PSNI: a force with easily demonstrable bias?

British Army supporters pretty much get carte blanche in Belfast it seems:


Two years ago we covered the PSNI response to éirígí supporters travelling to their anti-Armed Forces Day protest at Belfast City Hall. That response was riot squad, dogs, blocked streets, jeeps and ensuring the protest never took place.

Today a rally was held at Belfast City Hall to protest the MOD decision not to hold a RIR homecoming parade. The main contingent for this protest arrived via an illegal parade from East Belfast – no walking on footpaths like éirígí , they paraded down the middle of roads stopping traffic in both directions – the PSNI didn’t interfere.

As the BBC note the PSNI reaction to this gathering, broadly supported by illegal action, at Belfast City Hall was – Police in attendance, but some distance away.

Unionist elected representatives supported and addressed this rally – their positions on the many illegal aspects aren’t public domain. Neither are their opinions on the PSNI facilitating the illegal parade in Belfast City Centre.

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  • Perhaps it is simply residual corporate memory, Mark 😉

  • Cynic2

    I bow to your self evident knowledge of bias

  • Mark McGregor


    I’ve never claimed to be anything but biased – the PSNI on the otherhand…..

  • Drumlins Rock

    Just wee observation Mark, but I think the Protest was the only show in town today, and preventing it could have made a beach in the peace more likely than letting it go ahead and prosecute after.
    Whereas the Dissident protest was on the same day as the Armed Forces Parade, with a strong potential for a substantial breach of the peace, the PSNI chose the lesser evil, preventing the counter demo, rather than risk confrontation.
    And today once again it seems they took the easiest option, criticise them for that if you want, but I can’t see them in any way biased against the apologists for the killers of a colleague.

  • Mark McGregor


    Wrong. The eirigi one was on Armed Forces Day – there was no other event beyond the flag being unfurled at City Hall.

    Better luck next time with your apologism for the cops.

    They’ll clearly facilitate some illegality – surprise,surprise where that illegality orginates!

  • joeCanuck


    Could it be that the criticism of their reaction to Eirigi’s protest has led to a review of how to handle these events? Observe and prosecute later like what happened at Ardoyne last year? Wait for prosecutions?

  • Chris Donnelly

    A very good post, Mark, and I’d hope and expect to hear comment from Sinn Fein’s Policing Board representatives on this matter.

  • RedTurtle

    Are they going to prosecute 2,000 people?

    Somehow not seeing that happening, bias or no bias.

  • alan56

    We await a police statement and indeed Parades Comission. This has to be addressed in a transparent and open way. Otherwise Mark is correct.

  • ranger1640

    To compare the events of to-day with anything that a sectarian republican political group like eirigi would organize is not equating like for like. To-days event was a non sectarian and non political but being a M.O.P.E. would taint the republican viewpoint.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally


    Interesting to hear the Police and Parades Comission position on this.

    Is the backround of a group – their attitude to (non state) vioence and their track record in previous marches a declared criteria for the Parades Comission in allowing or disallowing a parade?

  • Mark McGregor


    The law is the law – are you suggesting it only applies to people you disagree with? This is your expectation of the PSNI and the reason for their inaction?

  • “British Army supporters pretty much get carte blanche in Belfast it seems”

    and in Lurgan. Has the Minister for Justice introduced a new stratagem?

  • oak leaf in north Belfast

    I wouldn’t worry about it Mark let them have their day cause the ‘good loyal people’ have lost ‘their’ city and they know it.

    It’s the same back home in Magherafelt they think by flying flags all year round that it’s their patch but only couple weeks back they woke up to a council controlled by Sinn Fein of all people.

  • As other people have pointed out the Erigi protest happened on ‘Armed Forces Day’ and had it been allowed to go ahead it’s likely there would have been some significant violence.

    It’s exactly becuase of protests like that, with such a polarising nature that the PSNI need the legal support to prevent such protests going ahead.

    If the PSNI deem a protest to result in little chance of violence, then they tend to take a hands-off approach.

    Although I disagree with todays protesters aims, they should have a right to peaceful protest.

  • chewnicked

    A very apt comparison, Mark, and an explanation from Baggott should be sought forthwith by Gerry Kelly.

  • ranger1640


    If the Sinn Fein project think its a venture well worth perusing let them take it up at the policing board. After all Sinn Fein are masters at the crying game.

  • carl marks

    ranger1640 (profile) says:
    22 May 2011 at 7:48 pm

    To compare the events of to-day with anything that a sectarian republican political group like eirigi would organize is not equating like for like. To-days event was a non sectarian and non political but being a M.O.P.E. would taint the republican viewpoint.

    how could you describe it as non political and non sectarian it was addressed by unionist politicians came from the newtownards rd and i would be very surpised if any catholics were involved in it.
    please ranger try to think before you speak

  • Nunoftheabove

    What the hell is apt about it ? There is no direct equivalence between the two events whatsoever so where any expectation of parity on a police response/approach should come from only you chaps can explain. There’s a not very complicated risk assessment undertaken in relation to each event which drives the response, the numbers etc. To suggest or assume that any two assemblies of approximately the same numbers of people would require the same police numbers and/or approach is stupidity on a scale that I’d be embarrassed on your behalf to even contemplate.

    If you want to appeal to the sort of pig-shit thick people who suppose that masonic PSNI officers lie around concocting their ‘how can we best annoy the taigs today’ plans first thing in the morning then that’s fine. It’d be slightly more straightforward – as well as honest – if you just said so.

  • Mark McGregor


    I’m already 100% sure SF will demonstrate the value of their project by raising this at a Policing Board meeting.

  • exsdlp

    The criteria used by the Parades Commission is irrelevant when a parade is illegal. Illegal parades have nothing to do with the PC. The only people who dont seem to understand that are unionist politicans who constantly call on the Commission to ‘ban’ illegal parades. Some of them spoke today – what is their view now on illegal parades, having taken part in one?

    Double standards, triple even???

  • Mark McGregor


    The point is the PSNI have parading laws they are meant to enforce – they’ve made no effort at all in this instance

  • Mark McGregor

    ha, I hear the attending councillors aren’t answering phonecalls from papers – caught the feck out!

  • Nunoftheabove


    And you’d expect them to enforce it irregardless of the context and/or any risk ? Like the public order equivalent of adopting a cookie cutter speed camera approach to ‘regulating motoring standards’ ?

  • chewnicked

    Who were the attending councillors?The good Doctor from the PUP and who else?

  • GreenBack

    No reponse to Nevin’s post?

    What about the illegal republican parade held in Lurgan on 24 January:

    “The rally set off from the Kilwilkie estate in support of the Release Martin Corey campaign. Double-murderer Corey (60) has been held in Maghaberry since last April after his licence was revoked.”

    There plenty of pictures with the Belfast Telegraph piece, only one showing the police and they are in attendance, but some distance away.

  • oracle

    If it’s an illegal march then the marched should have been stopped at an appropriate junction or bottle-neck, Unless the numbers of protestors are just too huge to deal with safely then the PSNI have no plausible excuse for inaction.

  • ranger1640

    That’s good to know Mark, maybe the shinners can assist the PSNI and come up with a few more names of those republicans who rioted and contravened the parades commission determination at the Ardoyne in 2010???? After all the law is the law as you say.

  • chewnicked – Who were the attending councillors?

    The UTV report (below) has an interview with PUP’s Ken Wilkinson who was in attendance. And the DUP’s Gavin Robinson tweeted about “Deputy Lord Mayor, @AdamNewtonDUP and I were there today… no other party has lead the way”.

  • Mark, there aren’t too many loyalist parades which don’t respect the PC, with this being a notable exception.

    However, I’ve been to about a dozen Republican parades over the past few months in Belfast (Falls Rd, S/Strand, Twinbrook etc) or further afield (mostly in Lurgan it has to be said) where there was a similar disregard for PC and the ‘law’. Some of them are facilitated by the PSNI, but mainly are policed by their own ‘marshalls’ with the PSNI taking a deliberate back seat.

    Today’s involvement of the PSNI was totally necessary to prevent complete traffic chaos. I doubt republican parades would have accepted PSNI involvement to such a degree.

    It’s a bit biased to raise this parade as problem and ignore what I’ve seen first-hand as a greater problem on ‘the other side’.

    The whole PC thing is a joke and should be scrapped, it’s agreed. But come on…
    fair’s fair.

  • Mark McGregor


    ‘PSNI involvement to such a degree’

    That’s the clincher – sorry you don’t get it.

    They are meant to be enforcing the law, not getting involved- they have shown willingness in Belfast when it comes to Republicans.

  • Once again the partial RUC/PSNI have illustrated just how unchanged they truely are Mark….

    Scores of Republican marchers charged with partaking in a Lurgan March some months ago…Scores charged with peacefully blocking the Crumlin Rd in Ardoyne last year…And of course scores of riot-clad Cops to prevent Eirigi marching to the City Hall in Belfast!

    On the other hand, East Belfast March today, no-one charged…No Loyalists charged with peacefully blocking the Woodvale, Upper Crumlin Roads and Twaddell Avenue last July 12th…No riot-clad Cops preventing marchers today from getting to the City Hall…?

    Ah well, some things never change chara….Scores charged with riotious assembly in Ardoyne last July and no-one charged with the same from the UVF-led riots in Rathcoole a few months ago??

    Maybe it’s the same attitude with ‘anti-terrorist stop and searches’….Thousands in working-class Republican areas and just one or two in Newtownards, Larne and Coleraine……

  • Chris Donnelly


    The DUP cllr Christopher Stalford was obviously there as he was interviewed by the BBC during the protest. The organiser, one Sharon Sloane, was interviewed by the BBC team as well, which at least should clarify who the Parades Commission should be in touch with.

    Here’s Stephen Moutray (DUP MLA) seeking a meeting with the PC over ‘illegal’ republican parades:

    And, more intriguingly, here’s Jimmy Spratt following a meeting in January 2011 with the PSNI over illegal parades:

    Speaking today Policing Board member Jimmy Spratt said, ‘The DUP is fully supportive of efforts by the PSNI to tackle the threat posed by dissident republican terrorists in Northern Ireland. That threat has been demonstrated most recently through the discovery of a bomb in North Belfast and we will continue to press for the police to receive whatever resources are necessary for them to tackle these terrorists.

    There is a perception that the Police are treating illegal republican parades differently from Loyal Order parades. We made it quite clear to the Chief Constable that more must be done to ensure to bring forward prosecutions, but similarly the police need to more effectively communicate when charges are brought forward relating to some of these parades.

    Commenting Lord Morrow said, ‘The Chief Constable was left in no doubt that the Police must act against those who deliberately flout the law, as was witnessed in Lurgan on Sunday or Galbally last year. DUP members of the policing Board will be following up on the police response to a number of these parades where we have raised concerns that interviews have not even been held in order to prepare any file for prosecution. END

    One wonders whether the media will ask Lord Morrow if he wants files prepared for prosecutions against the loyalists involved in this parade. If not, why not?

  • changeisneeded

    This parade is not a threat against the state. as steven barnes said the other side is a greater problem in the ruc eyes … For the shinners to tell us the police are balanced is some story..

  • vanhelsing

    @ArdEoin Republican “Scores charged with riotious assembly in Ardoyne last July”

    Just checking was that the same riotous assembly that cost hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage, did dreadful damage to the local community, lasted over three days and a female PSNI officer was nearly killed:

    If we’re drawing comparisons here..that’s a doosy 🙂

  • Mac

    “If we’re drawing comparisons here..that’s a doosy ”

    The mention of Rathcoole in the same sentence kind of gives it away what he’s comparing it to, no? You know, the 200k damage to the local area and 400k damage to the eternally suffering ulsterbus.

  • Mark, ‘PSNI involvement to such a degree’ – if republicans allowed PSNI involvement in PEACEFUL parades there would be an equal result. Sorry you don’t get it.

    ArdEoin Republican: No riot clad cops is because they know loyalists won’t necessarily target officers as they [mainly] have respect for the police, but republicans have a more threatening attitude. You probably wouldn’t want to, but put yourself in the position of an officer: how would you feel standing in front of 500 loyalists, then how would you feel standing in front of 500 republicans?

    As for “no-one charged with the same from the UVF-led riots in Rathcoole” thats just blatantly not true. 19 have been charged. I was at both events, seen first hand what happened, and there were far fewer ‘activists’ at Rathcoole. I’d say the proportion of activists vs people brought to court was actually higher from the Rathcoole side, as I thought there was a small contingent of about 20 people in the first place.

    Changeisneeded: Firstly, RUC? Sorry, they don’t exist. Yes, this parade wasn’t a threat against the state, and you’ve hit the nail very firmly on the head. Any threat, whether it’s “us” or “them” is treated equally. I’ve been to too many “events” and seen it first hand. I don’t see a difference.

    I don’t mind people having their point of view, but FFS, please don’t distort facts.

  • Vanhelsing, yea chara it was the same riotous assembly that cost hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage, did dreadful damage to the local community and lasted over three days mate….

    I guess all those non-UVF residents of Rathcoole, Ambulance Staff and Bus Drivers were glad when it came to an end chara….

    Strange though that the unreformed secterian RUC still haven’t charged anyone, isn’t it – unlike Ardoyne chara?

  • exsdlp

    Stephen loyalist parades in east Belfast flout parades commission rulings on a regular basis, according to the Commissions own statement recently.

    Chris – why would the parades commission be in touch with anyone regarding this parade? They have no power over prosecutions, or illegal parades.

  • Perhaps London and Dublin have decided that the PC arrangements should be allowed to wither away and directed the police accordingly.

    It’s interesting to see pro-SF and anti-SF supporters standing up for the implementation of UK law – against unionists. Was the same din generated when anti-unionists went for unofficial strolls along the highways earlier this year?

  • Stephen a chara,

    Sure it was ‘Loyalists’, the UVF in fact who killed the first Peeler in the so-called Troubles….Likewise, did they not also kick an Off-Duty Cop to death in Ballyclare a few years ago and kill another with a Pipe-Bomb at Drumcree?? C’mon ahead, have a bit of sense here…

    Fistly U say how would U feel ‘facing’ 500 Loyalist or Republican rioters?? Then U contradict yourself by claiming they were only 20?? In spite of, reports of hundreds of Rathcoole rioters…

  • changeisneeded

    Stephen , i am not distorting facts just calling it as i see it.

    I have seen many “events” as you call them first hand and i do see a difference , a very noticable one. I am not about to start naming times and places but i do remember the police protect people putting up union etc. flags in the heights in coleraine and help council workers take down tricolours…symbolic i know but it shows the bias and double standards at work.

  • Nevin, as ever U only read what is attractive to your ilk…The din U speak of is certainly not for ‘UK’ laws to be implemented. Would that B the same ‘United Kingdom’ that most Scots wish to demolise in their forthcoming vote…?

    What is reality is that over 50% of RUC/PSNI Personnel are still wedded to the failed tactic of secterian and political Policing! Although, methinks that MI5 management and direction has a lot to do with all that.

  • changeisneeded

    Nevin , we are just calling double standards as we see it and are you very fond of doing.
    Take off those bushmills googles

  • changeisneeded: and others will have witnessed the opposite. Nobody can ‘win’ if we don’t accept compromise.

    ArdEoin Republican: You’re right. But that was 40 years ago. What matters is the here and now. All I’m saying is that the Loyalist/Unionist community are more accepting of the PSNI than the Nationalist/Republican community. Is that not true?

    Hundreds of Rathcoole Rioters? I was there. I’ve got photographs (which you’ll probably claim have been doctored). That’s not true. There were less than 20, in 3 areas. 2 people hijacked two busses. It doesn’t take many.

    My statement about “500 Loyalist/Republican rioters” was not a statement of historical fact, it was a hypothetical question. Geez…. If you distorted reality any more we’d be in the film Inception.

  • changeisneeded

    “changeisneeded: and others will have witnessed the opposite.”

    i seriously doubt that now stephen.

    compromise is important, i don’t see much…

  • Driftwood

    The homecoming parades in Ballymena and Lisburn went off with no bother. And like the Shropshire parade, needed no Commission to say yes or no. It’s an MoD decision. The parades commission have no power over the Army. Like they have no power over RAF Tornado’s flying over Belfast or RN Warships docking in our ports.
    Just like Shropshire the police have no powers to stop MoD decisions, they have to enforce them.
    There was no protest march here that I could see, a facebook gathering that could occur at anywhere.
    Nothing to see here, move along please…and they did.

  • vanhelsing

    @mac – agreed – rathcoole wholly unacceptable – no arguement. What I’m saying here is the parade today is not comparable to the ones that ArdEoin Republican is suggesting…

    DR hit it on the head “but I can’t see them in any way biased against the apologists for the killers of a colleague.”

    Eirigi has failed to condemn the murder of Ronan Kerr, they’re probably not into the politics of condemnation!

  • Eglise en bois

    I believe our current parading laws are wrong, I believe that those who paraded today had a point and one I support-

    my first but, but the parade was illegal and those taking part deserve to be prosecuted.

    second but, but I think they should be proud to be prosecuted

    and any politician who supports them should equally be proud to stand up with them and be willing to be prosecuted

  • joeCanuck

    I guess this thread was always going to be “whataboutery” by definition.
    But it is wrong, totally wrong, for the PSNI to treat different illegal parades differently. I’m hopeful that there will be prosecutions but I’ve been wrong before .

  • changeisneeded

    Nobel notions but that will get us nowwhere.

  • GreenBack

    No reponse to Nevin’s post?

    What about the illegal republican parade held in Lurgan on 24 January:

    “The rally set off from the Kilwilkie estate in support of the Release Martin Corey campaign. Double-murderer Corey (60) has been held in Maghaberry since last April after his licence was revoked.”

    There plenty of pictures with the Belfast Telegraph piece, only one showing the police and they are in attendance, but some distance away.

  • Driftwood

    The actual homecoming marches went off exemplary:

    And no Parades commission was needed because they were MoD homecoming marches, not parades.

    Do 2 Rifles have to ask permission to parade around Ballykinler or 40 Royal Artillery around Thiepval or the Royal Anglians around Palace Barracks?

    The people on the Newtownards road could be convicted of jaywalking, nothing else.

  • joeCanuck

    Jaywalking?, Driftwood.

    C’mon; it if looks like a duck, squawks like a duck, and parades like a duck…..

  • “methinks that MI5 management and direction has a lot to do with all that.”

    AER, I think you may be a little closer to reality than others who are creating a din. I’m not quite sure where you get the ‘ilk’ from. Can you point me to someone else who has explored Dublin’s input into political policing here and the associated incorrect assertion from a UK SoS that the Chief Constable made the decision? The contents can often bear little resemblance to what it says on the tin.

  • Driftwood

    It’s a bunch of loafers, nothing else to do, except err go on facebook and respond to a house party/protest/gay wedding/whales against abortion..whatever.
    The Police obviously knew it was a doosie and treated it as such. A wee bit of welcome overtime for the lads, 2 weeks in Lanzarote (maybe)-not even almost as good as the Drumcree heydays when the Bahamas were de rigeur for Carrickfergus holidaymakers in August.

  • changeisneeded

    Aye sure driftwood. just a load of loyalists,
    nothing for the RUC to worry about.

  • Well done everyone great turnout – republicans get away with it so maybe its time the Orange Order refused to apply to parade

  • Nunoftheabove

    ArdhEoin Republican

    Same old tired conspiratorial self-pitying nonsense. There appears to be no end to it.

    We have already heard from posters where unlawful republican parades have proceeded with hardly a word said by the PSNI.

    No consideration of context, no consideration of the probability of public disorder, scarcely even a straight line on whether you want to uphold freedom of expression for everyone or not. It’s all just one big whine.

    I will let you into a secret though, there’s not quite the same terrorist threat level in, say Coleraine as there may be in half a dozen houses in Kilwilkie. That might come as a shock, I know, but that’s the truth of it and if you’re quite as disinterested in that as you appear to be then don’t expect anyone to take seriously what you have to say on policing. It’s not any aspect of policing specifically that you ultimately have it’s the existence of the state you live in. You despise authority from any quarter, except perhaps for a handful of semi-literate paramilitary elitists, opportunists and nihilists it seems to me

    You want rioters and terrorists to be allowed to go about their business entirely unmolested from ‘state harassment’, to pick and choose which laws they adhere to and disregard – no consequences, no obligations, no responsibilties, it’s all entitlement. That’s basically where you and most people of normal morality depart. The solipsism articulated by your side, the unbelievably childish self-pity, the enormity of the contradictions you’re half-heartedly attempting to sustain, it’s nauseating mate.

  • changeisneeded

    “I will let you into a secret though, there’s not quite the same terrorist threat level in, say Coleraine as there may be in half a dozen houses in Kilwilkie.”

    I would call you wrong on that one nunoftheabove, the coleraine terrorists are the right sort according to the RUC and get a by ball . Anyone in jail for killing Kevin McDaid in plain view of 2 armed cops…..? dont hold your breath. mate

  • Nunoftheabove


    My information is that 11 people have been charged with that appalling sectarian murder so far despite convincing allegations of witness intimidation and conspicuous non-cooperation from some sections of the local population (presumably you feel that that is the the fault of the ‘RUC’ too). That intuitively doesn’t feel like any definition of a by-ball that I recognize. The allegation you make about plain sight by the two cops is certainly a serious one. To the best of my awareness it has yet to be substantiated although I’m sure you’ll contradict me on that if I’m incorrect.

    There is a rump of wicked sectarians and criminals in places like Coleraine; I’d distinguish that though in broader security terms from the people that ArdEoin supports who by their own loud and proud admission want to target cops and others as part of an orchestrated armed terrorist campaign. To that extent, I’ll stand by my point thanks.

  • Awful nice of U to distinguish the difference Nunofthe above…That difference is evidenced with clear facts, only a short email to the rebranded RUC will suffice in you obtaining them…

    The cold hard reality is that so-called Loyalists may well support the Six County State while it remains part of Britain…And as such, they are not considered by the British Political/Sectarian Police and their cohorts in the Eton sponsored MI5 gravy train to be a ‘threat’.

    However, the good decent residents of Larne, Coleraine and of course Bangor and N/Ards view them as a serious threat to their everyday lives and businesses. Given the millions extorted and from genuine people and the hooking of their offspring on dangerous drugs…

    No, not much of a threat atall chara?

  • Nunoftheabove, I’d further like to point out that I have never posted support for an armed campaign against anyone and ask you not to attempt to criminalise me in such a manner, please.

  • Neil

    And no Parades commission was needed because they were MoD homecoming marches, not parades.

    Do 2 Rifles have to ask permission to parade around Ballykinler or 40 Royal Artillery around Thiepval or the Royal Anglians around Palace Barracks?

    Yes but we’re not talking about RIR parades, were talking about an illegal parade held in Belfast. No one’s complaining about what they get up to in Ballymena, that town’s not 50:50 split, there is a significant majority of Unionist voters in that town so bully for them,

    The people on the Newtownards road could be convicted of jaywalking, nothing else.

    Are you suggesting that the people in Belfast City Centre were actually soldiers returning from Afghanistan, incognito? Disguised in Rangers tops and loungewear? And as such they have the right to march where they please? Talking shite again Drifty?

    The tracksuit bedecked folks at City Hall (scum was the word you used to refer to the people from the lower Falls, so perhaps that’s how you feel about similarly disadvantaged people from your own background) weren’t soldiers and have no right to march anywhere they please.

  • changeisneeded

    Lets see the convictions, not just recruiting of 11, £5 touts…
    which is what is most likely happening..

    So the Taigs just have to look after themselves while the cops run away from the UDA for fear of rocking the boat..Now didn’t that happen in our history and what happened…

    “not the same terrorist threat level” according to who?
    The police? Just because THEY are the ones threatened.
    So, What about those people terrorised across the north by the yet to disband UDA or UVF whos flags fly freely in many towns coleraine being one..

    London have given them a by ball, not a threat to the state keep them on side lads….sure mcdaid had it coming…

    And the killing in plain sight of 2 cops is well known, the police retreated from the scene which was acknowledged by their own pr people on the radio afterwards.. A senior UDA man told press that a police officer sent a text to one of the loyalists saying: “The Tricolours are still up in the town — are yis real men or what?”

    Never mind the “pride of the bann band’s” website which proudly proclaimed “Congrats! The McDaid family could hear you loud and clear as the coffin returned home. I think they (and the world) got your message. No Surrender! Hate is all we have left!!!!”

  • Nunoftheabove

    ArdEoin Republican

    I am genuinely surprised to hear that you’ve never supported any armed campaign. I plainly owe you an apology therefore and am happy to provide it. I just wish you’d go that little step further and repudiate the people who are involved in it and at least bring some rationale critique to bear on their politics, leaving aside their methods and their methods’ morality, practicality, pointlessness and hopelessness.

    Regarding catholics in loyalist areas, I have no hesitatiuon in repeating that a lumpen sectarian rump exists in some of the places you refer to. You’ll just need to trust me when I say that I am more familiar with them and have had in the past more to fear from some of them than I’m guessing you have or now do. You can be thankful at least for that.

    They are a societal menace and are for my money under-policed, occasionally to a troublingly Sticky degree. I could frankly say the ame about elements of Establishment PRM republicanism. That doesn’t make the PSNI the RUC.

    They’re a threat to some in the catholic community, these loyalists. The knuckle-draggers that I’m pleased you’ve now admitted you find as abhortrent as I do are a threat to everyone. I have no hesitation in taking exception to both, I’d invite you to do likewise. I am merely pointing out that one form is orchestrated and calculated, the other is not organized or part of a concerted campaign. As such, my argument is that it is inevitable given the forms of the two that the police response would be different, you’re argument is that it is based purely on sectarian considerations and in terms of which one is more dangerous to the state.

  • Yet another example of these ‘non-threatening’ Loyalists, Nunoftheabove…?

    Three in court on blackmail charges

  • Nunoftheabove

    Ardoin Republican

    Unlike some I am unequivocol about loyalist violence or the threat of it; always have been. I’m unequivocol about that coming from the berks and nihilists that I’m happy you’ve now confirmed you don’t support either too.

  • youngpolitico

    oak leaf in north Belfast
    “It’s the same back home in Magherafelt they think by flying flags all year round that it’s their patch but only couple weeks back they woke up to a council controlled by Sinn Fein of all people.”

    I’m from Magherafelt District Council… Magherafelt has been a Nationalist/Republican controlled council for a number of years, to be blunt no one really cares that much. The only difference this time is that Sinn Fein now have the majority by themselves, though still no one cares that much. The ONE… SINGLE… union flag in the Diamond has flown continuously in the town for almost a century and only gets trotted out as an issue near election time. The Tricolours (one on every lamp post around the diamond around Easter) which fly in the town have only been erected in recent years. Why do you feel that a single national flag first erected to remember those in the locality who went to fight in wars, which is erected on private property is a message of patch ownership? When tricolours flying around it in memory of those who fought in Dublin on public property are not?

    As for this walk in Belfast, it is nice to now the “loyalist people of Belfast can’t be bothered to go to church but can be bothered to walk illegally to the city centre on a Sunday in order to protest the British Army’s internal decision.

    Why couldn’t they simply apply to the parades commission for a Saturday parade? or even just protest at the city hall? Instead of breaking British law and ignoring a government decision body (parades commission) because they disagree with the British Army – all whilst using the name “Loyalist”?

  • anne warren

    Young politico raises a question I have often pondered.

    What are “Loyalists” loyal to?

    I have attributed their warped form of Loyalism to a Covenanter mentality which is obsolete elsewhere since the 17th century, that is conditional loyality.
    Loyal as long as you do what we want.

    I am convinced Unionist politicians have an uphill task in educating these people as to what Loyality to British values actually means and has long meant.

    That is their task as inherited from their forefathers who prolonged an out of date attitude because it suited their short term goals.

    It certainly did not benefit the people of NI as a whole and it did particular disservice to anyone who actually was, or could/might have been loyal (with a small l) to many of those values.

    One example of this deplorable “Loyalist” attitude.
    Does anyone remember James Magennis VC, a Catholic who was unable to obtain work in NI after WWII because of the prevailing attitude of “reluctance to employ Roman Catholics? Mr Magennis became an honoured citizen of Huddersfield.
    A monument was erected in his memory at Belfast City Hall only in 1999, many years after his death.

  • lamhdearg

    there is a mural of james magennis on the kings road adjacent to the Loyalist tullycarnet estate ( see wiki ) Ulster loyalist’s are loyal to Ulster, although some have a odd way of showing it.

  • anne warren

    Thanks for that info about the mural, Lamhdearg.
    I will try and get to see it sometime soon.

    Found your other comment interesting
    “Ulster loyalist’s are loyal to Ulster”

    Care to explain a bit more?

  • youngpolitico

    I’m not sure about the reference to Covenanters. Covenanters were loyal, even to the point of death. But they were loyal to God (at least God from a Presbyterian point of view) rather than man. That is why they could support one earthly king but be utterly opposed to the next.

    I was of the understanding that Loyalists:
    *Originally claimed loyalty to the Queen and Protestantism (For God and Ulster)
    *when the churches disagreed with them their loyalty changed to “the Queen and BIBLICAL Protestantism”
    *when both the Queen and Biblical Protestantism disagreed with them their loyalty changed to “Ulster”
    *when Ulster disagreed with them their loyalty changed to “Loyalist Ulster”

    For me Ulster Loyalism has slowly morphed from being a belief in and support of things much bigger than one’s self (Faith in God, the Union and British Culture) and an apparent determination to defend those beliefs, into a self serving, insular philosophy based entirely on the self. God, the Union, the monarchy, the people and even the dear old Orange Institution don’t come into modern loyalism.

  • lamhdearg

    not sure what Ulster Loyalist meant back in the day(youngpolitico’s comment, by the way was it not a king back then) but when i was growing up it meant “loyal to ulster” as in loyal to the idea that ulster had the right to run its own affairs. i dare say other’s will have a different view. As for loyalty to the queen, of course that loyalty depends on her loyalty to ulster, it would be a strange person that would remain loyal to one that would reject them, thats a dogs way not a humans.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Regarding the mural to James Magennis – the only good taig is a dead taig?