News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

September 11, 2005

Loyalists Riot Again - 30 Police Injured

To Index of Monthly Archives
To September 2005 Index
To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.

News about Ireland & the Irish

NY 09/11/05 Protestants Riot Again - 30 Police Injured
IT 09/11/05 Fresh Riots After Orde Blames Orangemen
SM 09/11/05 Loyalists'Were Shooting To Kill'
GU 09/11/05 Opin: Disarm The Loyalists Too
IT 09/12/05 Peace Garden Dedicated To Irish Priest
IT 09/12/05 Two Members Of Goal Resign
IT 09/12/05 Siege Of Ennis Captures A World Record For Cork


  A rioter throws a bottle in a loyalist area of west Belfast
A rioter throws a bottle in a loyalist area of west Belfast (Photo: AP)

September 12, 2005

Protestants Riot for 2nd Night in Belfast, Injuring 30
Police Officers

By Brian Lavery

DUBLIN, Sept. 11 - Protestant mobs rioted on Sunday for a
second consecutive night in Belfast and in towns on the
city's outskirts, seriously injuring at least 30 police
officers, in the province's worst violence in seven years.

Crowds of men wearing masks or hooded sweatshirts pulled
over their faces terrorized citizens and attacked security
forces. Cars were set on fire at major intersections,
closing a highway into Belfast. The more than 2,000 police
officers and British soldiers at the scene were bombarded
with homemade explosives and bottles of flaming gasoline
while they held rioters back at major intersections.

Sir Hugh Orde, Northern Ireland's chief constable, said the
clashes posed "one of the most dangerous riot situations in
the history of policing in the United Kingdom," especially
because Protestant paramilitary groups attacked the police
with automatic weapons. One policeman was shot in the eye
and partly blinded.

"It is unique to Northern Ireland for officers to come
under live fire in what was a public order situation," Sir
Hugh said.

In Bangor, rioters hijacked a bus, robbed and ejected its
passengers, drove it to Belfast and set it on fire; in
another town, they used a stolen backhoe to knock down
streetlights and tear an A.T.M. from a wall. In Belfast,
they rammed a police station's gates with a stolen car. The
police arrested at least 10 people.

The disturbances began Saturday after the government banned
a parade by the Orange Order, a Protestant men's
organization, from passing through a Roman Catholic
neighborhood in Belfast. The Order, which holds hundreds of
parades during the summer, called on supporters to protest.
At least 1,000 Protestants, mostly members of paramilitary
groups and teenagers, took to the streets.

Sectarian tensions have repeatedly flared since July,
despite hopes that such violence would subside after the
Irish Republican Army's announcement of an end to its armed
campaign against Britain. Catholic homes and schools in
Ahogill, north of Belfast, were desecrated with paint, and
gangs have attacked several young Catholic men, killing

The I.R.A., which is Northern Ireland's largest
paramilitary group and has traditionally been backed by
Catholics, has yet to fulfill its pledge to disarm, and
many Protestants feel that Catholics have benefited
disproportionately from the province's 10-year-old peace

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company Home Privacy
Policy Search Corrections XML Help Contact Us Work for Us
Back to Top


Fresh Riots In Belfast After Orde Blames Orangemen

Belfast was hit by further rioting last night at the end
of a weekend that saw some of the worst violence in the
North for several years. Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor,
and Mark Brennock report

Some 700 loyalists took to the streets late last night and
attacked police. Petrol bombers hurled devices at security
lines on the Albertbridge Road in east Belfast. One police
officer was injured. Nearly 100 masked men also attacked
police on the nearby Ardoyne Road.

The PSNI confirmed that "a number" of new-style plastic
bullets were used against the rioters. One officer was
injured. A mechanical digger was also taken by rioters and
used to rob a bank ATM.

In Newtownabbey, on the outskirts of north Belfast, rioters
returned to the streets to pelt police with petrol bombs. A
bank in the Cloughfern Corner area was set alight. There
was also trouble in the Ballyclare Road area of

On Saturday, one civilian was shot and another critically
hurt by a blast bomb. Over 30 police officers were injured
in the rioting which followed the rerouting of the
Whiterock Orange march and more than 50 shots were fired at
PSNI and British army lines in west Belfast.

Security forces returned fire with seven live rounds, and
some 430 new-style plastic bullets. Further trouble flared
across Co Antrim.

There was strong reaction yesterday from the Government to
the rioting. The Taoiseach said "that whatever grievances
people may have, there is absolutely no justification for
violence". Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern said
Saturday's violence was "a huge effort to intimidate
nationalist communities, who fear very much for the
future". Minister for Justice Michael McDowell warned that
elements in both communities were "playing a game of

The PSNI chief constable said the violence was "one of the
most dangerous riot situations in the history of policing
in the United Kingdom."

Placing most of the blame on the Orange Order, he said: "We
did not call anyone on to the streets of Belfast, and those
that did must bear substantial responsibility for the
disorder that became inevitable with the catalyst of a
disputed march... We are also clear that UDA and UVF
factions were out there taking advantage of that

A PSNI source said police had video evidence of Orange
involvement in the rioting.

DUP leader Rev Ian Paisley said the trouble was provoked by
the rerouting. "The Parades Commission are to blame for the
mess that has been created." Sir Reg Empey, the Ulster
Unionist leader, denied unionist parties had used
inflammatory language.

"I have been working throughout the week to avoid the sort
of deplorable violence that has taken place. While I'm
always sympathetic to police, I am shocked at some of
tactics being used."

© The Irish Times


Armed Extremists 'Were Shooting To Kill'

Gethin Chamberlain
Chief News Correspondent

HUNDREDS of rioters returned to the streets of Belfast last
night, hijacking cars, blocking roads and attacking police
lines with petrol bombs, bottles and stones.

A blast bomb was thrown at a police station in West
Belfast, but nobody was injured in that explosion.

As attacks at the New Barnsley police station grew worse, a
car and van were crashed into the gates. Wheelie bins and
gas cylinders were also set alight.

Elsewhere, ten people were arrested and police fired baton
rounds after being targeted. One officer was injured.

The renewed violence came after the chief constable of
Northern Ireland accused Protestant extremists of trying to
kill his police officers.

The rioting - the worst to hit the province in a decade -
began on Saturday night after a decision to restrict an
Orange Order parade. Police said surveillance footage of
that violence showed paramilitaries armed with automatic
weapons and explosive devices and members of the Orange
Order attacking police and orchestrating the violence.

More than 50 live rounds were fired at police and soldiers,
who returned fire with plastic bullets. A bomb-making
factory and seven firearms were seized in follow-up raids

Water cannons were deployed, but they proved ineffective in
clearing the streets. Police said 32 officers were injured,
but with rioters avoiding hospitals for fear of arrest,
only two civilian casualties - one with gunshot wounds,
another with blast injuries - were reported.

Chief Constable Hugh Orde said it was clear that the gunmen
had been firing at the security forces, and he blamed two
major outlawed Protestant groups - the Ulster Defence
Association and the Ulster Volunteer Force - for
orchestrating what he called "completely organised"
attacks. "Officers were shot at last night. We are very
lucky we do not have dead officers this morning," he said

Trouble flared after the Parades Commission decided to re-
route the Whiterock Parade away from a Catholic area of
west Belfast.

Police and soldiers fired at least 430 baton rounds and
seven live rounds at the rioters as they tried to fend off
mobs of Protestant men and teenagers in several parts of
Belfast and in seven other predominantly Protestant towns
and villages. Catholics were also involved, throwing stones
and other objects into police lines and the Protestant
crowds beyond. Cranes had to be brought in yesterday to
remove burned-out cars from Belfast's streets. Caches of
petrol and pipe bombs were seized and a number of live
devices were defused.

More than 1,000 police officers and 1,000 soldiers were
drafted in as crowds attacked them. In the most intense
exchanges, masked Protestant men and youths hurled homemade
grenades and petrol bombs and fired automatic guns at
police and army positions about half a mile from the spot
where Orangemen had been prevented from marching past a
Catholic section of the Springfield Road.

Mr Orde said the Orange Order had to take the blame for
much of the trouble because it had encouraged the rioters
by organising sit-down protests on major roads and

"They publicly called people on to the streets. I think if
you do that, you cannot then abdicate responsibility."

But the Orange Order rejected his remarks as "intemperate,
inflammatory and inaccurate". It described police
operations as "policing at its worst".

Calm was eventually restored to most parts of Belfast
yesterday morning. But a 700-strong group of rioters
returned to the streets last night after police raided
homes looking for rioters. In one blatant sign of outlawed
groups' involvement, masked and armed men stopped cars and
checked people's licences at a checkpoint in north Belfast,
a stronghold of the Ulster Volunteer Force, in a show of
strength designed to mock police authority.

Two men also hijacked a bus full of passengers in Bangor,
Co Down, police said. The vehicle was driven from Belfast
Road to Clandeboye Road where those on board had personal
belongings stolen from them before being ordered off. The
bus was then driven on to Green Road, Conlig, where it was
set alight.

Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, said:
"Attempted murder cannot in any way be justified. There can
be no ambiguity or excuse for breaking the law."

Mr Hain, who is to meet Mr Orde today, said he expected
everyone, including the Orange Order, to condemn the

Sinn Fein claimed Catholics had been dragged from their
cars by rioters.

Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, said: "There is a
concerted attempt under way to draw young nationalists and
republicans into conflict at interface areas across

Alasdair McDonnell, the deputy leader of the moderate
nationalist Social Democrat and Labour Party, warned that
the violence had seriously damaged the political process.
"The irony of the situation is that the Orange Order and
loyalist paramilitaries have further damaged and seriously
discredited themselves with people in Britain and, as a
result, the very Union they adhere to has been weakened,"
he said.

But Ian Paisley, the leader of the Democratic Unionist
Party, accused the Parades Commission of treating marchers
shamefully. "The commission treated elected representatives
with contempt by its refusal to even call us to put our
case. We were refused the opportunity to give greater
detail," he said. "At this time, I appeal to all law-
abiding people to remain calm."

Reg Empey, the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, also
criticised police tactics. "I have personally witnessed
women, who had been trying to prevent stoning, being pushed
to the ground for no justifiable reason," he said.


Opin: Disarm The Loyalists Too

The Orange rampage in Belfast is a reminder that pressure
and rewards have to be evenly spread

Jonathan Freedland
Monday September 12, 2005
The Guardian

This was what the sceptics always said would happen.
Paramilitaries, officially on ceasefire, would break their
word - and unleash a wave of devastating violence. Armed to
the teeth, these private armies would reach for the gun the
moment they did not get their way. And all the promises
made by the respectable political parties that stand
alongside them would be exposed as worthless lies.

That's what critics of the Northern Ireland peace process
always warned would happen. Except the menace they had in
mind was the IRA and the republican movement. It was the
Provos who had to be disarmed and disbanded, lest they
return to their bloody ways.

What the sceptics did not bank on, what few people even
mentioned, were the paramilitaries of loyalism. Rare was
the cry for the Ulster Volunteer Force to decommission its
weapons or for the Ulster Defence Association to declare
that its war was over. And yet it was these men, backed by
their allies in the Orange Order - not the IRA - who over
the weekend turned parts of Belfast into what one loyalist
politician described to me yesterday as "Beirut".

And this was no mere street riot, no outbreak of simple
stone-throwing and window-shattering. The loyalist hardmen
trained machine guns on soldiers and police, sending some
700 bullets their way according to one estimate. Bricks and
petrol bombs came in numbers too large to count. One
eyewitness spoke of a mayhem unseen in 30 years.

The chief constable of Northern Ireland, Sir Hugh Orde, had
no doubt who shared responsibility for this: he had seen
men swathed in the sashes of the Orange Order attacking his
officers. Some suspect not a random outbreak of discontent
but a deliberate, strategic move by forces within unionism.
Frustrated that Ian Paisley's replacement of David Trimble
as the community's leading politician had not stemmed the
flow of perceived concessions to republicans, they decided
to take their fight to the streets.

This should shake those who have long regarded republicans
as the sole obstacle to peace in Northern Ireland. In the
lead-up to the 1998 Good Friday agreement, and in the years
since, unionists and their cheerleaders in Westminster and
the British press have piled the political and moral
pressure on the IRA and Sinn Féin, demanding that they
change. Much of that pressure was deserved. But it was also
lopsided - as this weekend's events have proved. Now we
have seen, in the most lurid colours, that loyalists have
guns too.

The double standard looks especially glaring given the
IRA's July declaration that its armed campaign is over and
that it will lay down its arms. As republicanism moves into
a new phase, loyalism remains in the brutal past. Just
yesterday a senior UVF source was quoted saying that, yes,
his group would wind up its activities - but that it would
never decommission its weapons.

And yet the answer to the weekend's violence is not simply
to unload new pressure on loyalists and unionists. On the
contrary, it seems one of the multiple causes of these
disturbances is what David Ervine, leader of the loyalist
Progressive Unionist party, calls a "sense of abandonment"
among grassroots, working-class Protestants. Rightly or
wrongly, he says, this community perceives a British
government that bends over backwards for Sinn Féin - so
that "whatever the republicans want, republicans get" - and
does next to nothing for them.

The lesson is pretty clear: the search for peace in
Northern Ireland needs to be more balanced. That means
spreading the pressure over arms more evenly - to include
loyalists - and ensuring the rewards for progress are seen
to be spread more evenly, too, to include the very same


Peace Garden Dedicated To Irish Priest

Marese McDonagh

The year before he died in the September 11th attack on
the Twin Towers, Fr Mychal Judge had called to a farmhouse
in Keshcarrigan, Co Leitrim, and asked for directions to
his father's ancestral home.

Yesterday, as the people of Keshcarrigan dedicated a peace
garden and memorial to Fr Judge's memory, local farmer John
Keaney recalled how moved the Franciscan priest had been as
he took away a pebble as a keepsake from what remained of
the Judge home.

"If you won the Sweep or the Lotto you wouldn't be as happy
as he was that day," said Mr Keaney.

Fr Judge's twin sister, Dympna Jessich, on a two-day visit
from New York, was guest of honour at yesterday's ceremony
on the shores of Kesh lake - still known locally as Judge's

Her brother had spent nine years as chaplain to the New
York firefighters, "the happiest nine years of his life. He
died just as he had lived. Nobody who knew him could have
imagined him dying with his head on a pillow," she said.

"I think Mychal wishes he was here," said Ms Jessich, who
presented the people of the village with the two flags that
draped her brother's coffin - the flag of the New York City
Fire Department and the Stars and Stripes.

Fr Chris Keenan, who succeeded Fr Judge as chaplain of the
fire department, also attended with the charge d'affaires
of the US embassy, Jonathan Benton, and representatives of
the fire departments of New York and Leitrim.

© The Irish Times


Two Members Of Goal Resign

Joe Humphreys

Two members of the American board of Goal have resigned
in protest at comments made last week about Hurricane
Katrina by the aid agency's Irish director, John O'Shea.

Niall O'Dowd of the Irish Voice newspaper and Declan Kelly,
a New York-based public relations consultant, have written
to Mr O'Shea confirming their decision to step down after
the outspoken aid worker criticised the Government's
decision to pledge €1 million to the hurricane relief

Mr O'Shea said on Tuesday it was "ludicrous" for the
Government to give money to a country "awash with
billionaires". He also accused the Government of double
standards by agreeing to send Defence Force troops to New
Orleans when it had turned down similar requests for
disaster zones in Africa.

Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr O'Shea said: "I feel
that the response is inappropriate. We could have sent a
letter. We could have made a phone call. We could have
turned up at - sent our ministers to turn up perhaps at -
some of the funerals of the dead . . . This is as ludicrous
as having a collection for Bill Gates. This country is
awash with billionaires. They do not need our money."

Mr O'Shea apologised for some of the language he had used
in the interview in a letter to The Irish Times last week,
adding that "the Irish people, and the Irish Government,
must identify and empathise with the plight of the
suffering people of New Orleans and surrounding areas".

Mr O'Shea was unavailable for comment yesterday. But
speaking to The Irish Times last week, following his radio
appearance, he said he stood over his criticism of the
Government's decision to pledge monetary aid to the relief

"The government in the US has allocated $16.5 billion. If
they are short after that, then of course Ireland and
everyone else should chip in. But when they are on
millionaires' row, I don't think it's a proper response,"
he said.

© The Irish Times


Siege Of Ennis Captures A World Record For Cork

Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent

The sun may not have been shining but there were beaming
faces all around the streets of Cork on Saturday afternoon
as the European Capital of Culture 2005 danced its way into
the Guinness Book of Records by hosting the world's biggest
ever céilí.

The organisers had hoped to attract 10,000 people to dance
the biggest Siege of Ennis but were more than happy when,
at 2.37pm, the tally people reported that 8,371 had danced
the popular set - 1,580 more than when the record was set
in Dublin, Ohio, in 1998.

Not, of course, that it was just Corkonians who brought the
new record to Leeside.

This was very much a multicounty and a multinational event,
with none other than Chicago-born dance star Michael
Flatley turning up to help kick off proceedings.

Flatley told musician and composer Micheál Ó Suilleabháin
how delighted he was to be able to help with the record-
breaking attempt.

After some banter about his new show, Celtic Tiger, which
opens in New York this month, Flatley took up his flute and
joined the Kilfenora Céilí Band as Ó Suilleabháin counted
down - "aon, do, tri".

And then suddenly, after several hours of rehearsals,
thousands of dancers were performing a Siege of Ennis as
they moved smoothly to fear an tí Fionnan Ó Tuama's
instructions of "end to tail", "side to side" and "swing".

The record attempt spanned seven dance "zones" from the
Grand Parade to the end of the South Mall and embraced all
ages - from an eight-month-old baby strapped to his father
to 91-year- old former champion dancer Matt Feerick from

Some six minutes and 30 seconds after kicking off, the
Siege of Ennis was lifted, and moments later Ó Suilleabháin
announced to the dancers and thousands of onlookers that
they had broken the record with 8,371 participants.

There was sustained applause as Flatley and Ó Suilleabháin
were joined on stage by Lord Mayor of Cork Deirdre Clune to
hold aloft a 1.82m (6ft) sign bearing the record-breaking

"I'm elated - it's fantastic," said Niamh Honohan from
Bishopstown who, along with friends Fran Corcoran and Bríd
Cunningham and their children Ben Corcoran (5) and Sophie
Cunningham (6), had been practising for the past week.

Italian friends Marco Cosenza, Silivia D'Alesio, Maria
D'Alesio, Daniel Artipoli, Marzia Bagnoli and Luca Araco -
they all work in Apple in Cork - were equally delighted
with their contribution.

"It's good fun and a great way to keep down the weight, but
we are going to import the céilí to Italy, and next year
we're going to dance it in Rome outside the Coliseum to
claim the record for Italy, " said Marco Cosenza with a
hint of a Cork accent.

William Hammy Hammond had taken time out from organising
the Cork Folk Festival to act as fear a tí in the red dance
zone on the South Mall.

"Trust Cork to come up with something completely daft to
celebrate the European Capital of Culture," he joked.

Great credit was due to everyone involved in the record
attempt as all the dancing had to be synchronised, he said.

© The Irish Times

To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To September 2005 Index
To Index of Monthly Archives

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?