Current Affairs Politics

We’re Alright Paddy, To Hell With You

Well a relatively peaceful night has passed in the North of Ireland, with violence down to what we might almost describe as ‘peace-time levels’. This is in contrast to the events of Wednesday night when widespread street clashes were still occurring (albeit mostly confined to Irish Nationalist communities) involving confrontations between local youths and the PSNI (the British paramilitary police in Ireland). Though on a smaller scale than in previous days and confined to smaller areas (mainly Belfast and Derry) the conflict on Wednesday was serious enough, involving as it did large numbers of young men and women, hundreds of PSNI officers, and considerable damage to local homes, businesses and vehicles. As reported by the BBC:

‘Police have been attacked with petrol bombs, paint bombs and missiles in Portadown, Belfast and Londonderry [Derry].

A police car and two private vehicles were damaged during the disturbances in the Garvaghy Road-Ballyoran area of Portadown on Wednesday.

Police were also targeted in west Belfast and Derry.

Petrol bombs and stones were thrown at officers during a four-hour period in the Brandywell and Gobnascale area of Derry city.

In Belfast a petrol bomb failed to ignite when it was thrown at Tennant Street PSNI station. A police spokesperson said nobody was injured during the trouble.

There were also reports of a number of hijackings.’

Additionally, though underreported by local or international media, there was a slow but steady stream of violent assaults on Irish communities throughout the North by gangs from the British Unionist population, as can be seen in some of the areas of trouble mentioned above. In North Belfast clashes between the PSNI and Unionists on Wednesday happened as the result of attacks on nearby Nationalist homes.

A separate incident is described in a UTV report:

‘Two members of an Ardoyne-based football team have been seriously injured after they were set upon by an armed loyalist gang in north Belfast on the Twelfth of July, it has emerged.

The Crumlin Star football team were returning from a trip to Dundalk in Co Louth, to escape the trouble surrounding the annual Orange Order parade close to their north Belfast homes, when they were attacked by the 30-strong gang.

A gang carrying knives, golf clubs and sticks beat several members of the team, leaving them with stab wounds, a broken leg and facial injuries.

One player was held down and jumped on until his leg broke and his foot was fractured.

Ciaran Smyth, who plays for a cross-community football team, was attacked with a golf club while trying to help a friend.

“It was still daylight when we were attacked. Most of them were wearing Rangers football shirts.

“That gang were out to cause serious injury or even kill the first Catholic they came across and it just happened to be us.”’

One of the more amusing aspects of the last few days has been the editorials and commentary of the British media, the majority of which have downplayed the trouble, usually by comparing it to the height of the conflict when IRA bombs were devastating British city centres and IRA units were targeting British troops. Which of course for the British is the only thing that really matters. For as long as British towns and city centres are left untouched and British soldiers unharmed the average British journalist, or politician or citizen doesn’t give a damn about Ireland or any trouble in Ireland. To them that is peace.

A fact that others know all too well.

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