“In her hands golf balls which she said were thrown by her nationalist neighbours…”

Worth watching this piece from Gerry Adams at a Presser at the weekend. “It is not spontaneous, it is not organic, it is orchestrated it is planned. This was a deliberate policy of coming to these so-called interface areas and attacking people only on the basis that they are Catholic.”

Except here’s the UTV news from last week, which reports another version of the truth and a group of loyalist protesters returning from the centre of Belfast:

Indeed, Mr Adams fell foul of Channel 4’s chief correspondent, Alex Thompson for suggesting that Mr Adams was being economical with the truth when he flatly denied that people from the Short Strand initiated any actions of their own at the weekend. At the core was a disturbance that took place in full view of the press corps:

Interestingly, Thomson went on to have this revealing conversation with Sinn Fein’s past Lord Mayor, Niall O’Donnghaile:

Gerry’s advice was that Martin and Peter should get together and thrash something out between them. But they tried that before Christmas and it failed to come up with any kind of a solution.

In the meantime, the political double talking (in which context, ‘this is the way people see it’ always trumps text ‘this is what actually happened’) on who started what is belied somewhat by Alex Thompson’s report from the micro community that always gets it in the neck every time there is trouble in inner east:

Alex has gone home now, almost certainly convinced that, as I noted last Monday, that politically this protest is going nowhere… The lack of political will around these issues is yet another indication that we have another turbulent summer in prospect…

Cui Bono? Well, the DUP will get the prize of getting their East Belfast seat back now minds have been re-concentrated around the importance of tribalism and tribal belonging.

Sinn Fein also earn their spurs in the culture war (and have a weakened Alliance contingent at Belfast City Hall), and get to go into the summer with stories (some of them actually true) of partial policing, and loyalist aggression.

But the primary strength of both governing parties is the degree of political pain they are prepared to take in opposing each other.

So the toxins will continue to build up, even as Stormont does little or nothing on behalf of the people who elected them. Gerry Adams in his blog for Comment is Free correctly notes that “of the 40 most deprived wards in the north, 36 are nationalist”.

What he does not share with the readers of the Guardian is that after six years in government, both his party and the DUP have failed to agree on any kind of anti poverty strategy.

And so it goes on

, , , ,


    There was a certain inevitability about what happened at short strand over the past week or so. Niall and other SF reps were clearly saying that the loyalists were bringing their protests closer to this and other interfaces with obviously one thing in mind.

    Was stuff thrown from short strand on Saturday and when these illegal parades past, yes there was, but it pales in comparison with the actions of loyalists over the past 6 weeks. Most know that only too well how short strand always seems to bear the brunt of the out workings of various loyalist ‘issues’.

    There is no doubt that the short strand community have shown great restraint over these past weeks in the face of supremacist sectarian Intimidation and 5 minutes of stone throwing while regrettable is not really the biggest issue over the past few weeks.

    As for ordinary homeowners in the short strand coming out to defend their homes against sectarian attacks, no one can criticise them for doing so.

    Loyalist have got what they wanted all along, to drag the short strand or other nationalist areas into interface violence to deflect from their own actions of blocking pensioners, attempted murder of police officers, attacks on elected reps and holding this place to ransom.

  • Mick Fealty


    The trouble is Niall said one thing to Thomson, and another in defence of his leader…

    And the problem for loyalists is that they cannot get into and out of town without passing the Short Strand (unless they take the Ormeau Bridge over a mile out of the way)…

  • 6crealist

    So the nationalists from the Short Strand who, for a short period of time, attacked the masked loyalist mob passing by their area were responsible for the hours of vicious rioting which said loyalist mob (for the umpteenth time over the past six weeks) subsequently engaged in against the police?

    OK, cheers.

  • Quadrille

    Do you seriously think playing ‘who started it’ helps anyone?

    Especially several weeks after it all started.

    Just one more shit stirrer. That’s ALL they need!


    I think if the middle path street solution had it been used would have solved this more or less, obviously confusion still seems over who was to blame whether police or from the footage I’ve seen the loyalist made a conscious decision within a short space of time, while jim Wilson was calling for people to wait until they spoke to the psni, to run towards Lanyon place and albertbridge road, mask up on the way and well the rest is a forgone conclusion really.

    While I can see where the confusion lies with what gerry is saying I think he was trying to put into context the minimal strone throwing in short strand with the 6 weeks of loyalist and unionist madness, while focusing on those in short strand who had their homes damage and did not initiate it.

  • im-power-shall

    Maybe I’m just a naïf, a wee prod who was born working class and raised middle class, but I fail to see how so many apparently intelligent people on this forum refuse to just accept that both sides have a disturbingly strong core whose sole objective is to hate the other side, to get one over on them, to be violent and then seek an excuse for the violence. Ie: blame the police.

  • Red Lion

    According to Alex Maskey on Sunday Politics show the residents of the Short Strand behaved ‘impeccibly’.

    You only have to look on youtube to see scores of bricks and bottles coming from the Short Strand end. Maskey knows this and is doing his bit to further enrage as he knows his party thrive off sectarian tribalism. Exactly like the DUP.

    There are plenty people on both sides of the Templemore peace wall who want nothing to do with the DUP/SF worldview and see them for what they are.

  • Lagancider

    And the problem for loyalists is that they cannot get into and out of town without passing the Short Strand (unless they take the Ormeau Bridge over a mile out of the way)…

    Besides the fact it was an illegal protest Mick, there was a designated route that the return march was to follow, as with legal marches during the marching season, would have taken them down Middlepath Street which would have taken them past a good swath of the Short Strand…the protesters were having none of that and opted for the Albert Bridge which took them past an unprotected and vulnerable part of the Strand… Also twitter was posting instant images of a masked mob running toward the Albert Bridge…the confrontation was inevitable.

  • keano10


    Can you explain why over 95% of all flag protests in East Belfast have been organised within a stone’s throw (literally) of Short Strand??

    East Belfast is a massive constituency yet virtually every single protest is organised at the same venues:

    Templemore Avenue
    Castlereagh Street
    Cluan Place
    Lower Newtownards Road

    Why is that I wonder? The overall restraint which has been shown by the population of Short Strand has been admirable bearing in mind the massive provocation which has been caused by the deliberate targetting of nightly protests at these locations.

    Sorry Mick but if this is an attempt by you to try and apportion equal blame for the overall violence in East Belfast, then it has failed miserably. Even Matt Baggott said that the Short Strand residents should not have had to endure what they did on Saturday.

  • im-power-shall

    @keano: nah, Short Strand hasn’t been specifically targeted. The low animal cunning of the protestors means they know maximum exposure is gained from an interface area. The police/state is the the target. They know there’s no point in congregating at the junction of Grand Parade and Castlereagh Road. If you think the Strand is the target then tell me how many residents there have been injured when compared to police?

  • im-power-shall

    @lagancider: there’s no such thing as ‘besides the fact it was an illegal protest’.

  • keano10


    Are you having a laugh here? Are you seriously insinuating that if lines of police landrovers had not been there during the past 6 weeks that these ‘peaceful protestors’ would not have wreaked absolute havoc in The Strand?

    The proof of that occurred last Saturday when the PSNI went missing and ten homes got smashed up by the mob who stormed past.

    I prefer to live in the real world mate…

  • Mick Fealty


    “…if this is an attempt by you to try and apportion equal blame for the overall violence in East Belfast”

    No it is not! What I am saying has been pretty clear and consistent the whole way through. You know that.

    That area you describe is UVF territory (noted here a month ago). What’s far more interesting is the stand off between what the journalists say they saw and what Adams claims was the case.

    I do however believe that there’s a benefit in all of this to the two partner parties at Stormont.

  • im-power-shall

    Do you prefer to live in the real world, or the world where your prejudices rule like an iron fisted tyrant? Are you giving (backhandedly)thanks to the police for protecting the Strand? Fact is, the knuckle dragging Harp drinking thugs want to lash out at the government. No peelers to let loose on? Well then, may as well let loose at the papist folk the traitor psni have failed to protect.

  • Lagancider

    im-power-shall …here’s no such thing as ‘besides the fact it was an illegal protest’.

    I just joined this site, I heard it was a “play the ball not the man” kind of place…could I be wrong?

  • Mick Fealty

    So has s/he. A bit of mutual respect from you both, please?

  • im-power-shall

    As did I mate, long time reader, first time poster etc etc… Fact is, realistically, in our wee country, if you play the ball you actually play about 500,000 slightly upset folk rather than one man. If you get embroiled in technicalities you end up frustrating yourself rather than enlightening a group of entrenched morons. I’d advise putting scorn on all morons who believe either side is truly in the right here.

  • im-power-shall

    @mick I just find it hard to fathom how Intelligent folk can ignore reality and pursue a narrow viewpoint. If I’ve crossed a line I apologise.

  • Neil

    Somehow the image of the protestors (rioters) walking up East Bridge Street, about 10 minutes from the Strand, with masks covering their faces suggest they weren’t there to deliver flowers.

    Add to that the fact that we’ve all been subjected to illegal, PSNI facilitated road blocks and riots for 40 days and we can see where the fault lies. Nor was it ever likely given that fact that some Nationalist residents wouldn’t react – what Maskey articulated last night was something along the lines of ‘this attempt to say that one side’s as bad as the other is bs’. I agree.

    Can you imagine what would happen if Nationalists illegally paraded through (Loyalist) East Belfast 2 – 3 times a week for a month and a bit? The sound of those PSNI AEPs would have been going like popcorn, and the Loyalists would undoubtedly have reacted (on day one).

    This is about Loyalists fouling their own nest, shutting their own local business, costing their own community jobs, and as such they would be well advised to avoid the whole attempt to shift blame (a la Copeland who seemed like a nice enough guy and under pressure) and focus on getting these protestors (rioters) off the street.

  • tacapall

    Did anyone expect anything else other than a reaction from Nationalist youths to the very real intimidation the residents of Short Strand have endured the past 41 days from loyalist protestors. It was inevitable and like Malcolm says engineered by others to to involve them, those who seek to bring us back in time are the ones to blame, those same loyalist paramilitaries who created the circumstances where confrontation was inevitable. These protests will continue to creep closer to interface areas in a last ditch attempt to blackmail the majority from instigating change that will bring equality to this piece of land we share together. The PSNI should force the protestors to walk home in groups of ten or twenty, herding them past Short Strand in a large group is a tactical error that if continued will lead to more confrontation.

  • Im-power-shall [4.42]
    You could also say Robinson in his speech was indulging in similar attitudes in the sppeech at stormont where he said a list of ‘you do not respect the union flag by ….. but declined for obvious reasons to include in his list, ‘you do not respect in by using it as a political point scoring exercise by flying it in the face of the other community to show who is boss’ he and unionists have been doing just that for years but it’s ok for them to do that but not their opponents.Typical.

  • keano10

    Ok Mick,

    Let’s deal with your points. Firstly I could name another 4 or 5 UVF strongholds within a two-miles radius of there which have had no protests at all. These protests have all been targetted within a 500 yards of Short Strand for one reason and one reason only. (Let’s not kid ourselves here – we are both too wise for that…).

    Secondly I disagree with your assertion regarding future political benefits for the two main parties and in particular The DUP. Anyone who has the patience to trawl through the many Protest Websites will see clearly that the initial explosion of anger at The Alliance Party has been replaced by a growing anger at The DUP. The body language in the past week from the likes of Nigel Dodds and even Gregory Campbell has not been good. There seems to be a deliberate attempt to turn loyalists away from voting for The DUP. Robinson knows what the agenda is, hence his tougher line with protestors over the past 48 hours.

    Nobody benefits from this and I think it is churlish to suggest otherwise.

  • im-power-shall

    @danielsmoran: yes, but then he’d be failing to lick his chops at the thought that auld Naomi had burnt her bridges in the East. After all, in actual terms of politics he has no other stick to beat her with.

  • Red Lion

    Neil, Maskey stated on sunday politics show that the short strand residents behaved ‘impeccibly’. If he has amended this please let me know.

    I am someone who has been disgusted with political unionism especially the DUP leadership over the flags issue, condemmed the loyalist violence and have stated this repeatedly on this website-what other analysis is it possible to have??

    However, do nationalists on here not find the Sinn Fein view of Strand residents behaving impeccibly as ridiculous as clear video evidence shows numerous bottles and bricks being thrown from Short Strand??? (and again i repeat that it was a very very small minority of Strand people involved)

  • im-power-shall

    @red lion: can’t you take the view that both are clearly wrong rather than the natural knee jerk reaction of ‘they won’t accept blame? Screw them’ viewpoint? Each are as willing to take a pop as the other.

  • DC

    Youtube showing SF having problems with the truth:

  • Red Lion


    Thats what i am pretty much saying-read my posts they are proportionate to both sides and far from a ‘knee jerk’ reaction from me.

    All along ive blamed the DUP and loyalist violence,and its not actually the strand residents im having a go at – its SF being economical with te truth and fanning the flame, as DUP havedone on other side. Problem?

  • im-power-shall

    Yes… How dare you imply that a political party uses an angry mob’s violence to explain its viewpoint. Quite frankly Sir the idea is repugnant!

  • Red Lion

    Welcome to the political sewer

    DUP = Don’t understand people

    SF= Socialist Fascists

  • David Crookes

    What is this TD doing here?

  • 6crealist


    I look forward to your reportage of tonight’s petrol bomb attack on Short Strand.

  • GEF

    If the PSNI wanted the protesters to go down Middlepath street all they had to do was let them cross the Queens Bridge and direct them into Middlepath Street by Dalton Street see map enclosed. It was foolish blocking off the Queens bridge without blocking Oxford Street


  • keano10

    Within the past hour the homes of Catholic pensioners at Bridge End, Short Strand, have been petrol bombed by Loyalists.

    Who’s gonna be first to blame the pensioners for bringing it upon themselves…?


    Seems loyalist are back to doing what they do best and attack the short strand. Petrol bombs thrown at houses in the Strand just now and unfortunately the people of the strand knew this would come after the loyalist didnt get enough pounds of flesh on saturday. As sure as night follows day the short strand will be attacked when loyalist need an excuse to divert attention from them wrecking their own communities.

    A number of loyalist UDA/UVF leaders state over the weekend that the protests are only wrecking their own areas and what do you know, short strand attacked within days.

  • im-power-shall

    I’m gonna go right ahead and blame the folk of short strand for placing their old folk in a place of danger…
    Pfft. Very few would condone the morons throwing the petrol bombs.

  • im-power-shall

    But aside from sarcasm: ‘lol omg wtf?!?’ How about those on both sides stop saying ‘its wrong…. BUT? This time it’s the Huns. Next time it’s the ETs.

  • Red Lion

    Haven’t seen the reports but if short strand homes have been petrol bombed then that is a bloody disgrace.

    Mal X – Off the top of my head I see it more as linked to the tiny minority of people in the Strand throwing bottles and bricks on Sat, this being some sort of warped revenge. Whether SF’s behaviour has also fanned the flames to some causal degree Im afraid to say its possible and probable.

    So depressing.



    Unfortunately there have been many examples of recent weeks of so called leaders and spokespersons refusing to condemn petrol bombers or ignoring the questions.

    I suspect that given these latest developments, what many republicans have thought all along that some innocent catholic family will be killed or seriously injured by UVF/BNP goons intent on doing what they do best.

    Troubles within loyalist?


    Attack Catholics!


  • DC

    I blame the Alliance Party for pushing this change through at this stage.

    £7+ million to police this new flag policy, whenever it cost nothing to fly it.

  • Seamuscamp


    My wife has just told me off for dropping a raisin from the scone on my plate onto the carpet. I wish she’d stop throwing plates of scones at me.



    Firstly personal insults are childish so wise up and debate!

    Its not a case of short term memory, its about dealing with this issue and not harking back to the past constantly.

    I’m afraid i dont buy into your ‘we are all as bad as each other’ nonsense. When one side is guilty of an act then blame needs to be apportioned correctly not dress it up as were are all guilty.

    Exactly people should take responsibility and in this case the evidence is compelling and points to unionism and loyalism in all its shades. Residents of Short strand throwing for a few minutes over the past 6 weeks pales into comparison with everything that we have seen since this flags fascism started.

  • Neil

    That PSNI press release:

    Through a series of meetings organised with the aim of minimising risk to both protestors and interface residents and minimising disruption to traffic, police made all parties aware that any movement of people out of the city would be via a preferred route, namely the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and Middlepath Street, thereby bypassing part of the Short Strand.

    Protestors outside City Hall were advised by police that this was the direction of travel for any people returning to the east of the city. The body of protestors moved down Victoria Street and attempted to cross the Queen’s Bridge which had been closed by police.

    Marshalls were engaging with police at the police line on Queen’s Bridge when the vast majority of the crowd broke away and ran down Oxford Street splitting at Lanyon Place. Some individuals ran along the Laganbank Road while others ran along East Bridge Street. At this stage many put on masks and covered their faces.

    I’m gonna go ahead and say any attempts to blame Nationalists (amusingly there have been a few over the 41 days) are going to be a particularly hard sell given over a month of violence 99% of which has been perpetrated in the absence of any Nationalists.

    Absolutely some people have retaliated to the provocation (and in some cases defended their property) and that’s not good. But it could easily have been avoided by the mob having stuck to the agreed route for their illegal march in the first place.

  • Mick Fealty


    Not a chance until/unless the smoke clears… Tensions seem to be highest at Bryson Street corner with loyalists claiming an attack on ‘Pitt Park’, and nationalists petrol bombs at St Matthews and the row of pensioners homes at the front of the road.


    Just heard on BBC News there that, Jim Wilson is claiming that it was Loyalist who started it tonight with attacks on the short strand and threw over 20 petrol bombs, saying that it was by those in the protest they are having trouble keeping under control.

    Fair play to him for his honesty although it comes as no surprise how this has played out

  • anne warren

    Am putting several separate points in here:

    petrol bombs have been thrown in the vicinity of St Matthew’s Church in east Belfast amid fresh trouble on Monday night
    It is understood the petrol bombs were thrown in Bryson Street

    How is Mr Robinson safeguarding his constituents in East Belfast?

    Why should anything said by Sinn Fein or any other party be used /accepted as a pretext to petrol bomb houses?Many Short Strand residents vote for Sinn Fein.
    Does that make them targets of petrol bombers?

    Anyone arguing ‘both sides’ are as bad as each other, even reducing it to ‘themmuns’ and ‘ussuns’, while ignoring the need to substantiate that point is actually expressing an infantile assertion of fantasy and imagination over and above reality

    PS @David Crooks – I suppose Mr Adams visited Short Strand yesterday as President of Sinn Fein.

  • Neil


    the ‘whataboutery’ rule is designed to keep people focused on the thread in question without resorting to historical tit for tattery going forever back in an attempt to place the blame elsewhere.

    That’s essentially your argument. Let’s not talk about this without considering the IRA, Nationalist rioters etc.



    It is all down to the last 6 weeks because prior to this there wasn’t the same problems for over a year when the east belfast UVF again had ‘issues’ and took it out on the short strand. Thats not to say that nothing has happened in the past or history doesn’t play a part in it but all this RECENT trouble started solely because of the flags issue and loyalist thugs flexing their muscle.

    As for your continued insistence on ‘we are as bad as each other’ its a sad way for dealing with complex issues and suggests a reluctance to engage with the facts of this case and that is the fault of unionism in calling out the loyal hounds.

  • babyface finlayson

    It is simplistic to look to pin all blame on one group. If you believe in personal responsibility then the primary blame for violence is with those committing the violence. Others who stoke the flames bear a portion of the blame.
    In this case,it seems to me the loyalist protesters have been breaking the law including acts of violence for a while now,and they have responsibility for their own actions.
    At least the adults do
    From what I could see on the news, the actions of some from the Short Strand were more than self defence, so they take their share of blame for their violent actions.



    Thats smart, apportion blame to everyone! Where is the logic in that?

    Im against a middle ground? Where do you come by that. Im against some bland fake madeup form of a society where we cannot be ourselves as long as it doesnt impact on the quality of life of others.

    Im against this sad attempt to make out that everyone is to blame without having the balls to actually face the realities.



    I’m actually a Republican and i’m not looking to push the blame onto unionism because they are unionist. I’m apportioning blame where it belong in this case and im not afraid to say when Republicans are wrong, no problem doing that whatsoever.

    Going back to the ‘troubles’ is a joke and just whataboutery in is worst form. If it has context with this recent trouble then so be it but deal with this issue and its facts of this east belfast UVF/BNP sectarianism.

  • anne warren

    LOYALIST terrorists have launched a wave of petrol bomb attacks on the Short Strand in east Belfast tonight, forcing special needs children to flee the area

    families in the Short Strand have had to leave their homes due to the intensity of the attacks, with bricks, bottles and fireworks being fired from the loyalist side.




    Absolutely disgusting but the unfortunate thing is that whether you are a special needs group, a catholic enclave, alliance member/office or democracy in general you are fair game for these supremacist sectarian UVF/BNP thugs

  • Cric

    “But what impressed me then, and has impressed me ever since, is that atrocities are believed in or disbelieved in solely on grounds of political predilection. Everyone believes in the atrocities of the enemy and disbelieves in those of his own side, without ever bothering to examine the evidence.”

  • tacapall

    So is there anyone from the PSNI or loyalism going to tell us why this violence is being allowed to continue for as long as it has.

  • Mick Fealty

    Anne, Malc, etc, the same source reported this: http://goo.gl/wdHYP

    The whiting out of Nationalist violence by the political leadership of political nationalism…

    As I say, I’m declining the opportunity to do reportage until/unless the fog of war clears…

  • Mick Fealty


    Mr Baggott’s line is this:

    “I think there is a reality check about the role of policing in a democracy. Unless you are going to literally have tens of thousands of police officers, probably backed up by the military covering every street in Northern Ireland, you cannot deal with this simply by law enforcement approach.

    “Policing is all about the consent of the public and working with politics and at the moment that is the bit that needs to be reasserted. What I can do, in charge of this fantastic organisation, is to make sure that we give space for the politics to work.

    “Our approach to widespread protest will remain to be measured and responsible, making sure that passes peacefully as we have done for the vast majority of protests since this began.

    “Where we do get outbreaks of intense, out of control violence, we will bring it into control very quickly and constrain it in those geographic areas. I don’t think I can ask any more in terms of strategic approach. It is the right approach and I don’t think there is an alternative.”



    Its not about whiting out. The so called violence from short strand, probably about 0.01% of all the violence of the past few weeks cannot become a story when this was started by loyalism/unionism/bnp/uvf, continued by those some groups and moved closer to interfaces by those same groups for one purpose only, to draw the short strand into the equation so as to deflect attention from themselves ‘destroying’ their own areas.

  • tacapall

    Mick that was before tonight’s outbreak, this is a calculated attempt at hogging the limelite for the flag protests a in violent standoff using Short Strand residents as hostages in a battle for supremacy by the dregs of loyalism. Innocent lives have been put at risk, thankfully no tragedies but there was the possibility and the want, surely its time to start making inroads into bringing to justice those directors of violence that Matt Baggott claims are pulling the strings of young loyalists.

  • Cric

    I was having a bit of a moan up with an English friend the other day, deriding the chavs who were burning buses at the bottom of my street, when he made the point “yeah but I’m sure there are people just as bad on the Catholic side”.

    The comment left me a little depressed – I honestly hadn’t been considering the political predilection of people who choose to riot – and I hadn’t mentioned a single thing about their politics – but he judged me as engaging in a game of one-upmanship anyway.

    “Of course there are people just as bad on the Catholic side, but that’s neither here nor there, I am commenting on humans being stupid – I don’t care what tribe these stupid humans were born into, they are still f**king stupid!”. He didn’t believe me – I am just another ruined mind, engaging in ‘otherisation’ towards another group of humans – and trying to convince him that my side was better to boot.

    Alas (secretly wondering if I may actually be as broken as my friend assumes) I was a little bit relieved when that same sense of disgust filled me after I seen people from the Short Strand attacking protesters. These people do not represent me, I feel no desire to group together to defend them – or to find excuses in the back of my head such as saying that Loyalists started it.

    I just see humans being stupid – hooray!

  • Malcolmx [8.46] Wilson is a credible figure on the loyalist side, In fact I would listen to loyalists any day before I’d be bothered listening to any unionist politician. Who would now bet that this disturbance will not merge into the marching seaon? The new NI beloved of the chattering classes in BT9 now looks suspiciously akin to the old one. It’s always a good sign for me that Arlene Foster is off the airwaves. She knows she can’t put out her ‘tourist mecca spin while all this is going on.