View Full Version : Loyalist mobs terrorise first day schoolchildren!

4th Sep 2001, 03:06
I've just spent an evening watching coverage of a news story from Northern Ireland that has sickened and disgusted me beyond words. And that's pretty hard to do to maxalt!

A Catholic girls primary school in Belfast has become the focus for a baying mob of Loyalist animals (that's the only way I can describe them) who turned the first day at school for a hundred or so little girls into a nightmare of taunts, abuse and physical violence.

We're talking FOUR YEAR OLD GIRLS here.
These kids were forced to walk a gauntlet of spitting, swearing, bottle weilding b***ards, even old women joined in the abuse!

I don't think the world has witnessed the like of it since Alabama in the fifties or sixties.

Any of you guys or girls out there who are parents, can you imagine having to see your child go through what was witnessed on TV screens today? How would you feel? How would you react?

Personally, I now understand why sometimes ordinary people are led to commit murder.

Have these people no shame whatever? Are they lunatics? This event was nothing less than child abuse perpetrated in public by a whole commuity against a bunch of small girls! And witnessed by the world!

These people call themselves LOYALISTS. Loyal to what I ask? They are led by a political ethos that roars hypocrisy. Their politicians have whipped them into a fervour of indignation over (their unwanted) reform of the police force in N.I., and yet we see them petrol bombing and attacking that very same police force because the officers attempt to stop them getting their hands on a defenceless bunch of kids.

When will the British public finally come to realise that what they are dealing with in Loyalism is a headless monster which is running amok in NI, and using the cover of 'Britishness' to mask the true nature of it's purpose...which is nothing more than blind sectarian hatred of the type seen most lately in the Balkans.

If the British don't start to slap some sense into this monster, there is going to be continuing mayhem...backed by the British Government, thanks to their refusal to face facts and do the necessary.

Stop shoring up institutionalised racism and sectarianism in the North.

Set a date for withdrawal.

Tell the 'Loyalists' to sink or swim by that date (they'll soon wake up)...and then get the hell out of Ireland where you should never have been in the first place.

I'm mad as effin' hell!! :(

4th Sep 2001, 03:39
maxalt, I saw those same scenes and was sick with disgust to see those small girls crying their eyes out, terrified and bewildered.
Now I'm no huge fan of republicanism, but I can safely say that you would never get Catholics in the North behaving like that towards young Protestant girls.

I don't know if you've seen the Irish Times recently, but there have been letters from British citizens from the mainland basically saying what you are, that it's time the British got out of the north. Apparently this sentiment is growing among the British as they see that they really have nothing in common with these so called loyalists. They wince in embarassment at seeing grown men marching down the road in bowler hats and orange sashes celebrating a battle 300+years ago and doing it in the name of the Queen and Britain and coming out with all this other paranoid rhetoric and guff.

But then again, would the Republic really want the North and all it's problems?

Bally Heck
4th Sep 2001, 03:51
Max Alt.

Agree almost 100% with you. The whole thing was thoroughly disgusting. The bit I don't agree with is the singling out of loyalists. I have no axe to grind with anyone. Loyalist, Catholic, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or even like me, none of the above.

The problem is tribalism and I suspect in this case a bit of inbreeding. It happens everywhere.

The "United Kingdom" is undoubtedly one of the more "civilised" countries in the world, along with most of it's European counterparts. However, every nation, or part thereoff has it's malcontents. Sometimes for good reason, and sometimes not. It is sadly, part of the human (or inhuman) condition.

Europe, Middle East, Russia, Far East, America. Women die, children die, men die. Because they are percieved asdifferent by those who kill them. At least in NI there is a bit of law and order to prevent the killing.

The point I'm making maxalt is that the bold Loyalist bit of your post, while justified in this case, is as often not justified. There are evil people on all sides. Otherwise it would have stopped 400 years ago.

Celtic Emerald
4th Sep 2001, 14:11
The whole thing has sickened and shocked me. These people are unbelievably screwed up and evil. The whole Ntn situation has sunk to new unbelievably new depths :mad:

Though if I was a parent I have to admit I'd have never subjected my child to an experience like this. OK It might mean bringing the child a longer way to school around by the Crumlin Road to avoid Protestant areas but so be it, we all have gone out of our way in times to avoid bad areas in our time.

I do not think whether the Protestants or Catholics want to prove a point that children should be used 'as the piggy in the middle'.

Those poor innocent children will be affected if not scarred for a long time if not ever by this.

Personally I hope the 'animals' who subjected thes children to this terror rot in hell. They'd be at home with the devil with so much hatred & evil in their hearts. Shame on them. :mad:

Again we can see the damage and divisions caused in the name of "religion" .


You want it when?
4th Sep 2001, 14:29
Grief what a mess. Its not really a case of English out / home rule etc.. it is just the opportunity to be really, really, nasty and then try and defend it s a political statement. If that was the Balkans or the like then the UN would be in to attempt to calm it all down (still UK forces but in blue berets). How can these people believe in the just cause of their actions?

Anyone want to start a web site of these child molesters? The headlines should be made public and kept public. What did you do granny to help the country - why I spat on a 4 year old.

The whole issue is too complex and has been discussed too often here with no resolution.

Ireland for the Irish? OK, I'll pay my subs for that - its a shitty, rotten, cluster fu*k, mess and I don't see why the UK should have to put up with it - or be blamed for it.

4th Sep 2001, 15:15
I'm totally with Bally Heck on this one.

What these people did to a bunch of kids trying to go to school was utterly dispicable. It is not politics, it's not even terrorism, it's shear hatred. Let's forget about Loyalist/Nationalit/Catholic/Protestant/whatever else anyone says they stand for. To treat kids like that is simply inhuman.


4th Sep 2001, 15:27
Hard to know who is worse, those handing out the abuse or the parents who are prepared to let their children face the abuse to prove a point.

4th Sep 2001, 15:54

"When will the British public finally come to realise that what they are dealing with in Loyalism is a headless monster?"

We don't want the irrelevant bowler-hatted dinosaurs either, mate (most mainland Brits are sick to the back teeth of of both sides' extremist contingent). However, it has to be said that the Republican side also has little to brag about (incessant self-congratulation, moral high-ground clambering and blaming the UK Govt. when anything goes wrong - the Republicans' favourite cop-out) - how about them actually getting rid of some of their guns instead of prattling on about it?

Apparently, it was alleged that there were several senior Republican paramilitary figures attending the scene yesterday, with no connections whatsoever to the school in question - not that that in itself justified what happened, but perhaps it was what fuelled the fire in the first place?

All sensible parties are pursuing a long-game UK exit strategy (which whilst being the right thing to do will ultimately be to the disadvantage of the Loyalist "cause") in NI, and you know it. So maybe Loyalist unrest will have to be factored in and handled for some time to come. They need to be encouraged, not provoked.

The problem in my opinion is not so much the politics (a workable solution agreeable to most moderates and the electorate is already in place and the political will appears to be there too, apart from with the loonies); it's the reluctance at both extremes to give up thuggery, petty territorialism and organised crime. Therein lies the problem.

I have to agree with you however that yesterdays terrorising of those poor little girls was sickening, pathetic and cowardly.

WxJx :mad:

[ 04 September 2001: Message edited by: WeatherJinx ]

4th Sep 2001, 16:16
Weatherjinx you say,

how about them actually getting rid of some of their guns instead of prattling on about it?

Having witnessed that last night, if I was an IRA man and a parent, I'd be keeping my gun too.

Apparently, it was alleged that there were several senior Republican paramilitary figures attending the scene yesterday, with no connections whatsoever to the school in question - not that that in itself justified what happened, but perhaps it was what fuelled the fire in the first place?

So abusing children is OK if you are egged into it by the kid having brought it's community workers along? This is the spin that the Loyalists wish us to believe...that everyone who harbors a political view opposite to their own is an IRA man. I guess I'd be one too then, huh? Probably makes me a 'legitimate target' and all, doesn't it! :mad:

Don't try to derail the argument. Muddying the water is one of the best defenses these scum have. I listened to their representatives excusing the behaviour because 'Nationalist thugs' attack the Protestant area at night. BOLLOX!! If you break my window, does that entitle me to go around and abuse your 4 year old daughter? Get real!

I have to laugh at you description of Nationalist politics as being 'self congratulatory', or whatever. Who could help but be proud to stand up to them? They and their forebears treated Catholics as second class (no...make that fifth class) citizens
for hundreds of years, if you don't know the history you are ignorant.
So now that their little world is falling apart they are doing what all bullies do...picking on the very weakest in the society to ram home the point of their superiority.

The long-exit strategy you describe would be over tomorrow if the British Government so wished it.

But all the letters to 'The Times' aren't going to make a damn bit of a difference, because the establishment is too concerned with maintaining the protestant unionist veto.

[ 04 September 2001: Message edited by: maxalt ]

4th Sep 2001, 16:25
Luckily, I didn’t see the TV broadcast…..

But read the piece in today’s “Independent” at work….

I seem to recall that there have been a few of these school-type incidents over the years.

Looking at the ‘Big Picture, I must say that I’m coming round to the ‘Pull out and let the dice fall where they may’ argument.

It seems to be an unsolveable problem, and it’s not as if we need to keep control of NI. I don’t see any ‘Vital British Interest’ to keep hold of there, certainly one that justifies keeping so many troops there.

1. It’s not a mid-ocean staging post like Ascension or Diego Garcia.

2. There’s no Oil or other resources there.

3. I don’t see that the UK will ever be overrun by them… :D

We’ve just about given up on our empire. We no longer own India, Canada, Australia, most of West Africa etc…etc…
Belize is no longer even a protectorate!

In fact, it now consists of the Falkland Islands and NI…. :D :D

If we pulled out:

1. No British troops get blown up.

2. We save lots of ££££££ to go on “skools ‘n’ ‘ospitals”…..

Let the sun finally set. Our image abroad could hardly be worse if we pulled out than it is now. The USA recovered from it’s Vietnam pullout fairly quickly.

Hand over to the UN – we do it in the Balkans……

4th Sep 2001, 16:26
I'm aware of the history, alright - I was merely suggesting that it might be a good idea (for both sides) to move on from it... it and religion are the root cause of too many of the world's ills.

You may also have noticed that I wasn't disagreeing with your sentiments - but pointing out that there might have been more to yesterday than you were willing to mention.

Oh, and 'Community workers'??!! That's the first time I've heard them called that (usu. 'gun-toting knuckle-draggers' - Loyalist or Nationalist) - and you accuse the other side of spin!

(anything but ignorant)

[ 04 September 2001: Message edited by: WeatherJinx ]

4th Sep 2001, 16:29
I'm with Bally Heck 100%. I was staggered by the coverage. The poor little innocent kids don't know or need to know anything about this mess - all they wanted to do is to go to school, meet new friends and have some fun. The adults involved should be ashamed of themselves, and I would say the same no matter which side was involved.

They are idiots, the lot of them.

Solutions? I really, I am afraid to say, do not know the answer. Speaking as an annoyed father of a 6 year old.....


4th Sep 2001, 17:10

Why do you insist on bringing politics into this issue?

It is not relevant that that the mob was Protestant, nor that the kids were Catholic. The history of how Protestants treated Catholics hundreds of years ago is not relevant. What is relevant is the way these people behaved this week - the manner in which they behaved was not acceptable in a civilised society, regardless of which side of the political fence they fall on.

From reading your posts on this subject, you seem to be trying to turn the issue into an anti-Loyalist rant. You are right to be angry at these people - not for their Loyalist beliefs, though, but for their actions outside the school.

For you to use these kids' traumas to further your own political agenda, to me, puts you only one step up on the ladder from the mob outside the school.


4th Sep 2001, 17:32
What goes through these people's minds as they hurl abuse at children - claiming that they do not have the right to walk through a particular street to school. What hallowed ground, what sacred soil is this that mustn't be sullied by the shoes of such hardened criminals as 4year old girls.

What sort of message does this send from Ireland to the rest of the world - that they would rather terrify children than give way on anything. Neither side has any cause for congratulating itself on the moral high-ground - they each have their share of 'loyal followers' who would justify any outrage as being the result of some infringement of their rights.

Its time to let the Irish sort out their own problems, time to let them grow up and act like mature adults instead of the squabbling children, who seem unable to see that they do themselves far more harm.

Frankly I dont care who treated whom as second-class or worse - it's time they all grew up and realised that unless THEY STOP, there is no end.

I'm sure that the majority of Irish are equally horrified by what's going on, but don't seem to want to put a stop to it. It shouldn't be the responsibility of armed riot police to protect primary school girls wanting to go to school. Get real - how long before one of them is injured or killed in the name of this lunacy.

Is the price being paid worth it? In 20, 30 50 years time will the same scenes be played out with a new generation of hate-filled separatists.

Yes, I think you'll find that a referendum in Britain would be in favour of a unified Ireland.

4th Sep 2001, 18:05
Well said! With you 100%. Despicable behaviour which shows what the Northern Irish Protestant extremists are really like despite their claims to the contrary.
I'm a Christian (and a Protestant.) These people's views have nothing in common with Christianity. It's pure evil hatred.
You obviously don't let the facts (wich were there for us all to see) get in the way of your prejudices. What bigoted twaddle.

4th Sep 2001, 18:17

I don't believe I have any prejudices. I would feel exactly the same whether this mob of semi-humans were Catholics or Protestants.

However, I don't feel that a thread on the abuse of 4-year-olds is the correct place to air your political views.

I'm sorry if I have my priorities the opposite way round to you.


The Guvnor
4th Sep 2001, 18:25
I think we've seen a watershed in Northern Irish politics. Prior to this disgraceful - and disgusting - incident, the Unionists had the upper hand thanks to the IRA refusing to hand over their arms other than to say that they will put them "permanently beyond use" which as far as I am concerned is acceptable.

That 'moral' upper hand has now been completely lost, in my opinion; as the so called 'loyalists' have shown themselves to be no better - and arguably much worse - than the Republicans.

Ideally, what should happen now is that both Dubin and London should force a settlement on them and wash their hands of the whole thing.

From today's Scotsman:

A Belfast girl's first day at primary school

ANY little girl’s first day at school is a daunting experience. But it is only here in Northern Ireland that the first-day kids must run through a narrow corridor created by policemen in full riot gear and heavily armed soldiers, dodging spit, stones and the foulest of abuse.

Shauna McAuley is just four years old, a Catholic. She was one of those who yesterday had to run the gauntlet of hate through the 200-strong screaming crowd to the Holy Cross Girls’ Primary in the bitterly divided Ardoyne area in north Belfast in scenes reminiscent of Alabama in the deep south of America 40 years ago.

Police cleared a path through the frenzied bigotry of the crowd to allow them to reach their school desks for the first time. With no solution to the sectarian dispute any nearer, the girls face a second day of trauma today for many parents are determined to reject an alternative route that would avoid the staunchly Protestant area of the Ardoyne Road.

The loyalists here have their grievances. They claim they have been unable to reach the local library, that OAPs have not been able to collect their pensions at the post office, and that the dwindling number of Protestant homes have been the target of republican attacks.

The loyalists feel threatened because of the increasing number of Catholics in the area and their increasing confidence. By their antics, they played right into the hands of their critics, with children unwitting pawns in sectarian strife.

At the end of last summer term, the loyalists decided that until their demands were met, the Catholic children would not be allowed to walk Protestant streets to their school. They could go the long way round. But many parents refuse to do so and Sinn Fein sees it as a civil rights issue.

Three months of talks with each side blaming the other for intransigence fell on stony ground. Yesterday, hundreds of police and troops moved in shortly after dawn to ensure the children could get to their school by the shortest route.

The negotiations never had any chance of success. The summer saw daily clashes in the area and a growing number of loyalist pipe bomb attacks, mostly on homes.

Jim Potts, of the Glenbryn Residents, speaking for the Protestants, said: "This is a loyalist area. Why was a Catholic school ever built here in the first place? What the British government should do is build them a new school in the Catholic part of Ardoyne. That would solve this problem."

But for Shauna’s mother, Gemma, it was all too much. "We have been dreading this day all summer," she said, after she had carried her child at a run into the school. "We thought we knew what was coming but nothing prepared us for what actually happened.

"Shauna was in tears all morning and she just went to pieces as I was carrying her in. I never heard insults like it in my life and they were being directed at my daughter. She hasn’t been brought up to hate anybody."

Now Gemma says she will find another, safer, school. "I hate giving in to the bigots but I have my child’s safety to think of.

"Even if they do get into the school safely, who is to say that some madman, full of hate, won’t come along next week or next month or next year and blow the school up with all the kids inside?"

Even after the 60 or so children had managed to get through the doors, a hail of missiles, bottles, fireworks and stones rained down in the school grounds and the already terrified children dived for cover under their desks even before they had a chance to open their new books.

Emma McGann was another starting school alongside Shauna for the first time. The little girl said: "It was really, really scary. I thought they were going to hurt me and my mummy. I think I might be too scared to go back if it’s like this all the time."

And her mother Isabelle said: "When I took her down last week to get her uniform, she started crying in the shop saying she was so scared that she wanted to go to another school.

"She cried all summer because she was afraid of what was going to happen and it was even worse than she had feared."

There were further clashes between police and loyalists after the children had been taken away without further incident amid a continuing heavy security operation.

One woman was taken to hospital when she was allegedly felled by a police baton.

And groups of nationalist youths also fought with police who had moved in to stop them attacking buses carrying Protestant schoolchildren past the fringe of the Catholic area.

A strong force of police and army remained on the streets as tensions stayed high with sporadic outbreaks of stoning from both factions, aimed mainly at police.

The police operation was criticised by both sides.

North Belfast MP, Nigel Dodds of Rev Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party, met with RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan.

Afterwards Mr Dodds said: "We voiced the anger and frustration that is felt by many people at the heavy-handed tactics."

Other loyalists said local residents had been hemmed into their homes by the police and army presence, and that Protestant children had been unable to get out to go to their schools - a criticism usually voiced by nationalists when controversial Orange parades are forced through Catholic areas.

They also claimed that prominent republicans, including known IRA members, had been close to the school even though they had no children going there.

The nationalists - many of whom are totally opposed to the RUC - said that the police should have been there in greater numbers and should have created a wider exclusion zone for the safe passage of the children.

Father Aidan Troy, chairman of the board of governors of Holy Cross said: "I was outside the school at 7am and I couldn’t believe the torrent of abuse that was directed at me.

"And it was even worse when the children were being brought in.

"How will that affect them for the rest of their lives? An experience like that is bound to leave scars that will last for ever."

After witnessing the degree of the hatred aimed at the children, Fr Troy decided to ask parents to use a much longer alternative - Catholic - route until the issues have been fully resolved.

"How can you possibly try to teach children anything when they have just had to run a
gauntlet like that?" he said.

Ted Oliver In Belfast
Tuesday, 4th September 2001
The Scotsman

4th Sep 2001, 18:34
Several points:-

1) The "Senior Republicans" present were, I am reliably led to believe, were Martin McGuinness (Education Minister for the province) and an assistant.

2) The mob were baying such accusations as "Fenian Bastards" at the girls. Since when did a 4-year old have sufficient political awareness to be a "Fenian"?

3) I have no doubt that part of the theory behind this disgusting display of sheer evil is linked with the Garvaghy Road march, a catholic area that the Orange Order were prevented from marching down. If so, there is no parallel between the Orangemen being prevented from triumphalist and intimidating displays in a catholic area and children attempting to walk to school.

4) Drag todays children into the hatred and bigotry and you prolong the hatred and bigotry for another entire generation.

5) What conceivable history could kids this age have been involved in, what is their guilt that they should be involved in this?

Yes, I am a sympathiser with the cause of a United Ireland, although I have no sympathy with the methods of the IRA. However, in a huge effort to view this impartially, I cannot remember, nor can I conceive, any instance in which catholics/republicans/nationalists have behaved in such a despicable manner to protestants/loyalists/unionists. I am very pleased that, so far, there have been no reprisals in kind.

This is one of the most sickening, and self-degrading actions to which the prod mad dog tendency have ever lowered themselves.

I am sorry that Tartan Gannet is no longer among our number. As a (generally) reasonable man and a prod supporter, I would have been interested to hear his views.

4th Sep 2001, 18:35
....and One World....you reckon Australia is a country with problems. Ok :D


4th Sep 2001, 18:40
Dead right Hug - they are just kids.

How can a four-year-old be a Catholic? or a Protestant? or have any meaningful belief system at all, beyond the love of their parents and their (now shattered) trust and expectation that the World is going to be a nice place ?

Nothing but race hatred. The real tragedy is the lesson that's going into these innocent young minds. How on earth are the poor children going to learn any better ?

4th Sep 2001, 18:47
Well said, Grainger.

4th Sep 2001, 19:17
Most people in NI, Ireland, Scotland, Wales
and England etc are sick of these incidents..

Its all so childish anyway. The adults in these incidents are in my opinion low on
grey matter. This is miiiiii road not
youurss soooo theeere. They should ban
the words catholic and protestant in NI-
- what's the difference its all the same book!

They should grow up and move into the 21st century.

Now where was my bowler hat, my flag
and my drum.

4th Sep 2001, 19:34
As a Protestant living in Belfast, I was horrified and sickened by the scenes of verbal abuse and violence outside the primary school. It begs belief that in 2001 there are still people who are so willing to cling to such hatred, whose mindset can be described as nothing more than neanderthal.

I can't emphasise enough though, that these animals do not represent the vast majority of decent living British citizens in Northern Ireland. Many of us of course hold political views, but as FlyingForFun suggests, this was nothing more than inhumane hatred, a million miles from the politics we would love to see exercised in Northern Ireland. Yeah Velvet, we are horrified by it, and believe me, we do want to do something to stop it. Isn't it a bit selfish though to say that it is time to let us sort out our own problems! There were Northern Irish soldiers who gave their lives fighting for Britain between 1939 - 1945, who would turn in their war graves at such sentiment.

Maxalt suggests they are led by a political ethos that roars hypocrisy, and certainly there are politicians and public figures who undoubtedly fan the flames. But lets not forget the politicians who are working tirelessly to bring an end to the scenes broadcast last night, politicians whom I have personally witnessed break down in despair at the likes of last nights violence. Their's is not an agenda of one-up-manship, it is one of peace, where men, women and children of any religion or tradition can walk up a road, whether it be to school or to church.

There are thousands of 'loyal' citizens here, and it is not just a simple matter of the UK dumping Northern Ireland at any given opportunity. We are more than figures on a boardgame! Surely we should not all be tarred with the same brush as those who demonstrate the nightmarish behaviour as seen last evening.

I am moving to Bournemouth in October to begin ATCO training with NATS, and it saddens me to be leaving Northern Ireland. It is a beautiful country, and for the vast majority, full of fun loving and friendly people. What saddens me more though, are the mindless element who insist on trying to ruin it for the rest of us.


4th Sep 2001, 19:52
Russ, I have to agree most with your final paragraph. I spent some very happy years in the province. I was back there briefly a couple of weeks ago, and it brought back to me how much I miss the place.

However, given the entrenchment that we have recently witnessed of such vileness, such hatred that some of your compatriots evidently hold for KIDS, for heaven's sake, what reaction do you expect people on the mainland to have? Given, further, that billions upon billions of taxpayers' money has been spent, that soldiers and police (and civilians) have been murdered by both sides, and that we can see no end to the entrenchment of opinion in some quarters?

I'm not saying I agree with the "cut them loose" suggestions. I can, however, understand why people are making them.

What would be a fit punishment for the sick, evil people involved in the Ardoyne? How about bringing back the pillory? Put them in the stocks in Donegal Square. I am sure people could lay their hands on a few rotten eggs, overripe tomatos and other obnoxious items (used condoms, perhaps? :D). Let the RUC ensure that nobody throws anything dangerous at them, and let them be the butt end of what they have inflicted on others for a couple of days.

4th Sep 2001, 19:53

It seems to me that the tragedy of NI is just that. According the strict teaching of Rome, these children ARE born Catholics and will remain so even though they may not have any faith in God at all. By definition, if you were not born a Catholic, in such a polarised society, you must be a Protestant regardless of your actual state of faith. (Just as UK hospitals will write C of E on your paperwork if you tell them you are an aetheist). Surely it is this mindless acceptance by the masses that they are what they are born that drives the fear and hatred of the other. This is surely compounded by the teachings of Rome against contraception which ensures that the one side will inevitably grow bigger than the other. On the other side you have the rantings of the likes of Ian Paisley which try to glorify the attrocities of protestants as the “fight against evil”.

As a Christian who dislikes both institutions almost equally, I am afraid to say that the only hope I can see for the province is the emergence of an attractive secular party (or leader) which would capture the hearts and minds of the mindless (or should I say faithless) masses and the many of good will. Unfortunately, the only historical precedent I know for this is totalitarian communism. As we have seen in Yugoslavia however, the disputes will re-emerge even after 50 years.

On the more hopeful side, I do remember feeling a similar despair over Apartheid and was totally surprised when that collapsed so quickly. Perhaps NI needs a Mandella.

4th Sep 2001, 20:24
I too have my own opinions about that aspect of the Catholic church but this is neither the time nor the place. Whatever the background there is no excuse for such evil behaviour towards innocent kids.

I was in Berlin in 1985 so it was a major relief to see the pictures of the Wall coming down. The difference though was that the rapid changes in Berlin and with the fall of apartheid were brought about by the collapse of oppressive governments. In NI the hatred seems to be so deeply ingrained into the people themselves that it is hard to see the way out of it. As you say, a Nelson Mandela figure is needed - but who would be able to appeal to both sides ?

I hate to be so pessimistic but just cannot see a solution at the moment. :(

4th Sep 2001, 20:29

1) The "Senior Republicans" present were, I am reliably led to believe, were Martin McGuinness (Education Minister for the province) and an assistant...

I choose my words carefully. When I said that there had been allegations of a presence by senior republican paramilitaries, I meant just that. I was not referring to Martin McGuinness, an elected Minister.

Although I feel just as strongly as anyone else about what happened here, I think that more than one of our number are using our outrage to promote a political agenda.

Virgin -is FFF really a bigot because he disagrees with you?


[ 04 September 2001: Message edited by: WeatherJinx ]

4th Sep 2001, 20:30
No, pulse, the vast majority of them are NOT catholics, in the sense of their parents being practising the faith.

You are, however, partially right in that which side everybody else sees them on is decided for them.

Red hair? It's decided.
First name Billy? Decided.
First name Patrick? Decided.
Primary School - King William's Primary? Decided.
Primary School - Sacred Heart Primary? Decided.
Address in Ballymartin? Decided.
Address in the Shankill? Decided.

All is chosen for them. Look at the words to some of the Prod songs - "The sash my father wore". Particularly on the Unionist side, everything they are brought up with reminds them every day of their lives that they consider themselves an embattled, surrounded and beseiged minority, who have to keep the faith lest they be submerged beneath a papist flood. They look on their situation as "defending the Union". On the other side, it's simply a case of Ireland never having been voluntarily a part of Britain, and wanting to govern themselves.

Incidentally, Russ, you mention "British" people over there. Not quite correct - the title of the realm is "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Ireland, unlike Scotland, Wales and England, is not part of Great Britain.

You want it when?
4th Sep 2001, 20:45
To echo FFF - This issue cannot be thought of in terms of race / religion / birth place. It should be thought of in terms of "MY GOD WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO THE CHILDREN"

That is the issue - forget religion, rights and wrongs, forget everything else. These are grown up normal people - harassing children.

In the mainland you got to prison for that even schools have strict anti-bullying rules etc... in NI it is apparently acceptable and condoned by the powers that be?

Violence creates violence, if someone took a poke at YWIW junior (3 in January) then they would have 18st of 6'3 annoyed male to answer to. If Mrs YWIW didn't take a swing at them first.

How-about a PPRuNe lead boycott of Irish products (sorry to the decent Irish types, and I'd miss the Whiskey) - behaviour such as that demonstrated cannot be considered acceptable in the 21st century.


[ 04 September 2001: Message edited by: You want it when? ]

4th Sep 2001, 21:20
Apologies for over-reacting. I'm afraid I did think it terrible that you dcescribed MaxAlt as "only one step up on the ladder from the mob outside the school".

You say this incident had nothing to do with politics/religion and tell Max "I don't feel that a thread on the abuse of 4-year-olds is the correct place to air your political views." As I read Maxalt's originating post, he was expressing views on the vile behaviour of extremists who are so extreme and mindless that they seem to think it's acceptable to terify little kids just because they are Catholics.
Of course it's about politics/religion: NOT as you, or I, or any decent person would see politics/religion, but as the extremists in NI see it. All that matters to them is their idealogy - regardless of the effects upon children. They think it's unreasonable/provocative that 4 year old children walk olong their street to school just because they're Catholic, and should be made to walk the long way around to go in by the back door!

Russ: I really want to believe "that these animals do not represent the vast majority of decent living British citizens in Northern Ireland." I accept that there must be vast numbers of people in NI who are as apalled by this behaviour as people in this country, but the "vast majority"? How do I reconcile that with the enormous support which Paisley consistently gets in the polls? Paisley is, in my view, the personification of evil - he claims to be a Christian, yet has preached hatred for years. How do I reconcile it with the way Catholics have been treated as second-class citizens for generations?

Hugmonster: I totally agree. Well put.
(PS: What's happened to TG?)

gul dukat
4th Sep 2001, 23:08
As a BRITISH CITIZEN living in Northern Ireland(huggy will that do ?)I am appalled as is every right thinking person by the baying hatred shown towards the innocent kids from the Ardoyne .I have to question a few things.

1. If the rest of the world sees the appalling behaviour of these people and the residents apparently care nothing for such opinion ,what IS the REAL problem?.
Is the fact that this school ,which has been here for years, suddenly a problem ?
Is the fact that rights of access to roads has ALWAYS been a problem ?(ask a hardened loyalist about right of access to roads in and around the province)

Is there truth in the rumour that the schoolkids are being used,as the residents/baying mob,feel by darker republican scources to make a point ?

If the kids were yours ..or mine would I walk them to school through that $hite or would I go another route ?

If the Ardoyne republican residents are so fired up about intimidation and heavy handed police activity WHY RELY on the RUC to see them through ?

As ever things here are not clear cut ...and crystal like .I, like the vast majority want to live here in peace and freedom from sectarian hatred .I was born on the Shankill Road ..so Huggy you may guess which little boxes should be ticked in my life .I am an Atheist ..and a person who thinks that the Royal Family should be shunted off (think how much we could use of THAT saving for schools and hospitals )so I suppose I am a British Republican !! not conforming to your stereotype Hug!The vast majority of us live here for the reasons Russ presented .Despite everything it is a pleasant place to live(count the cruise liners which visited this week alone ..but thats not news )
We are citizens of this united kingdom and as such OUR feelings hopes and aspirations have to be taken into account before you decide ,unilaterally ,to pull the plug.
In a land where the old barriers of no work ,poverty ,and social deprivation are being broken down it seems that people ,for whatever reason are determined to keep the pot boiling and as ever it is those less able to protect themselves who suffer . I have no answers .I doubt anyone has .

[ 04 September 2001: Message edited by: gul dukat ]

4th Sep 2001, 23:47
Boycotting Irish products? What the hell would that achieve, what have these events got to do with the Republic of Ireland? And why would it be deemed appropriate to punish Irish companies and their products for the actions of a bunch of biggoted, racist, mentally retarded animals in Northern Ireland? Get real YWIW.

GoGirl, Ireland has had this problem for over 800 years now, did you just hear about it today?

Partition in Ireland has been an absolute and tragic failure and has prolonged the North's problems to today, the beggining of the 21st century, with seemingly no end in sight.

Dave Hedgehog
4th Sep 2001, 23:50
Please, dont start flaming me, i mean this in the nicest possible way, but i think maybe one of these little kids needs to get injusred, nothing serious, just a cut from some glass, then maybe everyone can just stop and think whats going on

like i said, dont hurt me, i mean it in the nicest possible way, i wouldnt want any harm to come to kids ever


4th Sep 2001, 23:59
1. If the rest of the world sees the appalling behaviour of these people and the residents apparently care nothing for such opinion ,what IS the REAL problem?.
Is the fact that this school ,which has been here for years, suddenly a problem ?
Hardly. Why is a school per se a problem? How can school kids (unless they're up to no good) be a problem?

Is the fact that rights of access to roads has ALWAYS been a problem ?(ask a hardened loyalist about right of access to roads in and around the province)
Access to roads is not a problem. There is nothing to stop any Prod driving down the Crumlin Road, or through Andersonstown. There IS a problem when they want to hold part of a sectarian display in a Nationalist area.

Is there truth in the rumour that the schoolkids are being used,as the residents/baying mob,feel by darker republican scources to make a point ?
What point? The only point that they could conceivably make here is that what started this mess was Prods attempting to block the way kids go to school.

If the kids were yours ..or mine would I walk them to school through that $hite or would I go another route ?
That rather depends on where I live, how long an alternative route would take, and how strongly I feel about the right to use the public highway for lawful purposes.

If the Ardoyne republican residents are so fired up about intimidation and heavy handed police activity WHY RELY on the RUC to see them through ?
Perhaps because ensuring law and order and helping assist people in the pursuance of their lawful business and preventing hindrance of that lawful business is their job?

It's all very well for the Prods now to start screaming about "Senior Republicans" being present and about Nationalists wanting to "make a point" and why don't they go a different way to school... So all of a sudden it's the fault of the Nationalists? Remember the words of another song - "Lie Down, croppy, lie down". In other words, it's their fault if they get spat upon, if people get heads broken - they shouldn't have provoked the Unionists by insisting on their right to go to school along THAT road, and senior members of their community have no right to get first-hand experience, to see for themselves what's going on, rather than trusting entirely to what they read in the papers?

Give me a break.

5th Sep 2001, 01:21
1. "If the rest of the world sees the appalling behaviour of these people and the residents apparently care nothing for such opinion ,what IS the REAL problem?."
Surely the REAL problem IS that the baying mob have so much hatred towards Catholics that (a) they think nothing of behaving in such a way to 4 year olds; and (b) that they don't seem to care what the rest of the (civilised) world thinks.

"Is the fact that rights of access to roads has ALWAYS been a problem ?(ask a hardened loyalist about right of access to roads in and around the province)"
Are you suggesting that the wish of the Orange Order to march triumphantly through Nationalist areas knowing (and because) it will distress the Nationalists compares with Catholic children walking to school through a Loyalist area? Why the hell should they have to walk the long way round to go in by the back door!

"Is there truth in the rumour that the schoolkids are being used,as the residents/baying mob,feel by darker republican scources to make a point ?"
I don't know but, if it is true, then it's an entirely reasonable and valid point which the so-called 'darker' republican sources wish to make.

If the kids were yours ..or mine would I walk them to school through that $hite or would I go another route ?
I'm not sure. It would depend how strongly I felt about the issue - I suspect very strongly. But, as a number of parents said when interviwed, they expected some trouble but never in the wildest dreams did they think it would be that bad.

If the Ardoyne republican residents are so fired up about intimidation and heavy handed police activity WHY RELY on the RUC to see them through ?
Because they have no-one else. Perhaps you'd prefer it if they called upon the republican terrorists to help them.

"We are citizens of this united kingdom and as such OUR feelings hopes and aspirations have to be taken into account before you decide ,unilaterally ,to pull the plug.
Yes, they should be taken into account, but they should not be decisive. I'd be happy with a referendum either of ALL citizens of the UK, or of ALL citizens of the whole of Ireland.
"In a land where the old barriers of no work ,poverty ,and social deprivation are being broken down ..."
That is a description of how the Protestants treated the Catholics for generations - and, sadly, refelects the current views of many Prot friends/acqaintances of mine.
".......... it seems that people ,for whatever reason are determined to keep the pot boiling and as ever it is those less able to protect themselves who suffer ."
Sadly, there was little sign that the extremists on either side wished the Good Friday agreement to work - despite the efforts of their leaders.

HugMonster: Congrats on some excellent posts!

5th Sep 2001, 01:49
Sorry to be pedantic, but it annoys me to hear these loyalist types being described as Irish.

They're about as Irish, as a Scotsman is English. In fact thay would be the first to object to being called Irish!

Something to bear in mind when discussing these matters!

5th Sep 2001, 01:59
It has been said on PPRuNe before, and it will be said again:

The Irish problem is a few hundred years old and sectarian hatred is at least two millennia old.

PPRuNe has nothing to offer other than a chance to restate old prejudices.

We can't help - so why don't we try not to hinder?

5th Sep 2001, 02:40
PPRuNe has nothing to offer other than a chance to restate old prejudices.

We can't help - so why don't we try not to hinder?

Well I happen to disagree strongly with that point of view sir.

I think that Internet Forums like this have immense roles to play in the process of education, and sharing of points of view (the comments of YWIW re boycotts are an example of what I mean (and I'm not attacking you personally YWIW).

We no longer have to rely on the 'media' to give us their version of the truth (we know through experience how unreliable that is)...both sides are now there, for anyone bothered to discover the facts for themselves.

And civilised debate never hurt anyone.

There is a constituency in GB that has neither the capacity nor the desire to EVER understand Irish politics, but insist in interfering. The same constituency that was 'the backbone of Empire'. Colonel Blimp types who always 'knew' what was right for the damn natives...and bloody well gave it to them, like it or not. Possibly they meant well.

My advice to those folk now would be to look, listen, and learn. Then quietly leave!

I'm still mulling over the multitude of other points I want to make. Standby.

[ 04 September 2001: Message edited by: maxalt ]

gul dukat
5th Sep 2001, 03:33
Hug and Nom de plume ...thanks for OCB 'ing me .....I am merely repeating the ARGUMENTS that are being used by BOTH sides of this pathetic and self defeating argument .I hold no sway for the mob or the Sinn Fein councillor who tonight on tv complained that the "brits" (her words) were allowing the mob to throw ball bearings at her mob DESPITE the fact that the same BRITS /ruc GOT WELL AND TRULY ABUSED BY HOLDING UP A SCHOOLKIDS RIGHT TO WALK TO SCHOOL !!!.
The RUC have once more demonstrated what a superb and unbiased force they truly are !
I once again want to say that my post was there to point out the ABSURDITY of this whole situation ! As for croppy lie down !!! huggy give me a break ! I was born on the Shankill which for the armchair generals out there is NOT like the Riviera ! WE WERE AS POOR AND AS PUT DOWN AS OUR CATHOLIC NEIGHBOURS .When and only when REAL politics gets a foothold in this place will we see that the fight lies NOT with each other but against the pathetic mindset that has been the norm on this poxy island for hundreds of years !

5th Sep 2001, 05:14
I could spend hours sitting here typing responses to the various points that have been made in this thread, and believe me given the twisted logic of some of them it's hard to resist. But I think I'll leave it to Hug Monster, Virgin and Oneworld, 'cos they're doing a good job already.

But where does this **** come from?

Ireland is a wounded nation. It's the product of the politics of colonialism, which typically involves the gerrymandering of native populations into configurations they never would have encountered otherwise, and the attempted extermination of same (preferably by each other, through subtly encouraged intrernecine conflict where possible).

Britain did it in Africa too, most noteably in Nigeria. That country had three mortal enemies lumped together into a pseudo-state. The Ibo, the Yoruba and the Hausa have already had one major conflict since independence (the Biafra affair) and are now building up to another blowout...thanks to the advance of Islam, and Sharia law being forced on the non-muslim peoples. GB is being flooded again with asylum seekers from Nigeria. Chickens coming home to roost again.

I hate to compare Ireland to Africa. It only invites the taunts of the idiots wishing to draw 'tribal' comparisons. Northern Ireland is not West Africa. It's part of Europe. 'Irish tribalism' is a convenient and cynical shorthand used by those who want to attach some kind of sub-human label to the natives. Always useful when you want to get heavy handed with them!

The 'Irish problem' is not an Irish one at all...rather it is a 'British problem'.

The British planted thousands of Scots Protestant settlers into the land with the aim of displacing the native (Catholic) Irish. Religion actually had nothing to do with the origin of this conflict at all...any more than religion is the reason behind the Isreal/Palestine issue (which Britain also managed...how coincidental).

No, the origin was purely about territory, and power, and domination, and extermination. The religion thing is an important sub-context...but not the prime motivator.

So stop defining it as a purely religious conflict, it isn't!

Having planted those people in 'Ulster' the British Government then introduced the 'Penal Laws' which were a form of super-apartheid against the native Irish, and particularily against the Catholic Irish. They were designed to disenfranchise that whole population...made preists subject to execution on sight...banned the Irish language..banned the inheritance of property by Catholics (your son couldn't inherit the farm unless he converted to Protestantism), and razed every Catholic church in the land. The seeds of sectarian hatred were sown in these days, and to be Catholic was synonomous with being sub-human, or criminal. The people were now divided on religious lines for the first time. The haves and the have nots were defined on grounds of religion.

By the 1790's the Irish natives had been ground down for over a hundred years. Their numbers had dwindled and they were in a tiny minority. The Penal Laws were finally repealed. But freedom of religion was the limited benefit gained. You could now build a Catholic church without expecting to see it burned and your parish priest hung drawn and quartered immediately.

However you had no voting rights, unless you were a landowner...and since the Penal Laws had worked well there were few Irish of property left in Ulster.

That situation continued right through until the 1960's!

Ulster was controlled from Stormont by a cadre of Loyalist/Unionist/Protestant grandees, all with the tacit approval of the British government.

1960 isn't so long ago. I remember it! By 1969 the mood in Europe was one of revolution against the establishment (the Paris student riots etc) and this led directly to the formation of the civil rights movement in NI. A few Catholics had the guts to get off their knees and ask for...or even, the cheek, DEMAND the civil right TO VOTE! The marching cry was 'One man one vote'!

Of course, the Protestant ascendancy could see the danger in this. Catholics having a vote! Preposterous! The peaceful demonstrations were violently broken up by the RUC, encouraged by Unionist leaders like the Reverend Ian Paisley (who actually led counter marches to help make sure the croppies lay down). The anti-Catholic hysteria swelled until finally in mid 1969 mobs of Protestants...rather like the ones we see in Ardoyne today...invaded the Catholic enclave of the Falls Road and burned out the little terraced houses of Bombay Street. Dozens of Catholic families were made homeless overnight. There was no IRA before this...they had been dormant for about 20 years.

I know from contacts in the Southern Irish military that this was the nearest we ever got to civil war in Ireland. The Republic of Ireland was on alert to invade NI to prevent a massacre of the Catholic population.

That didn't happen in the end, but since the Catholics were defenceless...within a hostile state...the IRA began to regroup. It was only then that the British began belatedly to get involved again, and within a couple of years the Stormont dictatorship was shut down.

Ever since that point the average NI Unionist would charecterise the progress of the Ulster statelet as being a continual decline into a United Ireland. That they've had to make all the concessions, and they are being railroaded by the British and Irish governments into giving up their British identity. well, when you own everything it must indeed seem that you are making all the concessions!
They hanker after the good ole days when they could march their Orange bands up and down every street in the land and the taigs would hide behind locked doors without a whimper. How different it was then when the taigs knew their proper place in Ulster society...seen, not heard!

The current peace process was accepted initially by moderate prods because they felt it could stop the rot of nationalism. But since it hasn't, they now want out. They want the good ole days back again, when everybody was shooting and bombing each other...at least you knew where you stood!

So what has all this got to do with school kids in Ardoyne?

You need to know the history to know the mentality of the Loyalist mobster. They come from a long tradition of monumental domination and institutionalised superiority over their Catholic neighbours. Even the poorest prod feels an inate sense of superiority over his taig neighbour. They are fundamentally convinced that all taigs are IRA men (or women, or children!!) and deserve what's coming to them.
The Loyalist terrorists catch-phrase is 'any taig will do' and 'No Surrender'!
What they defend as their 'culture' is a culture of historic persecution and domination. They cling to 'The Flag' as their only hope against the hordes of taigs, and wrap it more tightly around them when they come in for criticism (like old Russ conjuring up the dead of The Somme). They are a community living in a kind of pathetic, but vicious self delusion, aided and abetted by the Brits.

These people are not worth the death of one single British soldier, or a single little Catholic schoolgirl. Britain owes it to them to force them out of their sleep walk and into the light of the 21st century.

I'll leave you with this.
If you really want to understand the sick and evil at the heart of Loyalism I'd like to recommend a book to you called 'The Shankill Butchers' by Martin Dillon.

Here's a review from Amazon.com

A chilling, stomach-turning study of Northern Ireland's infamous Shankill Butchers, a Loyalist gang of murderers who preyed on Belfast's Catholic population. Investigative journalist Dillon, who published this account a decade ago in Great Britain, describes the bloody handiwork of the Shankill Butchers. Operating out of Protestant West Belfast, the Butchers were members of a Loyalist paramilitary group (the Ulster Volunteer Force, or UVF), and were led by a sadistic, anti-Catholic psychopath named Lenny Murphy. Murphy would become "the biggest mass murderer in British history," according to Dillon, who details Murphy's journey from schoolyard bully to petty criminal to cold-blooded serial killer. Dillon argues that Northern Ireland's toxic atmosphere of sectarian hatreds played a crucial role in producing Murphy, who used anti-Catholic ideology as a convenient cover for his sadistic love of violence. He murdered his first Catholic in 1972, beginning a killing spree that would last a decade. Accompanied by three gang members, Murphy would typically drive through Catholic areas of Belfast at night. Once a potential victim (usually a drunken man) had been located, Murphy would abduct him, torture him, and cut his throat with a butcher knife. Murphy visibly enjoyed killing Catholics, and Dillon's graphic descriptions of several murders make for gruesome reading. (Murphy typically "hacked through his victim's throat until the knife touched the spine" or "until the head was almost severed from the trunk.") Dillon also reproduces autopsy and police reports that will have queasy readers skipping over the gory details. The Butchers proved difficult to catch because the public of NorthernIreland were accustomed to shocking levels of sectarian violence and generally refused to cooperate with police. The Butchers were finally caught when one of their Catholic victims miraculously survived, and had the courage to testify against them. Murphy was murdered in 1982 by the Irish Republican Army, his sworn enemy. A notably depressing read that exposes the horror of Northern Ireland's history.

[ 05 September 2001: Message edited by: maxalt ]

5th Sep 2001, 05:25
There's history here but no common sense. Excatly like Isreal vs Palestine. All wrapped (warped)up in violence on behalf of religion. There are no civilians.And not enough unhappy smiley faces. :mad:

5th Sep 2001, 07:57
These people have used the excuse of politics, civil rights and religious persuasion to commit violence on children. No excuse or rationalisation is acceptable for such despicable actions.

The parents of these children made a deliberate choice to subject their offspring to this terrifying experience. Their other choice was to make their children's safety a priority and go the long way round.

A safe option was available but it was rejected in order to make a political/civil rights/religious persuasion statement. No excuse or rationalisation is acceptable for consciously choosing the dangerous option.

Have these "adults" on both sides sunk so low that the safety of a child must take second place to personal grievance?

The Guvnor
5th Sep 2001, 11:16
Looks like you got your wish, Dave Hedgehog. From today's Telegraph:

Revenge threat as hit-and-run boy dies
By David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent
(Filed: 05/09/2001)

A PROTESTANT boy was killed by a hit-and-run driver yesterday in an area of Belfast that is the scene of sectarian clashes almost nightly.

A woman is believed to have been at the wheel of a car that hit 16-year-old Thomas McDonald's BMX bike and ran him over.

Moments earlier a stone had allegedly been thrown at the silver Ford Focus as it was leaving the nationalist Longlands estate in north Belfast.

The car allegedly pursued Thomas into the loyalist White City estate, mounted a pavement and struck his cycle in Whitewell Road, an area where tensions between Roman Catholics and Protestants were already high.

The RUC said that Thomas's death - three miles from the Holy Cross Catholic Primary School in Ardoyne, where there have been ugly confrontations for the past two days - was being treated as murder.

Later, a woman of 32 was arrested on suspicion of murder. Three other people, including another woman, were also arrested. Loyalists immediately threatened to seek revenge, adding to tensions surrounding the passage of Catholic girls to the school.

Later, a nail bomb and a blast bomb were thrown at police during disturbances on the Ardoyne Road. Two officers were injured and a number of shots were fired. A vehicle was set on fire.

RUC officers had earlier baton-charged loyalists protesting over Catholic children and their parents from Ardoyne being escorted to the school in the predominantly Protestant Glenbryn estate.

Samuel Blair, a friend of the dead boy's family, insisted that the hit-and-run incident, which followed a night of fierce rioting in the Whitewell area, was sectarian.

He said: "It will be an eye for an eye. There is no point in telling lies about it. We have been under pressure for so long and the RUC have been turning their backs on us. It was only a matter of time before someone was killed."

Forensic scientists were called to examine the scene where the mangled remains of the teenager's bicycle and his hat lay on a pavement in a pool of blood.

During the earlier school walk disturbances loyalists threw a pipe bomb which exploded, breaking the collar bone of a police officer.

A soldier escaped serious injury after the device, which was thrown at him, struck the butt of his SA80 rifle.

David Trimble, the Ulster Unionist leader, called the protests "appalling - there is a serious danger that the problems could spread to other schools in the area".

That view was shared by security sources - who fear the province is sliding back into widespread violence - and loyalists. They warned of a deteriorating situation which was not being helped by the "heavy-handed" police tactics.

"The Protestant community is turning against the RUC and that worries me greatly," said Frazer Agnew, a Unionist member of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Mr Agnew spoke after visiting the family of the dead boy. "This is simply going to raise tensions in the community. At the moment people seem to be bewildered by it, but there will be anger when the bewilderment disappears."

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, the Stormont education minister, said that the school dispute could only be resolved if Unionist and loyalist political leaders spoke out against the violence.

You want it when?
5th Sep 2001, 12:29
MaxAlt / OnwWorld22

OK I regret the comment on boycotting Irish products - I failed to make the differential between NI and Eire.

I'm learning from this thread (thank you all) but I'm still appalled at what is going on, and the history of the event.

I've been to Dublin and holidayed in Southern Ireland and enjoyed both visits. I've been to Belfast on business and in reality saw very little of the "troubles".

Like everyone else (I believe) we see this happening and are frustrated, it appears to me - and sorry I may have missed the point - but neither side is really clear about their objectives apart from what fun it is to kill children.

Which is very, very, sick.

Other methods exist for issue resolution, perpetuating the horror and violance and giving it a legitmate face is wrong. Offering finanicial support to the "freedom fighters" is wrong. Freedom from what?

I read in todays Times the story of the 16 year old run down on his bike on a pavement. For what and why? Better minds than those that inhabit this board have debated these issue with no resolution - do the people of NI glofiy in the killing?

BTW I included Ireland as when I was on holiday there the farmer who ran the B&B advised us not to go to certain pubs in Kerry on certain nights as the English wern't welcome.

5th Sep 2001, 13:33

Thanks for the history lesson. But how are the actions of Brits several hundred years ago relevant today?

I'm Jewish. 60 years ago, Hitler rounded up the German troops. His aim wasn't to convert my grandparents to his chosen religion - it was to wipe them out completely.

But I bear no grudge against Germans of my generation. Neither do most Germans of my generation have any issue with Jews. I have been to Germany, and met many nice people there. I work with a German girl, and since we live close to each other we often get the train together, and have become fairly good friends. She is well removed from the generation which gassed Jews to death in torture chambers. I have no desire to torture German kids for the sins of their grandparents or great-grandparents. And that was "only" 60 years ago!

What the Protestants did earlier this week was completely despicable. The history in Northern Ireland is simply not relevant. It would be despicable if there had never been any conflict in NI, it would be despicable even against the backdrop of all out war.

Virgin, you are incorrect - this is not about politics - that's merely an excuse used by the tormentors. Bringing up the issue of Scots settlers is not helpful, because the Scots settlers are not the ones tormenting kids. It's the present day Protestants who are tormenting kids - so let's direct our frustrations at them, for their actions, and not at ancient history.


5th Sep 2001, 13:37
"Thay cling to 'the flag' as their only hope against the hordes of taigs, and wrap it more tightly around them when the come in for criticism (like old Russ conjuring up the dead of The Somme)".

Maxalt, I was merely stating that there were thousands from the North, and the South, who were proud to fight alongside their English, Welsh and Scottish counterparts in the War.
Incidentally, these soldiers were of both Protestant and Catholic persuasion. I can assure you that I don't cling to the flag as my only hope against the "hordes of taigs". Naive as it may seem, I try hard not to look at the situation as 'them and us', but to what we can acheive when we work and play together.

Virgin, Paisley is an excellent constituency MP. He is very popular with both his Protestant and Catholic constituents, and hard as it may be to believe, does not differentiate between the two. He works hard for all in constituency matters, and as such continues to recieve a large proportion of the vote. Having said that, you are quite right in that he undoubtedly aggravates the situation in many of the things he says.

Hugmonster, I am aware that Ireland is not part of Great Britain, but as I hold a British Passport, I can safely assume that I am a British citizen 'over here'. To me, that simply helps to define my nationality on an application form. No more, no less! P.S. I liked your idea about the stocks and rotten fruit.

5th Sep 2001, 13:53
Max Alt,

Thank you for a most informative and thorough description of the roots of the Irish problem. A perfect way to answer those who question the value of this type of discussion in this forum.

With such a bitter history it seems that the forgiveness and reconciliation required to heal this divide is so immense as to be impossible. However, teaching and encouraging reconciliation is one of the keystones of the Christian church of both persuasions and yet I do not see the church leaders in Ireland doing or saying very much to bring it about. (Perhaps they are but it doesn’t make good news).

As Christ himself warned about the dangers of harming little children, surely this is a time when the leaders of both churches should be playing a higher profile to bring forgiveness and reconciliation, starting with themselves. Perhaps they could start by the respective bishops of Catholic and Protestant churches joining together and walking to school with the children as a symbol of unity and acceptance of each other’s value and rights.

This is one of those situations where my signature is a bit depressing but very apt. Perhaps I should change it.

5th Sep 2001, 14:07
I don't suppose anybody in Northern Ireland would be interested in my opinion as a non Irish and non British citizen of the world but I am appalled, like everybody else on this forum, at the level of degregation of human behaviour exhibited in Belfast. I only wish I were clever enough to have a solution for their problems.
To quote Eugene O'Neill from A Moon for the Misbegotten; "There is no present or future-only the past, happening over and over again-now."

5th Sep 2001, 14:13

What an excellent idea!


5th Sep 2001, 14:24
BlueDiamond (and others) criticise the parents of the Catholic children who "made a deliberate choice to subject their offspring to this terrifying experience. BD says "Their other choice was to make their children's safety a priority and go the long way round" and a safe option was available but it was rejected "in order to make a political/civil rights/religious persuasion statement."

What's the alternative - give in to the Loyalist mob?
BD accuses them of "..... making a political/civil rights/religious persuasion statement." :rolleyes:
What? By wanting to walk along Loyalist streets taking their children to school?
For heaven's sake, what would be said/done if, in England, white hate-filled racist mobs who objected to black/Asian children making their way to school along through 'white' streets?
Would you condemn the black parents for not taking another route the long way round?
Would you accuse them of "making a political/civil rights/religious persuasion statement."
If it happened here, not only would the police break up the gauntlet, but the mob would be arrested and prosecuted for (at least) making threats/racist behaviour.

If any good has come out of this, it illustrates to people in England that all the evil is not on one side - something which has been misrepresented in the British Press for years.
(In case anyone thinks it's relevant, I'm English and Protestant.)

Celtic Emerald
5th Sep 2001, 14:45

I think I'm one of the 'others' you are referring too. While I understand your point you seem not to understand ours. Of course Catholics should have a 'right' (but that is not our issue) to walk their children down the Ardoyne Road to school but everyone was aware of the danger brewing long before the incident & that the loyalists intended to target these children in revenge for past grievances. The issue is that despite knowing the dangers Catholic parents chose to subject their children to this gauntlet of hate. What effect do you think that is going to have on their little minds, there probably scarred for life.

Gees I was brought up near the infamous criminal 'The General'. I had the 'right' to walk through his estate but I knew him & his cronies were bad news so I stayed the hell out. I was also reared in an atmosphere of hate where I was used as a go between my parents. I more than most know how prolonged exposure to hatred and bigotry can affect a child.

Rights, reality, self protectism and preservation are different things.

Children also have a right to be protected from the bigorty & hatred of 'grown ups' and have their innocence protected. I fear for alot of those little children that is the day their childhood died. I fear their image of the world will be wraped permanently now because their parents were protecting' their' rights but in my opinion ignoring the effects & rights of their children by their stance against these overgrown bullies.

So far for 'Holy Ireland'. In my opinion it died along time ago.


[ 05 September 2001: Message edited by: Celtic Emerald ]

5th Sep 2001, 15:39
Yes, nomdeplume, that is exactly what I said and precisely what I meant. There were three options available to the parents of those children.

Take your child the long way around and avoid the danger.

Take your child in a calculating and deliberate manner along a route where danger is guaranteed.

Stay home and avoid the situation altogether.

We have seen for ourselves the option chosen by these loving and caring parents. Their "rights" were more important, their desperate need to show that they were free to walk where they chose was more important, their overriding desire to show the loyalists that there would be no surrender was also more important.

You are right in saying that there is evil on both sides but this evil is absolute. I will repeat, there is no circumstance under which it is justifiable to willingly choose the option of putting your child in danger when a safe option is available. Such an action is unforgivable and those parents who made that choice are beyond contempt.

While I am of Irish descent, I am, like many, an impartial but horrified observer. My impartiality ends where the abuse of children begins ... and make no mistake, this is abuse of the worst kind. While all these adults on both sides are indulging themselves in their games of freedom of expression ... who speaks for the children?

5th Sep 2001, 16:09
On the subject of the route taken to school (since that seems to have become the big issue on the thread now):

Everyone has the right to choose to walk down a public street, whether you're Catholic or Protestant. What you do not have the right to do is take your children, who are not capable of making the decision for themselves, down streets which you know to be dangerous.

The reason I've held off criticizing those parent who chose this route is that, as I understand it, they did not expect this level of horror, and would have stayed away had they known what was awaiting them. If this is not the case, then I'm with BlueDiamond and others in condeming the Catholic parents for subjecting their children to this abuse.


5th Sep 2001, 16:11
More news this morning. A Loyalist terrorist group called 'The Red Hand Defenders' who had threatened violence against the children have now carried out the threat. They threw a blast bomb at the kids going to school this morning, injuring four policemen and killing a police dog. Thankfully no kids were injured.

To those of you harping on that the parents should use the back route, I happen to know this area. The back entrance to the school is not some kind of 'front door at the rear' as I'm sure you imagine. It's an emergency exit leading onto a grass playing field. In the wet this field becomes a mud bath...more so if dozens of kiddies and their guardians are walking across it.

Why should they have to!?

Oh...I remember...so the Loyalists won't throw blast bombs at them. Well we wouldn't want to take away the poor loyalists right to lob bombs around the public highway, now would we?

There is of course a strange twisted logic in what you say. It helps to deflect the blame in such a clever way that one is almost persuaded the parents are the real culprits! I think the Nazis used the same kind of logic while exterminating the Jews.

FFF, fascism is alive and well in modern NI under the guise of loyalism.

Read it again;
The parents of these children made a deliberate choice to subject their offspring to this terrifying experience. Their other choice was to make their children's safety a priority and go the long way round.
You should be ashamed of yourself Blue Diamond. :mad:

PS; their own representatives (Mr.Billy Hutchinson of the PUP) have this morning disowned them...not just condemned, but disowned them in disgust.

5th Sep 2001, 17:06
Some of the comments in this debate simply beggar belief!
How can any reasonable person suggest that the actions of the parents which atguably show bad judgement, compare in any sense with the actions of the Loyalist mob which are downright evil?

The Catholic parents/children = the victims
The Loyalist mob = the attackers.

I can't help wonder at the motives of those who want to distract attention from the evil of these Loyalist thugs who claim to be proud to call themselves British.

If a woman is attacked and raped whilst walking home alone in the early hours of the morning through a known 'bad' area, we might (with sadness) think it was very unwise of her to do something dangerous - but we don't condemn her. We treat the victim with sympathy and reserve our our condemnation for the rapist. We don't, as some people seem to be doing here, put her behaviour on a par with that of her attacker!
Different principles seem to apply here. Still, they're only Catholics, and they probably believe Ireland should be reunited - it's not as if they're entitled to be treated with respect is it. :rolleyes:

I've just re-read your last post, Blue Diamond. So the Loyalists hurling missile, abuse and spitting at the Catholic parents and children (and now a bomb) are (quote) "indulging themselves in their games of freedom of expression."
Is that what it's called now?
Anyone who claims to be concerned for the children would condemn the Loyalist mob without qualification and, again without qualification, support the right of the parents and chidren to walk along the road regardless of theei religion.
Do you support their right to do so?
Do you think the mob should be rounded up and prosecuted?
Or do you deep-down sympathise with the beliefs of the mob, even if not with their extreme methods?

[ 05 September 2001: Message edited by: Hoverman ]

5th Sep 2001, 17:14
Good morning, parents, here are your choices for today ....
You may walk your child to school through a muddy field. Your child will get dirty.

You may walk your child to school through an area where he or she will be subject to cruel verbal abuse, spat on and made to feel terrified. Your child may be injured or possibly killed.

You may avoid making either choice by staying at home. Your child will probably be quite safe.

There is no question of "deflecting the blame" because both sides are guilty of different actions. They are ALL "the real culprits." The loyalists are to blame for subjecting children to such horrifying abuse and the parents are to blame for their failure to protect their children. A failure that borders on willing complicity given that safe options were available.

"Why should they have to?" Because if that's what it takes to keep your child safe, then that's what it takes.

Be ashamed to speak for these children? Be ashamed to say that adults are responsible for the choices they make? Be ashamed to condemn any person who would harm a child and any parent who failed to protect that child?

I don't think so.

You want it when?
5th Sep 2001, 17:35
BlueDiamond - as a parent you do what it takes to protect your child. Some options are just not available or appear to be the lesser of two evils in the first review.

Yes - the Catholic parents were wrong to put their child into harms way, will NI social sevices be taking the children away I wonder?

The Loyalist mob were wrong to hurl abuse at the children - child abuse / bullying is taken very seriously on the mainland - apprantly it is condonded in Northern Ireland.

Both sides are wrong - agreed. Pulse had a good idea that religion as the stick being used to give them the right to kill/maim and create horror should be used to bring them togehter. Won't the loyalist priest be pleased with his flock when next they speak to their Lord "Hey Senior type, I spat at a 4 year old child, and tried to blow them up in your name - should secure me a seat at your right hand!"

biggles mate
5th Sep 2001, 17:53
I am sadend by what I saw on the tele,as a father and granddad, I just do not know what to say. I am not a religious bloke but I did go to sunday school many moons ago. And I seem to remember something about loving all of man kind. Regardless of Race, Colour,Cread or Religion. Why should one religion be better than the other? Are they not praying to the same God? the same Bible. I know it all goes back many 100's of years but for your childrens sake please stand back and have a good look at your self and please realize what you are doing it is BLOODY MADNESS!!!!!!!!!! :mad: :mad: :mad:

5th Sep 2001, 18:03
So another day of intimidation and another day of terror for small children. Does it matter whether they should pick their way across a field to sneak in through a backgate, just so that some bigoted, vindictive hate-filled people can claim some kind of victory for their side.

The Northern Irish want to live in peace - then let them put aside their hatred and their tribal mentality and act like it. No political process anywhere will succeed if the ordinary people don't support it. Catholic / Protestant - both at as bad as each other.

Blue Diamond, it's easy to say what should be done and that to keep your children safe you should avoid this kind of action - but in Northern Ireland, it's probably virtually impossible to do this. This is not a cause, this is a symptom of a sick society.

Is the answer then to keep the children from school, find another school or struggle through the mud with young kiddies, possibly carrying another younger child as you can't push a pram or pushchair over this land. And do you honestly believe this would solve this hatred - that suddenly the residents would all become sweetness and light. Why should children have to sit all day clogged in mud, possibly scratched and dishevelled, would you want to? How are they expected then to concentrate at school, to play freely, to be schoolchildren.

Remember that in Northern Ireland currently it's not possible to be sure your family are safe - a bomb, a random shooting, a tossed missile - each one a very real threat.

It's about time we left them to their destructive, childish games and made them responsible for their own internal animosity. Whilst they continue to blame the British they will not face up to what they have become, and it's time they realised that they not us who are to blame for what is happening.

Is the price being paid worth the loss of a nation's soul.

5th Sep 2001, 18:24
Just listened to Martin McGuinness being interviewed on Sky. When asked what he thought the parents should do...go the back route or the front...he simply said that the parents had the right to choose their own route to school and he would support their decision.
A pretty neutral statement in my view, and not the knd of rhetoric that we're led to expect from Sinn Fein politicians.

This got me thinking.

Why was it that this school has become the focus of loyalist thuggery so suddenly? Why a school? It's been there 32 years and never caused a problem before.

Sure, the loyalists have blockaded catholic churches before, and attacked the churchgoers...but a school?

Then the penny drops.

It's McGuinness.
He's the NI Minister for Education.

So this action is not at all random or spontaneous. It's almost certainly been orchestrated by loyalist godfathers in an attempt to put McGuinness and Sinn Fein on centre stage, give them a hot potato to handle, and see them embarrass themselves in the media by coming the heavy with loyalist protestors.

But, it appears to have backfired doesn't it. McGuinness and the other SF politicians are interviewed in their best suits, with conciliatory comments, while on the other hand we see Mr.Hutchinson throwing his hands up in disgust and desparation at his own 'peoples' behaviour.

It just makes me think of the last days of apartheid S.Africa, when the boers were still calling the same old shots to a disbelieving and incredulous world.

These are the last gasps of a discredited and dying ideology.

I suppose plenty of people thought Martin Luther King was crazy, and asking for trouble, when he led his marches through the deep south in the '60's. It didn't stop him though, did it. Because he knew, as did his people, that no matter what they'd suffer the alternative was no longer acceptable.

The nationalist people of NI have suffered second class citizenship for decades...before and after the civil rights marches. They see the loyalist domination is cracking and they intend to push the rotten edifice over on itself. There is a new confidence among Catholics in NI that says...I will no longer take the crummiest jobs...I will no longer live in the shittiest housing...I will no longer hide my feelings....and I will no longer use the back entrances, to school or anywhere else. And I won't go to the back of the bus.

I'm not sure if I personally would put my kids through what these people are going through. But then I don't live there, and I don't have to accept the daily indignities that come from being a second class citizen in my own land. Perhaps if I had their guts and commitment, and their determination to rise above it I'd be prepared to risk everything for the rights of my kids...not just to go to school, but to be real stakeholders in this society.

5th Sep 2001, 18:35
As a recovering journo, am I alone in smelling a rat here? What better way to alienate everyone from your "cause" than to attack kids? But if you want an instant ferment of favourable emotion and sympathy, what better way than to show your own kids being attacked? It also nicely draws attention from whatever your confreres may have been up to in Colombia...
Many of the people involved in this dispute are clearly insane, but I question whether they are stupid. All cannot be as it seems here.

5th Sep 2001, 18:54
Catswhisker, do you mean that you think Sinn Fein (or someone else) told the mums and dads to take their kids to school on Monday morning, via the main gate, just to embarrass the loyalist stone throwers?
As opposed to getting them educated?


What genius.
I must be thick not to have seen it. :rolleyes:

5th Sep 2001, 19:07
I realise that the ability to 'spin' a story is an essential ingredient of a journo's trade.
So, the parents were persuaded by the powers in the Republican movement to take their children to school down that road.
I suppose the Loyalist mob hurling abuse, spit, missiles and a bomb at mothers and children were actually Catholics pretending to be Prots just to give the Loyalists a bad name! :rolleyes:

5th Sep 2001, 19:29
It is fair to say that socio-economics plays a major role in all of this. These running battles take place in areas of social deprivation - where a number of the population seem to have nothing better to do than to cause havoc, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it is their own back yard they are tearing up!

Maxalt, in his I have a dream speech, tells us that Catholics are no longer going to live in the shittiest housing, take the crimmiest jobs, sit at the back of the bus! Well it seems that many hundreds of thousand of Catholics decided this decades ago. The Malone Road area of South Belfast is an extremely affluent area of the city, with over 50% of its population being Catholics. Physically,they are literally only a few miles from the battlefront, but socially and economically, they are a million miles away!

These people are no more second class citizens in Northern Ireland than the Royal Family are in England. Don't get me wrong, not for one second do I begrudge them that position, for the same is true of the Protestants living in these areas. They have nothing in common whatsoever with their working class counterparts, and rightly or wrongly, have no desire to associate themselves with them.

Maxalt, of course there has been injustice, but there is social and economic deprivation on both sides, and many Protestants and Catholics alike know of no other way. It is a universal correlation that a people's quality of life is directly related to its behavioral patterns, and there are many thousands of people on both sides whose quality of life does not allow them to vent their feelings on a Professional Pilots internet forum.

Kaptin M
5th Sep 2001, 19:39
As an Australian in Japan, watching BBC (and CNN) television play this scene every hour , the impact was not lessened. The real victims are certainly the poor little children, who will be indelibly, psychologically scarred with the trauma incurred by these events.

My own childhood was that of a Christian upbringing - the denomination irrelevant - because even as a child in Australia, I witnessed the whisperings and back stabbings against the "other" denomination, on both sides. Christians hating Christians because they didn't go to the same church - simply pathetic! Who NEEDS that sort of aggro in one's life - certainly I didn't, and so I chose to leave it.

I was truly hoping to see ONE of those Protestants do the "Christian thing", and go down to the little girls and walk with them. Similarly, I wonder if there would have been similar scenes had the parents of the children not been with them.

Anyway, as most of us seem to be of a similar view wrt this absolutely disgusting spectacle, perhaps someone might care to post the email address(es) of the major newspapers in Northern Ireland here on PPRuNe, so that we can send our comments to the Editors for publication, thereby reaching a wider audience.

Celtic Emerald
5th Sep 2001, 19:40
I think most of us are aware that the back entrance to the school was not very accessible but surely given that people knew this trouble was brewing for most of the summer some kind of access could have been built.

Guess what many of the children who were put through this were so traumatised very little education took place, now after all that the powers that be are discussing using the alternate entrance. So what was putting those kids through all that in aid of? As a qualified teacher I personally don't believe children can learn properly when there stressed, fearful, traumatised or upset. Education should be a discovery, enjoyable & fun. (God knows how anyone ever learned under the UNChristian Brothers or The Sisters without any Mercy). It is traumatic enough for children returning to school particularly for the little ones starting who may be separated from their parents on a long-time basis for the first time. Are they going to associate learning & education with fear now, are the teachers going to be able to ever be able to get them to concentrate on learning and the fun, joy and sense of accomplishment that comes with gaining knowledge and achieving new things?
God only knows how much damage has been done to their little psychics by using them as the 'pawns' of self serving adults, even the ones who profess to love them, are entrusted to protect them and claim there doing it for the good of the children??????

There were a number of options open to the parents in the first place. One we've discussed already, there was also home schooling or a makeshift school being set up till the problems were arrested. No-one is suggesting that Catholics should still skulk around being treated like second class citizens but a bit of common sense is all that is asked for and those children should never have been 'forced' to march down the Ardoyne Road until the problems had been sorted out and a hassle free journey & their safety guaranteed. And the return victory march of the Catholic parents after they delivered their kids to school was only bound to antagonise further, was that for the benefit of their children too. Lets hope in the name of obtaining their rights they haven't damaged their children permanently because in my opinion whatever they hope to gain or prove will heavily outweigh what they have lost.

If you'se ask me there's a pair of you'se in it.


6th Sep 2001, 01:13
The issues are simple.

The Prods are taking out their frustrations on a bunch of children. Unacceptable. :mad:

They are demanding that catholics do not have the right to use a certain section of the public highway. Unacceptable. :mad:

They are insisting that the parents know of the "problem" and are thus "using" their children as pawns in the "game". THIS IS EVIL, LYING PROPAGANDA. :mad:

So catholics should just "lie down, croppies", and accept they may only use what streets they are permitted to use by the Prods? UNACCEPTABLE. :mad:

I know that this will be a traumatic experience for the children, and I am truly sorry for them and the terrifying experience this will be for them. However, it is necessary that when such evil as has been perpetrated in the Ardoyne (and supported indirectly here), people stand up against it. They should not simply lie down and accept that the mob have taken away their legal rights. Having to use the back entrance via a muddy field or having to school their children at home is not an option.

When "bussing" schoolkids in Alabama was happening, did anyone here think the parents were top blame for standing up for their rights? :mad:

The IRA had a resurgence of interest in the housing disputes in Derry in the late 60's. (This was when McGuinness and Adams joined.) The issues then were simple - whether catholics had the right to live in the same standard of housing as protestants. The Prod mob objected. The IRA was, up till then, pretty much dead on its feet. However, it rose again, to defend the simple rights of catholics.

This seems to be happening all over again. The Prods are providing all the ammunition the Republicans need. A new generation is being trained to hate. A new generation is being encouraged to join the paramilitaries.

They must be stopped and stopped NOW. :mad: Send in the grey landrovers, and arrest every single one of them. Post patrols and, tomorrow morning, detain anyone loitering along that road. The entire future of the Province, the Peace process, the Good Friday Accord, rests on this one issue.

6th Sep 2001, 04:43
The issues are simple, if anyone, regardless of colour, creed or political belief harms my child for whatever reason he or she will be having a short sharp chat with Frank, my baseball bat. All the various arguments and justifications using hackneyed and twisted versions of history arent going to mean much to me and Frank when we find the perpetrator.

If I cannot protect my child from harm, I have failed as a parent. If the police force cannot protect me and my family, they have failed as a police force. If my neighbours and countrymen cannot protect themselves from hatred and bigotry WE HAVE ALL FAILED AS A COMMUNITY. Let me just say that one more time in case you didnt understand, WE HAVE ALL FAILED.

Spout as much rubbish about 1690 or Bombay Street as much as you like, wear your Rangers and Celtic shirts with as much foolish pride as you like, go on fill yer boots! I dont care. It isnt relevant anymore, not to me and not to the vast majority of people that can think for themselves and form their own opinion. We could probably sit here for the rest of our lives debating and arguing over Irish history, but I could probably find an atrocity in Scottish history to match or beat anything the Irish have endured. What would the point be though? There isnt one. It is as much a waste of my time and effort as yours. The past is dead, gone. Learn from it and move on.

If you have the courage to.

For those of you that feel you must bring religion into this equation,just ask yourself this: what religion does God have?

In the end it doesnt really matter if you are a Protesant kneecapping a Catholic or a Catholic leaving a car bomb in the middle of Omagh, you havent really got this religion idea worked out yet. God will let you know when your time comes though. Count on it.

Note: this will be my only contribution to this thread.

[ 06 September 2001: Message edited by: Flypuppy ]

6th Sep 2001, 06:03
Russ I do actually agree with you. A lot of this trouble is born out of deprivation. On both sides.
They would all be labelled 'poor white trash' if this was indeed Alabama.
The thing I don't understand about the loyalist faction though is how they turn their hatred against the equally disadvantaged nationalist population on such a 'personal' level.
Yes, there have been many atrocities down the years...on both sides, but the common thread that seems to characterise loyalist terror is the random act of violence against totally innocent nationalists...often carried out with sadistic brutality. Like Lenny Murphy and his gang of butchers.

I think it has a lot to do with the moral bankruptcy of the unionist/loyalist position. They have no end game...no United Ireland to strive for...only their backs against the wall and the determination to go down fighting and take everyone else down with them rather than compromise or accept defeat.

Of course, this isn't helped by the Brtish tendancy to humour them in their disillusion.

Flypuppy says

For those of you that feel you must bring religion into this equation,just ask yourself this: what religion does God have?

This is to completely miss the point. I already stated quite clearly that THIS CONFLICT IS NOT ABOUT RELIGION. That's why I wrote that history lesson...so you could perhaps try to grasp the reasons religion has become a convenient handle for the ill-informed to hang their hat on. As was stated in an earlier post by HugMonster...you just need to have the wrong name and your fate is decided. The opponents in NI are not fighting about religion...OK. It's just a label!

In the end it doesnt really matter if you are a Protesant kneecapping a Catholic or a Catholic leaving a car bomb in the middle of Omagh, you havent really got this religion idea worked out yet. God will let you know when your time comes though. Count on it.

Wrong, wrong, wrong! :mad: Flypuppy, come back when you understand the issues.

As to you CelticEmerald, I understand you live in RoI...and yet I just can't get a handle on where you are coming from. Very woolly thinking in your posts.?!
As to you being a teacher (well you brought that up), are you sure???
God only knows how much damage has been done to their little psychics The kids are psychic then? Interesting!

surely given that people knew this trouble was brewing for most of the summer some kind of access could have been built. Those psychic kids shoulda asked for a tunnel or something!

There were a number of options open to the parents in the first place. One we've discussed already, there was also home schooling or a makeshift school being set up Yes...the traditional Irish hedge schools could be brought back. Excellent call.

those children should never have been 'forced' to march down the Ardoyne Road This isn't Bhutan, it's Belfast, and they live on the Ardoyne Rd!

And the return victory march of the Catholic parents... Victory March? Victory March? I must have gone out to make a cup of tea when they showed the victory march...I'll be sure to catch it tomorrow though.

If you'se ask me there's a pair of you'se in it. Yes...I'll file that sage remark along with the rest of those pearls of wisdom you scatter before us grateful swine.

6th Sep 2001, 12:39
" Yes,there have been many atrocities down the years ... on both sides, but the common thread that seems to characterise loyalist terror is the random act of violence against totally innocent nationalists ... often carried out with sadistic brutality ".

Maxalt, you must have been out making that cup of tea for the past 30 years! There is no way we can differentiate between terrorist activity. Unfortunately, there have been random acts of violence against totally innocent nationalists/catholics and totally innocent loyalists/protestants. And I don't think you can describe any act of terrorism as anything other than sadistic brutality, irrespective of the perpetrator!

6th Sep 2001, 13:22
Flypuppy, excellent post, couldn't agree more.

Maxalt, well done for your first post on this thread which, imho, doesn't stray away from today's issues. I agree with you on some points, disagree with you on other points, but applaud you for realising that the troubles are related to today's social problems, and not to events from half a millenium ago.


[Edited because I don't know the difference between 100 years and 1000 years]

[ 06 September 2001: Message edited by: FlyingForFun ]

6th Sep 2001, 14:17

Congrats on posting one of the few sensible unbiased posts on this topic.


Working in the broadcast industry as I have for the past 15 years I know where you are coming from. You may also have noticed how many parents were using mobile phones before they started their walk to school.

But does anyone else feel that certain elements are portraying the unnaceptable behavior of some of the loyalists as being worse than the behavior of the Omagh bombers?

Celtic Emerald
6th Sep 2001, 15:49

Thank You for your sarcasism.

Obviously the way you & I interpret English is different to you.

Nowhere did I make a ridiculous statement that the kids were psychic.

I said the damage that may be done to their psychic by which I meant their minds. I think that adults sometimes forget that children relate & view the world differently than adults do and can be easily damaged by negative experiences.

Neither did I make an equally ridiculous statement about bringing back hedge schools.

I merely stated until the children could be guaranteed a safe passage to school some alternative arrangements should be made.
I feel much more harm was done to them by 'forcing' them to walk through that 300 yards gauntlet of hate of whatever part of the Ardoyne Road it was (do we really have to argue geography here) than it would have been to keep them at home a few more days or make alternative arrangements for them till the em 'grown-ups' had reached some kind of humane solution. I do not feel that disturbed kids can learn properly. Nor do I feel children should be used to prove a point in a row between 'grown up kids' which wasn't of their making. Personally if it was my child I would have done anything to avoid putting my child through such a horrific experience even if I had to go out & build a bloody road myself (though from the gist I get the other route would have brought the children through hostile territory too). I take it Maxalt than unlike Flypuppy you're not a Dad because in my opinion you haven't got a clue about children. I don't feel protecting one's kids is giving into the terrorists, damaging them certainly doesn't help.

And yes I'm a qualified teacher in IT with a great love of children actually. Does that bother you.

Nor did I refer at any stage to anyone as 'swine'. Please don't put words in my mouth.

And yes I think there are bad apples on both sides of this situation. For any parent to think it's acceptable to put their child through a situation like this & antagonise the situation further "to stand up for their rights" must say something about their mindset which in my opinion is as screwed up as you can get.

Sorry my time is up here now so I'll have to go


tony draper
6th Sep 2001, 15:57
I noticed there seemed to be more camera crews and media lovies there than people taking part, par for the course I suppose ,anywhere there is misery that scum can film the more they wet their collective nickers with joy.
They can fill their empty shallow 24hrs news , that item and then the latest pearls of wisdom from the Beckams.

6th Sep 2001, 16:49

Some Dictionary definitions:

PSYCHIC; A person sensitive to nonphysical or supernatural forces. A Medium.

PSYCHE; Mind; mental process.

I think you meant the latter.

You work in IT? I know enough IT to know that syntax is of utmost importance. Can't believe you repeated that blunder twice.

Nothing to do with the subject at hand...but I couldn't resist. :D

On Omagh. That was an unforgiveable and barbarous attack. The people concerned call themselves Republicans, and may think they are, but I can tell you that the vast majority (and I mean 99.9%) of republicans disown them completely. For the record I condemn them. If I knew one of them I'd shop him gladly. The fact that they are the uttermost lunatic fringe is demonstrated by the fact that the bomb they planted in Omagh (a mainly Catholic town) killed Catholics in the majority....the very same catholics you would describe as their supporters!

They haven't mounted a succesful attack in Ireland since then, although several bombs have been intercepted. It's my belief that the security forces are being tipped off by republicans (i.e. the provos) about RIRA activities. They have no support.

In case you haven't noticed in all this, the IRA ceasefire is still intact. The RUC chief constable has expressed his complete satisfaction with this. This is in the face of the kind of provocation that is seen on the Ardoyne Rd.

Meanwhile loyalists placed a massive car bomb in a town centre (Ballycastle) last weekend. It was defused by security forces. A no warning bomb...which if it had gone off would have (according to the RUC) killed dozens of innocent people, mainly catholics/nationalists, just like Omagh.

And yet the demands to hand over weapons (already repeated on this thread) are all directed against the IRA.

What about the loyalists handing over some guns or explosives?
Maybe there'd be some progress from the IRA then.

You want it when?
6th Sep 2001, 17:37
Maxalt - you enjoy taking a pop at someone who is trying to get real feelings into a simple enough order that the barbaric child molesters in NI can understand?

Stay on the thread rather than slanging your fellow PPRuNers.

Lot of good stuff here people - I'm learning lots, if only not to bother visiting Ireland.

[ 06 September 2001: Message edited by: You want it when? ]

6th Sep 2001, 18:52
YWIW, for heavens' sake don't get the idea that NI is not a great place to visit.

You're far safer there than taking a weekend in London. The countryside is the most beautiful you'll find anywhere in the British Isles, that vast majority of the people are wonderful, fun, friendly and welcoming, there is masses to do, the cost of living is very low, Belfast is both the best shopping and best partying town I've ever encountered, and the beer (and the whisky) are wonderful!

Its only problem is that there are a bunch of people who in the USA would be termed "white trailer trash" who all want to blame their problems on someone else.

I've drunk in some staunch republican haunts and played wild Irish music all night and got drunk. They've noted my Brit accent and I've had no problem. I've drunk in some staunch Unionist pubs and got a similar reception. (The politics in there scared me stupid, though.)

That, for me, partly embodies the difference between the two sides. The unionists see themselves as embattled and beseiged. They see the "catholics" as being to blame for all their troubles, and they're fighting for "civilisation" and "Britain". The nationalists blame nobody but the British Government for dividing a nation (to their benefit) after milking all they could from it for a few hundred years. They want to be "A nation once again", and rule themselves. They'll point to the fact that there was never an Act of Union with Ireland, unlike Wales and Scotland, but Ireland was conquered. Ireland was never part of the UK by consent - only by superior force of arms.

The biggest tragedy, to my mind, is how wonderful a race the Irish are. Couple to that the fact that the Northern Prods think of themselves as British rather than Irish, without realising how far removed from any mainland concept of "Britishness" they are, and how much more Irish they are than anything else.

Since seeing at first hand, in intimate detail some of the difference between British and Irish, I think they've got it badly wrong, and it's their tragedy to have done so.

6th Sep 2001, 22:02
You ask: "But does anyone else feel that certain elements are portraying the unnaceptable behavior of some of the loyalists as being worse than the behavior of the Omagh bombers?"

I don't think anyone here is doing that. There is, at first blush, a difference between the two groups.
The Omagh bombers were terrorists in the generally accepted meaning of the word.
The Loyalist mob would no doubt regard themselves as 'ordinary' citizens standing up for their 'rights' not to have Catholics walking along their road.
Such is the distorted state of their hate-filled minds that see nothing wrong with that, and fail to see that they are also terrorists.

Celtic Emerald
I have difficulty working out where you're coming from. Your username seems to contrast with what appear to be very pro-Loyalist views. Why the emphasis on what the parents did, rather than what the Loyalist mob did?

6th Sep 2001, 22:33
I've generally avoided this thread. Hugmonster and Maxalt among other encapsulate my views. So nothing to add there.
Some questioned Celtic Emerald's wooly thinking. No offence to her but she is rather typical of certain elements in the South who 'understand' the loyalist point of view and who have learned to be ashamed of the antics of the Republicans over the years. Her why don't they use the alternate route attitude, completely and utterly misses the point entirely. Emerald there is no need to be unbiased in this case. It it as close to a black and white situation as I've ever seen in Northern Ireland. In fact if the IRA was planning the loyalist 'strategy' for this issue. They couldn't have done a better job. It's a perfect example of the blind bigotry that drives loyalism. They are literally their own worst enemies.

7th Sep 2001, 02:44
I've watched this thread a while and resisted joining in, but I'd now like to add my bit.

I was born in Belfast. A Catholic by birth.

The current round of Irelands 'troubles' broke out in 1969 when I was 9. On August 15th 1969 my very best friend, called Patsy Rooney, was shot dead by the RUC. He was 9 years old too. We were altar boys together.

He wasn't out rioting, or causing trouble. It was 3am and he was in bed in the little council flat his family had in Divis St. When the shooting started his father got Patsy and his younger brother out of the bed they shared (they were poor white Catholic trash you see) and stood with him behind a door.
He should have left him in bed.
An RUC (B-Specials)landrover drove into the flats complex and sprayed the whole front of their building with gunfire. A high velocity bullet went through two flimsy walls and hit Patsy in the head.

His hysterical parents had to run into the street in spite of the gunfire to try to get him to the hospital. A neighbour with a car grabbed him out of their arms and sped away toward The Royal.
They got there at dawn.
Patsy was dead.

Two days later I was brought to the house to see Patsy in his coffin. They had covered his head so you couldn't see the wounds.
I remember looking at the bullet hole in the wall. You could see daylight all the way through to the back bedroom where he'd been. The bullet continued out the back wall after hitting Patsy. You could see it's exit hole. You could also see the blood and brains soaked into the mattress where his father had laid him down.

This is one reason why I never had much faith in the RUC.

In later years I went to a school that happened to be located in loyalist East Belfast. The school was in a nice part of the area. Very upmarket. Leafy avenues. It was started before the troubles and was still half built when I was there.

To get to it I had to travel through some of the 'harder' areas of east Belfast. The kind of places where little Catholic boys shouldn't be found on their own, especially while wearing a St.Pats uniform!
I tried to travel with 'big lads' thinking I'd be safer. Most of the time I was scared shitless. Going out in the morning wasn't too bad, it was to early for most thugs to set upon lone taigs.

Coming home in the afternoon was terrifying, especially on the dark winter evenings.

There were two ways to get out safely.

The first was a private coach, but only limited numbers of lucky lads had permission to use this. I sneaked on once or twice I must admit, especially when I knew trouble was waiting on the way home. I think the drivers used to turn a blind eye on these occassions.

Then there was the public bus (the old open rear platform London type bus) that went by the school at about five minutes after normal school-out time.

If you could make that bus you were relatively safe because the majority of the kids went for it. Safety in numbers. But this bus was so 'popular' (for reasons I'll explain) that there was literally a melee to try and get on. This was one of the first demonstrations I had in my life of the true meaning of the phrase 'survival of the fittest'.
I was a small kid for my age so I didn't always make it. And woe betide the kid who didn't get on that bus, because the only alternative was then to hang around for half an hour (at night in Winter) in 'enemy territory' and wait for the next one. I used to hide in the hedge if any adults came by!

When (sometimes if) the bus arrived you were then faced with the ride through 'the badlands' with perhaps only a few stragglers like yourself on board. Easy meat. You really sweated that trip.

So what was there to be afraid of?
Well, if you're a 13 year old Catholic kid in loyalist east Belfast on a winter night on your own you know the true meaning of fear. For a similiar thrill you could consider walking through upper Harlem in NYC wearing a KKK outfit and carrying a flaming cross. Think of that baying mob of loyalists screaming for your blood, but you're alone, no police or army, no daddy or mummy, and you're miles from home.
You get a sense of it?
I saw friends step of that bus and be set upon by gangs of older teenagers who'd been lying in wait for them. I remember looking out the back window of the bus as it drove away and seeing my friend being kicked and beaten to the ground, and all I could think was I hope to God the gang didn't see me! :(

I wasn't actually on the bus myself the day the UDA/UVF blocked the road with barricades and attempted to hijack the bus. Hooded men were spotted using walkie-talkies (no mobile phones then!) along the route. This alerted the kids that something was going wrong, so when the blockade was reached they all ran to the upper deck of the bus and barricaded themselves in with the seats cushions. A mob sent vollies of stones and bottles through every window on the bus. They tried boarding the bus but couldn't get past the seat cushions onto the upper deck. Meanwhile downstairs a hooded man with a revolver tried to drag the driver out of the cab. This very brave driver saved their lives because he fought the gunman off and then accelerated the bus through the barricade. He drove it straight to the local police station, which was only half a mile away (strange no cops showed up while all this commotion was happening in broad daylight on a main road). When the bus got there the kids were all put under arrest and questioned until 9pm that night as to why they had vandalised the bus! I kid you not.

Yet another reason why I don't have much faith in the RUC.

Stoning busses and the beating of kids was a regular occurrence, but it finally went over the top around (I think) 1973.
The school was still under construction at the time, and the job was progressing very slowly. Mainly because no local (protestant) workers wanted anything to do with it, and very few catholic workers were brave enough to travel the route we kids had to follow every day. :confused:

They were proved right because one evening as the workmens van left the site a man on crutches hobbled out in front of their vehicle. He 'tripped' and fell in the middle of the road. The van stopped. Another two guys stepped out of the shadows. One fired several shots into the driver, the other threw a grenade into the van. It exploded killing several of the occupants. I was allowed to stay home from school the next day.

Of course my parents were probably to blame for all this horror they put me through. I mean, why send me to a Catholic school in a Protestant area anyway? Well, their logic went something like this...new school...needs good results to attract new pupils (God, did it ever)...so little Johnny gets a good education. Once I was in I couldn't get out...so I was stuck with it.
I don't hold it against them though, and even though it was tough writing all this I don't feel I was mentally scarred. I sorrow for poor wee Patsy though.
The education worked anyhow. I got to be a pilot just as I'd always dreamed. And all those shrinks that examined me over the years never saw a thing wrong with my head.
Kids are more resilient than you think...if they're allowed to live that is.

Before I go (and thanks for your patience)...although I don't live there anymore I still think it's a great place, and the people are the hardest working, most humourous (wicked cynics), and decent folk you could meet.
I've even considered going back to live there, but not if the peace process is to fail.
I have nothing against the protestant people of Belfast, or anywhere else. I even think the RUC deserve a chance to do the right thing.

But maybe I'm a dreamer....(or my head really is just a bit twisted).

7th Sep 2001, 03:30
Thanks for posting that Idunno, very sobering to hear from someone who has actually experienced life in these hotspots, it brings home the raw and naked hatred that exists in parts of the North.

The question at this difficult part of the peace process is why has Trimble not endorsed the new Police bill? His silence is deafening, indeed he spends the time talking about it with Paisley, so that says it all about his probable response and feelings on it.

Anyone who has ever studied the history of Northern Ireland knows damn well that when the political process fails, the vacum is filled with violence. Any hope that remains rests with getting those politicians back around the table and if the IRA are to start seriously renegotiating with DeChastelaian, then the continuing attacks on Catholics
must stop. It's quite clear that this is Loyalist policy, to try and tempt the IRA back into action.

Can you see the vicious cycle?

7th Sep 2001, 16:07
Good post, I dunno.
I never knew Patsy, but it shook me to the core even though I lived safely in Dublin. You see I was nine years old too at the time. It was a defining moment in my young life. The idea that someone just like me could be murdered by a policeman shook me.

Anyone reading this, who wonders why there are organisations like the IRA need wonder no longer. In fact it's amazing it wasn't more popular. As for the people who say there as bad as each other, the Celtic Emeralds and such like, bear that in mind.

The sad irony is that while Idunno's experiences are history, other kids are relivng that history even as we speak. Some have questioned the attitude and relative silence of the British government and moderate Unionism. I wonder if that had been a mob of howling Republicans, stoning and bombing little Protestant schoolgirls. How different the reaction might be. How very different.

For those of you, no offence Hugmonster, who see these loyalists as essentially Irish even if they see themselves differently. I disagree and for once agree with the loyalists. They are British and proud of it. You see it's their essential Britishness that allows them to behave like that. They are better than the Irish, the croppies, the taigs, the Fenians, the Papists and all those other lovely nicknames. In fact like all White Anglo Saxon Protestants they are the chosen people and can do what they like.

Celtic Emerald
7th Sep 2001, 19:37
Pro Loyalist? Me never

I don't support anyone who uses terrorism, intimidation & violence as a means to an end be they Catholic or Loyalist. I have desperately trying to be getting a handle on things because as someone did say I am a typical southern who is sick to death of the northern situation & I have switched off to a large extent.

The gist I'm getting is the Protestants are living in a small enclave surrounded by a much larger population of Catholics. Even to visit a shop they have to go through Catholic territory where they claim they are subject to intimidation and they have been driven to such despair that they have to resort to desperate means to highlight theior situation. I don't know Belfast well, I have only visited it once. From what I've been reading alot of former Protestant enclaves along the Armagh & Shore Rds etc have been become Catholised & Protestant have become to feel alienated & fearful by this influx of Catholics into their former territory. I somehow am beginning to get the impression that neither the Catholics or Protestants are lily white in this scenario but the situation has become so ugly that the Protestant terrorism organisation " The Red Hand Defenders" supposedly behind this have issued death threats to some of the mothers trying to bring their daughters to school terrifying them so much that they have decided not to do it anymore. Worse the Protestants now have their young daughters along the route shouting abuse and blowing whistles at the Catholic children. The Catholic mothers are trying to fobb their children off that it is because England won the match. Some of the children are getting phsically sick at the thought of running this gauntlet of hate. Congratulations it looks like the cycle of hate & violence is going to be handed down to the next generation and looks set to continue for a long time. What a lesson the parents have thought their kids about the only education I'd imagine the children have got out of this nasty scenario. Maybe at birth we should write out a new script "Welcome to a world filled with hate bitterness, revenge and long may you suffer from the sins & hate of your ancestors & continue on the grand tradition".

Sorry for getting personal about my own experiences but the scenes I witnessed on television brought back memories. I don't agree that innocent children should be used in arguments between adults that they know nothing about, possibly weren't even alive when they happened and certainly weren't responsible for. The tougher children might be able to ride these experiences but many will not and any with sensitive natures will experience real problems. Many will be scarred & traumatised for live, could end up with serious emotional problems and possibly may become brutalised themselves. Is it all worth it to prove a point. I don't think so. I stand beside my statement that I think it was wrong to involve the children in this & 'force' them to run that gauntlet of hate. Children deserve to have their innocence protected and remain children for the early formative years of their life. I feel many have them have lost that forever and that the cycle of hatred & violence will be repeated in the north again & again.


[ 07 September 2001: Message edited by: Celtic Emerald ]

7th Sep 2001, 21:45
No offence taken, steepclimb.

One point bears reiteration.

In the late 60's in the Derry housing disputes, it was felt very broadly that the RUC was doing little, if anything to protect the catholic population from the rampaging Prod mobs. Some RUC squads were accused, with significant evidence, of assisting and provoking protestant extremism. Many people decided therefore that they had to be responsible for their own protection. There was therefore a huge increase in membership of the IRA, and their then very paltry weapon stocks were resupplied. There were numerous clashes between catholics and protestants in catholic areas of Derry, which the RUC merely watched. They were only broken up when members of the IRA appeared, and started firing on those prods trying to firebomb catholic houses.

Now we have a lack of protection by the RUC of catholics from the prods while merely trying to go about their daily business... does this ring any bells?

8th Sep 2001, 11:46
'They are demanding that catholics do not have the right to use a certain section of the public highway. Unacceptable'

Hug Monster, do you remember a place called Drumcree, where the Protestant MAJORITY were prevented from using a certain section of the public highway by the RUC/Army/CATHOLIC MINORITY?

And now you tell us that the Catholics have clean hands with this incident. It's not the children the Protestants object to, it's the twice daily parading of the parents and hangers on. The Orangemen only wanted to walk down the road once a year. These people want to do it twice a day every day.

8th Sep 2001, 12:10
What a ridiculous comment ydv8!! Yet another
attempt to excuse the inexcusable!

Are you really trying to tell us that you can compare parents bring their kids to school and bringing them home again, to a provocative Nationalistic march of grown men celebrating a war in which Protestant forces defeated Catholics? A march that reaffims once again that Loyalists in the North have the power, it's their country and that's the way it's going to stay?!

This is about parents not letting anyone treat their kids like second class citizens, by suggesting they use the back entrance or not go to school at all, you let racism triumph, is that what we want?

I suppose those of you who are criticising the parents also criticised the black kids and their parents for refusing to go to the back of the bus, or criticised them for walking in thre front entrance of white-only schools in the deep south during the civil rights campaign in the 50's and 60's?

[ 08 September 2001: Message edited by: OneWorld22 ]

8th Sep 2001, 13:08
I was married to a (Southern) Irish RC for many years - which caused a lot of grief initially until my in-laws from Limerick met me and discovered that a "Proddy Busterd" could actually be quite a nice human being. ("Mama" was very surprised that I would join the family in the local R/C church on Sundays :eek: )

I made many trips to Belfast on business and saw some of the stranger things that went on - bars who had to pay "fire insurance" to the locally-reigning gang of thugs in their area, taxis who had to pay "tolls" to be able to drive in and work in a particular district.

I also worked with some wonderful people in a factory owned by a (Proddy) friend and his (R/C) wife, who wanted nothing more than a chance to live in a safe and civilised society and didn't give a damn which "side of the fence" their co-workers came from.

Without trying to over-simplify the issue, the "troubles" will continue as long as many of the population listen to the "extremist" thugs (of both "sides") who try to whip up hatred in order to protect an environment wherein they can operate their gangsterism and extortion.

Whether you're an extremist republican, or an extremist nationalist, you're either a mug who believes the BS that the gangsters proliferate, or a gangster yourself. You sure as hell aren't either a Protestant or an R/C, as I'm told that both are viarieties of Christian and these people are as far from the Christian ideals as is possible to be :(

Of course I sympathise with the victims of the escalation that took place in 1970 or so, but if the so-called Christians would take the time to read their Bibles (either the Protestant translations or the R/C version - they're very similar!) they may decide that it's way past time to put history behind them and move forward.

I heard a story that one of the shipyards in Belfast had a sign at the gate "No religeon allowed inside - but Christianity welcome" :)

8th Sep 2001, 14:12
ydv8, I have to agree with 1W22. Your post was a masterpiece of idiocy, and blinkered ignorance.

Nobody has denied the prods the right to walk down the Garvaghy Road. What was denied was permission to use it for a triumphalist, sectarian display. Any time they want to walk down it, without the bands, the Lambegs, the banners, bowler hats and sashes I'm sure is fine with the catholic majority in that area.

What is being denied in the Ardoyne is the simple right of children to go to school, the only alternatives being to stay at home or trek across muddy fields and in through the fire escape, and allow the prods to say where the catholics can and cannot walk.

Got it? Or is that still too complicated for you?

8th Sep 2001, 15:10
The personal account above was very moving, and gave a fantastic insight into the side of the argument we don't hear very often in the UK.

What a great discussion with (mainly) good quality contributions.

ydv8: Sorry to say it mate, but you take the booby prize for the daftest argument - so far!

Capt PPRuNe
8th Sep 2001, 16:50
Firstly, let me say that the quality and matureness of the discussion in this thread makes me proud that we are able to have it at all on PPRuNe. Apart from the few ill considered and poorly thought out comments from one or two people, this thread goes to show how the problems that face the people of Northern Ireland can be discussed by any people with a reasonable level of intelligence.

No one, not even some of the hard line loyalists can condone the behaviour of the protestors we have seen on the news this week and there can be no justification for this kind of behaviour when innocent children are involved. The parents choosing to take their children to school have every right to protest about not being allowed to choose a particular route to the school and if no one ever took a stand then there would be a lot more 'second class' citizens. What suprises me is the lack of news coverage of the protesters, their twisted faces full of hate, spitting, swearing at the school children and their parents whilst giving cover to the thugs who throws stones and bombs in the name of some form of tribal protectionism.

The short but informative history on this thread about the IRA and how they recruited so many people and ressurected themselves was also interesting and informative together with the potted history but with the attrocities they have commited over the years does not make their cause any more respectable. Both the loyalist and republican sides lost their arguments when they resorted to terrorism and murder. They now exist within their own communities as gangsters and criminals and both sides are as barberous as each other with their so called justice methods of beatings and kneecappings.

To be honest, until the communities that harbour these thugs on both sides of the divide relinquish their deluded ideas that these groups are there to protect them then we are going to see a continuation of the violence and secterianism that blights the communities in NI. Unfortunately there are still too many so called politicians and religious leaders who incite and goad their people into the kind of bigotry and hatred that was exposed on the news this week.

Too many of the 'leaders' rely on reliving the past and feeding peoples fears to give much hope for any form of meaningful dialogue. If only they could get onto PPRuNe and discuss the things that concern them, as openly and as calmly as most of the contributors to this thread have shown is possible. Outstanding considering how easily comments can be taken out of context in a forum like this. As long as people can realise that they can talk and resolve their differences, which appear to be mostly based on old fears from the past but which do not necessarily apply today the there is hope.

Here we are all connected by a common interest in aviation and I think it has been shown that we can all get along even though there may be fundamental differences in our ideaologies, religions, backgrounds and whatever else is often used as an excuse to divide people. Maybe we need to find a common cause for the people of NI which will draw people together so that they may find a way to overcome the mistakes of the past which, if we are intelligent enough, we should have learnt from. I know 'peace' is the current cause but it seems to be a bit too ethereal for many people, unfortunately.

I take no side in the complex situation in NI except to say that I hope that one day the extremism on both sides can be defeated and the people can get on with enjoying their country and lives as so many of us can elsewhere without the fear or bigotry that exists 'over there'. As long as there can be reasoned, even if it is emotional, debate as we have here on this thread then I think there must be some hope for a resolution... one day.

Thank you to most of you who have managed to keep the debate mature and well thought out.

8th Sep 2001, 17:16
100% "Here Here" Boss

8th Sep 2001, 20:19
These dopey bastards have been knocking seven bells out of each other for two hundred years over the small print in a book that´s all about being nice to one another.

If it were any other country the world at large would recognise that the British, having played a large part in causing the problem have naff all chance of solvong it.

The answer? Send in a UN peacekeeping force. The sight of Nigerian army troops running around Belfast might shock the Paddies into some sense (Can you imagine a bigot like Iain Paisley having to deal with a Nigerian? Talk about comedic value). :mad:

[ 08 September 2001: Message edited by: B747wideboy ]

8th Sep 2001, 20:57
B747 that old chestnut is trotted out time and again. Bring in the UN.
It won't happen ever, short of an all out war and a British army pull out.
You see this little problem has long been characterised as a 'British internal' problem. The UN would internationalise the problem. The is an anathema to Unionists and loyalists. They would see this as legimatising the Nationalist cause. Remember they try to see the Republic as a hostile foreign country and have even evoked the image of it as a kind of Serbia. Remember the slogans on the walls 'Irish go home'.

Besides, they are a bit reluctant to attack their British army and their RUC. But imagine what they would do to the unfortunate Nigerians.
Americans might work though, they are fairly popular on both sides.

8th Sep 2001, 21:12
I agree with Danny, this has been, by and large an excellent debate. We've had views from both sides and for such a 'hot' and emotional topic, everyone has posted in a mature and reasonable manner, if only the politicians would behave like this!
I think the highlight of this thread was Maxalts excellent concise history of the troubles in Northern Ireland, I can imagine a few people might have learned something and that can only be a good thing.

Jet blast seems to be very civilised these days! We've had some superb debates recently, on the Afghan refugee problem, the white farmers' crisis in Zimbabwe, even debates on the cultural differences between the Americans and the British! all conducted in a civilised manner. I'm finding myself now checking into Jet blast first, rather then Rumours and News!

Lets keep it going!

9th Sep 2001, 03:33
There you go steep. If the world would just pipe down and do what I tell ´em things would be sorted in no time :p.

Do I qualify for the left seat yet?

10th Sep 2001, 14:43

Thanks for sharing that very personal account. I'm fortunate enough to be able to say that, while I sympathise with what you had to suffer as a child, I can not even begin to understand what it must have been like. I hope I never have to understand.

However, had I been in the situation your parents had been in, I think I would have made a different choice. Knowing that my kids were going to suffer abuse simply going to and from school every day, but still sending them to that school anyway when there are other alternatives would simply not be an option I'd consider, whatever the implications for the future of the school.

If your parents wanted to help the school, the correct thing to do would be to work with the Protestants to put aside the differences, and allow kids to get to the school safely. They could have done this with no risk to you, and if (maybe, with a bit of luck, when) the school became safe, transfered you there.

This in no way condones the actions of the Protestants, either in Idunno's case or in the recent examples - this, to my mind, is still one of the lowest forms of behaviour a group of humans could ever perform.

Some good posts from CelticEmerald and Danny - agree with you both that the problem here is hatred, and the cycle of hatred will now continue into the next generation as a result of this.

Maxalt, several people have commented on your "excellent" post about the history in N.I. The history lesson was genuinely informative, and I did learn from it, as have other people judging by their comments. But as long as this history is used as an excuse for the violence, the violence will continue. And it doesn't matter who did what to whom all those hundreds of years ago, it is just an excuse now. I would love to see a thread on Northern Irish history, devoted to informative posts like this, if I thought it could be done in an informative manner without personal prejudices. But to everyone who was praising maxalt for his post, please let's leave the history for history leassons. The problem is hatred, pure and simple, and can't be justified or excused, or even explained, by history.


10th Sep 2001, 16:20
Presumably hatred will continue as long as people believe that they gain from it i.e. self interest. We have seen several examples of this decribed in this excellent thread:

1. Criminals using the disruption and violence to cover extortion and violent crime.

2. Religious and political leaders to maintain their positions of power

3. The catholic community continues to gain equal rights in employment, housing etc.

4. The protestant community keep (or regain) their position of supremacy over the catholics

All that is needed for this to continue is that the good people (vast majority) of NI do nothing. Now I know that thousands of ordinary, good people (ordinary must be the wrong word in this context) are doing selfless work at grass roots level to build up trust and respect for all people of NI. We saw this come to the surface in the 70’s when the Peace Movement emerged. I would be interested to hear from any local contributors as to why that failed, if it did.

It seems that the only way real progress occurs in these historical disputes is when a single person becomes the focal point for change. Sadly, this only seems to happen through extreme self sacrifice by a “good” person i.e. someone who is perceived to be motivated only by concern for their fellow men, or by the death of totally innocent people i.e. a child – God forbid that that should happen here. Examples of the former are Christ(death), Mandela(years of imprisonment) and Gandhi (fasting). This does not compare with the matyr syndrome displayed by people perceived to be evil e.g. terrorists.

This why I suggested some days ago that the leaders of the two churches should take a lead in this, by walking with the children. I understand that the RC bishop has been doing just that but, of course, the real impact would come from the protestant leaders taking part. To make my point, can you imagine the impact it would make on the whole issue, if someone like Ian Paisley joined them – to think that one man can have such power to do something so good.

The leading RC in the UK says that the Christian Church in the UK is "vanquished" and, in my view, until the leaders actually do something instead of pontificating (like me) about it in PC ways, this will continue.

Still, as none of these leaders are likely to be reading this bulletin I suppose it would be more fruitful to make my suggestions directly to them, so here goes!

10th Sep 2001, 16:58
FFF, you say; please let's leave the history for history lessons.

Yes the events I spoke of were a long time ago.

But if we're talking shelf life let's forget Jesus, Muhammed, and Buddha too.

Not likely is it?

OK, I'm being flippant.

But my point is that "If you don't know your history, you are doomed to repeat it."

The history of the NI troubles has a lot of interesting twists in it that both sides ignore. For instance, how many folk in NI would be aware that King Billy of Orange (who is the icon of extreme loyalism, and the Orange Order) was partly bank-rolled in his Irish campaign by none other than 'the Pope of Rome'? :eek:

Knowing your history is,of course, not sufficient in itself. You need to apply the lessons learned and find the way not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

I honestly believe 100% that nationalism/republicanism in the North is doing just that! Armed republicanism is in ceasefire. They are pursuing the political path, rather than one of terrorism! They are seeking an accomodation!

Yet it's the nationalists/republicans (e.g. Sinn Fein) who seem to come in for the majority of the criticism in the media...and I'd bet most of the ordinary brits reading this thread honestly think that the solution to the norths problems is just that the IRA hands in it's weapons and dissapears! (We already had one such comment right at the start of this thread).

It's only when loyalism makes the occasional (and inevitable) f**k up, like in Ardoyne, that we suddenly find out there is a 'hard-line' loyalist element who aren't doing anything to help the process. All the IRA weapons in Ireland being handed in will not change the minds of these people. It is patently loyalism which is not learning the lessons of the past, and which is not prepared to tolerate change.

All the rhetoric coming from loyalist politicians refers to how much the loyalists have 'compromised', and that they won't give another inch. An old catch-phrase of theirs.

If the loyalists are to extract themselves from the dead end they are in they need to abandon King Billy, the No Surrender mentality, and the mindset of innate right and superiority over 'the fenians'.

Not an easy task for them I can tell you.

10th Sep 2001, 23:30

You are correct in what you say about politics being the way to continue but IRA/Sinn Fein still have their weapons (as do various Loyalist groups) so the talks will continue to be absolutely meaningless until the terrorists give up their weapons completely. The feeling is that unless they get what they want by talking they will simply revert to the gun.
And as for a united Ireland, why would the UK want to add Southern Ireland to the Empire?

10th Sep 2001, 23:57
Precisely Pulse 1

All that is needed for this to continue is that the good people (vast majority) of NI do nothing

All that is required for evil to flourish is for good men to nothing

11th Sep 2001, 02:43
No surrender
As we're all trying to discuss this sensitive topic sensibly, should we assume that you genuinely misunderstand what is meant by a 'united Ireland'? :rolleyes:

The sooner the the UK abandons the last vestiges of it's Empire, the better. Giving back 6 counties which have been artificially separated from the rest of the island would be a good start. Keeping them is absurd and indefensible in this day and age.

11th Sep 2001, 04:38
The feeling is that unless they get what they want by talking they will simply revert to the gun.

My feeling is that the nationalists will get what they want...meaning a united Ireland. The only question now is how long will it take.

No further need for guns to achieve it either.

11th Sep 2001, 12:35
I am classed as a Protestant(C of E) two of my children went to CofE School and the other three went to a Catholic College, I am suprised to find that the Catholic College and their attitude is far kinder than that found in the Cof E Schools, however as an true Brit I am afraid that I can no longer accept that our Govenment should be putting our troops whatever the service into Northern Ireland.
I have been appalled at the pure aggression aimed at young children whose only crime it seems has to have been born to Catholic parents. It is time for the people of Northern Ireland to sort out their own problems, and I am sorry to say that we should have no input to this whatsoever.

Prior to this disgracefull episode, I was in favour of helping in NI, but not now, they have in my opinion removed themselves from the care and protection of our " Mainland Forces", the quicker we pull out , THE BETTER , I am ashamed, to have supported our Countries actions in NI, for so long!

14th Sep 2001, 07:22
As would seem so often the case time and history has created a situation in Ireland where ethnic and cultural hatreds have been handed down over milenia and separating the multitude of wrongs on both sides have produced an almost impossible situation. Since we all by design have strong feelings engendered within us for loyalty, tradition and belief, it leaves the world a tricky place to be in and some places trickier than others. There are so many places world wide where long standing animosities have and will continue to simmer. It is unfortunately a very human condition and can be observed in action by simply watching a football match, icehockey, rugby where long time adversaries meet, just watch the supporters.
I have amongst my Heinze 57 bloodline a Scottish ancestory that found it's way over to NI. I hold an Eire passport. I am a Protestant, whatever that is, and worship high church with latin services, hardly distinguishable from Catholic services to a casual observer to me it is simply Christianity. I have though often wondered how through history it has been the cause of so much death and destruction and life or death whether a person had one or another belief.
I was once asked by a vicar what I truly believed. I thought he meant it and started telling him how I actualy thought it rather presumptuos of man to put a label on God. As far as I knew most religions be it Catholocism, Shintoism, Taoism, Bhudism, Prostestant Muslim Jew Hindu all seemed to have a common message that one must endevour to be kind honest and look after ones fellow beings, they all acknowledged a sumpreme power or creator to whom we will ultimately be answerable to. I put it to him that I thought it a bit cheeky of any of us to start putting labels on the supreme power or decreeing in exactly what way and using what rituals that power wished us to approach and communicate. I actualy thought that we were probably all praying to the same one. He, needles to say did not agree with me, and I in retrospect, should have realised that anyway.
It has been immenseley saddening to me to see or read about or witness the hatred and predjudices of both sides,as for instance in this particular incident. What happened was, and is inexcusable, for the shouting and mob abuse, or for the exposure by the parents of their children to it. Neither side was in the right and sadly neither side felt constrained to act in any other way.
We are every one of us products of many different influences and within us all there lie mechanisms which have in the past protected us by causing us to herd together, like with like, to ensure the preservation of the species. The herd survives by grouping and co-operating. Types, races, tribes, have always grouped together. Slowly however we are evolving to a stage where we can accept that there other nationalities and religions we can co-exist with, but the process is slow.
Dialog would seem to be something that allows ideas, explanations and understanding to take place, I think that this site for example serves a very valuable forum for reason to flourish and ideas to be exchanged, sometimes heatedly and sometimes imperfectly(my spelling sucks) Sometimes our ideas are not perfect or our solutions the best, but we try. We are connected by a love and interest in Aviation and that if nothing else is a common thread on which we can build.
The Irish problem is a long, bloody, and intractable one with rights and wrongs good and bad on both sides, but there are a multitude of honest decent people of both persuasions both North and South of the border and across the water in Britain who have the good will and the desire to keep trying to find a way to co-exist in peace and harmoney so here's to the peacemakers and those who try to forget the hatreds of the past and simply live a decent life in goodwill and harmoney with their neighbor whatever colour race or religion.

14th Sep 2001, 13:21
Sadly, I read in my newspaper this morning of yet more abuse of kids. This time, a school bus carrying Muslim children to their school was pelted with stones. I forget where in the world this happened, I didn't want to read the whole article.

When will we learn that we can not punish the innocent for crimes which are nothing to do with them. And there are none more innocent than children....


14th Sep 2001, 13:32

Yet another well expressed and helpful contribution on this amazing thread. Thanks