Erect flags in mixed communities? Earn a pass from PSNI. Shout a slogan? End up in court.

If ever an episode captured the reason why faith remains weak in the PSNI’s ability or desire to perform its duties on a consistent, non-partisan basis, then it is this.

The PSNI arrested and charged, on the count of disorderly behaviour, a man on March 23 for shouting ‘Tiocfaidh ar la’ in the direction of PSNI officers. The judge who found the defendant guilty stated that his words met the criminal test of annoying members of the public.

Let’s dwell for a while on that one.

Annoying members of the public as the criminal test. Let’s see…….

Meanwhile, the PSNI Chief Constable is currently seeking to fast-track his appeal of a verdict by Justice Treacy last month in which the PSNI were found to be ‘labouring under a material misapprehension’ in believing the police could not- or should not- hamper illegal loyalist parades. Not like those parades annoyed members of the public.

It also emerged today (Irish News page 5) that the PSNI is being challenged in the courts for accepting incomplete forms for loyalist protests and marches, a tactic which has allowed loyalists to continue proceeding with illegal marches without being held accountable legally. Again, it is hardly unclear whether or not those illegal parades caused angst to members of the public.

And, of course, who could forget the standard PSNI cry of impotence when challenged to act when the bigoted loyalist bully boys descend on mixed residential communities to erect flags.

Naturally, we await the pending arrest, charge and conviction of loyalists on the count of crying ‘No Surrender…’






  • socaire

    Chris, why do you bother? This grubby little bit of Ireland designated as British overseas territory is impervious to criticism, irony and shame. Your timely article will be greeted by unionists with looks of bewilderment. What the f is he on about? There’s no comparison etc etc. No mention of Michael Tighe’s murder all those years ago?

  • belfastboyo

    The PSNI has failed the middle class on both sides of the divide in South Belfast by sitting idly by while drunken thugs erect flags on the upper Ormeau.

    if people want to put up flags, they can erect them on their own property, not street lighting paid for by the rate payer.
    It is an utter shame and sign of a dysfunctional society that local rate payers have less of a say in their area that thugs from outside.

    People at least expect law and order.
    Policing has failed.

  • Sp12

    I’m not in the least bit surprised.
    As a display of one sided policing it can be added to the differing responses to outbursts on social media.

  • Outsider


    Your article is hardly balanced when you failed to mention the innumerable illegal Republican parades that were also overlooked by the police.

    I suggest ALL illegal parades should be dealt with as well as the illegal errection of flags on lamposts etc. Union flags are littered along the shore road including fresh ones outside of the police station – how did this happen?

  • Morpheus

    You think this dude from our First Minister’s Church will get a knock on the door Chris?

  • Morpheus,

    If such a vicious tirade were delivered and recorded in any other part of the UK, I suspect that the deliverer would be hauled before a beak on a hate crime charge. But we are different, aren’t we? Why, some of us may even be the descendents of one of the lost tribes.

  • Morpheus

    You’re right Joe, in any other part of the UK, Europe or the US (God knows what would happen in Muslim countries) this would not be tolerated.

    But this is the Church our First Minister attends – is any of this guff sinking in with him or does he reject it? Might be worth a question from one of illustrious journalists

  • Outsider

    Chris or Fellow Sinn Feiners

    In relation to hate crime can you confirm Darren Jones’ comments from the PSNI in relation to an allegedly ‘racist’ attack on a Romanian was in fact carried out by another Romanian and not a Unionist as originally reported.

  • Mc Slaggart


    “the innumerable illegal Republican parades”

    could you give us the details?

  • Outsider

    Rosslea and Kurgan immediately spring to mind.

  • Mark

    Outsider ,

    Would the confirmation you’re looking for not fall under the auspices of the PSNI’s Dept of Unfounded Allegations / Racist Cock Ups ? .

  • Outsider

    Lurgan and Rosslea spring to mind.

  • Outsider


    Agreed but Unionists are being painted as bigots and it’s often unfounded.

  • Morpheus

    No one said Unionists were bigots. Just like anyone who has a different opinion to you is not…how did you put it…”Sinn Feiners”.

  • Outsider

    Come on Morpheus these attacks against minorities are all being blamed on Unionists, now we begin to find out this isn’t accurate the silence is deafening.

    In the DUP thread we had people equating Unionism to Nazism need I go on??

  • Mark

    Outsider ,

    At least there’s the summer to look forward to !

  • Outsider

    Have you anything nice planned Mark?

  • Mark

    Two weeks in Spain , one in Kerry and five weeks reading this bloody site waiting for something to happen …. and yourself ? anything interesting coming up .

  • between the bridges

    Shocking stuff, just imagine proceeding with illegal marches without being held accountable legally!! i’m sure CD will agree that that 3 years is a long time to wait for action on an illegal parade…

  • Mark

    A long as ” Tiocfaidh ar la ” ( did I get that right bridges ) wasn’t heard , the march organisers should be ok .

  • between the bridges

    Aye mark but you have to pronounce it with a nordie accent ”chuckie-hard-lad” and for the correct gravitas practice by talking through a woolly sock…

  • aquifer

    “accepting incomplete forms for loyalist protests”

    But not for dog licenses?

    The PSNI must need the overtime.

  • Outsider

    Not much Mark – maybe a few days away also.

    I heard that a complaint has been put in regarding a bonfire being built on Shore road on housing Executive property – it’s apparently become a dumping ground that’s attracted vermin – anyone know if the bonfire has been removed? It’s positioned opposite the church discussed above.

  • Reader

    Chris Donnelly: verdict by Justice Treacy last month in which the PSNI were found to be ‘labouring under a material misapprehension’ in believing the police could not- or should not- hamper illegal loyalist parades
    However, they arrested one man for shouting slogans, and a couple of hundred for illegal parades.
    So things are not actually one sided as you suggested, are they?

  • Outsider


    This article has been proven to be very inaccurate – it would be nice if Slugger did more to weed out such blatant propaganda.

  • tacapall

    “This article has been proven to be very inaccurate”

    Pointing out all the blatant inaccuracies would be helpful Outsider.

    Reader are you sure those few hundred were arrested for illegal parading ? Were the majority not arrested for rioting or such.

  • Outsider


    Unionist paraders have faced the rule of law when parading regulations have been deemed to have been breached.

    Illegal Nationalist parades in Rosslea and Lurgan etc have faced no action.

    People from the Unionist community involved in sectarian shouting have also faced the rule of law.

  • tacapall

    Outsider I think the point Chris makes is that the PSNI only act against loyalism and unionism public wrongdoing when forced to do so via judicial reviews from nationalist victims of that illegal parading/flouting of the parades commission rules. The apparent eagerness and proactive approach by the PSNI to act against a young man for speaking out too loudly an Irish expression that they convinced the court somehow offended them and other members of the public is in stark contrast to their lacklustre approach dealing with loyalist bigots who roamed the streets of Belfast illegally and escorted by the PSNI offending everyone and anyone from the catholic areas they passed.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Interesting points from Chris (and indeed Reader).

    Now that they’ve arrested some one on these grounds then where does it stop?

    And how do we deal with the events that ‘annoy members of the public’ when it is under the guise of ‘culture’?

    And if they are then forced to respond to every annoyance then they set themselves up for ambushes (only a matter of time before some idiot believes the PSNIRA nonsense).

    When I was younger I used to think that having flags everywhere was ‘cool’, now it stresses me out.

    (as well as confusing the dickens out of me, how exactly am I supposed to interpret the signals given by a lamppost that has an (outdated and defunct) Ulster flag, a union flag, an independence flag and an Israeli flag?

    “We, the people of NI, with no flag to speak of, hold dear the Ulster flag (that so annoys the taigs), the flag of our cherished country the UK, the flag of a cause that wishes to secede from our cherished UK and the flag of a country that obtained independence by killing the soldiers of our cherished UK. No surrender.”)

    It intimidates more people than it impresses.

    So what is the point?


  • Outsider

    Tacapall give me something solid to support your accusations.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Thanks for the link between the bridges

    I fully agree with you that imagine anyone at illegal marches should be held accountable.

    “The PSNI has adopted a hard line with other illegal republican parades.

    In January police filmed those at a dissident republican prisoners’ march in Lurgan. Officers with loud-hailers warned marchers the parade was illegal and they could be prosecuted. Four people were later arrested and files sent to the PPS.

    Prominent independent republicans were also arrested following an illegal commemoration in Co Tyrone last September.”

  • tacapall

    Outsider im wondering whats wrong with your memory or your own fingers but maybe you could google Short Strand judicial review or St Patricks church Belfast judicial review on playing sectarian songs. Both actions focused attention on the PSNI facilitation of illegal parades and doing nothing while loyalist bandsmen act in an offensive manner that could cause a breach of the peace outside Catholic places of worship.

  • Outsider

    Sorry Tacapall I’m not familiar with the case you mentioned and a Google checked revealed very little.

  • between the bridges

    McS no probs, of course some just get a letter asking them not to do what they shouldn’t do..”“In the absence of any response, and in light of the continuing reported breaches of the code of conduct which have taken place at the parade, the commission can only take the view that you do not intend to address the concerns it has raised.”

  • babyface finlayson

    “I heard that a complaint has been put in regarding a bonfire being built on Shore road on housing Executive property”
    I think it is still there. If it is the same one I noticed today it has a pink frontage and a pink bicycle tied to it.
    Is this a positive recognition of the Giro or a negative that bike for burning, like the little statue of Mary last year?