Planned riot by Portadown loyalists broadcast by text a week ago

Last night’s rioting by loyalists in Portadown lasted for some three hours, though it would appear to have been considerably longer in the planning. Just over a week ago, the Irish News reported that text messages had been circulating urging loyalists to assemble on a given weekend night “to show republicans that we will not tolerate their behaviour or presence in our area”. Bot the SDLP and the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition criticised the fact that the PSNI facilitated the crowd gathering in the town centre, thereby sending out a message- in the words of the GRRC- that Portadown town centre “is not a welcome or safe place at night for Catholics or nationalists.”

  • Mark McGregor


    I suggest you have to ‘test’ your options. Then ‘test’ again.

  • DR

    Nice to see old traditions continue, brain dead so called loyalists make prats of themselves and nationalists blame it on the Police, can both lots not grow up?

  • joeCanuck

    can both lots not grow up?

    Sorry, DR, they haven’t invented a pill for that yet. But who knows?

  • mark, stfu!

  • Eric the Purple

    I’ve heard that the rump of the RUC left within the PSNI has been gathered in the Portadown police precinct to defend the Orange heartland.

    They have been sworn into a brotherhood known as the Orangeaty.

    They have been briefed and funded by MI5 at its Palace Barracks centre. Messages are passed between Palace and Portadown via signal bonfires sited on a number of outcroppings of high ground across Armagh, Antrim and Down.

    The Orangeaty have discovered that the town centre of Portadown holds a secret ancient Orange artefact that will prove that Oliver Cromwell fathered a child in Ireland.

    The offspring of this child, living today, will lead a new Orange crusade that will ensure a 1000 year reign for Orangeism in Norhern Ireland.

    The Orangeaty use local youths as shock troops to forment disorder and mount attacks on Catholics, primarily to keep Catholics away from the artefact’s resting place.

    That an unbeliever such as Donnelly knows something of this is worrying for the Chosen.

  • zzzzzzzzz

    There’s nothing like witty repartee and that was nothing like..etc.,etc….

  • Brian MacAodh

    “Okay, everyone drink yourself silly in the pubs and when it’s closing time every gather around and cause a ruckus!”

    Political expression at it’s best

  • Newton Emerson

    I think you’ll find that this explains everything:

  • RepublicanStones

    Beautiful Newton, loyalists expressing their right to stage a protest in response to management expressing their right to refuse admission.

  • shorty

    From the PSNI’s website – “Religious hate crime is any incident perceived to be on the ground of religion or faith by the victim or any other person. Report any hate crime to us as soon as it is safe to do so.
    Hate Crime is unacceptable. Nobody deserves it! To stop it, report it.”

    The motivation behind last night’s violence relates to a recently renovated bar in Portadown which has been successful in recent months in attracting a mixed clentele. Elsewhere, such an ability to create a neutral setting where both Catholic and Protestants can safe mix and associate would be deemed worthy of support. In Portadown, loyalists have taken exception to this concept.

    Under the guise of showing “republicans that we will not tolerate their behaviour or presence in our area”, loyalists were asked to assemble outside the said bar last night. The purpose was to intimidate. The PSNI knew of this at least 10 ten days ago.

    Did the PSNI try of prevent this assembly which was clearly designed to intimidate the bar owner and his clientele? No. Instead, the PSNI consulted with the organisers to facilitate their gathering and as will become apparent, when the media report on this matter more fully, agreed that this religious hate crime could go ahead.

    Despite the warnings flagged up over a week and a half ago, the PSNI were then “surprised” that attempts were made to burn the bar-owners car and to attack the bar.

    Clearly, the PSNI got it wrong. Matt Baggott has serious questions to answer about this, not least as to why his men facilitated the crowd gathering, or why there were no senior police officers on duty last night in Portadown. More importantly, he must explain why this particular type of religious hate crime was deemed to be acceptable.

  • Newton Emerson

    Well, quite. Attacking this bar will go down about as well in Portadown as attacking The Crown would in Belfast – and not just because they have similar decor.

  • Mark McGregor


    I thought pretty much everyone aware of this crap had decided it was best to keep the name of the business targeted out of the more public domain. Seems you and the Portadown News disagree. Unimpressed.

  • Chris Donnelly

    If what you’re saying is true (and I’ve no reason to disbelieve you) then the PSNI would appear to have learnt little from their similar policing of a loyalist gathering in Larne a while back, when they escorted loyalist paramilitaries around an estate in a thinly veiled intimidation exercise.

    It raises once again concerns about the default instinct of many within the service when it comes to confronting loyalists intent on aggression in a majority unionist town, the same instinct which cost a man his life in Coleraine earlier this year.

    After that, the PSNI seemed to learn the lesson as they withstood a loyalist protest intent on provoking similar conflict in another majority unionist town, Banbridge.

    Clearly I don’t know enough about the Crown’s clientele to ‘get’ that one….

  • Mark McGregor

    Sorry – Portadown Times.

  • Newton Emerson

    Don’t be a berk. This has been front-page news for two weeks, complete with the clearly blameless bar’s name, in the local paper.

  • Column Walker

    Clearly I don’t know enough about the Crown’s clientele to ‘get’ that one….

    Clearly because it’s a cherished local landmark, like the Crown, and a listed building to boot with a fine interior, again like the Crown.

  • ormeau farl

    Calling Mark a berk, Newton?

    Man ball and all that balls.

    In saying that you may have a point…………

  • Comrade Stalin

    Very decent of the Legion to come out straight in public and disassociate themselves from this “protest”.

    If the police acted against loyalists protesting in this way in the same way that they acted against eirigi, things might be better ..

  • Mark McGregor


    Balls. Most covering this had the sense not to put the target’s name out there. Yourself and the Portadown ‘newspaper’ just assisted in ensuring the target is identified.

  • Mark McGregor


    Good point. The PSNI have been very proactive in dealing with non-violent éirígí protests. They’ve stopped them even gathering.

    Funny how a this ‘illegal’ protest, that they’ve been informed about well in advance gets to proceed.

  • ormeau farl

    So according to you, Mark, the protestors had no idea as to the location and ownership of the bar save from reading the local paper and scanning Slugger.

    Pack your conspiracy theory back into your mental suitcase and climb up the wooden hill….

  • Newton Emerson

    Christ, Mark, what a balloon you are.
    The entire population of Portadown knows this bar. It is clearly identifiable from the picture currently at the top of the front page of the BBC website. The local paper named it in reporting an appeal from the British Legion to support it. And what’s your insight into the motivations of “most covering this”?

  • Observer

    “Funny how a this ‘illegal’ protest, that they’ve been informed about well in advance gets to proceed.”

    Par for the course with the peelers in Portadown. And lets not forget the Robert Hamill case or this this from two years ago –

  • Observer

    Fogot to add, two years on and still awaiting the outcome of the Police Ombudsman’s report which, given the video footage, one would have imagined should have made his work slightly easier.

  • I’m saddened by this, although not particularly surprised. There are few enough pubs in town where you can relax and have a quiet drink without worrying about what side of the tracks you’re currently on. I sincerely hope this won’t be repeated.

  • JG

    Haven’t seen someone being called a berk in years!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Yes. These days you call people a “James”.

  • Sean

    You are now entering Portadown, please set your clocks back 300 years….
    Sad story as this was the first time that young people from both sides in Portadown had began to mix freely, back to form I suppose.
    Mark everyone in town knows this bar and what was planned, giving out the name or location doesn’t really make a difference to be honest. Just really dissapointed by the whole thing!!

  • Yani

    I understand that the PSNI also faciltated a protest in Dunloy (a village known for the warm fuzzy embrace it throws around its Protestant residents)over the weekend during which threats were made.

    As Donnelly seems so exercised about the police I await his blog on this other outrage.

  • Big Bopper

    Usual suspects managed to get the McDaid and Hamill killings in so far, any takers for adding Rosemary Nelson, The Famine…….

  • An Lorgain

    Mc Conville’s has always been a mixed bar and loyalists have always wanted the taigs out of it, any excuse.

  • Panic, These Ones Likes It Up Em.

    Would’nt you think these people would like to have a drink with some one that was not as Homogenous as their regular partners 🙂

  • Not sure how this has incident could have been better handled by the police. Very difficult to stop people gathering without making the situation worse. Inside the bar was like a normal night, good atmosphere, and good crack. Leaving the bar to the protections of riot police was not so normal, but I would have to praise the police and blame the scumbags who wanted trouble.