Saturday, February 25, 2006


Mayhem in Dublin

Twelve people were hurtI guess I should give my thoughts on the disgraceful rioting that has taken place in my home town of Dublin as a result of this Love Ulster rally.

For those of you unaware, several police officers and a journalist have been hurt due to a republican riot in the city.

Stones and fireworks were thrown after republican demonstrators mounted a counter-march. The loyalist rally was cancelled as a result of the trouble.

A number of protesters were also injured during the clashes.

Republicans have been throwing missiles at police in riot gear.

It is understood the counter-march was organised by Republican Sinn Fein - a political party which broke away from Sinn Fein in the 1980s.

Ten people are being held in Store Street Garda Station, while two more are being held in Pearse Street.

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern said: 'There is absolutely no excuse for the disgraceful scenes in Dublin today.

'It is the essence of Irish democracy and republicanism that people are allowed to express their views freely and in a peaceful manner.

'People who want only to attack gardaí and property have no respect for their fellow citizens.'

Mr Ahern has visited O'Connell Street to survey the damage caused by rioters.

Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny has condemned in the 'strongest possible terms' the actions of 'thugs and criminals' in Dublin city centre today.

'Today's actions are those of vicious thugs and represent not only an attack on the police and property but an attack on our democracy,' he said.

The Tánaiste, Mary Harney, has described as 'most unfortunate and counterproductive' the violence that has broken out.

Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte said the violence has brought shame to our capital city.

Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe said there was absolutely no justification for the scenes and called on those involved to end their confrontation with gardaí immediately.

O'Connell Street after the clashes
O'Connell Street has been wrecked

My immediate reaction to this is that those responsible are scumbags. It's outrageous that they would go and attack the Gardaí.

I've just heard that people have been advised not to head into O'Connell Street as a result of this violence and shops and businesses on O'Connell Street have been forced to close. For this to happen on a Saturday in the Irish capital is quite extraordinary. I am pleased to inform you all that in the end I decided NOT to go into the city centre to watch the parade and it was the best decision I've made in a long time. I am filled with sadness however to see my city torn to pieces. O'Connell Street, to me, epitomises Dublin and today's scenes insult Dubliners, and indeed Irish people, everywhere.

With that being said, I think my original opposition to this march has been justified. This is exactly what members of the Love Ulster march wanted. No doubt the Irish state found itself in a Catch-22 situation. If you don't agree to the march, the democracy of the Republic is called into question. If you do agree to the march, you run the risk of violence. It was a tough call to make but the call I would have made, while incurring the wrath of Frazer and co, would have prevented the injuries sustained by twelve people today.

I'll leave you with these telling words from parade organiser William Wilkinson:

"The on-going threat of Irish Republican violence both North and South, the fact that the violence undermines democracy and human rights at every level of society.

"Today’s events, I think, are a let-down for this jurisdiction and certainly a let-down and disappointment for the police and it is something that we would like to see addressed."

This jurisdiction has let them down apparently. Says it all, don't you think?


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