Following on from yesterday’s overreaction by the PSNI, the United Kingdom’s paramilitary police force in the north-east of Ireland, to a technically illegal but entirely peaceful Easter Rising parade by members and supporters of Republican Sinn Féin, further video evidence has emerged of the confrontation in the Kilwilkie Estate, Lurgan, Co. Armagh. While a number of local residents suffered minor injuries during the dramatic intervention by officers in riot gear, seventy-six-year-old Lelia Quine required hospitalisation after being knocked to the ground. The pensioner is the sister of the late Gerry McKerr, one of the “Hooded Men”, a group of Irish political prisoners subjected to weeks of “special interrogation techniques” by the UK authorities at a secret military torture centre in 1971.
As the clips below indicate, in recent times the PSNI has begun to revert back to some of the more draconian and partisan policies of its hated predecessor, the disbanded Royal Ulster Constabulary. This represents a reversal in the equitable application of law enforcement which the contested region had begun to witness under the agreed reforms in policing, a condition of the Irish-British peace process of the early 2000s. However, this was a predictable outcome following Britain’s much criticised decision to end 50:50 cross-community recruitment in 2011. For some northern nationalist communities, the promise of peace has left them in a state not too dissimilar from that of war. And where the sense of occupation still hangs heavy in the air.
(Original video clips from YouTube User, Kilwilkie Lurgan)
“Following on from yesterday’s overreaction by the PSNI, the United Kingdom’s paramilitary police force in the north-east of Ireland”…
Sinn Féin has voted by an overwhelming majority to endorse the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the rule of law in the North. An extraordinary Sinn Féin ardfheis at the RDS in Dublin . Irish TImes, 2007
The technical term for this is selling out.
Yep, and I think they were right to do so. Even though I don’t believe that the policing reforms went far enough. The return of RUC personnel as civilian assistants/clerical staff was a mistake. The failure to disarm the new force, a mistake. The failure of SF to walk out of the policing oversight committee when the UK government pulled the 50:500 quotas a serious mistake.
how can you possibly disarm a police force which faces threats from republican terrorists who you have sympathies with. It is the reason the Royal Irish Constabulary had to be armed also. Republicans have an entrenched hatred of law enforcement British and Irish and always will have.
Because a disarmed civilian police service with 50/50 representation would have presented a far less tempting target for “dissidents” given the adverse publicity such deaths would have caused. You could hardly condemn such a service with calls of “SS RUC”.
I have a feeling we’re not in Europe anymore. The seventies are back, disparate law enforcement and treatment against the Irish as well, and the storm is brewing. Just in time for all the centenaries.
“Scenes from Derry today are very disturbing. Masked individuals, causing disturbance, youths throwing petrol bombs etc is far from dignified. Those responsible should be brought before the law,” she said.
Sinn Féin’s leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill, condemned the disturbances on social media. And who dear say that SF have sold out?
Yeah, but then again it was largely a Saoradh event, the rivals of Sinn Féin, so what was she going to say? Realistically. It doesn’t make it right and hopefully SF is using its influence to bring some sense to the PSNI operations. Marches or demonstrations where there is clearly public support should be treated with more tact. Yeah, it was unauthorised, but this is not the Orange Order marching through the middle of a nationalist community.
Of course, that is the other issue. Parades by the OO where they have refused to engage with the PSNI or Parades Commission. There is a certain attempt to ensure perceived even-handedness. However during the “flegs” protests the PSNI adopted a hands-off approach and the recent UDA gathering in Down was left alone too.
All that said, the Derry 1916 Committee should have gone through the formality and applied for permission to parade. Though, as I have always noted, I’m no great fan of quasi-military parades.
“Yeah, it was unauthorised”
” the Derry 1916 Committee should have gone through the formality and applied for permission to parade”
Like yourself i am no fan of quasi-military parades. And i am not inclined to support Dissidents, per se.
Yet (Voltaire-like) I am convinced their voices should be heard . Otherwise what sort of inclusive society are we building when native Irish voices and points of view are excluded?
So with regards to the particular point about “applying for permission to parade”.
If saraodh and other groupings do not recognize the british state in ireland, why should they apply for permission to parade or do anything else? did the land league apply? did larkin?
“times change” people say
“yes they do”
but some things remain the same – irish refusal of british laws and british crackdown on irish people
Oh, they should be heard, and be seen to be heard. But the formality of asking for a licence to parade wouldn’t have been that onerous.
I get the ideological reasons for not doing so.
I also get the strategic ones. Saoradh and RSF have raised their profile, have shown themselves willing to take on the UK state, and have embarrassed SF within republican-minded communities. Not a bad day’s work. Or even two days.
I’m just not sure we want to be going back down that road when there are other ways of tackling/highlighting the British occupation.
Watching the PSNI and armoured jeeps moving through the warren of small roads and houses in Kilwilkie, one is reminded of a community under military occupation. It is quite disgraceful and the PSNI needs to be questioned about its actions.
That said, RSF should have gone through the formality and applied for the parade licence. It wasn’t the end of the world to do so. Now six or seven young lads have police records, if they did not did not have them already.
The only winners here are those who view the PSNI as an entirely hostile force to be resisted. As happened the next day in Derry. Inevitably.
Aren’t you just relieved that NI is the UK’s responsibility? Imagine if it were handed over to the RoI, as indeed could well happen before many more years have passed. No doubt the Guards would take great pleasure in kicking the shite out of the ‘Loyalists’ if they tried to demonstrate or parade. Just hold on a wee bit, and as you say, your day will come …
Geisha Sayonara in the RoI are worse than Billy, Davy, Sammy and Robbie in the RUC.
Well, I’d hope not and that the Gardaí would exercise a bit of common sense. But, yeah, this could be one future, albeit a fleeting one following reunification. In the medium term, unionists will likely settle down and get the best deal they can, aside from a few recalcitrant individuals and groupings. The UDA-UFF, UVF and RHC minus the backing of the UK state, the British Army and RUC (or now, PSNI), simply don’t have the capacity to wage a war against anyone. The peace process witnessed that when the UK settled its war with the IRA and the loyalist terror gangs were abandoned double-quick.
That would seem to imply then that the IRA’s campaigns in the past were only possible with the covert support of the Irish state?
The Irish Republican Army had a population of 4 million people to call upon with considerable if variable sympathetic/tolerant/look-the-other-way attitudes to sustain it. The culture of the “rebel” fed into that, which is something most outsiders fail to understand or factor in. The old story of the Fine Gael councillor who would strongly and publicly disagree with the IRA, who would inform the authorities of any action locally, but who would look the other way if the “stuff” was being taken “up north” to be used against “the Brits”.
Then there was international sympathy and relations, in the Irish Diaspora, among some foreign governments, and so on. There was the Leftists in London who provided safe houses and the double-agents in the New York Police Dept who provided tip-offs.
Loyalists never had that tradition, those national and international connections or networks dating back to the 19th century (literally). Remember, when the UDA and UVF tried to act outside their British state contacts all they could turn to was the Neo-Nazis in Britain, the National Front and Combat 18, or the White Minority Regime in apartheid South Africa (and the latter with the connivance of IntCorp and Mi5).
Without the complicity of the UK, militant loyalism as a military force evaporated overnight.
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An insightful analysis, IMO, thanks 🙂
While I can well believe the broad ‘cultural’ support for the IRA etc., I’m surprised it outlasted (1) the establishment of the RoI as a stable and successful (and now rather prosperous!) modern state, integrated into the EU, and (2) the use of indiscriminate violence by the IRA especially against ‘mainland’ civilian targets. Though I suppose those factors did play a role so that the IRA gradually became redundant (?)
So how do you see the coming Border War working out? Will the Brits quietly reactivate the Loyalist forces, or will they simply be abandoned along with the territory, once the DUP’s hold over WM comes to an end, as it must before very long?
With regards to your first 2 questions – Seamas explained it to you – “The culture of the “rebel” . . . is something most outsiders fail to understand or factor in”.
That is a good question. I honestly don’t know how the UK would react to, say, a unionist defeat in a border poll on reunification. I suspect, and this is just my paranoid gut, that before or shortly after such a poll the UK would insinuate the need for a super-majority to enact change.
If the poll was 51% Yes for a reunited Ireland and 49% No, I fear that London would renege on any change. I’m not even sure how Dublin would deal with it. Especially if the UK played hardball.
If Britain did accept the outcome, there will undoubtedly be the Daily Mail types in the media and maybe government who would reject it. A minority perhaps but a vociferous one.
That then takes us into the actions of the intelligence and military services which would be very uncertain.
However, once the British withdrawal was complete, any loyalist violence – though initially bad – would collapse to street protests and the odd bit of rioting or random shooting.
A longer term campaign simply wouldn’t be sustainable without external support.
Not to mention that part of the reason for the “evaporation” was that the hard core of their troops were actual English soldiers.
‘their troops’ ??? Whose troops? Now I really am confused. Are you saying it was all ‘false flag’ ? That really would be a conspiracy theory.
Yes, following the changes in the UDR and RUC the loyalists began to fall apart. The fate of the LVF is instructive. In part, a creature of the anti-settlement group within Intelligence Corps and the Security Service (MI5) it very quickly came asunder once their support was withdrawn (or reluctantly taken way, depending on how you few the machinations within the UK state in the 1990s).
Up the RA! Long live RIRA & 32csm