Here’s an interesting mid week post from Seimi..
“Last Friday night, a house and a number of cars were attacked in west Belfast, in what police have called a ‘hate crime’. According to local reports, a crowd of between ’50 and 100′ youths, Nationalists, entered Ringford Park, in the Unionist Black’s Road, an ever-decreasing ‘Unionist enclave’, adjacent to Stewartstown and Lenadoon, and not very far from Poleglass and Twinbrook (all CNR areas), and attacked the area. The following night there was, apparently another, lesser attack.
The thugs who carried out this attack all seem to have come from nearby Brooke Park, where a party was taking place. The mother of the young man whose party it was claims the party was only supposed to be for her son and a few friends, but someone posted the address on Facebook, and ‘hundreds’ arrived. The PSNI were called to the scene, but ‘…no offences were noted by police in regard to this incident.’ It appears that this was the crowd who then went on to attack the people on the Black’s Road.
Local political representatives, from both sides, were quick to condemn the attack, with the SDLP’s Alex Attwood calling it ‘appalling’, Sinn Féin’s Matt Garrett calling it a ‘sectarian’ attack, and the DUP’s Ruth Patterson, calling it a “very unprovoked, sectarian hate attack on the people of Suffolk”.
Local community representatives, from the various parties, the local community organisations, the police and the church were very quick to condemn the attacks individually and collectively, and immediately came together to try and diffuse and resolve the situation.
It is quite clear that this was an unprovoked sectarian attack on innocent people. This is an area I walk and drive past on a daily basis. The PUL community on the Black’s Road has been shrinking for years, as more and more people move out. This could be for a number of reasons – better housing elsewhere; the growing CNR population around them; employment issues; or just simply intimidation.
This last point seems to be the one the DUP are running with. Ruth Patterson claims that the mob “… knew what they were doing,” and that said mob “…was orchestrated and organised.”
This claim might hold a bit more water if she didn’t also claim that “… each and every one of them… (had)… a hurling bat in their hand,” and also if the idiots involved weren’t drunken teenagers coming from a party.
This assertion has not been verified by anyone else so far, yet has prompted at least one commenter on another site to confidently claim that the GAA are providing weapons with which to arm Nationalists as part of an ‘attempted pogrom’.
Sinn Féin’s Matt Garrett said, “There are people working hard at the Blacks Road/Lenadoon/Suffolk interface to make sure that residents can get on with their lives free from this type of behaviour.”
This is much closer to the truth than ‘the GAA are handing out weapons.’ As I said, I pass the area on a daily basis, both during the day and at night. I have seen the change in the area. I have seen the community reps at the weekends, late at night, standing alongside PSNI officers, ensuring there is no trouble between the two communities. I have watched people cross the road and talk to each other, and I have attended meetings where both sides sit down and talk, not about each other, but how to improve the area in which they both live.
I have also been on the receiving end of a brutal attack by members of the ‘other community’ in this very area, so I know, first-hand, how much the area has changed.
The thugs who carried out this pointless, sectarian, hateful crime, should be found and punished accordingly. The Blacks Road/Lenadoon/Suffolk interface is a good example of how dialogue between the two majority communities in Belfast can be positive and productive, and this instance of drink and drug-fuelled hatefulness from a group of people too young to know what it was like when things were really bad here should not be taken as the standard for the area.
Matt Garrett also said, “It is not representative of the people that live in the area and I would say a lot of those involved are from outside the area.”
I agree with the first part of this statement. Nowadays, an incident like this isn’t ‘…representative of the people that live in the area’. However, saying ‘…a lot of those involved are from outside the area’, seems to ignore the fact that some of those involved are from the area in question. It is these individuals who need to be targeted here (figuratively speaking, of course). They are the ones who need to be shown how this area once was, how it is now, and how easily they could bring it crashing back to the bad old days. A few smashed windows and a couple of damaged cars do not a ‘pogrom’ make, but it only takes a finite number of snowflakes to cause an avalanche…