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Sunday, February 26, 2006 

Musings on yesterdays 'Love Ulster' riots

Alas for poor Jeffrey Donaldson (whom we saw standing all ready to march, looking tiny in his oversized greatcoat), Willie Frazer (spotted wearing a giant placard with the names of IRA victims, some - see comment #16 - very dubious ) and their assorted band of Unionist victims' relatives and Loyalist paramilitaries (in the so-called "marching bands") who didn't get to march yesterday? Maybe not. They probably got everything they could have wished for, and more, with the violence in Dublin city centre. Congratulations to the hoodlums for spreading chaos and destruction across the city yesterday, and handing a PR coup to the "Love Ulster" crowd.

Speaking of wee Jeffrey, the DUP MP continues to shine:
"We have received a warm welcome from ordinary Dubliners, but its clear these republicans have come from north of the border and other areas intent only on causing trouble."
Lie or simple detachment from reality ('projection', even)? We were there on the day, and Northern accents were a distinct rarity in the crowd. The "ordinary Dubliners", on the other hand, were very much in evidence as, well, the actual rioters (recommended reading here from An Spailpín Fánach). Kevin Breathnach, Mr. Delevan (who evidently happened on the destruction at Schuh at the same time that we did) and others were also on hand to see this appalling spectacle in motion (see the Dossing Times for more).

Via Auds (who does a fine job with rounding up today's newspaper coverage), we see that Eoghan Harris has the following offering in today's Sindo:
"Meantime, most of the Irish media went into tribal mode. This ranged from the amused indifference affected by most mainstream commentators to the openly tribal stance taken up by some presenters on Newstalk 106, so much so that a few weeks ago I called it Tribal talk 106 in my weekly column.

Given that Newstalk is aimed at a Dublin audience, it might have been expected to create as much empathy as possible between marchers and public by explaining the sufferings of South Armagh Protestants. But no.

On Saturday morning, only a few hours before the march started, Newstalk was carrying competitions for jokes about "why the Orangeman crossed the road". This was followed by a five-second clip from Damien Kiberd's lunchtime show in which he mockingly asked if they were going to play 'Kick the Pope' music? In the absence of any pluralist programmes putting the point of view of the Protestant marchers, are we asked to believe that this did not create a sour climate?

Any public inquiry into the attack on the march - and there should be an inquiry - should pay close attention to the tribal role played by Newstalk 106 in relation to its Dublin working-class audience. The buck for this brand of brutalist broadcasting stops with Damien Kiberd, the news editor of Newstalk who writes a column in the republican Daily Ireland.

The Broadcasting Commission, if it has the guts of a mouse, should listen to the tapes of Newstalk 106 over the past two weeks, ask experts to evaluate their effect on an ill-educated section of the public and consider whether Newstalk 106 should be allowed to spread their atavistic views to a national audience. "
As an ex-Stickie - and himself one of the numerous Party members who infested RTÉ for many years, no less - we're none too surprised at the tack Harris takes (update: Delevan, meanwhile, gives unbiased praise of NewsTalk 106's coverage). Expect plenty of navel-gazing from other pro-Unionist commentators wondering if "we" are responsible for yesterday's chaos by virtue of not according any credibility to the Love Ulster clowns and their unsavoury paramilitary associates. If they think it to their further PR advantage, Jeffrey & Co. will gladly be back for more.

Final comments:

- there was no Provisional Republican involvement yesterday that we could see. The Republican Sinn Féin elements and an assortment of Dublin (and Eastern European) scumbags made up the rioters and looters. The Provos had nothing whatsoever to gain politically from yesterday's violence. McDowell, on the other hand, has just been gifted with priceless material for sound-bytes to scare voters in middle-class Ireland with come election time.

- The Guards really screwed up. O'Connell Street should have been cleared of material handy for riots, and crowd-control barriers should have been brought in (the situation in Parnell Square East was out of control, too). Too many Guards were squirreled away in reserve down side-streets (we saw several vans hidden), rather than being deployed up-front. Why was the likelihood of violence yesterday (both myself and herself had a talk before we went along) not recognisd by the authorities? Why were the general public and traders not warned? This is a curious mistake to have made.

- Jeffrey & Co. should be billed for crowd-control etc. on the day. They are, after all, "foreign" and hence not tax-payers. If they refuse, then they should be told not to bother coming back for any repeat of this stunt.

- A serious mistake has been made in the way the heritage of the fight for Irish freedom has been ceded to the Provos from the 1970's onwards. This is an error which is coming back to haunt us now, as was evident with the Mountjoy exhumations a couple of years back, and the 1916 commemorations still to come. Quite frankly, the Provos have been allowed to claim the Tricolour in a fashion which no doubt has most of the 'patriot dead' rolling in their graves. Can the modern FF, FG and Labour reclaim the mantle?

- some video footage of yesterday's events (including one new one) here, here, here and here.

"Libel"-Richard Waghorne
"Attack blog"-Damien Mulley

About me

  • An early-thirties male Irish technologist living and working in Dublin, I'm a former (recovering) member of both Fianna Fáil and the Roman Catholic Church.

    I'm not a member of any political party these days, but my opinions can be broadly categorised as 'lefty' and republican. I am also a former member of the Irish Defence Forces.

    Please feel free to check out the FI Fie Foe Fum group blog, where I was once a regular contributor, and the Cedar Lounge Revolution, where I can usually be found in the comments.

    (This blog and its contents reflect only my own personal opinions as a private citizen, and not those of any other person or organisation.)



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