Grant application from the lawless Beast from the East?

A number of interesting features in the media regarding the East Belfast violence this weekend.

Brian Rowan on BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence provided an uncomfortable analysis for those who assumed the only major paramilitary threat to the new dispensation came from dissident republican factions. In a frank contribution in which he didn’t hit and miss the wall, the experienced analyst of republican and loyalist groupings said that the UVF Leader was a “law unto himself” in East Belfast.

Rowan went on to claim “there is a criminal running the UVF in East Belfast, there is nothing political about him.”

“We can dress it up, we can put a context around it, we can talk about a whole lot of things, but the UVF have a leader in that part of the city who is doing his own thing.” He added that the loyalist leader “has enough UVF flags around East Belfast to choke a herd of loyalist donkeys.”

Rowan was joined on the panel by the PUP’s John Kyle and May Blood. Kyle did not dispute Rowan’s analysis, though he sought to focus on the “deeper underlying problem” in loyalist communities of disillusionment, a result of alienation. Kyle suggested that these loyalists “received very little of the peace dividend….[and were] lacking sense of direction and purpose.”

Rowan identified the double standard shouting out from the political and media reaction to the loyalist-inspired attacks, namely that if the IRA had attacked a loyalist community during the week “the political roof would have caved in.”

 The first person who spoke to Rowan in the aftermath of the violence was an East Belfast loyalist who informed him that it was deliberately organised as a UVF show.

Most tellingly, once again there was no suggestion from Brian Rowan, the PUP spokesperson nor May Blood that the loyalist violence was a reaction to alleged republican attacks on protestant homes, something I’ve already pointed out that East Belfast loyalist spokesperson Jim Wilson also ‘forgot’ to mention in his earlier comments on the causes of the loyalist violence.

Elsewhere, Newt Emerson has the violence down as the UVF’s grant application in Saturday’s Irish News (subs required.) The Sunday Life is reporting that leading East Belfast loyalist Stephen Matthews was amongst the loyalists whom Peter Robinson met (must remember that the next time unionist politicians slam Sinn Fein for calling for talks with dissident republican leaders.) The Sunday Life is also reporting that the loyalists are focused on securing £4 million of funding from the Executive.

Meanwhile, the Sunday World is running with a story claiming that Orange Order figures have struck a deal with the UVF to wreak havoc during the marching season (you’ll have to buy the paper as the story doesn’t feature on the linked site.)

  • ulsterobserver

    Some good points made by Chris’s piece but also some very petty points scoring took away from the valid points made which is a shame.

  • must remember that the next time unionist politicians slam Sinn Fein for calling for talks with dissident republican leaders

    I’ve pointed that out a few times this week but there was no reaction whatsoever. Did Robinson have tea and crumpets with ugly Doris?

  • I keep reading about this “UVF guy being a criminal in East Belfast” but why havent the fearless Press named him?
    Has he taken out a super-injunction or something?
    Do I have to re-open my Twitter account to find this stuff out?

  • Chris Donnelly

    Sunday World names him regularly, including today, with pictures to boot.

  • Joe Bloggs

    Just because the Nationalist attacks weren’t mentioned doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

  • Oh I never read newspapers except when I am waiting for a takeaway in the Chinese.

  • lamhdearg

    the neddle returns to the start of the song and we all sing along like before

  • lamhdearg

    joe bloggs, shh, no one wants to hear that.

  • pippakin

    Yes but there is nothing new here. Its not like loyalists/republicans getting government grants is new and none of them are exactly ‘presentable’.

    The questions are:

    why now?
    how much support is there?
    were attacks on protestant homes any part of the reason for the riot?
    why were the police unprepared?

  • Trapattoni

    I keep reading about this “UVF guy being a criminal in East Belfast” but why havent the fearless Press named him?
    Has he taken out a super-injunction or something?
    Do I have to re-open my Twitter account to find this stuff out?

    Read Chris’ article again FJH.

  • Drumlins Rock

    FJH, less than a minute on Google got me the name, but obviously it should not be mentioned on here, Pie is also not naming him, not sure if he is likely to sue, but it could prejudice and future action which we would all hope to see.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Joe and Lamh
    It’s simply absurd to claim that nobody wants to hear about nationalist attacks on protestants.

    Such attacks are vile and despicable, and the pain caused differs not the slightest from that endured by nationalists wounded by unionist assaults.

    But, once again, you appear to be raising a straw man argument.

    Low level violence at interfaces are regrettably and depressingly commonplace, featuring only in the media when the damage caused in terms of human and/ or structural is sufficiently bad to warrant coverage or enduring over a period of nghts, or when politicians are particularly active around contacting media outlets to broadcast the events.

    The incident you describe appears to be one such low level incident, with the young girl on the unionist side being wounded and an elderly person on the nationalist side also badly affected.

    Yet such incidents do not usually precipitate a planned assault on the ‘other side’ by a paramilitary outfit, involving some 100 masked loyalists at different locations, with the premeditated violence enduring over several nights.

    Is it really that difficult to identify the context for these attacks, given the actions of the UVF in that area which have been monitored on here and elsewhere in recent months?

    Do you simply close your ears and eyes to even the evidence of the loyalist spokespersons, who have foregone the opportunity to proclaim the UVF’s actions as being wholly reactive to nefarious republican attacks on protestant homes and instead compiled a confused list of reasons to explain the attacks?

  • Chris Donnelly

    Any comments directly naming any individual as a paramilitary will be deleted immediately for the reasons Drumlin outlines above and commenters run the risk of a card for crossing that line.

    Buy the Sunday World if you want that information.

  • Hard hat

    I wonder how many of those expressing expert opinions here have actually spoken to people and youth workers in Short Strand AND Newtownards Road……….you know, the youth workers who have been bringing teenagers together for years now and have said that the teenagers are keen not to allow recent events to disrupt progress? To the pensioners on both sides of the interface who exist (almost said “live”) in anything but normality. Or to the community workers on Newtownards Road who for some time have been trying what they thought was the most constructive approach – to raise ongoing attacks with their Short Strand counterparts rather than running to the media. In the opinion of some here, the price to pay for this is “if it wasn’t in the media, it didn’t happen”. Never mind the (retrospective) Community Telegraph article where POLICE (not loyalists) confirmed the attacks immediately prior to the Monday riot. I can only imagine how it feels to have your home peppered with nuts, bolts, bricks and bottles on a regular basis, then to have some ill-informed commentator whose opinion was formed regardless of the facts, say that you are making it up. Like the petrol bombs that weren’t thrown from the grounds of St Matthews Church last Tuesday because SF had the Strand locked down. The problem being that I photographed the petrol bombers and their bombs launched at homes on Newtownards Road, shortly before bricks were thrown and a gunman opened up on media from Strand Walk. I wonder if there is a connection? I am sure the pensioners in Strand Walk did not appreciate the presence of petrol bombers and youths firing rockets and catapults from the roofs of their houses (also photographed). Incidentally, PSNI appeared to ignore aforementioned petrol bombs and rockets. They then spent over 12 hours inexplicably refusing to confirm that the shots that injured a journalist were fired from Short Strand. When they finally admitted this was the case, they commented that the target couldn’t have been jounalists because that would be a “strange development”. Was it a strange development that a newscrew’s van was also wrecked? Believe it or not, Kaiser Chiefs have just started playing “I predict a riot” on BBC Glastonbury coverage, so I’m off to work out who’s to blame.

  • We don’t get The Sunday World in Canada. But, that’s beside the point. I don’t need to know the Beast’s name; just hope the police are just awaiting their opportunity to lift him. Or, is he one of N.I.’s untouchables?

  • Chris Donnelly, Drumlins Rock
    I am of course aware of both the law and convention.
    My point was related to the peculiar nod & wink and “join the dots” charade in which we all indulge.

  • wee buns

    No amounts of UVF racketeering can re energize the Unionist cause. Without opposition to Taigs, what would be left? That culture is based on opposition. Gary Mitchell’s play ‘As the Beast Sleeps’’ (2001) features people who hate peace, who are caught in a period of transition, people who were taught never to change. Now the Beast wakes up.

  • carnmoney.guy

    The spooks at Holywood will have infiltrated the UVF as they have done with all groups, but now with added mobile phone interception, they know full chapter and verse of who exactly organised the rioting and when.
    Who do they share this with, what was all that voting for if there are hidden forces not helping the police?

  • tacapall

    Carnmoney you hit the nail on the head, in all likelyhood those spooks at Hollywood knew well in advance what was going to happen and Im sure the distraction of tit for tat allegations or grants for money will keep people busy long enough for the wings of the HET to be clipped. Its not only loyalist paramilitaries who have a vested interest in keeping the past hidden, those former special branch officers have just moved to new premises and new roles within MI5.

  • nightrider

    those former special branch officers have just moved to new premises and new roles within MI5.

    Everyone knows this, including SF, who have most to worry.
    But they are playing the game, as set out for them.

    We’re all playing the game, as set out for us. Cuo Bono?
    The powers that be, whoever they may be, we should get on with our lives and accept the things we cannot change.
    That’s the way it is, that’s the way it oughta be…

  • Professor Yattle

    Ignorant ideological desperation from the last two posters.
    MI5 has had nothing to do with loyalist intelligence gathering for years.
    ‘Blame the Brits’ all you like guys, but the problem is the Prods.

  • tacapall

    Yattle, the only person who’s ignorant is yourself MI5 , special branch, no different to me, a bit like when the b specials became the UDR or when the RUC became the PSNI same people nothing changed just the caps.

  • Tacapall,

    Not quite. Your first part is correct, for whatever reason but your second part isn’t. There are now a lot of Catholics (for want of a better word) in the PSNI.

  • tacapall

    “There are now a lot of Catholics (for want of a better word) in the PSNI”.

    There certainly is Joe but what difference does that make in relation to covering up for the past.

  • Repost:

    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 word and all that. Matthew was also very interesting.

  • puzzle; Elvis Costello and a knight. Solution gains 10 pounds donation to Slugger tip jar.

  • Nunoftheabove


    hesitate to say this but….’DA’ (deceased) ?

  • Dewi

    Sir Declan McManus

  • Nunoftheabove

    Ignore mine; I was forgetting that who I had in mine was a king rather than a knight.

  • Cynic2

    Ah how we all yearn for the happy days when Doris ruled the world, pink jumper and all

  • dwatch

    The truth about the author of the article enclosed is that he is a republican sympathiser , so he would say that wouldn’t he. Even if what he says is true, the East Belfast UVF mystery man is only re playacting similar games taught to him by master manipulator SF- IRA republicans Adams & McGuinness.

    The truth about Belfast’s riots
    The disturbances in Belfast last week were not the result of spontaneous working class loyalist anger but the decisions of individuals who use the threat of violence to get their way

  • No Dewi.