You would be forgiven for thinking that nothing has happened in the North for the last week, given the myopic nature of the southern media’s coverage of issues in the North. It took the worst night of rioting the North has seen for years in order for it to reach the pages of the (so-called) Irish Times, RTÉ or the Indo.
But the rioting had gone on a week before that. Loyalist youths had thrown bricks and petrol bombs at the latter-day RUC, injuring officers and ruining vehicles, including a bus which was petrol bombed and melted to its chassis. The PSNI dealt with these attacks in good graces and released neither water cannon nor rubber bullets on the gathered Loyalist crowds. They very kindly even vacated the area two nights ago to allow Loyalists to set fire to a peace wall barrier and to drive a car into it, in an attempt to attack the Nationalists who live on the Springfield Road. The attempted pogrom was only stopped by local Irish residents whose tribal identity has not yet been shorn away by left-liberalism, and who responded with bricks of their own.
Once Nationalists had defended their areas, the PSNI thought it sensible to deploy armoured vehicles, water cannons and a dog unit, not to the area where Loyalists had been gathered and were trying to provoke another violent confrontation, but to the homes of the Nationalist community. While water cannons were used on Irish children throwing pebbles, it would take hours longer for that self-same police service to respond to fireworks, stones and petrol bombs being thrown by Loyalists.
And where was Sinn Féin in all this? Sinn Féin, we are led to believe, have the interests of the Nationalist community at their heart, and are their representatives in Stormont. No, instead Sinn Féin representatives came down to the area for a photo-op and swiftly vacated the area. Sinn Féin activists dismantled barricades and told the residents in oh-so-many-words to go home, let the Loyalists burn their houses down, and hope the PSNI would protect them. In the morning after the violence Mary Lou was on Morning Ireland telling the world that residents in the north wanted the protection of the PSNI.
The same heavy handed PSNI that was baton charging pensioners in Derry months previously, the same PSNI that arrested the survivor of an attack on a bookies a few weeks prior, the same PSNI with the third-highest use of the stop-and-search legislation in UK jurisdictions. The same PSNI that was nowhere to be seen as the peace wall was attacked.
Mary Lou and Michelle O’Neill wasted absolutely no time in expressing their condolences on the passing of a member of the English Royals. They did not even acknowledge the anniversary of Bobby Sands’ election as an MP. One would almost think that the former was fashionable and the latter was not, at least not in the “polite society” of which Sinn Féin now wishes to be a part.
Sinn Féin are not Republicans; Sinn Féin are not Nationalists. They’re just Stoopers who used to have guns.