The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Ireland:
Loyalist racism and terror attacks
Paul Mallon • From Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!
No. 177 February/March 2004

Since the 26 November elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly (Reported in FRFI 176), stalemate has ensued pending the review of the Good Friday Agreement set to begin in February. Loyalist attacks have continued against the nationalist community and have been extended to a widespread racist terror campaign against ethnic groups, exposing the racist character of the loyalist tradition itself. Further evidence of the widespread collusion between the British government, its agents and the loyalist death squads in the terror campaign directed at the nationalist community has also been published. The DUP are now setting the pace of the political agenda in the north and is set to destroy the illusions of Sinn Fein in regard to the restoration of devolved power to the Stormont Assembly.

The Six County statelet is now the race hate capital of Europe. Every day in Belfast a racist attack is carried out. The white supremacist loyalist tradition, which is materially dependent on British imperialism, has maintained its hate campaign primarily at Catholics and Irish nationalists for centuries. Loyalism is racism by definition. Loyalist death squads and hate mobs have extended their hate campaign in recent weeks in Belfast against the tiny ethnic community in the north of Ireland where 99% of citizens are white. In December Ugandan and Romanian families were burned out there homes in South Belfast. The Belfast Chinese community have come under recent sustained attack from Loyalist hate mobs as have the Muslim community throughout the north.

Following weeks of speculation and in the aftermath the election of Ian Paisleys hard-line Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) as the main unionist party, Jeffery Donaldson, the anti-Agreement Unionist, joined the DUP from the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). Two other key supporters followed him, taking the DUP assembly member total to 33 seats compared to the UUP's 24. This adds to the crisis facing the Good Friday Agreement as Unionism turns increasingly hard line.

Barron report

In early December, the Dublin government published part of the Barron report. The interim report of the Barron Inquiry into the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings points to collusion between agents of the British armed forces and loyalists in the atrocity, which claimed 34 lives. The initial report stated that Barron could not say if there was collusion at the highest level, but that the British government had certainly thwarted any proper investigation into the bombings at the time and since and had failed to cooperate fully with the present inquiry.

Several reports published since the end of last year have detailed widespread collusion between the British government and loyalist death squads' campaign to terrorise Irish republicans and the wider Catholic community in the Six Counties. In October the British government refused to publish the findings and recommendations of a report in to British collusion by Canadian Judge Peter Cory. Cory had been asked to investigate the allegations of British state collusion with a number of killings including those of human rights lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson and the killing of Catholic Robert Hamill. Blair had previously promised to publish the reports but with elections looming in November their publication was postponed. In mid-January Judge Cory went over Blair's head to contact the families directly concerned advising them that he recommended full public inquiries. Cory described the British government's attempts to keep them in the dark as 'unfair and cruel'. The family of Pat Finucane have sought a judicial review in the High Court to force the British government to publish the Cory findings.

On January 19th a further report condemned the Royal Ulster Constabulary investigation into the murder of Catholic Sean Brown in May 1997 as 'appalling and unprofessional' with 'serious and unexplained failures'. The report by police ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan stated that the RUC 'had made no real effort to track down the killers'.

The review of the Good Friday Agreement is due to start on 3 February. The only movement of significance since the November election has been a further sop to Unionism when the British government established a so-called 'Independent Monitoring Commission' in January which is the only part of the two governments April 2003 Joint Declaration to be implemented. The Commission will focus almost entirely on Republican armed groups and will ignore the ongoing campaign of violence by loyalism. As we argued in FRFI 176 'A review of the Good Friday Agreement in the next period will attempt to wrest further concessions from Sinn Féin to appease Unionists and the British government.' This remains the case.

Sinn Fein remain completely tied to the Good Friday Agreement. There is quite simply nowhere else for them to go. The immediate political future will be one of ongoing loyalist attacks on nationalists. Faced with such loyalist attacks and continued assembly suspension Sinn Féin's strategy amounts to being reliant on the 'good faith and commitment' of Tony Blair and British imperialism. The Unionist veto remains firmly at the heart of the Northern statelet. It is the DUP is now setting the political agenda of the north. The pace of any future 'progress' will be dependent on the racist bigot Ian Paisley.

Faced with this harsh reality and the obvious implications for the Republican strategy. Sinn Féin President Adams has opted for some wishful thinking. Speaking in Belfast on 27 January he said 'The review will not be a renegotiation of the Good Friday Agreement but it is an opportunity to accelerate the process of change promised in the Agreement'. The 'acceleration of change' will be assessed on the streets by the most oppressed and the victims of state discrimination and loyalist terror. The real acceleration of change will not occur within the failed structure of British rule in Ireland but within the republican movement itself. Having endured generations of the Orange/Unionist veto the question for nationalists then becomes how long will the present consensus endure and where are the forces emerging from to defend the nationalist working class from loyalist attack?



 

 

 

 

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Index: Current Articles



20 February 2004

 

Other Articles From This Issue:

 

A Malignant Menage a trois

Anthony McIntyre

 

On the Record
Kathleen O'Halloran

 

David Lidington
Eamon Sweeney

 

The Buck Stops Here
Brian Mór

 

Loyalist Racism and Terror Attacks
Paul Mallon

 

Foundations for Development Laid as Sinn Fein Goes Unionist
Eamonn McCann

 

All Are Targets
Mohammed Omer

 

Calendar of Events
Belfast Anti-War Movement

 

14 February 2004

 

GFA in the Toilet
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No Retreat
Glen Phillips

 

Terrorism and Democratic Society

Anthony McIntyre

 

SEA: The SWP and the Partition of Ireland
Paul Mallon

 

The "Free Trade" History Eraser: Honduras, Maquilas and Popular Protest in Latin America
Toni Solo

 

On A Street in America
Annie Higgins

 

The BBC and the Quiet Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians
Paul de Rooij

 

 

 

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