East Belfast UVF: Mission Accomplished?

There is little doubt but that the UVF leaders in East Belfast who plotted the sectarian violence which engulfed the catholic community of the Short Strand and subsequently that of neighbouring protestant residents will be very contented with the course of events this week.

Hindsight has enabled us to connect the transparently obvious dots which clearly were preliminary manoeuvres ahead of this act, as I have pointed out on an earlier thread.

The hotch-potch of excuses provided for the violence are already being sharpened into something more fluid than the confused narrative being proferred by loyalist spokespersons from the East, and it was entirely appropriate that Brian Feeney sought to bring the focus back upon those driving the developments on UTV Live tonight amidst the efforts by the well-meaning but naive community relations soundbyte experts to obfuscate the issue.

The factually erroneuous storyline that loyalism was defending beleaguered local protestants will go unchallenged locally when the bandsmen and brethren assemble beneath the hundreds of loyalist flags erected and altered mood music of the gable murals in anticipation of this act being played out.

Loyalism has blooded a new generation in the overwhelmingly unionist stronghold that is East Belfast, and the groundwork will be further worked upon as the drums beat, fires burn and feet march across the flag and banner festooned loyalist heartland in the weeks to come.

 This is crunch time for the PSNI as the Beast from the East leadership is clearly not attuned to the peace processery endorsed more warmly by those Dublin-friendly fellow loyalist leaders.

The PSNI were clearly caught unaware by loyalists this week, but the hours of footage captured by police cameras should lead to scores of loyalist arrests if the pattern of previous Belfast riots is anything to go by- and if it is not, then that will raise another series of questions in itself.

Personally, I find this rather depressing as it is likely that young protestant working-class males foolishly ensnared by the schemers will find themselves with criminal records like their catholic counterparts in other parts of the city have in recent years. Thus, those most likely to find meaningful employment a challenge throughout their lives will have an additional obstacle to overcome in the form of a criminal record.

Therefore, it will be important that the PSNI are seen to effectively and decisively deal with the renewed threat to peace from loyalist quarters in the same manner that they have dealt with dissident republicans. And, as importantly, in the process of so doing, perhaps unionist politicians will be encouraged to make an unambiguous and public stand alongside republicans, nationalists and others in opposition to loyalists seeking to threaten the peace in such a calculated manner. In fact, one model already exists for so doing, if the will is there….

  • one true path…atheism?

  • nightrider

    Or agnoticism MP
    Given that religious belief is the problem here.
    And a lack of education promotes religion.
    Religion equals tribe and off we go.
    Would bet that no educated people (atheist or agnostic) are involved in these religious battles.

  • Although the partisan nature of Mr Donnellys post will be seized upon, I think its an entirely reasonable argument.
    No doubt Mr Donnelly wont mind if I tease out a few things.
    I didnt actually watch much of tonights news but I did see Duncan Morrow delivering his standard view.
    And a parade of unlikely “community workers” with the new MLA Sammy Douglas preening himself at their head.
    I dont have much time for “community workers” (and Short Strand “community workers” also featured).
    The main reason I dont like “community workers” is that I am not one of them.

    But certainly the loyalist “community workers” seemed satisfied with todays events…….which would not have happened if it had not been for the earlier weeks violence.
    I think we might reasonably conclude that the men behind the rioters also think it was a good weeks work.

    It certainly sets a new (or back to the future) tone for the upcoming parades…..but not just as Mr Donnelly suggests in East Belfast……..but will embolden others…..even in the nationalist community.

    Young so called nationalists prey to dissident so called Republicans will be encouraged to go along the route which so obviously paid off in East Belfast.
    And that will be a genuine concern to Sinn Féin who will fear something getting out of hand.
    A young rioter in Ardoyne getting killed is not something Sinn Féin needs.
    It is of course exactly what dissident “republicans” want.

    Will there be extensive “Identify This Rioter” in the News Letter or Belfast Telegraph.
    I have no idea.
    But there is the Irish News.
    And surely the good folks in East Belfast are anxious for prosecutions.

    The mood music suggests the PSNI wont be anxious. They did after all withdraw from direct confrontation and did ask the Press to step back too.
    And in itself I see no problem with that.
    Least said soonest mended………but the danger that Republicans will see is that the PSNI have caused a bigger problem by not hammering the unionist rioters, who most non partisan people see as the agressors in this particular instance.
    And I think that unionists can point with some justification that PSNI have been “soft” on nationalists on previous occasions.

    I suspect the Truth is that an impartial PSNI which reasonable people believe them to be……will go for the best option for a particular situation.
    The “loyalists” of East Belfast did not do well in May.
    They were divided between PUP and Dawn Purvis and lost a voice, a semi deatched voice……and this is why they are trying to assert themselves.
    Incidently was the MP for the area or those two new Alliance MLAs at the talks?
    Oddly for AP, they have been MOSTLY absent from our airways except to be bland.

    But security correspondents tell us that there is a division between East Belfast UVF and the UVF?
    Are they still…….illegal?
    Can we expect some charges?
    Or journalists to come forward with evidence rather than a scoop.?

  • And of course TV Companies, Press Photographers must have stuff that can be used as evidence.
    Surely as responsible folks they will step forward.

  • tuatha

    I’m depressed by the scarcely teenage appearance of so many of the rioters, fed on tales of daring & defiance in the childhood and trying to emulate the days of yore, with the slightly old young bucks eager for their whiff of cordite.

  • Drumlins Rock

    catch a grip guys, the most these guys know about a church you could write on a very small stamp and leave room for the lords prayer. Taken outside their own turf they couldn’t even tell a church from a chapel, and in all probability are as religious as the Dawkin’s fanclub.
    Religion would probably contribute less than 5% of the contributing factors in East Belfast, and if removed from the equation would quickly be replaced by some other convenient label, such as language or optic parameters.

  • tacapall

    “They were divided between PUP and Dawn Purvis and lost a voice, a semi deatched voice……and this is why they are trying to assert themselves”

    Nice way of describing physical blackmail, give us what we want or else this is what we will do. At the same time though, good to see the shinner buisnessmen hold the lines, nothing like bringing in carpetbaggers to sort a local manpower shortage.

  • Joe Bloggs

    If the ongoing violent campaign against protestant homes beside the Short Strand now stops was Monday night worth it???

  • Drumlins Rock

    As for Chris view of events, just a touch biased possibly. But I’m far from the area so just going on the media, but I’m guessing the story is roughly this.
    The “traditional” tit for tat has been building up as usual over the past few weeks, not sure if any worse than other years but would guess both lots are at it.
    The local UVF try to prove some sorta point internally or to the community or to the assembly and hype things up by a multiple of 10 or more, the republicans play along and up their ante too, the police get stuck in the middle and can’t really touch either side.
    Solution, swap the Shankill for Short Strand, only joking, diversity is needed, but they have to learn to live with each other, and I can’t see this happening while paramilitaries past or present are the role models on wither side.

  • Nunoftheabove

    “Overwhelmingly unionist stronghold that is East Belfast”……overwhelmingly ?!

  • tacapall

    Drumlins, this is just a game bing played by those who wish for no further investigations into the past, with events like those we have witnessed this last few days is it any wonder we take our eyes off the real issues. There can be no truth commission or amnesty without unionist approval and that message has been sent to those Unionists and British who hold all the cards.

  • USA

    Fitzjameshorse1745,
    They were divided between PUP and Dawn Purvis and lost a voice, a semi deatched voice……and this is why they are trying to assert themselves.
    Utter rubbish. The are asserting themselves because they are sectarian loyalist paramilitary scum. You are attempting to link the PUP / Dawn Purvis etc to a sectarian attack by hundreds of terrorists on innocent civilians. Get a grip. It was vile sectarianism, pure and simple.

    Drumlins Rock:
    The “traditional” tit for tat has been building up as usual over the past few weeks, not sure if any worse than other years but would guess both lots are at it.
    Yeah, wheel out the two tribes narrative, that should enable you to bury your head in the sand and ignore the reality. You did get one thing right though, “but would guess“, yes you are guessing and you are evidently having difficulty processing some rather obvious facts.

    Nunoftheabove:
    Overwhelmingly unionist stronghold that is East Belfast? There are approximately 4000 residents of the Short Strand, there are approx 80,000 residents in East Belfast.

    I have not heard a single Unionist politician condemn the violence outright. I would be grateful for any links.

    Well said Chris Donnelly.

  • Nunoftheabove

    USA

    Yes I was thinking more about the use of the word overhwlemingly actually, the Eastern maths (sorry, math) I’m sufficiently au fait with thanks. It’s rather reminiscent of the minor amusement I used to locate in the days when the provos were often routinely described by the mainstream British media as the “overwhelmingly catholic” IRA.

  • loulou

    It is worrying that in practically every post recently, you can easily guess the religion/ political affiliation of the contributor, regardless of the topic discussed. People have been quick to talk of the bubbling sectarianism within these working class communities, yet you only need look as far as the ‘chattering classes’ to see that this problem is perhaps more widespread, and exists despite all the progress made within the political process.

    With regards to the current situation, yes, this was a totally unjustified UVF inspired attack on an innocent community which resulted in untold damage on both sides. However, I think it is unfair to talk about the ‘confused narrative’ from loyalism as if implying that loyalism was simply trying to excuse the behaviour of the UVF. In reality, the politicians (and indeed, posters on here) seem to have become entrenched in ‘their side’ of the story, which has seen Sinn Fein focusing solely on the original attack by the UVF, yet almost ignoring the problems of shots fired from Short Strand and the attacks on the neighbouring protestant community in recent weeks.

    The problem with republicans discounting the grievances of the loyalist community, purely because it doesn’t serve to further their position, is that it has only helped to enflame the anger and bitterness the loyalist community feels towards the nationalist community, as evidenced in the public meeting UTV covered tonight.

    This is the same story for unionists, where the words of Michael Copeland early on appeared to justify the attack to a certain degree, and in claiming the violence was solely a response to attacks by republicans, helped to alienate each side from the other. Thankfully my faith in unionist politics was restored a little from an unlikely source, with the more balanced and wisely words and actions of the DUP’s Sammy Douglas, and I just hope there are more voices like this in the loyalist community.

    When kids on both sides of the fence, for their first time with their own eyes, see their communities being attacked, we run the risk, as you have said, of blooding a new generation of sectarianism.

  • Will

    USA

    Although I agree with you that all this has little do with the PUP – a suggestion I’ve seen made a few times on slugger which I believe is pretty far wide of the mark, I don’t think this “Beast from the East” or many others within the UVF give a stuff about the PUP or its electoral decline, the situation is a little mure nuanced than “100s of terrorists” attacking Catholic homes because they’re sectarian. It’s widely accepted the East Belfast UVF orchestrated the attack for reasons that have been outlined here and in other articles – HET, power struggle etc, it’d be folly to simply write it off as purely motivated by sectarianism. There’s no doubt the UVF exploited latent sectarian feelings in the area (to borrow from Brian Feeny) and it is perhaps worrying how quickly the UVF could get so many young loyalists out onto the street but the internal dynamics of the UVF should be at the forefront of anyones mind when analysing these riots.

    “Yeah, wheel out the two tribes narrative, that should enable you to bury your head in the sand and ignore the reality. You did get one thing right though, “but would guess“, yes you are guessing and you are evidently having difficulty processing some rather obvious facts. ”

    You also shouldn’t be so dismissive of what Drumlins Rock said. The tension around the area WAS building in the last few months and there was a perception, possibly erroneous or maybe exaggerated, that homes in Cluan Place etc were still coming under attack regularly. As an election issue it was actually quite important in the area which explains the sort of “playing to the gallery” engaged in by Michael Copeland with his qualified condemnation of the attacks – he had developed a bit of a repuation amongst some in the area around the election as being more on the ground than most Unionist politicians were.

  • USA

    Will,
    I agree UVF East Belfast leadership cares not one jot about the PUP. I would also say they care not one jot about the law, the police, nationalists, democracy, tax payers, etc.

    Excuses offered by Unionists commentators include UVF power struggles, loyalist alienation, HET inquiries etc. I fail to see how any of these excuses, even if there was a nugget of truth to one of them, should result in massed attacks on Catholic homes.

    Where is the forthright condemnation from Unionist politicians? Again, I would be grateful of any links.

    While I could agree with some of the points you make, I just don’t think this type of violent action by loyalist terrorists should be linked to anything and then rewarded by Peter Robinson.

    Let the PSNI arrest the scum and be done with them.

  • dwatch

    BBC NEWS:
    Short Strand east Belfast rioting – PSNI arrest man
    A 28-year-old man from west Belfast has been arrested in connection with the attempted murder of police officers.

    Police said the man’s arrest relates to dissident republican activity and the recent public disorder in and around the Short Strand area of east Belfast.

    The rioting in east Belfast on Monday and Tuesday night has been described as the worst in the area for ten years.

    A photographer was injured on Tuesday by shots, police said they were fired by dissident republicans.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13891906

  • Mick Fealty

    USA,

    Can you at least keep your temper before you post. unsurprisingly Sluggers comment zone is becoming sodden with raw emotions. Understandable, but it’s facilitating a lot of misleading nonsense.

    If people put in a tenth of the work Chris and others on the blogging team put into their blogs we’dhave a tenth of the trouble.

  • dwatch

    ‘Let the PSNI arrest the scum and be done with them.’

    USA, the PSNI have already begun to follow your advice.

    BBC NEWS:
    Short Strand east Belfast rioting – PSNI arrest man
    A 28-year-old man from west Belfast has been arrested in connection with the attempted murder of police officers.

    Police said the man’s arrest relates to dissident republican activity and the recent public disorder in and around the Short Strand area of east Belfast.

    The rioting in east Belfast on Monday and Tuesday night has been described as the worst in the area for ten years.

    A photographer was injured on Tuesday by shots, police said they were fired by dissident republicans.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13891906

  • The “traditional” tit for tat has been building up as usual over the past few weeks, not sure if any worse than other years but would guess both lots are at it.

    DR,

    It’s Peace-Line which in E Belfast means a low-level but consistent amount of attacks and abuse (in both directions), the odd brick here and there but nothing worse than before. On that point Donnelly has got it right, at this particuliar juncture, the “defence of isolated prods in the area” line is v weak.

    The PSNI were clearly caught unaware by loyalists this week, but the hours of footage captured by police cameras should lead to scores of loyalist arrests if the pattern of previous Belfast riots is anything to go by- and if it is not, then that will raise another series of questions in itself.

    It won’t for exactly the same reason why the paramiitaries were *permitted* to occupy mob-handed Garnerville several years ago. It would disturb the local “equilibrium” on the ground between what are (theoretically) the forces of law and order and those who dictate what and what doesn’t go on in E Belfast. It is exactly the kind of Faustian Pact that the Peace Process was built on, you can vote *your* terrorists into power (or however you can define the joke at Stormont), *our* terrorists get to build up their mafia near enough unimpeded. In return, no more massacres in betting shops or at war memorials.

    And that’s what most people, in their hearts, know what they voted for when they voted for with the Belfast Agreement, the end of the attrocities but not genuine peace as it would be defined in any *normal democracy*.

    IWhich, admitedly, is better than before but still not much of a consolation for the poor granny on the frontline who gets to reap what we’ve sown everytime a brick lands through her kitchen window.

  • Cynic2

    Look. It is almost July. This is what the Loyalists and the Republican youth do. For all the ferocity of the rioting, casualties were relatively light. Its two dogs peeing on the boundary wall between their houses.

    And the political reaction is predictable too.

    The DUP call their dog in, pat it on its head and give it a treat for peeing on themuns side of the wall.

    Meanwhile the Republicans shoo their dog inside lest it be suggested that they are less civilised. Their dog has a history of biting people but had its teeth pulled a few years back and they are still on political probation.

    Pavlov would have been proud to see yet further vindication of his theory.

  • Im not sure that its worth replying directly to “USA” .
    But I will make this clear to other Slugger readers. Although it hardly needs made clear.
    I was not linking PUP/Dawn Purvis to the violence.
    What I was doing was pointing out the rather obvious fact that “militant” loyalism in East Belfast had a voice in the PUP, one that I often did not like to hear.
    Since 2010 (and indeed before) Ms Purvis is due credit for detaching herself completely from PUP.
    In 2011 the PUP and Ms Purvis stood against each other. And also had a rival in Sammy Douglas (DUP) in part at least for that voice.
    I regret to say that Ms Purvis did not hold her seat which has left a vaccuum.
    We are led to believe by security correspondents that the UVF in East Belfast is out of control of its “superiors” thus seemingly fracturing that type of loyalism further.
    The vaccuum was brought to a head this week….the local UVF has clearly asserted itself as a force.
    And it looks like a lot of people have shamefully facilitated them.
    Lessons will be drawn and not all of them in loyalist communities.

  • pippakin

    To put it at its simplest and imo most honest terms, there are a lot of working class lads/ladettes who are always up for a ruck and that applies to all tribes. The deprivation anywhere in Belfast or the entire north is no better or worse than anywhere else on these islands.

    Many of the rioters looked young because they are and by the time the cameras etc got there the leaders had probably decided that the best place to lead from such dangerous antics is the rear. The gun shots fired by both sides were not fired from the front…

  • gréagóir o frainclín

    Was it Rory Mcilroys victory that sent tham all nuts?

  • andnowwhat

    That would explain the golf balls being used

  • gréagóir o frainclín

    Ah ‘disaffected youth’ is the cause of the rioting. It’s just that there is the age old political element thrown into the bargain in the NI. Disaffected youth is a prob throughout parts of the western world. Governments continually fail to address the issues….Education is just one of the answers ….and a fair and well balanced education at that…. as well as a ‘loving’ home. The parents of these rioting ‘children’ have failed them and themselves! That’s one of the great shames.

    http://understandingsociety.blogspot.com/2009/02/disaffected-youth.html

  • pippakin

    gréagóir o frainclín

    No disaffected youth is not the cause but it is the tool. I agree with you about the parents.

    I would like to see both governments tell the human rights industry where they can shove their ‘rules’ and release all pictures they have and then when they find the rioters charge them and their parents.

  • lamhdearg

    drumlins, short strand for suffolk. is a better fit.

  • USA

    Mick Fealty,
    Thank you for the feedback. In the future I will certainly try to keep my temper before I post.

  • USA

    Fitzjameshorse1745,
    I agree with a lot of what you say in both your above posts. I highlighted and commented on one section as it was an example of various excuses for the violence that have been offered recntly. I just don’t think attacking civilians warrants any more analysis than an appearance before the judge.
    Sorry if I gave the wrong impression.

    Cynic2,
    Look. It is almost July. This is what the Loyalists and the Republican youth do. So that’s what youv’e got? It’s July and that’s just the way it is? The old “two tribes” garbage? Yeah, that’s a well thought out position.

    The rest of your post went downhill from there.

  • PaddyReilly

    I think the nail was hit on the head by whoever came up with the phrase ‘recreational rioting’. What we are dealing with here is just a more primitive and more dangerous form of football. Young people like to dress in hoodies and participate in mass confrontation. The police allow them to continue because it gives them an opportunity to indulge in surreptitious photography and identify troublemakers.

    I can remember stone fights in my youth in which there was no element of sectarianism or politics. The effect of bringing religion/race/politics into the brew is merely to increase the scope and prolong the time of such conflicts.

    The UVF contribution I explain as follows. The GFA worked partly by paying large bribes to paramilitaries to stop the fighting. The Cameronian regime is trying to cut these off in the name of savings. The conflict has been started by them in order to show how necessary these subsidies are. Sinn Féin, also with an interest in keeping the funds flowing, may even be co-operating with them in keeping the embers blazing.

  • lamhdearg

    yellow card. i believe you have got the wrong end of the stick.

  • lamhdearg

    House/Street/Estate swaps due to intimidation happened in my youth, and to my family, they will happen again if this nonsense is not stopped. the greater shankill will not fit into short strand, suffolk is much closer in size to short strand, i am not saying i want this to happen, so if all of this is to much for you to contemplate , and considering people on other posts are saying kingsmills was, “understandable” and “a job well done” without sanction, best make that yellow a red, before i type something i will regret.

  • Dissident Unionist

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udsg6OvKM-g&feature=player_embedded < unreported footage of republican attacks on loyalist homes from shortstrand rooftops…..

  • dwatch

    ‘Beast of East’ gains support after rioting’

    The UVF leader known as the ‘Beast of the East’, who is being blamed for the invasion of a nationalist enclave in east Belfast last week, has enhanced his standing within the terrorist organisation through his actions, sources in the unionist community say.

    Read More: http://www.nuzhound.com/goto.php?id=202675

  • Nunoftheabove

    Gains support from among his peer group i.e. equally sectarian, criminal, sociopathic, profoundly anti-democratic pieces of shit in other territories which they run along similar lines. Wow, that’s quite a tribute alright.

    Impressive.

  • dwatch

    UVF want money to burn

    Sunday, 26 June 2011

    The UVF wants millions of pounds of Government funds to be ploughed into the east Belfast interface that its members turned into a war-zone last week.

    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sunday-life/uvf-want-money-to-burn-16016226.html#ixzz1QPYrR7iU

  • Was the beast of the east/ugly Doris one of the delegation that Robinson invited to Stormont for tea and crumpets?

  • Trapattoni
  • gtm2011

    Will,
    I agree UVF East Belfast leadership cares not one jot about the PUP. I would also say they care not one jot about the law, the police, nationalists, democracy, tax payers, etc.

    Excuses offered by Unionists commentators include UVF power struggles, loyalist alienation, HET inquiries etc. I fail to see how any of these excuses, even if there was a nugget of truth to one of them, should result in massed attacks on Catholic homes.

    Where is the forthright condemnation from Unionist politicians? Again, I would be grateful of any links.

    While I could agree with some of the points you make, I just don’t think this type of violent action by loyalist terrorists should be linked to anything and then rewarded by Peter Robinson.

    Let the PSNI arrest the scum and be done with them

    Is that right USA and how would you know thye dont support the PUP are you a PUP regular?t during the elections do you think brian ervine put all the flyers up etc by himself im rom that are and there was signicaf support adn work carried out fro the PUP

    And another thing see this beas from the east theh support that mann has in the community is second to none this isnt what the press want you to believe but like I say im from tha are and he has always worked for the community

    I also heard through the grapevine that th emurals that is casuing so much concern was a brigade staff decison in response to issue arising so they you’s all wrong again by saying this is a loose cannon

    There is to many people very quick to point fingers when in reality they dont have a clue what they are talking about

  • My elder son was born on Boxing day so we named him after the saint associated with that day (I was still a wee bit religious back then). Then were the Gospels too. I liked the one according to John; in the beginning was the world and all that. Matthew was also very interesting.

  • Word, of course, not world.

  • Nunoftheabove

    JoeCanuck

    Aha. A, if you will, back to front Welsh snooker player. Nearly 😉

    Presumably well known for his breaks if occasionally a little over-firm when in baulk trying to put the green down.

  • gtm2011

    I guess simply reading the link Trapattoni would have been to easy rather than the cryptic clues – no?

  • Nunoftheabove

    The cryptic clues made a good deal more literal sense than that sentence of yours did, so-called gtm2011…. no ?

  • gtm2011

    you think so nunoftheabove – so you are obviously in a position to prove everything that I’ve said to be wrong, that all this trouble is not a response to constant attacks on the protestant community living on the lower newtonards road, that the people on the streets those nights responding to those constant attacks are not supported by the community and this would include the beast as you all like to call this man.

    Was there not republican murals put up I think in North Belfast that we haven’t much about in comparison to the ones on the newtonards road?
    So what should the people of that area do when they are coming under constant attacks on a lower scale than the riots but on a very regular basis and when reported to the PSNI nothing seems to happen

    Which part of this makes no sense to you?

  • andnowwhat

    Still none of these UVF men lifted?