“Bellwether interface” kicking off with multiple petrol bomb attacks…

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This is the front page of the Irish News this morning. It makes the legitimate point that whilst David Cameron was telling the world Northern Ireland has changed, a four year old girls received minor burn injuries from a petrol bomb thrown into Bryson Street in the Short Strand.

The incident brought substantive comment from Belfast’s former Lord Mayor Niall O Donnghaile:

“I visited the young girl who was injured today and her family and spoke with the PSNI following the incident. As we head into the summer months it is vital that everyone with influence in east Belfast, whether political leaders, church leaders, community and youth workers or the PSNI themselves, play a positive role in defusing tensions.

“It is past time that communities across this part of east Belfast were allowed to live in peace without the fear of attack or the terrible tension than can hang over our neighbourhoods. I want to be very clear and unambiguous – no attacks on our communities should be qualified or justified, regardless where they emanate from. Leaders are meant to lead.

However reading on into the detailed story on Page 10, the Irish News carry a PSNI statement about another incident that did not previously make barely made the news [Adds: See this oddly brief report from Sunday] (nor any comment from SF), presumeably because no one wanted to send the wrong message to the world watching Northern Ireland on its best behaviour whilst the G8 bonanza was in town:

Tensions in the area are high following an incident that took place on Sunday June 16 where a petrol bomb was thrown from Short Strand into Cluan Place. A 15 year old male was subsequently arrested for arson. Police have also received reports of stones being thrown between different areas. [emphasis added]

The grandfather of the injured child told the Irish News:

“It only really happend in the summer months. It’s just ‘eejits’ and animals that’s doing it”. And of his grand daughter, “She’s really shaken up. She’s going to have to nightmares. Both the girls are always good. We tell them to stay on this side of the street because of the cars, but not they’re too scared to be outside at all.”

In the meantime the BBC reports that yet another petrol bomb has been thrown from the Short Strand into the Thistle Street area..

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty