The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Wake Up, Ireland!



Patrick Lismore • 13 July 2004


Violent clashes resulted between Ardoyne residents and the North's security forces who had barricaded the community behind giant metal shutters for most of the day.

Angry and frustrated nationalists ignored efforts by Sinn Fein stewards to intervene and engaged in hand-to-hand fighting with riot PSNI police and British troops.

And following warnings by the SDLP earlier today, it appears that the party's support for the PSNI could now be withdrawn.

The loyalist supporters of the Protestant Orange Order had been barred by the Parades Commission from marching the return route from their main rally in Belfast back through Ardoyne. The march was part of wider Protestant celebrations of a 17th century battle victory over Catholics.

It followed a week of threats and intimidation, the unionist blockade of Ligoniel and last week's capitulation by the Parades Commission to similar threats over the parade in nearby Springfield Road.

However, as the day progressed, it was clear the Orange Order were being allowed to ignore the restrictions placed on them by the Parades Commission.

A mob of loyalists, who jeered and cheered as they strolled past the interface, threw missiles and attacked the residents later from side streets.

At one point, a number of British Army Land Rovers were caught in the middle of a large crowd, with only thick armour and reinforced glass-protecting members of the Crown forces inside.

Later, a crowd of nationalists seized control of British Army batons and shields and attacked a small pocket of soldiers who were hemmed in around their Land Rover.

But in extraordinary scenes, Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly acted frequently to protect members of the Crown forces.

However, even this intervention, and the efforts of the priests from the local Holy Cross Monastery, failed to stop the clashes.

Missiles were thrown, and a number of vehicles were attacked. Riot police fought back, kicking and baton-charging residents. Clashes were continuing tonight as the PSNI called in reinforcements and water cannon.

Kelly called for calm as fighting continued.

Rumours that police would attempt to push through the supporters of the Orange Order were rife this afternoon.

Leading SDLP member Martin Morgan said that any failure by the PSNI to uphold the Parades Commission decision regarding the parade could see the party review its support for policing structures in the North.

Mr Morgan said his party expected a certain standard of policing in return for its participation in policing boards.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP also expressed his concern, which he said was "the worst case scenario".

However, the PSNI entirely capitulated to unionist threats by ignoring the determination of the Parades Commission and forced the march through. - From Irish Republican News

Today the 12th of July the day when Orangemen march to celebrate their heritage. They’re celebrating when they slaughtered the Irish people and stripped us of our place in society. That was 1690. This is 2004. Today we are Equal and we have to assert our rights as equals. We are human beings not bound by international treaties.

The rest of us observe the heavy police presence, the sound of the lambeg drum the smell of burning in the air, the media devoting ample air time glorifying the 12th celebrations along with the Orange Order trying to portray the 12th celebrations as a family event while the people of Ardoyne are barricaded in like prisoners. They show clips from Jeffery Donaldson spouting his mouth of while he proudly shows his orange sash signifying that he is proud to celebrate the murder of thousands at the Boyne and to openly reject a visit from and call for everyone as an Orangeman to oppose the visit by the spiritual head of the Catholic Church and their Catholic neighbours' spiritual leader. This after a night of bonfires and madness.

I was passing by Sandy Row yesterday on my way to work when I observed a bonfire at the crossroads of Sandy Row. In the middle of the road next was a large crowd of about 200 or so people. This bonfire was clearly in view from the large TV screen at Shaftsbury square, which are only meters away from the Donegal Pass PSNI/RUC station. I thought the days when the police colluded with loyalists/unionists were over after the Stevens report highlighted that members of the RUC/PSNI were actively engaged and helping loyalist paramilitaries. Why is it then that these people supposedly celebrating their heritage are allowed to block major intersections of the city? Close to a hospital and some student accommodation, this bonfire was erected just meters away from a international student hostel for tourists on travel.

What sort of signal does this send out to tourists and other diverse ethnic groups that now live in our city or to the ordinary people whose lives are not governed by labelling themselves as either green or orange? When mobs of people can blatantly erect bonfires literally in front of the police? Clearly nothing has changed here in Northern Ireland: PSNI - Patten Still Not Implemented. We see also a nice coloured photo in the Belfast Telegraph of a masked member of the Ulster Freedom Fighters (a paramilitary organisation) firing a volley of shots from a submachine gun at a bonfire on the Westland estate in north Belfast.

Where was the PSNI? “Oh they must have been out celebrating at the bonfires or they must have been getting prepared for the big march to Barnett’s Demesne.”

Jeffery Donaldson is quoted, “The day of paramilitaries is gone. It must be gone if we are to have real peace and lasting stability in our land.” (Belfast Telegraph) Clearly Mr Donaldson wasn’t out with rest of the common folk the night before when submachine guns and the 9mm were blazing. He, like the police, were busy lapping up the bank holiday resting, reminiscing back to 1690 when their medieval hero who, full of religious reformation hatred, slaughtered the people of this land, setting themselves up in the six counties thus giving way to the comfort that Jeffery enjoys today.

Also Mr Donaldson claimed that the new leadership of unionism had made it clear they would not share power with those who had in place a fully armed and illegal army. What about the Protestant/Unionist militia? Are not the UDA/UFF/RHC/UVF/LVF and so on not illegal paramilitaries? In their opinion and they refer to Sinn Fein when they say they will not share power, quoting again Jeffery Donaldson:

“Equally we will only agree to devolution of policing to the assembly when we are convinced that the circumstances are right and that all who govern are fully committed to upholding the law.”

Upholding the law!!! The PSNI can’t hold up the law and they are the police, the unionist DUP and UUP cannot stop loyalist paramilitres from letting rip with submachine guns close to nationalist or republican homes. The British government clearly upheld the law when deciding weather to have an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane. The DUP leader Ian Paisley was clearly committed to upholding the law, if he was as he says he says he is, why was he not up at north Belfast as the leader of unionism, and a Protestant, why was he not there upholding the Parades Commission's ruling that the parade be restricted? Why was he not there doing his bit? Why, because the 6 counties are still full of sectarian hatred.

I’d like to refer to the letter prefixed before mine. It is from an article in today’s issue of the Irish Republican News. I refer to the bold type,

Angry and frustrated nationalists ignored efforts by Sinn Fein stewards to intervene and engaged in hand-to-hand fighting with riot PSNI police and British troops.

But in extraordinary scenes, Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly acted frequently to protect members of the Crown forces.

What has come of republicans when they are now protecting crown forces? Crown forces do not protect us. Is not the people of North Belfast constantly trying to protect their homes from loyalists? Can people not see and hear the Irish youth, all those who disagree with the GFA? Where can that youth turn, to show them that there is some thing other than the Good Friday Agreement? The current leadership of Provisional Sinn Fein is not going to show them, only try and calm them to put on a show for the cameras: "Look, we pro-agreement republicans are doing everything we can to calm the situation".

I honestly believe that Gerry Kelly wanted calm tonight. But as the youth demonstrated what Pearse once said, when republican leaders turn away from breaking that connection with England they will be repudiated by the next generation.

People are not happy period. What’s the point of having a parades commission if the rulings are not upheld? What’s the point of having a devolved assembly if it doesn’t run, what’s the point of having a Internationally binding peace treaty signed in 1998 by the Irish and British governments and all the political parties in the Six Counties if paramilitaries still let off submachine guns people still live in fear and still get discriminated against? Is this PEACE?

The DUP didn’t sign up to the GFA; at that time they were not interested in talking or working a solution for everyone. Puppets they are. Unionism is dead, they glorify the slaughter of thousands; people nowadays don’t want that. They genuinely want peace.

The media should be ashamed celebrating the 12th, causing anger and disrespecting the people of nationalist and republican communities. We have to show these people that them times are gone. We are moving towards a United Ireland, an Ireland where people will respect their neighbours' right to religious freedom, and to a freedom from bigotry and old reformation’s mentality. This is 2004, who really cares what religion the man next to you is? It shouldn’t matter how the man next to you prays to his God.

But after all this is the 6 northern counties of Ireland where you have a mix of the most conservative and most liberal astute political minds in the world deadlocked over who’s going to run policing and who’s going to march up and down this road, let's focus towards proper change proper political structures. Proper decentralisation and maximum devolution on this island it was achieved in 1919 when all Ireland voted as one. If it was done then it can most certainly be done now. It just needs organisation. If I didn’t think we could do this peacefully I would suggest a coup d’état in the Free State.

Why are people squabbling over these petty issues, why are we not looking to implement serious new political structures in Ireland? After all the majority of the country wants a united Ireland then I say we should go ahead and set up these new structures. Regardless if a small group of people a million or so refuse. Let's do it politically and peacefully. I know we can do it. We need a majority of the people, that’s the whole south (Free State, so-called republic). They need to be putting pressure on the EU, British and US through political and peaceful means. Let's not get caught up in these stupid squabbles with these Orangemen because their mentality is one of single mindedness, bigotry and sectarian hatred of their neighbours. If they really wanted peace they would stop celebrating the day they murdered thousands of Irish people. It's up to the rest of us that is everyone who is not a member of the Orange Order to work together to bring an end to this kind of organisation. The Orange Order reminds me of a US organisation that used to be called the KKK. It was done away with because the rest of the people would not tolerate the bitterness and bigotry the single mindedness and arrogance of the KKK.

Discrimination has no place on such as small island. It's time are people stood side by side, shoulder to shoulder with are brothers and sisters in the Free State and assert that right to freedom from discrimination and show the world that we don’t want that sectarian kind of organisation in a New Ireland. Clearly the GFA has no resolution to the Orange Order. I say to the youth it's time to take a stand. I see Gerry Adams and the leadership under him doing what they feel is the best for their electorate and furthering the cause towards a 32 County Irish Nation doing their best. I personally do not feel that the GFA is the way and I don’t feel that working within British institutions is the way but I see no one speaking up pushing the alternative. I have seen republicans in the US push the Eire Nua more in the US than I have here in N.Ireland at present. In my opinion Sinn Fein leaders are under pressure from all sides. We seen tonight no one was listening to Gerry Kelly. The time has come for republicans pro & anti- agreement, nationalist, unionist, socialists and all those of the Free State to stand shoulder to shoulder. We are more than this!!! The problem that has held back the Irish nation from full sovergnity is that of disunity. How can we have a United Ireland if the very Irish people are not united?

Let's do what has to be done. The overwhelming demands of 5 million (appox) people can do a lot. The people have to want it. I may not like that Sinn Fein take part in a devolved assembly and join in with Leinster House but they are doing it and that’s it. I may not look at the Free State Leinster House Dail as sovereign of the Irish nation, but they are doing it. We all have differences, that’s what makes us humans, we are all different individually. Political Parties all have different and personal manifestos and they are different, we have to accept and respect that. Why don’t we for once in history set aside those differences, don’t lose them, just set them to the side for a bit until this issue of Irish unity is achieved? When the proper 32 county republic is established all those different groups of people can bring back their differences and make the New Ireland the new diverse multi ethnic/racial and cultural Western society proud to live in.

Let's set an example to other nations around the world who may find themselves in similar circumstances. Let's utilize other nations' help in bringing about our goal. Where are ex-POW’s, let's hear their views!!!!!

Republicans & SDLP have to start making debates about why unionism should take part in a New Ireland. Let's start showing those within the Unionist communities and those from the Protestant faith why it will be better for everyone. Let's show that everyone’s rights will be safeguarded, that the Ireland of the 21st century will be a place of real peace. Real growth from within.

I still only see the Eire Nua peace plan as a way forward, as a way to bring everyone on a level playing field. To start fresh, just as our Irish ancestors and our Ulster Scots brethren did when they reached the US. They set aside their differences for the Unity of their country at that time. The US became a world superpower because the people believed that it was better to be united than it was to be disunited. It paid off.

Eire Nua – New Ireland



Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent


Historians and economists {subsidized by governments} are very good at creating and perpetuating myths that justify increasing the power placed in the hands of government.
- Reuven Brenner

Index: Current Articles

15 July 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Helping the Brits
Geraldine Adams

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa
Dolours Price

Antebellum Antrim Town - still a cold house for Catholics and a fridge freezer for Irish Republicans
Sean Mac Aughey

Throughly Middleclassed Millie
Marc Kerr

Treating Opression and Depression
Sean Fleming

Wake up, Ireland!
Patrick Lismore

Response to US Designation

Fallen Generals
Anthony McIntyre

John Negroponte: Dorian Gray Goes to Iraq
Toni Solo

11 July 2004

Miscarriages of Justice
Martin Cunningham

Dolours Price

Yes, Let's Do
George Young

Interview with Bill Lowry:
Forbidden Fruit
Out from the Shadows
Political Policing
Anthony McIntyre


The Blanket

http://lark. phoblacht. net


Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices

To contact the Blanket project with a comment, to contribute an article, or to make a donation, write to:
webmaster@phoblacht. net