One rule for ‘ussuns’, another rule for ‘themmuns’?

As Martin McCauley and Stephen Barnes have noted on twitter – after 2 nights of rioting in Rathcoole the PSNI have yet to deploy a single Baton Round or roll out their water cannons.

The petrol bombs, vehicle burnings and gunmen mingling within the rioters have been described as ‘different beasts’.

Lucky old Rathcoole rioters.

But will people in Ardoyne understand the softly, softly PSNI attitude to things just up the road when they got the iron fist?

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  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    It would be interesting to hear from the PSNI what the various ‘triggers’ are for escalation in PSNI response.

    It should also be noted that part of the ‘rationale’ for the trouble is the precisely the mirror image of what is being suggested here i.e. that the PSNI are over zealous in their investigation in Loyalist areas into historical cases and not zealous at all in Republican areas.

    I suppose in both instances a few facts wouldnt go amiss.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Mark, from what i can see the riots are quite spread out and so far as I know not related to any interfaces with a strong risk of escalation, whereas Ardoyne was intensely focused on one road junction which fronted onto an area with an agitated opposing crowd and high risk of esaclation if not contained.

  • Semper

    How about water cannon or even a bit of coverage for the rioters in the lower falls who have burned a car & bricked the psni along with torturing the neighbors.At least in Rathcoole they have the decency to take their riot out of the estate & away from the locals, We have a better class of scum bag down here.

  • Cynic

    Absolutely right. The polis should beat the Prods at every opportunity just like they do the poor unwashed masses (!) of organisations like Eirigi

  • Mark McGregor

    So, you are saying riots should be contained/managed? Not dispersed?

    Maybe the PSNI should look at better managing any future confrontations at the Ardoyne, since you seem to find their faciliation acceptable in Rathcoole.

  • Johnny Boy

    Equal rights for all rioters!

  • Johnny Boy

    Whatever happened to that Spanish guy who seemed to be randomly involved in the Ardoyne riots? What was his story?

  • aquifer

    So long as they are just destroying property and not threatening anyone except the police they could be kept at a distance. What is the alternative? Having a police marksman drop a gunman would be escalation of a different order. You could say set the dogs on them but consider the animal welfare issues.

    Great. It is raining now, that should help.

  • Johnny Boy

    Where you on the ground at both incidents to be able to say how similar both situations were?

  • Ranger1640

    How many Attenuated Energy Projectile’s (AEP) were fired at St James’ and was a water cannon deployed at St James’ when the IBA rioted for several nights in July???

  • Cynic

    Tourism? Perhaps he felt oppressed

  • Chris Donnelly

    Good points.

    On another note:
    Perhaps Sinn Fein politicians should stand beside the PSNI to ensure that their response is sufficiently robust a la certain unionist politicians in Ardoyne.

    And will unionist politicians call for anyone with information about the rioters to contact the PSNI? After all, as Gregory says, what we need is ‘action’ not simply ‘words….’

  • Mark why don’t you table a question at the Police Board ?

    I remember last year in East Belfast numerous AEP’s were discharged so i don’t accept the softly softly attitude.

    What i’d like to see right across the board is bring back the sntach squads !!

  • tacapall

    There were dozens fired and a few teenagers injured, one seriously. I wonder why it wasn’t on the news or reported by Sinn Fein that on the same night loyalists lobbed a nail bomb into a house on Broadway that exploded in the living room, miraculously no one was injured, it wasn’t even on the news when two loyalists were charged with it.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Well said MMG.
    In agreement 100%

  • Ranger1640

    Difficult to substantiate something that was not reported.

    At the Ardoyne riots republicans fire bombed and shot into houses in the Unionist part of Glenbryn they also beat up several children. That was not reported too?

  • aquifer

    The Basque guy was convicted for throwing a breeze block down onto a female police officer who ended up in hospital.

  • Ranger1640

    The Spanish guy left his Ulsterville Ave flat to go to Ardoyne, to get all offended. Why did he not stay at his flat and protest as the parade went past the top of his street, it would have saved him a dander across town.

  • tacapall

    Not too difficult seeing as the Police ombaundsman is investigating why members of the PSNI watched as a loyalist mob marched up Broadway and carried out the attack and were able to walk back into the village area.

  • aquifer

    Sorry got that wrong. Apologies to our Basque comrades.

  • cynic47


    Perhaps you would be happier if the police stayed away and just let rioters get on with doing what they like. The PSNI took some sh*t at Ardoyne before the plastic bullets came out. Personally I would be happy if the police just went in and bashed rioters as hard as they could both Loyalist, Republican and Spanish. Do I detect a degree of sympathy from you towards the morons who took part in the riots at Ardoyne?

  • Blair


    Plastic bullets would only be fired when there is a risk of death or serious injury. For instance if a mob was trying its very best to kill people taking part in a lawful parade. Or if rioters were dropping large slabs of concrete on a police officer’s head.

    The Rathcoole violence, whilst criminal, insane and disgusting, does not seem to be on the same scale. I’m sure that arrests will follow, but I wonder if nationalists will complain if photographs of the rioters are published?

  • And the UVF gunman?

  • Mark McGregor


    Of course you detect some sympathy from me for the Ardoyne rioters – I usually support an underdog. SF decalared these people outsiders to be touted on – the court cases have shown the vast majority were Ardoyne residents.

    They got baton rounds and water canons over opposing yet another unwanted Orange parade.

    The UVF loyalists of Rathcoole got facilitated in opposing raids on houses stuffed full of drugs.

    PSNI atittudes – go figure.

    Doesn’t take a brain surgeon.

  • Ranger1640

    Is there any way to substantiate the accusation and the investigation.

    Tacapall, you will keep us informed as to the results of that investigation, won’t you.

  • Blair


    A man with a gun can only be shot if he is seen to be directly threatening the shooter or another person. Nationalist lawyers and yuman rights people worked hard for many years to make it so.

  • DC

    I would say shots weren’t fired due to low level informing going on and undercover operations generally at the moment within loyalist circles.

    If police start firing shots then the populace don’t cooperate as it becomes close to impossible to ‘police with the community’ and get relevant info.

    Police are breaking down the UDA – I’ve uncovered some info of late here:

    Re the above I have to eat my words about the utter uselessness of the PSNI of late. They do seem to be doing some work after all. While this recent attack appears to be UVF-linked I guess the concept still applies that firing shots in a community will limit co-operation.

    So I suppose you might be right Mark to a certain degree in that policing with the community is yet to really kick in in dissident areas or in areas displaying violent behaviour linked to dissident republicans – a few shots isn’t going to upset the cart any or demoralise the populace given the level and history of non-cooperation anyway.

  • Ranger1640

    PSNI officer shot at NQS

    Three police officers have been shot during violence in north Belfast on the eve of the annual Twelfth parades.

    The officers, one a woman, were injured by a masked man firing a shotgun at North Queen Street. One male officer remains in hospital with an arm wound.

    A total of 27 officers were injured during disturbances – 14 in the New Lodge area of north Belfast and 13 at Broadway in west Belfast.

  • al

    This is a silly thread.

    The two situations were altogether different. There was not two lines of rioters and police as seen in Ardoyne. The violence was spread out with children as young as 8 involved (sure let’s start shooting 8yr olds again as it went down so well last century). It is quite obvious that the hijacking of the buses was carried out by the older scum involved (UVF more than likely) so as to attract the youths to an area to riot. There seems to have been a few sparodic petrol bombs tossed and a few groups chucking stones. Also the police contained the area and flooded the place with peelers in landrovers no doubt armed with their plastics if they needed them. However they didn’t because unlike Ardoyne I don’t believe they set out to kill police.

    If you believe it was because they were prods that they weren’t fired on then you need to open your mind and look into the causes and actions during the riots. If you can’t be arsed then you’re most likely a sectarian bigot.

  • Alias

    The PSNI should not be involved in Operation Ballast/Stafford beyond being the subject of the investigation. In getting the HET to transfer this investigation into the Mount Vernon UVF the PSNI ensured that they can cover up their role role in their activities. As the former Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan pointed out, the PSNI conspired with this murder gang to commit serious crimes and protected them from prosecution.

    Since the rioting is organised by UVF members connected to the Mount Vernon UVF in response to the investigation, the PSNI and the organisers have the same agenda, i.e. that the investigation should not lead to any prosecutions.

  • Pete Baker

    “Doesn’t take a brain surgeon.”

    No, but some objectivity would help.

    If you want to prove bias in the PSNI response then you should compare like with like.

    The Ardoyne interface riot has a number of differences to the situation in Rathcoole which some commenters have already mentioned.

    A more direct comparison might be events in the Kilwilkie estate in Lurgan.

  • tacapall

    Not unlike the events at Broadway and St James then, where no shots were fired, it was teenagers some as young as eight – widely reported, a number of youths were struck by plastic bullets one or two seriously injured. How many were fired on the loyalist side of the village where scores of youths were also rioting – none. Why would that be then.

  • Mark McGregor

    Aoplogies, Pete. For not comparing lie (sorry like) with how you’d like. I compared a riot with PSNI allegations of armed men in the background with similar allegations close by made by them. Then how they decided to deploy their arsenal.

    You want a comparison with something miles away that happened a year ago?

    Go figure.

  • Pete Baker

    Totally unlike events at Broadway. Which more resemble the interface rioting in Ardoyne.

    The details of what started at Broadway with police being attacked by rival groups was blogged here.

  • Johnny Boy

    I’m sure those who assume PSNI bias will find it in the places they choose to look.

  • Mark McGregor

    We neeed to get this absolutely clear.

    Those who supported the PSNI using AEPs (baton rounds) and water canon on those rioting at Ardoyne:

    Think it was right to not use the same against those rioting, burning more vehicles and having armed men involved when it happened in Rathcoole.

    This needs to be clear.

  • tacapall

    The point being Pete baton rounds were fired at Nationalist youths while none were fired at the loyalist rioters, who were also rioting with the police, just hundreds of metres away.

  • Johnny Boy

    What seems to be clear is that there are those who support the PSNI and those who don’t. Those who do, support the decisions of the officer in charge in any particular situation, if the situations are identical, the police response should be the same.

  • iluvni

    He’s been convicted?…what was his sentence?

  • al

    I don’t know how the police decide when to use AEPs but it seems clear that the intensity and threat to the police was less severe than at Ardoyne. The armed gunman was certainly a threat but if you read the articles and watch the reports it seems that the armed man was reported by the fire service and members of the public. I would have no problem with him getting a live round if he fired first (there was only one reproted gunman Mark not gunmen).

    If I was in charge I would have everyone involved in a riot shot with AEPs regardless if they’re a loyalist or nationalist. I condemn both riots equally but I think that firing AEPs would have increased the level of violence in Newtownabbey – in Ardoyne the violence was so intense the use of watercannon and AEPs was acceptable in my opinion.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Pathetic thread !!!
    Somehow riotong in Rathcoole,turns into a nat/reb whinge fest ?? Laughable !!!! 🙂

  • pippakin

    Call me opinionated (again) but I would have thought each case or riot should be treated and dealt with as separate instances, may all those rioters, both sides, thank their stars they were not in London and being herded or corralled into a particular area and held there for hours with no facilities or ability to get home. One man died, of course he wasn’t a loyalist or a republican so he doesn’t count.

  • Hedley Lamarr

    al, You would have every rioter shot with baton rounds? Judging by the nature of these things that would mean a lot of damage and probably a few deaths. Baton rounds are less lethal not non-lethal however they are described.

    Extra-judicial killings on the basis someone is a rioter? I suppose there would be no mistakes? If hundreds of baton rounds are fired there will be innocents and children hit. Children are less likely to survive being hit by a baton round.

    This would amount to the death penalty for rioting (without a trial). Well I suppose we can be content that the people who die will be random and a small percentage of those hit.

    I can’t take you seriously particularly when you say you would have everyone involved in a riot shot with AEPs even though you say firing them in Newtownabbey would have increased the level of violence. Do you want an increase in violence or no baton rounds fired in Newtownabbey?

  • Drumlins Rock

    you started the comparison with something miles away months ago, go figure.

  • Driftwood

    Kids off school, halloween, somebody got a broken nose.

    big fucking deal…

    The PSNI overtime money will benefit the travel industry as it has long since done, and now IKEA of course.

    No mention on the national news, the death of a ‘psychic’ celaphopod got world coverage. So it goes.

  • Reader

    Chris Donnelly: And will unionist politicians call for anyone with information about the rioters to contact the PSNI?
    This sort of thing?
    Note how it was cunningly inserted on the DUP website a day before you asked for it. And why would anyone think to look for a unionist politician’s statement on a unionist party website? A devious lot, these DUPers!

  • Cynic

    A ‘psychic’ celaphopod would be a blessed relief in NI. With the right publicity we might even get him elected

    Was he a Prod celaphopod or a Catholic celaphopod?

  • wild turkey

    “what was his sentence?”

    uh, to speak spanish the rest of his days?

  • al


    Have a read at my earlier post I assure you I am no loon and that shoot everyone comment was firmly tongue in cheek.

  • foyle observer


    Unionists coming out from under the woodwork & justifying the hijacking and serious assault of two Translink employees and thousands of Great British Pounds worth of damage to the Rathcoole Estate.

    Hang your heads in shame you bloody idiots.

  • The Curious Orange

    Also the police contained the area and flooded the place with peelers in landrovers no doubt armed with their plastics if they needed them.

    Is there doubt regarding peelers in landrovers flooded the place, or doubt in the suggestion that they were armed with plastics ?

  • Jimmy

    It sounds a bit like Manchester United putting out their reserves against Wolves last night. You should take it as a compliment. Clearly the trevors feel your rioting skills are far superior to those of the prods.

  • Hedley Lamarr

    Sorry Al.

  • Reader

    foyle observer: Unionists coming out from under the woodwork & justifying the hijacking and serious assault of two Translink employees and thousands of Great British Pounds worth of damage to the Rathcoole Estate.
    Name the unionists who you think were “justifying” the riot.

  • Blair


    Er, huh?

  • Stephen Barnes

    Mark – not sure that I agree with your analysis. Having been at both events, they were completely different beasts.

    After the PSNI contained the rioting in Cloughfern on Tuesday night, the Landies prematurely moved out, prompting me to tweet that there was still a mob present in the area and that it was madness. However, when PSNI pulled back and monitored the situation it fizzled out to nothing. It was the right thing to do in hindsight. (it was a crowd of 9-16y.os just wanting to set fire to something FFS! OK, there were some bald men with big dogs standing about, but if an army won’t fight….)

    Ardoyne was different: there were different emotions and drivers at play among the crowd, and pulling back would not have quashed them. You had older youths and men (and women), driven by idealogies and notions of political/religious opression. They were a much more angry bunch (and understandably so)

    Finally, you fail to mention the Short Strand riots of 31/08/2009 which I covered from start to end (well, until we were attacked by loyalists – which was never reported) 5 Police landrovers contained the situation for 4 hours and despite sustaining severe attacks and damage from youths and young men, not a single baton-round was discharged, even when 200 loyalists started running battles around the PSNI. That was scary.

    Surely that is your equality? Lets compare like-with-like….

  • Where you on the ground at both incidents to be able to say how similar both situations were?

    Armchair radical…

  • lol.

  • A futile attempt from a card-carrying Shinner to flare up some “themmuns have a sneaking disregard for violence just as much as we do” type insinuation.

    I await his next contribution to the debate which will probably be about how members of the Alliance have never actually been seen in the same room as loyalist terrorists yet…

  • disregard = regard. But it still made me laugh when I read over it mind.

  • DoppiaVu

    Observer – I think you’re observing things you want to see rather than what’s actually there. I haven’t seen a single post attempting to justify the riot.

    Perhaps you should be the one to hang your head in shame.

  • Stephen Ferguson

    “Finally, you fail to mention the Short Strand riots of 31/08/2009 which I covered from start to end”

    I remember it well.

    A mob of Nationalists trying to force their way into the bookies at the corner of Abertbridge Road/Castlereagh Street to beat up a few protestant pensioners in the name of Irish freedom.

    Truly heroic…..

  • McCarthy Og

    So anybody protesting should get beaten by thugs in uniforms? Brilliant.