Tuesday, September 13, 2005

British need to get serious on loyalists

Daily Ireland:

Caleb Finnegan (22 months) was left with severe head injuries after loyalists tried to hijack his mother's car in Belfast and threw a rock through the window hitting him in the head

We hate to say we told you so, but... we told you so. Our repeated assertion that virtually the entire security apparatus of the British state is directed against republicans – from intelligence to military bases to spy towers – was illustrated with shocking clarity at the weekend when a wave of loyalist violence washed across the North with the PSNI and the British army neither prepared for it nor able to deal effectively with it.

GAA fans travelling to Croke Park for the big match yesterday report seeing helicopters over the bases that remain there. No similar sight will have been witnessed in loyalist North and West Belfast, North Antrim, Larne or Carrickfergus where the UDA and the UVF’s writ runs and where roaming herds of paramilitary thugs maintain the ability to bring ordinary life to a halt.

That the Orange Order and loyalist paramilitaries are acting in close harmony on the issue of contentious parades has been evident for some time, but when the Chief Constable of the PSNI says it, when he adds that members of the Orange Order attacked his officers, and when he lays the blame for the orgy of violence squarely at the door of the Orange Order, then such unambiguous words demand action. At the very least, that means that the Parades Commission is now required to factor into its determinations the indisputable fact that the Orange Order is not just capable of provoking violence by insisting on marching where it is not wanted, but it is likely to become engaged in that violence itself. That should have profound implications when it comes to Parades Commission rulings on future marches not just on the Springfield Road, but anywhere else that parades bring strife.

For its part, it is essential that the British government does nothing to suggest that this latest round of carefully orchestrated violence does not give its instigators what they want. Quite simply, those who organised the violence want the British government to intervene in contentious parades the way it did when it forced through the parade at Drumcree in 1996 and 1997, beating Catholics off their own streets in the process.

That this madness should take place at a time of great hope and promise is no coincidence. The IRA has ordered its volunteers to dump arms and it’s believed that a comprehensive process of decommissioning is in train, with the British response having been swift and significant. Protracted bleating by unionist politicians about the removal of spy towers and the dismantling of local units of the RIR has had little effect as the British government for once seems capable of seeing the wider picture. But had loyalist mobs succeeded in their attempts at the weekend to enter Catholic districts – in the Short Strand and on the Grosvenor Road, for instance – an armed republican response would almost certainly have ensued, much to the delight of unionists, and much to the detriment of the peace process. Which is why the British state needs to get serious about loyalist violence.

More evidence that the only way to bring peace to the north of Ireland is to remove the British colonial vermin as soon as possible.

Riots Rage in Belfast With 60 Now Injured

Belfast Riots: Desperate Acts

Loyalist streets in the grip of violence spawned by resentment and bloody feud

Springfield siege

Hain accuses loyalist paramilitaries of breaking ceasefire

Leaders must 'back forces of law'

Petrol bombers and roadblocks take Belfast back to darkest days

This is the real threat to peace

Too little loyalist leadership

PSNI ignores incitement to race hatred


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