Why does it flare up at Short Strand every time?

There was a heated exchange between, well, let’s just say Alex Maskey seemed to get heated up at the thought of what was, yet again, happening at Short Strand/Pitt Park interface last night. To the consternation of many he expressed the thought that if he lived in Short Strand he’d be throwing back some of the stones that came in too.

Short Strand

There are many interfaces around the city, but few have as torrid a time as this one over the years. And whatever the story of the day, by and large, it’s usually two way traffic. What’s common is the desparation in the voices of those whose homes are attacked over and over, year after year.

It’s still not a 100% clear what went wrong with the police operation, other than someone amongst the protesters had the bright idea that it would be great for people from other parts of the city to come east and show their solidarity. The PSNI having left the Albert Bridge open, the protesters streamed that way.

The result was a low level street fight that wound up with the inevitable broken windows.

Families at the lower end of the Albertbridge Road have lived with such instability for generations, although I’d venture a guess that the heavy landscaping and rebuilding programme in the 70s and 80s have taken a lot of the daily sting out of the full bore conflict.

Most of what goes on down there is low level, attritional and minor skirmishes amongst kids. What rather glibly gets called ‘recreational rioting’ at times of heightened media attention, has become an uncontested part of the cultural life of area, especially for those facing the roads or walls.

Perhaps it is that the area sits at a sort of bottleneck on several major arterial roads into the city centre. Tackling the problem perennially faced by local residents in the longer term, will take a great more than just tamping down enraged political tempers of flag protesters this time.

Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.