Posted By: July 24, 2013


Brian Feeney. Irish News ( Belfast). Wednesday, July 24, 2013
MONDAY week ago the UVF threw four blast bombs at police from a street in east Belfast. Earlier so-called dissident republicans threw a nail bomb at police on the Crumlin Road at Ardoyne. The differing reaction to the two incidents perfectly illustrates the lop-sided view politicians, and particularly unionist politicians, have of violence here. No sooner had the dissidents’ nail bomb exploded than DUP man William Humphrey was out of the traps condemning it, you know, your man who would make an ass of himself in the assembly the next day claiming people from Divis threw the statue of the Virgin Mary on a Shankill bonfire. Where was he when petrol bombs, golf balls and ball bearings were flying at police on Woodvale Road the day before? Our proconsul, or someone in the NIO on her behalf, said the nail bomb was “a deplorable attack on police”. Even Mr Personality Plus, the Labour shadow proconsul, issued a statement condemning the attack. A PSNI superintendent also referred specifically to the attack. Now cut to those UVF blast bombs thrown from Pitt Place at police. Do you remember any unionist politician condemning that attack that night let alone mentioning the UVF? Any statement from our proconsul or from her statement-writing minions in the NIO?

As for the PSNI, they simply included a reference to the blast bombs in a general report of incidents that night alongside petrol bombs and general rioting. It’s par for the course. The NIO and unionist politicians, which includes the proconsul, are obsessed with republican violence even though it pales into insignificance beside loyalist violence, especially this year.

They attach enormous importance to the slightest manifestation of dissident republicanism while ignoring the biggest threat to peace, loyalism. How many premises were raided the night after the UVF blast bombs were thrown? How many men arrested for questioning? You’ll find the answer is none. Yet the PSNI knows perfectly well who the UVF are and where they live. Not only that, they regularly meet east Belfast UVF leaders in their daylight role as ‘community workers’ to discuss how to police the violence the same east Belfast UVF ‘orchestrates’ in the PSNI description.

DUP politicians regularly meet the same guys in east Belfast’s £21 million community centre to arrange for cash to be delivered to the districts they run and where they sell their drugs. Crazy, isn’t it? DUP dinosaurs like Edwin Poots and Gregory Campbell seem to spend ages poring over republican websites searching for tasty T-shirts and militaristic paraphernalia for sale so they can demand

their removal and, altogether now, ‘call on Sinn Fein to condemn them’. Curiously they never seem to devote any effort bothering about the websites of loyalist bands expressing their admiration for the UVF and UDA and showing banners with the names of sectarian killers on them. Ever heard Poots or Campbell calling for a UVF-supporting band to remove pictures of armed UVF men or obscene photo-shopped pictures of the Pope or Catholic clergy? Poots though, can get worked up about republican chanting at a football match miles from his constituency. Yet DUP politicians resplendent in their Orange collarettes are content to march along behind such bands. Have a look at the website of the Pride of Ardoyne flute band which played a leading role in the Orange protest attended by, among others, Nelson McCausland, on Saturday.

The way unionist politicians concentrate on any republican activity, however miniscule, but seem to turn a blind eye to loyalist activity in their own constituencies or even excuse it as ‘justifiable anger’ may not be surprising given their record over the years. However, for the NIO still to be advising the clueless proconsul to take a similar approach is completely unacceptable. If the PSNI can say the UVF orchestrated many of the flag protests and can watch the UVF taking over the Orange protest at Woodvale surely it’s the duty of our proconsul to issue a statement about the malignant role of the UVF in unionist society? Her excuse would be that since such matters are for the overmighty county council at Stormont she doesn’t want to interfere. Why then is it always essential to interfere if it’s republicans?