180 1 min 9 yrs

Loyalist/Unionist protests continue in Belfast over the flag issue.  Reports of firing on the police have been made and things don’t seem to be dying down. 

I support the right of anyone to protest anything they wish.  If they want to protest the failure of flying the British Flag, a Pirate Flag, a Quilt or a their underwear (the whites, Dude) then by all means.  However, I don’t support violent protest and I trust the decent people will prevail.  To much has been gained in NI to allow the radical fringe mob types from any sector to cause havoc.

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180 thoughts on “Flagholes

  1. david vance supports them despite the violence. what was it he said to one person on twitter…don’t bend the knee. to me that reads like encouragement….

    but 7million so far is the cost of these protests, so loyalists are making the place an economic disaster thus finishing off the work of the provisional IRA. with the dismantling of the housing body to be announced here tomorrow, and control of housing been given from state to private housing associations tomorrow is going to be a fun filled day. housing is contentious here, no need to explain why…and mc causland won’t even be announcing it in the assembly i read, so he can’t even be questioned on it..

    continue your protests guys. business is suffering and policing budget is being spent on you and what will be left to counter the republican dissident threat…

    talk about laughable… seriously there are some confused people around.

  2. by the way mahons, firing on the police…sure they weren’t real rounds fired. imv that constitutes a breach of some loyalist paramilitary ceasefire, the uvf? but sure they weren’t real…

    and wullie frazier is for dublin on saturday. last time he went he caused a riot, and these peaceful protests seem to be ending in riots, so leinster house protest will hardly be an exception

  3. I think we all can agree that Willie Frazer has done more damage to unionism in 10 minutes on C4 than Gerry Adams or Martin McG could ever hope for,keep up the good work Willie

  4. There are a number there who are terrified of living in a normal society. They have a deep nostalgia for the Troubles or for the entirely rotten structure that existed before the Troubles and they won’t rest until they bring one or the other back.

    From London, this endless buffoonery about is about as remote a thing as can be imagined. These protesters are an embarrassment to all British people, as any who travel here will attest.

    A tip of the hat to the innocent people there who have to live through this, including the police, the small business guys who are being crushed, and the rest.

    This won’t last forever. Don’t give in to terror. No surrender.

  5. The silence on this issue here has been deafening. It’s pretty much the lead story on the news here every day!

  6. phantom, this city is on its knees economically, it needs these protests like it needs a hole in the head. To top it all off the protesters are demanding direct rule, yes you read that right, direct rule. YOu know direct rule that gave us the anglo irish agreement that sparked the ulster says no campaign! it will bring in water charges for the protesters to pay…turkeys wanting christmas.

  7. If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good

    Thomas J Watson, the late head of IBM

    Some friends have been silent on the recent and sustained eruption of Unionist flag waving violence, including the busting of police officer’s heads, which you might think that they were opposed to in some way. The criticisms from these precincts here have been only of the most bland and meaningless variety.

    I’d think that if you were against terrorism or violent protest in your name, you might at some point really say something about it, in a whataboutry free way. I hereby invite all ATW Loyalists to really let it out on this subject, without any diplomatice holdback, perhaps in a way that is not in conformity with what all neighbors think.

    I also extend an invite to Troll to comment on these matters. He comes from a police family, you might think that is opposed to the practice of cracking policemen’s heads open and trying to burn them alive with petrol bombs. He has spoken so often and from such a deep reservoir of knowledge about all Irish and British matters, that I think that he may have comments yet to be revealed that will shock us all with their incisiveness.

    Stand erect and speak straight. Look us in the eye and say where you stand, soon.

    Good night.

  8. Can you imagine the amount of whining on this blog if nationalists were rioting for days on end.

  9. The Belfast City Council should not have voted on this matter in the first place. A few days of lawful protest is understandable, but the turn to violence and causing disruption now for weeks is not acceptable. It is known who is responsible for organizing these illegal actions and the PSNI should round them up and throw the book at them.

    As the SoS has said, the damage to the image of Northern Ireland is severe. The outside world reasonably concludes that elements of both sides cannot resist having a go at each other supported by politicians with forked tongues.

  10. The violence is to be condemned 100%.

    The reasoning behind the protests remains valid.

    Rather ironic that the IRA are complaining about the economy considering that they blew the city to pieces for 30 years?
    If the PSNI have solid evidence that the UVF are involved then why are the PUP still in the Assembly? Not that i want any part of the Assembly (obviously).

  11. Last time Willie went to Dublin he caused a riot did he? So that was our fault not the rioters? The way that has been commented on you would think we were rioting!

  12. ” Loyalist ” is an honorable term, in Northern Ireland and in other places.

    Those who have been rioting, and all those who have backed them, overtly or tacitly, are not loyal. Not to the United Kingdom, not to its laws, not to its traditions.

    This is something else.

  13. Aileen — What was the purpose of Willie going to what he considers to be a foreign country and closing off it’s main thoroughfare for an afternoon? He was trying to stir trouble.

    Notwithstanding that, you’re right of course: the rioters alone are responsible for what they did. Same with these thugs that are currently rioting in Belfast. They and they alone are responsible. I’m sure you’d agree.

  14. ” Loyalist ” is an honorable term, in Northern Ireland

    It’s actually not at all, Phantom.

  15. I would have to agree with Petr, its why they inventented the term unionist and then try to claim a difference between them

  16. The outside world reasonably concludes that elements of both sides cannot resist having a go at each other supported by politicians with forked tongues

    Rather ironic that the IRA are complaining about the economy considering that they blew the city to pieces for 30 years?

    The old mantra of one’s as bad as the other and, yeah, sure the violence needs to be condemned but what about . . .

    Ah yes, Willie Frazer. The ‘victims campaigner’ who “had a lot of time for Billy Wright” who thought that loyalist prisoners “should never have been locked up in the first place”, Who had no problems with ‘Pakis’ coming from India,(sic), to kill IRA men, who had his gun licence revoked by the High Court in Belfast and was refused a gun licence because of his paramilitary associations and who retired Garda Detective Sergeant Owen Corrigan claimed was a member of the Red Hand Commando during the Smithwick Tribunal.

    Isn’t that the same Willie Frazer who’s prominant at the fleg protests and who plans to take three busloads of loyalist protestors to Dublin on Saturday?

  17. theres to be a counter demonstration from dissident republicans when wullie and his bus load of dissident loyalists descend upon dublin, so its a sure thing there’ll be bother…

    New Yorker, belfast city council can vote on any issue it likes. This is democracy, they took a democratic vote on a democratic decision but I’m sure next time they want to vote on an issue they’ll weigh up whether or not you would approve.. I mean what sort of statement is that – that councils should not vote on any issue within their remit. Lisburn counil among the rest voted for designated days and billy hutchinson who is not screaming about removal of the flag actually voted in favour of designated days when he was on belfast city council, so explain that one.

  18. hutchinson by the way has called on uvf men to desist if they are involved..its my bet he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth. It seems hes changed his mind now after voting for designated days and public consultation on it, he now wants the fleg up 365 days a year… he should make his mind up.

  19. Frazer was also talking about “the majority of the majority”in other words nationalists opinion dosnt count

  20. Aileen – Perhaps clairification is needed, I am opposed to rioting whoever it may be and whereever it may be (in Belfast, Dublin or New York).

  21. //What was the purpose of Willie going to what he considers to be a foreign country and closing off it’s main thoroughfare for an afternoon? He was trying to stir trouble. //

    I don’t think he was, Petr. They were obviously trying to grab attention, which is what every demonstration wants. But there is no sign that they were trying to cause trouble, and they consulted and cooperated with the Guards from the start.

  22. //Can you imagine the amount of whining on this blog if nationalists were rioting for days on end.//

    If it were Nationalists, several of them would probably have been shot dead by now.

  23. “If it were Nationalists, several of them would probably have been shot dead by now.”

    I don’t think David would have been that harsh on them 😉

  24. Hi Colm.

    Flying the Union Jack, flying the tri-colour ? – all genuine Irish people fly RyanAir.

  25. kateyo

    Just because a body can vote on something does not mean it should do so especially if it is likely it will lead to civic unrest. Assaying the effects of votes comes with political wisdom which is in short supply in NI.

  26. New Yorker

    That is just another way of saying that democratically elected representatives should pander to and give in to the threat of violence. It is not remotely the fault or responsibility of the council that thugs have chosen to throw bricks and petrol bombs at the police. It would not be political wisdom to cancel a properly constituted vote under threat of wholly unjustified violence, it would be political cowardice.

  27. The cause of rioting is rioters. Begin all discussion there.

    There should be zero concession to this behavior. Since all here oppose terrorism and thw like. Right?

  28. BTW, what people should be protesting about is the so-called desginated flag days, the few days of the year when the flag is to be flown.

    It was flown today because today is, wait for it… the birthday of The Duchess of Cambridge.

    Well, happy birthday, Duchess of Cambridge.

    The flag will next be flown on 20th January, as that is the “Birthday of The Countess of Wessex”!

    This is beyond parody. Who on earth is the Countess of Wessex? And how many people in Northern Ireland, Unionist or Nationalist, could say who she is, never mind when her bleeding birthday is?

    No flag for 1st July, the day the boys of Ulster were massacred on the Somme, none for VE or VJ day, to which many in NI contributed. None to commemorate the setting up of the state of NI, nor the GFA, nor day of the worker.

    What need? After all, we do have the birthday of The Countess of Wessex.

  29. Oh No Noel, you’ve just given people yet more reasons to riot 😉

    I wonder how many of our regulars, Brits and non-Brits alike can actually say (without looking it up) that they know who the Countess of Wessex is ?

  30. “No flag for 1st July, the day the boys of Ulster were massacred on the Somme, none for VE or VJ day, to which many in NI contributed.”

    But they’re included overall on Remembrance Sunday, Noel. As are men and women of the Republic of Ireland who fought in the armed forces.
    There is no special symbol for the Jewish Brits who fought either.

  31. I’m up for changing the designated days bit. How about we change it to one designated day the 30th February?

    And to be fair to her if getting Belfast City Council to fly the Union Jack helps her get over the fact that her husband is a straight as a roundabout then fair enough.

  32. I know most things Colm. I also googled it a few hours ago when I found out they were flying the damn thing.

  33. If these loyalist protesters were clever, they could deal with this issue by dragging up every minor member of the Royal family stretching as far as 3rd cousins once removed from the Queen’s great Uncle and then petition for their birthdays to be designated days. With a bit of effort the flag would soon be flying 365 days again 🙂

  34. They don’t get to set it though. It is set in England I think. And they don’t care what wee Willie thinks on just about anything.

  35. Giving into violence would be wrong, so whatever the merits of the flag display it would be a bad idea to change the decision any time soon.

    Of course I would have preferred that the “giving into violence is wrong” lesson had been taken into account during the peace process.

  36. Petr

    We were in Dublin to highlight the impact of IRA terrorism and protest about Dublin interference and for being one of the drivers for that disgusting OTR amnesty. That is not looking for trouble!

    You have been repeating your mantra about deafening silence for some time. On the thread where Cretinus Maximus aka RS was taunting me because of a physiological response to trauma a dealing silence would have been a step up from you rather than your sole response being to point out that I had insulted the moron, which was entirely in response (and a necessary release) to the taunting.

    I do not know if your “I’m sure you’d agree” is sarcastic or not and not knowing I will not presume either way. I do not find the prospect of agreeing with you terribly pleasant. However I will admit to agreeing with the statement you articulated. It is certainly an improvement on the bilge of “the blame can be laid soley at the door if the DUP and UUP” that someone else invited me to agree with!

  37. Of course I would have preferred that the “giving into violence is wrong” lesson had been taken into account during the peace process

    Or indeed when Unionists seriously introduced the gun into Irish politics in 1914.

  38. Mahons

    I have no idea where the need for your “clarification” in your 2:52 came from or why you addressed it to me. I am not the one throwing about accusations of supporting rioting.

    I have no reason to beleive you thought anything different.
    I do not believe you thought anything different.
    I never implied that you thought anything different.

    Apart from anything else you didn’t even mention Dublin

  39. Aileen – Cause I couldn’t figure out what you were referencing in your comment and I wanted to try to make myself clear. Didn’t work.

  40. Mahons

    Ah

    Last paragraph of the comment at 11:39. The reference to us (or Willie as specified) causing the riot in Dublin.

    You were already clear.

  41. Is anything clear when it comes to the cauldeon that is Northern Ireland’s politics 😉

  42. Mahons

    Kateyo said that the last time Willie was in Dublin he caused a riot. That was what I was responding to .

  43. //We were in Dublin to highlight the impact of IRA terrorism//

    Unionists up to the usual standard of intelligence and sensitivity.

    They plan a march starting at the top of Parnell Street (10 people murdered by UVF/UDR/British Army bomb), past the top of Talbot Street (14 people murdered by same joint venture, 13 of them women) and then along South Leinster Street (2 more women murdered by Unionist bombers).

    In short, they couldn’t have strung together more neatly the sites of the worst bombings to hit Dublin, and this was all “to highlight the impact of IRA terrorism”.

  44. Aileen – Ok. I’ll read up on that. Peaceful protest and civil disobedience are fine by me.

  45. Mahons

    Now I’m confused. What are you going to read up on?
    Kateyo’s comment, the attempted protest in Dublin. If the former it is at 11:39. If the latter. I thought you were about when it was on the go and discussed at the time. I am intrigued as to what you are going to read.

  46. Aileen – I am going to read up on Cyprus. I need to read about an island with less stree….

  47. I’d rather be caught up in a conflict in Cyprus. At least you could get a tan for your ‘troubles’ – pardon the pun 😉

  48. Aileen why did you involve yourself with people who are known supporters of Loyalist terrorists like Willie Frazer and other members of the ludicrously named Love Ulster movement?

  49. Submariner

    I didn’t!

    I have discussed loyalist terrorists on a few occasions with Willie Frazer and he was quite clear in agreeing with my condemnation and of all the people I know Willie is the last person to pretend about what he believes.

    The protest in Dublin was not a Love Ulster event.

  50. Aileen Willie Frazer is a known supporter of Loyalist terrorists and is on record in the media of saying so. He was also refused a gun permit by the Police due to his links with Loyalist terrorists. As for Willie agreeing with your condemnation I wouldn’t put much store in anything he says. After all we are talking about a man who claimed the other day

    “Do not allow certain elements within the PSNI and within the government to entice you into violence because there is people within the PSNI who are setting their own colleagues up. Over 30 police officers had to leave last year… because they were found to be connected to the IRA. They were setting up their own colleagues.”

  51. Sub

    You may think you know it but I know what he has said to me.

    I put great faith in Willie beleiving what he says and he is the one in the best position to know what he thinks of loyalist terrorists.

  52. So do you think the Police are wrong and the media are wrong and Willie never said on air that Loyalist terrorists should never have been put in prison./ If thats the case then you are as crazy as Willie.

  53. What is the craic with Pastor Halladay saying yesterday the protest is off, then Wee Willie telling Matt Cooper that it is still on?

    Piss up and brewery come to mind.

  54. Yep, Willie Frazer says what he means:

    like that he has “a lot of time for Billy Wright,
    that he would shake the hand of anyone who murdered an IRA man,
    and that he defends collusion between the army and Loyalist paramilitaries.

    On the other hand, there’s something sort of attractive about a guy who runs for election countless times and almost each time loses his deposit, but keeps trying, and who tries to confront MMcG in his own district and then goes off chasing after the city council of Florence no less when he hears they’ve called a street after Bobby Sands. He’s one of the many eccentrics in NI and has probably suffered more than he has caused suffering.

  55. ‘ It is certainly an improvement on the bilge of “the blame can be laid soley at the door if the DUP and UUP” that someone else invited me to agree with!’

    I don’t know if anyone ‘invited’ you, specifically, or anyone, even generally, to agree with that, Aileen. I did however put the blame on the DUP and UUP for creating the tension over the flags issue in the first place, by sending out thousands of leaflets, in Alliance Party colours, blaming the AP for a decision that hadn’t yet been made, and urging people to contact the AP about it, even going so far as to give the Alliance Party address in east Belfast. The DUP and UUP were to blame for stoking these fires and then washing their hands of them.

    I didn’t blame the DUP and UUP for the riots themselves – only the rioters are to blame there. If I didn’t make that absolutely clear before, then apologies.

    As for Willie Frazier – having someone like that be the figurehead of Love Ulster is like having Homer Simpson as the poster boy for the US tourist board.

  56. From my previous post;

    Ah yes, Willie Frazer. The ‘victims campaigner’ who “had a lot of time for Billy Wright” who thought that loyalist prisoners “should never have been locked up in the first place”, Who had no problems with ‘Pakis’ coming from India,(sic), to kill IRA men, who had his gun licence revoked by the High Court in Belfast, who was refused a gun licence because of his paramilitary associations and who retired Garda Detective Sergeant Owen Corrigan claimed during the Smithwick Tribunal was a member of the Red Hand Commando

    Either various authors, journalists & the media have got it absolutely wrong or Wullie speaks with forked tongue.

  57. He also called a Catholic primary school a ‘training ground for the IRA’, after being told it was flying an Irish Tricolour, only to find out later that it was an Italian flag…

  58. Unionists up to the usual standard of intelligence and sensitivity.
    They plan a march starting at the top of Parnell Street (10 people murdered by UVF/UDR/British Army bomb), past the top of Talbot Street (14 people murdered by same joint venture, 13 of them women) and then along South Leinster Street (2 more women murdered by Unionist bombers).

    In short, they couldn’t have strung together more neatly the sites of the worst bombings to hit Dublin, and this was all “to highlight the impact of IRA terrorism”.

    Well said, Noel.

    Not really sure why but I was a little surprised to learn that Aileen came to Dublin with the appalling Willie Frazer and his mob of ne’er–do–well sectarian trouble makers.

    Aileen — You lot were quite rightly sent packing that day. Dublin City Council and the Gardaí should never have indulged you in the fist place.

  59. You cannot expect to be taken seriously as a campaigner for victims families whilst praising loyalist paramilitaries. Only in Ulster would that ever compute. Frazer is quite rightly ignored by most.

    In better news, things seem to have calmed down around here for now. I have made my decision to ship out already though. Shame.

  60. Seimi

    You did direct it to me and it was in the context of the violence and the term was that the blame for the trouble rested “soley” at the door of the DUP and UUP.

    Willie isn’t the figurehead of Love Ulster. That was an initiative by the Shankhill Mirror and whilst it did have a couple of Love Ulster parades, the one in Dublin was not one of them. It was a Fair/victims parade. The media picked up on the LU thing as it was current at the time. A bit like how so many journalists and Internet commentators often talk about how moved they were when Gordon Wilson forgave the murderers in that first interview, despite the fact that it didn’t happen. Still many people believe that they remember it. As an aside I never really took to the term Love Ulster as, like using “Ireland” for the republic, it is too imprecise.

    On glancing down the page I see there has been some reference to the passing of a bomb site. Willie (not LU) was in consultation with the police, over the route, which was obviously constrained by the physical lay out. It was unfortunate that that was on the route (although not nearly as “unfortunate” as it having happened in the first place). However that cannot be a reason for never allowing a legitimate demonstration to make its way to seats of power.
    Laying a wreath was considered but the police wanted no stops at all along the way. Which I was quite relieved about. However it was planned that it would be passed in silence.

    Petr

    We were sent packing that day because of violence of other people and the threat to life. I can well imagine you relishing scaring many victims of terrorism, including pensioners. It is interesting that you consider such a thing as “rightly” done.

  61. It is interesting that you consider such a thing as “rightly” done.

    It is interesting that you consider it legitimate to enter another jurisdiction and close down its main thoroughfare for an afternoon at the busiest time of the week.

  62. Seimi

    Meant to add to the first paragraph “but happy to accept that that wasn’t what you meant”.

  63. //It is interesting that you consider it legitimate to enter another jurisdiction and close down its main thoroughfare//

    Petr, they are Irish people and as entitled as anyone else to demonstrate in public.

    Aileen is also right that the marchers consulted with the Guards and were always very well behaved, even when they were assaulted by thugs.
    They should have been let walk through the city in peace, and that was the opinion of the vast majority of Dubliners.

  64. The Dublin riots that were responsive to the march of the FAIR folks was wrong and rightly condemned across the mainstream Irish political spectrum, including SF’s Gerry Adams.

    Aileen – I respect you personally for your thoughtful comments and insight here. But Frazer does seem to me to be at best very one-sided when it comes to victims, and at worst a bit of a professional divider. I don’t think in light of his past public statements and actions that he’s who I’d want heading my group.

  65. As Noel said – they were well within their rights to march in Dublin and appear to have done so in a civil manner.

  66. Petr, they are Irish people and as entitled as anyone else to demonstrate in public.

    Yeah, I know that’s a common response but not the way I see it. They don’t pay tax or contribute in any way to the Irish state therefore I disagree that they should have been let close down the city centre on the busiest afternoon of the week. Also, with regard to your comment and the insensitivity of marching passed murder scenes; I think the level of contempt and disrespect for the people of Dublin and the rest of the 26 counties it demonstrated was such that that alone should have disqualified them from performing their little stunt.

    Aileen is also right that the marchers consulted with the Guards and were always very well behaved, even when they were assaulted by thugs.

    I don’t dispute that. The misbehaviour was the stunt itself.

    They should have been let walk through the city in peace, and that was the opinion of the vast majority of Dubliners.

    Most likely right; but it’s not my opinion and what I’m doing here is giving my opinion!

  67. Petr – your objection is to their message, not to their right which is the reason why we don’t want people to dictate who can say what or march for what cause.

    I am fairly certain that the EU (of which the Republic is a member) provides for the right of peaceful demonstrations, and certainly the Republic allows for civil protests. I’ve no doubt that peopel from the Republic and elsewhere have been allowed to march in NI.

  68. //They don’t pay tax or contribute in any way to the Irish state therefore I disagree that they should have been let close down the city centre//

    Petr, is this you?

    You think that the right to public assembly should be limited to those who pay taxes?
    I doubt if even Pete Moore would go hat far. Next you’ll be advocating the property vote 🙂

    No – Ireland is a republic and democratic rights are for all – regarless of any contribution to the state and regardless of nationality.

    As for the march, it may have looked like a lack of sensitivity that they started and ended at the sites of bomb attacks, with another one in the middle, but now that Aileen has mentioned it, you have to give her the benefit of the doubt that they were aware of the difficulty and tried to find a way of avoiding any offence.
    As she says, there are really few alternative routes; the centre of Dublin is notoriously a bottleneck.

    Many marches start at Parnell Square. In fact, many great things Irish started there – several famous plays first performed at the Gate Theatre, the Irish Volunteers were founded here in 1913, the Rotunda gardens are where many of the 1916 leaders were fingered for execution and where a terrible beauty was born and, many decades later, God smiled on mankind and suffered to be born there another beauty (whoever said lightening never strikes the same place twice), a little baby boy, who would be no less a boon for his country and who graces ATW with comments like this.

  69. It is a quagmire this one. I believe that FAIR have every right to air their grievances where law permits but you cannot harp on about “the south” being a foreign country yet expect an inclusive and balanced response.

  70. Mahons

    I don’t blame you for that opinion and if I hadn’t had my own conversations with him I might share them. I am not referring to any recent statements btw as I do not keep up with news to that degree. I am talking about way back. Seeing how often some (and I repeat “some”), victims of loyalist terrorism seemed happy to consort with SF/IRA in their campaigning I a) could never understand it and b) resolved never to let myself go the same way. For example, I spent several days checking out The Long March, which was another victims initiative, just to make sure there were no UVF UDA presence hidden in the background. One of the organisedrs said that there was a message from (I think) Billy Hutchenson (think someone in his family was murdered) that he wanted to join. The guy I spoke to said he didn’t ring back as “I don’t talk to terrorists”. Similarly when I was considering some victims initiative that involved Willie Frazer I spoke to people I knew and who knew him and I also spoke to him myself specifically to reassure myself about his attitude to loyalist terrorism. Whilst many people in NI (and elsewhere) can be imprecise in their language my Aspy traits mean I tend not to have that problem and my meaning and utter contempt for the loyalist terrorists would have been clear. If Willie had had a different opinion he would have had no compunction telling me. If I beleived he was actually a terrorist sympathiser I would have had nothing to do with him.

    So I am not going to pretend I think Willie is a terrorist sympathiser just because that is the cool or widespread view or to avoid critism or for an easy life.

    The issue of advancing victims issues is a very difficult one but it is important that they are allowed their comfort zones (unless the zone is specifically immoral).

    Willie is one sided in terms of his campaigning in that his focus is absolutely and totally on victims of IRA terrorism and God knows it is enough to have a focus on! It is not true as has often been said that, that he is only interested in Protestant victims. Fair has had its share of RC victims of the IRA, often related to workmen carrying out work on police or army premises. The families can have very great difficulty in accessing help and the emotional needs have aspects that are very different than say my case.

    Btw I am doing this on IPad and the window you put the text in is small and I have been hopping from paragraph to paragraph as new thoughts come. So the post in its entirety may well be a dogs dinner.

  71. Bebe

    I am not sure what you mean? Why can we not consider it a foreign country?

    Or do you mean because we think it is a foreign country why should we march there?

    FAIR were in the US protesting when Gadaffi was visiting. We think the US is foreign too.

  72. Mahons — Your point is reasonable on the face of it. The authorities will try to accommodate protests to the greatest extent possible, and this is generally to the good.

    which is the reason why we don’t want people to dictate who can say what or march for what cause

    Indeed. They went through the proper channels and were granted permission. In my view the decision to grant them permission was wrong. I made no effort at all to prevent them but was glad they were prevented, even if I dislike those who prevented them too.

    This group being Irish or not is separate question. I am neither Irish nor a republican so I come to this not with that type of agenda. All of the people who were part of this consider themselves British. Therefore it is curious that they feel entitled to enter another country and close down it’s capital city for a couple of hours.

    Also, their insensitivity re the sites that were bombed by the UVF was an absolute disgrace. A source I trust told me at the time that there were people in the group who were at the very least complicit in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

    your objection is to their message, not to their right

    Actually it’s both. But in any case, I happened to be in town on May 17 1974, and saw the aftermath on Talbot Street. I will spare you the unforgettably gruesome details. So yeah, I was against those complicit in that massacre (or possibly even the murderers themselves) triumphantly marching anywhere near that place.

    Since your own city was attacked by brutal terrorists with such devastating consequences, I hope you’ll understand my feelings on the matter, even if you disagree with me.

    It should also be pointed out that many (all?) of these people think there should be unionist majority rule in NI and that the elected representatives of the nationalist community should not be allowed sit in government. Ergo, they are not democrats. At some point you have so say we’re not going to tolerate intolerance any longer.

  73. Just to clarify incase someone makes some wild assumptions, when I said I was relieved that there woukd be no wreath left at the bomb site, it is not because I objected to a gesture of respect to the victims. I was pleased that it was being considered but uneasy about being seen to use what was someone else’s sacred place. I personnaly didn’t give a rats ass whether people in general thought that it was a cynical or even mocking stunt but I would not have wanted the victims families to think that and be distressed by it. So actually being told we couldn’t actually seemed a win win in that those of the families who would have appreciated it could take hold of the intention, whilst those who would have found it distasteful could take hold of the fact that it didn’t happen.

  74. //It is not true as has often been said that, that he is only interested in Protestant victims. Fair has had its share of RC victims of the IRA,//

    I can understand someone working only with victims and their families within the Unionist community. But it is a bit suspect that he deals only with IRA victims.

    If, say, some person of a Unionist background has a brother who was shot by the IRA, then Willie’s yer man. Fair enough.
    But he’s not yer man for that Unionist’s neighbour whose brother was shot by the UVF.

    I wonder how he’d act if someone had one brother shot dead by the IRA and another murdered by a Loyalist gang. Would be only offer that person half support?

  75. I personnaly didn’t give a rats ass whether people in general thought that it was a cynical or even mocking stunt

    That’s some contempt you hold for the residents of the city you were marching in. You genuinely didn’t care if they found your stunt mocking or cynical? What a horrendously rude guest.

  76. “We think the US is foreign too.”

    Guess you don’t like foreigners much Aileen. Well i don’t like a british flag flying in my city and now its down and gone. So the little hoodlums can stomp and fist shake all they like.. what we need is to get it down for good, why? because its a foreign flag.. hows that for not like things that are foreign…:)

  77. It should also be remembered that the neanderthals who “rightly sent us packing”, did not manage to physicality harm us, due to the efforts of the police, some of whom were harmed. Also Charlie Bird’s experience shows us way they would have been capable of if they had got to us.

    As it was, as I said, several elderly people were “rightly” scared but the other injuries should be remembered.

  78. Petr

    You contemptible ….

    Can you read? I said people in general. You are limiting it to Dublin. I do not much care in general what opinions people have about my motivation.

  79. You contemptible ….

    Ditto.

    Can you read?

    Yes. I can also write and spell.

    So ‘people in general’ excludes Dubliners now? Does you’re dishonesty know no bounds?

  80. Kateyo

    I would stop guessing. You don’t appear to be much good at it!
    Why the hell would I not like foreigners?

    The Union Flag is not a foreign flag in the UK!

  81. Aileen, I don’t have the direct quote but didn’t Willie say something daft like ‘as soon as the people got south of that border they were horrified. They won’t be back’?

  82. Given that the Republic of Ireland has always played a role in the Northern Ireland conflict- both for good and ill- it is perfectly reasonable to have staged a march in Dublin to criticise their policies.

    It is pretty bizarre to think that Dublin has a right to influence things north of the border but groups from Northern Ireland can’t take grievances with that to the streets of Dublin.

  83. The union flag is foreign to me, i live on the island of ireland aileen do you? My ancestors were here before the invader came along with its flag and turned this part of ireland into a british political slum. the north of ireland is not like the rest of britain, come to think of it scotland might vote to get out of the stink hole known as the uk..

  84. No Petr

    It does not exclude them. It was you that tried to narrow it to Dublin.

    It is grown up to care about the feelings of others. It is another matter to care about their opinion of you.

  85. For the record Aileen I support the FAIR cause but Frazer is a bigot. I know that from first hand experience.

  86. Kateyo

    What relevance do your ancesters have to do with anything!

    That is the argument of the BNP re black people.

  87. Petr- First off the FAIR crowd was not connected to any bombings in Dublin. Second, the main drags of Dublin are historical and there isn’t a place where some violence hasn’t happened (I include the GPO and of course the jewler where I bought my wedding ring on O’Connell Street).

    Indeed, if you limited nationalist protests in Belfast to places where there had been no IRA activity you’d be limiting people very much.

    As for the Island of Manhattan, if some anti-American group wants to march in protest around Ground Zero, so be it. Content should not be the consideration in determing who gets to protest where.

  88. Bebe

    I don’t know your experience and I am in no position to judge it. We have different experiences.

  89. First off the FAIR crowd was not connected to any bombings in Dublin

    You could not possibly know this to be true. I believe some people were connected. I cannot present definitive proof, so I mention it just to explain my position.

  90. Ok, if you believe some poeple were connected 40 years previously please advise the authorities. They don’t need definitive proof, just information for a lead.

  91. because aileen you are claiming the rest of this country outside the british political slum in the north is a foreign country, it is not.

    As for wullie, i think he is trying to impersonate george seawright..

    wullie is a bigot in my view pure and simple.

  92. Aileen please don’t misconstrue this as a personal attack (I am new around here and am finding my way) but do allegations of naked sectarianism and bigotry by Mr. Frazer surprise you? Really?

  93. Kateyo
    Yes it is
    And even if it wasn’t your ancestry has litte relevance unless you are of similar mindset to the BNP who talk about “ethnically British” as if that matters a damn. A bit like the mindset that is quick to presume a dislike of foreigners (not specific foreigners but just foreigners).

    The view of someone who is also of the view that he caused the riot, is possibly not one to be given much weight to.

  94. Who knew I’d stir up 116 comments on “Flagholes”?

    You never know what will capture the public’s imagination.

  95. Bebe

    I am certainly not taking it as a personal attack on me. Welcome btw. I wasn’t sure if you were a newbie or whether I just hadn’t remembered.

    I think some allegations come from hatred of Willie because he is a victim of the IRA.

    Some comes because of his campaigning against the IRA and his sticking up for their victims.

    Some comes from reporting etc and indeed misquotes.

    As I was kind if alluding to Mahons if I was only going on what I had read I may have formed the opinion he had. I also think he has read different things than I have.

  96. Aileen – I can only be glad Colm hasn’t written that my pole is clearly too small to mention.

  97. Thanks for the welcome, Aileen. The Frazer thing sticks in my craw because I had a personal experience with him but as it can’t be substantiated I shall err on the side of caution. I just think the FAIR objective would be better realized with a more articulate and level headed front person. You perhaps?

  98. Aileen – indeed.

    bebe – the sane are welcome here, but we don’t necessarily always have a majority.

  99. aileen are you seriously suggesting that talk of ancestry is not allowed under PC guidelines becase if its raised that means the person is a BNP supporter or thinks like them. Have we really travelled down the road that far?

    Of course ancestry is important, why woud it be irrelevant? You mentioned the rest of the island is foreign, how so? Aren’t there bonds of ancestry and blood lines crossing the political line. Geographically how could the rest of the island be foreign, and ancestrally how could it be foreign if division of the island is politicAL and not based on race.

    plz don’t mix your racism up with politics…

  100. Right you lot. I think it’s time I came on here and raised my flagpole, that would certainly unite you all in singular amazement 🙂

  101. Bebe

    Again I am sorry if you have had a negative experience and even more if you are a victim and didn’t get the help you need. I have seen a lot of good done by FAIR. I think it is important that victims have as many options as possible.

    Me? LOL! I have never been happy with the idea of speaking for anybody but myself. I don’t have half the energy Willie has. I can also only retain my attention on things that interest me (ADD) and they may not always coincide with the most important things.

    Willie stood down from FAIR as he saw that the attacks against FAIR and withdrawal of funding were against him and if he stood down FAIR would not continue to be penalised. So he is no longer the director.

  102. Colm

    Go and disrupt the thread where the Americans are arguing about guns. It is all way over my head.

  103. All jest aside I watched a vox pops on the streets of East Belfast on BBC midweek. The guys who were saying “aye the violence is gonna happen” could barely string a sentence together. Is it a failure of education?

  104. Bebe

    I thought on skimming the thread that I saw a comment from you about having decided to skip out but when I started this response and looked back to double check what you had said.

    If I read aright. I am sorry to hear that. I hope that if you do go you are going to some great opportunity and this was just the deciding argument.

  105. Daphne.

    The saluting slogan is “long way up, short way down”. For some reason that came to mind when I read your comment !

    Hope you are well btw!:)

  106. Colm

    Too many options

    “semi automatic”
    “both barrels”
    “negligent discharge”

    Make my day!

  107. Aileen – I moved back a few years ago from Rio de Janeiro of all places. My business is online so where I lay my hat is not a major logistical problem. The negativity is zapping the energy I have left. 😉 On a short term rental here. Single, no kids so no major hardship but I would love to have felt at home again here.

  108. Bebe

    Our posts crossed in the ether. I was referring to the smut (not you not feeling at home) as the lighter tone.

    I’m not living there and am not there at the moment, so can’t judge but is it just recently you felt the negativity or has it been a feature of your last few years?

    I think the world of work has changed a lot in recent years but some organisations can’t quite get out of the “pay for presence” mindset. Part of the focus on inputs not outputs, ie what effort and hours you put in as opposed to what you deliver. Where you are allowed to do it, it must be great to have the flexibility.

  109. Bebe

    None of my business, but if you care to say

    Where, approximatly do you now live, and where do you plan to go?

    This recent chapter has been so ugly, so stupid, so unnecessary Causing incalculable damage to the image of the place and to the economy ( immediate, and measurable goals and lost revenue are just the beginning ).

    The criminals who have taken part in these sustained riots / protests / attacks on cops and those who have supported them in any way, incl via cowardly silences, are to be condemned, not just criticized.

  110. Aileen and Phantom – I lived off Ravenhill Road in Belfast for a spell but moved back to my home town, Newry. My wee sis and her hubby and two kids still live in east BF. I left because my polish neighbours got so much abuse. Windows smashed and car covered in glue then covered in debris. I just couldn’t stop it but nor could I watch it.

    That’s when I really felt the negativity, Aileen and I am all but certain the little sh1ts that do those things are rioting. No ideology, just feral feckless youth.

    Nice to meet you Phantom btw 😉

  111. The criminals who have taken part in these sustained riots / protests / attacks on cops and those who have supported them in any way, incl via cowardly silences, are to be condemned, not just criticized.

    Hear hear.

    They know who they are.

  112. Bebe

    That is terrible! One of my brothers did the reverse. Poles came over to the UK but he went to Poland. As far as I know he never had to endure any xenophobia. Did you report it? Or did you not feel safe doing so? If you did what was the police response?

  113. Phantom – Ooops forgot to say. My next stop was going to be Madison, WI but may have to settle for London or Manchester. Having lived in both I would prefer a new experience but beggars can’t be choosers.

  114. Must get to bed as I have a long day tomorrow. Big Leadership workshop thingy and then off to Spamalot. Not looking forward to the workshops as I bet it will be spending most of the day in bright artificial light. So maybe we can carry this on another da Bebe.

    Whatever you decide to do good luck to you but I hope regardless of your geography, you stick arround ATW 🙂

  115. Aieen- Police were brilliant. The folks called it in themselves but the officers knocked my door to ask if I had seen anything. I saw the couple in each others arms weeping and that image is indelible now. Disgraceful.

  116. I have heard only the best of things about Madison, a big university town. The first winter would get your attention, but other than that, it would be all that is good and positive and welcoming about middle America.

  117. Phantom – My good lady is from NM but has property in WI. We are still at the talking stage. I think it is easier to stay in UK than it is for me to go to US. Sadly, that is what it will come down to.

  118. Hey Aileen! Other than my youngest down with the flu, life is going wonderfully well. I saw you recently suffered from the bug yourself, hope you’re feeling better. BTW, loved the diet thread.

    Bebe, forgive my ignorant questions and I wish you a warm welcome. Which political side vandalized your Polish neighbors? Is one faction more inclined than another to treat foreigners with this sort of open derision? Why would they behave in such an ugly fashion?

    Your story reminded me of a tiny, off-street, local neighborhood mosque that was repeatedly vandalized and threatened with violence in the years following 9/11. They eventually surrounded the property with high, barbed fences and employed off-duty police for round the clock security before finally caving in to years of ugly pressure with permanent closure of their place of worship.

    I’m sure the bigots rejoiced while the founding fathers turned in their graves.

  119. Madison is lovely, the winters are brutal.

    Marry her first, wait three years, have a child on american soil if at all possible then apply for a long term visa. After that, violate the visa by overstaying your visit, hire a lawyer and duke it out for another five years.

    Or you could just live as an illegal. Millions manage to do it just fine.

  120. Daphne I cannot answer because I am new and haven’t taken my gloves off…yet 😉 Suffice to say if it happened on my street this minute… No. It would never happen.

  121. Balls up! You know we street fight with brutal honesty on David’s block. Our good host doesn’t ban dissenting opinions, just people he hates.

    So….

    Who terrorized the Poles?

  122. Funny but depressing story: When I lived there in 2002 haloween ccame around and we had countless trick or treaters knocking. Every single one got sweets, loose change etc. A lid came to my door and said “trick or Treat, my da says £5 will do. You know qho he is don’t ya mister?” I didn’t but he got a toffee apple and advised to tell his ‘da’ of my address if he wished to discuss it further.

    Yup he was the angelic offspring of the local UVF commander. Priceless.

  123. I’d call that story disturbing, Bebe.

    Why would loyalists despise Poles in particular? Because many are catholic?

  124. Daphne- Poles don’t have it easy south of the border in Ireland either. You can’t imagine what passes for acceptable discussion regarding immigrants in Ireland either. Strom Thurmond would have been shocked.

  125. It can be pretty bad in other parts of Ireland as well (as others have noted). Dublin can be ridiculous for some of the stuff you hear.

    In Belfast I would be of the opinion that it is more prevalent on the loyalist side. Not that the racism will be more prevalent but the more in your face violent reactions are more prevalent. Undoubtedly there is an element on both sides that are virulent racists.

    There are two reasons though why the reaction is bigger among Loyalists. Firstly Unionism has always had a touch of a siege mentality. A “your one of us or your not welcome” feel to them. It isn’t that the Poles are catholic that is the problem. They have the same reaction with Romanians. The problem is they aren’t Ulster Protestants.

    The second more nuanced reason is they are more likely than not to have the more stereotypical openly racist. The stereotypical racist throughout most of Western Europe are uneducated, working class, white men who either worked or their fathers worked in the traditional industries (steel, shipyards etc). That type of person is more likely to be found in the loyalist community than the republican community mostly because catholics didn’t get jobs in the traditional industries in Northern Ireland. So when those industries shut down and uneducated, working class protestants could no longer walk into a job in the shipyard, or Shorts, or Mackies etc they couldn’t find work and became bitter about it. And are more likely to be the ones complaining about foreigners coming over and taking their jobs.

  126. The particular sectarianism there long predates the existence of dime store commanders from the IRA, the UDA, the others like them.

    It has gone on for centuries. Ask anyone from there. To some extent, US sectarianism/racism came from there, floating over on the boats.

  127. I continue to be amazed at the near total lack of British people working in waiter/waitress/hotel jobs in London – in a place where there is some significant unemployment. These jobs tend to be filled by Balts and Poles. ( Who are cheerful, well scrubbed, competent. )

    There are of course nice hotels and restaurants in Belfast, a place with much worse unemployment. Do locals take a lot of those , or do they think it is beneath them to greet guests, wait tables, clean rooms?

    Come back in 10 years, and some of those Poles will own some of those restaurants. There is nothing wrong with this work. Who does it in Belfast?

  128. Phantom

    There is certainly a snobbery associated with not wanting to do those jobs coupled with the fact that for many people living on state benefits, the wages paid by these jobs are not an incentive enough to come off welfare.

  129. ‘…many decades later, God smiled on mankind and suffered to be born there another beauty (whoever said lightening never strikes the same place twice), a little baby boy, who would be no less a boon for his country and who graces ATW with comments like this.’

    Ah, Noel, it could be me you’re talking about! 😉

    ‘We are supposed to accept that fags are sacrosanct now.’

    bebe – you are definitely new around here 😉 Fáilte, btw 🙂

    ‘Who does it in Belfast?’

    There seems to be a fairly healthy mix of locals and foreigners working these jobs in Belfast, Phantom. And some of the Poles can pour better Guinness than the locals 🙂

  130. But how can they fly flags without Poles?

    Very interesting, and enlightening, comment, Seamus.

    //I think it’s time I came on here and raised my flagpole//

    But Colm, if it’s the British one there are many here who’ll tell you to Jack off.

  131. Oh Noel you are very drole this morning.

    Do you think this thread is now flagging, or is it still possible to stiffen it for another spurt of activity 🙂

  132. Colm, if these rioting young men could just forget about flags and be satisfied with raising only the staff, Belfast would be a healthier place.

    Most are Protestants, and will thus remember the wise words of the Good Book:
    “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” – Palm 23.

  133. //Second, the main drags of Dublin are historical //

    Mahons, do you mean here Oscar Wilde?

    BTW, in a thread where you mention both drag and youself wearing a red wig, is this part of your new political ambition after that new women poster said there are many in the US who’d prefer to have a queen rather than Obama?

  134. Colm 1043

    An excellent reason for changing the welfare system. Change the incentives, and you change the behavior.

    My family did all that type work back in the day – nothing wrong with it. It is ideal entry level work, and can make for a decent career.

  135. Phantom

    Deespoite what government may claim, there is no serious attempts being made to deal with the bloated welfare dependency culture here in the UK. I know several individuals who simply do not work and have no intention of doing so and while they get put on various schemes and interviews every now any then, they never have there benefits stopped or seriously cut and they are satisfied with the sort of living welfare provides for them.

  136. Bebe

    I really wasn’t sure what direction you were going with the “fags” comment 😀

    Daphne
    All better thanks . Hope your youngest is on the way up 🙂

    I really hope Frank updates us on his progress. It does seem to be an interesting new way and can be approached with a bit if scientific rigour. It’s not like a weightloss forum where you woukd be popping in to respond to Hilda who is in bits because she has just devoured an entire raspberry pavlova with double cream, with cyber hugs and encouragement and then traipse over to another thread to celebrate Jenny having finally managed to do up the zip on the jeans she wore 20 years ago, 😀

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