

    “The skip rats on both sides of the divide have been at this since last week”

    They’ve been at it a lot longer than that Tim – years and years actually.

    “It started up again after a local underage football team from the Short Strand were attacked in their minibus by loyalists after a ‘friendly game’ at pitches in East Belfast.”

    I don’t think the kids were actually in the bus when it was attacked by a handful of teenage malcontents. I hope the culprits are identified and dealt with appropriately.

    On the same night my son’s team (kids from a Loyalist/Unionist background) hosted a friendly fixture against a team from West Belfast (kids from a Nationalist/Republican background), in East Belfast – handshakes and pats on the back all round. That kind of thing happens week in, week out.

    “I presume your use of ‘local hoods’ includes the hundreds of loyalist hoods who have been heavily involved in the disturbances”

    You would presume correctly, although I would question your dramatic use of “hundreds”.

    It seems evident that the, once all powerful, Provos are losing control in the Strand.

  • AN Other

    Thought it was a good show, Drift.

    His voice-over segments [i.e. when he wasn’t turning it into, excuse the pun, “The Stephen Nolan Show”] was actually struck to the core
    of the real issues faced by people.

    I was shocked at how he treated the poor guy in the final segment; one instance, he’s lambasting him for not paying HMRC; in the next, licking
    the lad’s arse when extolling the non-virtues of bailing out the Big Banks for billions.

    2nd segment tonight will attract a huge audience imo; not for the sake of “voyeurism”; moreover, becuase the issues it deals with are everyone’s
    worst nightmare…

  • Tim

    Loyalist rioters with hurley sticks..Whatever next

    GAA outreach program obviously working well in East Belfast!

    http://www.u.tv/News/Six-released-over-city-riots/b067f20d-ae88-4de3-a06b-f3e6d0f80290

    It seems some had to travel a fair distance to be offended

  • faz

    I know its kind of disappointing for the aplogists of loyalist violence such as Realist but all of those charged to date are shock, horror, not from the Short Strand. They all reside in loyalist areas of East Belfast and presumably travelled to the Strand to make sure that they were offended.

  • Hard hat

    Faz – what is your point?

  • faz

    My point is that the usual media spin and dishonest analysis from unionist politicians was proven patently wrong by the backgrounds of those arrested.That being that the violence was initiated and solely carried out by people from the Strand. Loyalists have never missed an opportunity to attack Short Strand targets-such as in recent weeks attacking the newly-renovated chapel and a minibus used to carry kids to football matches. No doubt both attacks are considered legitimate targets by many of the warped minds on here and in the real world.

  • Hard hat

    Faz – the PSNI actually sent out a number of teams on the same evening to make arrests in both the Short Strand and Albertbridge/Newtownards Road areas. They were encouraged to withdraw from Short Strand, which they did. So the location of the arrests isn’t really indicative of your point at all.

    Warped minds exist everywhere in NI. Attacks on property (minibuses, churches, orange halls, GAA clubs etc) are bad enough but over the past week there has been a number of serious sectarian assaults which span the so-called divide. As with violence on either side of the divide, some will always try to find a context that excuses or justifies it. It often starts off with a catalogue of “here’s what they did to us” – something along the lines of your post.

  • faz

    Your kneejerk response is rehearsed, lazy, clumsy poorly made and entirely out of context in terms of what I actually said, Hard Hat.

    I wil address your lack of understanding by reiterating that the media and unionist politicians knocked themselves down in the rush to blame all of the violence on the people of Short Strand for having the temerity to mark the closure of the police station. The serious charges preferred by the PSNI against rioters from loyalist areas who travelled to the Strand to be outraged by this event, neatly blew this outright lie out of the water.

  • Hard hat

    Thank you for your cultured response Faz. I’m sorry my post is not up to your expectations.

    What you actually said was that the media presentation of the story was “the usual media spin”. Well I guess the media must have arranged for actors to come in to play the part of the young Republicans they filmed also rioting, just to give it a bit of a balanced spin.

    I am interested in knowing if you think it was a good idea to have this rally in the first place?

  • faz

    You are a tediously slow learner, Hard Hat. Unlike the media and bigoted unionist politicians, I have never disputed that there was violence on both sides.
    No, I do not think that the rally was a good idea. Much better to have had a rally at the DSD Offices at the Gasworks to demand that it acquires the site for much-needed social housing.

  • Frank

    I doubt that hundreds of Republicans will be gathering at the bottom of the Shankill to see if they can be offended by today’s UVF parade.

    Not sure why loyalists felt the need to travel in numbers to try and get a distant glance of the rally in Short Strand.

  • Hard hat

    Faz – if the site is owned by the Policing Board then why have a rally at DSD? If a democratic and fully representative body decides how the site is used, how can anyone “demand” that a democratic decision is subverted?

  • faz

    I will again enlighten you, Hard Hat. Surplus public land will be offered around other government agencies before any decision is made to sell it privately. Representations to the DSD are required to ensure that the DSD does not miss this opportunity.The DSD needs to act to acquire the land in response to it’s quango’s (the Housing Executive)very high figures of housing stress within the area.Rest assured that the right democratic decision will be taken to make best use of the site by building social housing. There is no danger of this decision being subverted by the same bigots such as you, who denounce and villify the people of the Short Strand at every opportunity.