PSNI ‘have put life of youth worker at risk’ !!!

A YOUTH worker has accused the PSNI/RUC of putting his life at risk after saying he “may be a member of a paramilitary organisation”. North Belfast man Sean Montgomery said police made the claim after he applied to Access NI to be vetted to work with young people.


Access NI carries out background checks on people hoping to work in particular fields, including for criminal records. The agency, which is managed by the Department of Justice (what fucking justice), works closely with the PSNI/RUC. Mr Montgomery beleives an 18-month delay in issuing a certificate to him could put a recent job offer at risk. The cross-community youth worker has vowed to take legal action over the claims contained in two letters sent to him by the PSNI/RUC last month. Mr Montgomery said the letters, which were contained in the same envelpoe but signed by different people, were posted to his home by recorded delivery. One claimed that “police hold information which indicates that Mr Montgomery may be a member of a paramilitary organisation”. The second letter said he is “suspected to be involved in drugs”. He denies both claims.

Mr Monntgomery served a paramilitary sentence for possession of weapons in the 1990s and is a former member of Shame Fein. He left the party in 2005 over its stance in policing. Mr Montgomery said he has made no secret to his opposition to the PSNI/RUC, and he refuses to be involved in projects that engage with the force, but he challenged police to back up their claims. “This puts my life and livlihood and that of my family, in danger,” he said. “If I am a drug dealer or involved at present in republican paramilitary activity, why am I not arrested?” In the past Mr Montgomery has worked closely with Co-operation Ireland and the centre for conflict research. Co-operation Ireland chief executive Peter Sheridan, who is a former member of the PSNI/RUC, said Mr Montgomery should be issued with a certificate by Access NI. “It’s important when we are trying to get people jobs that all the statutory agencies ensure their systems are sufficiently swift that allow that to happen and don’t prevent people trying to move on,” he said. Mr Sheridan also said that the youth worker has “done a lot of good work in the area” in his field. A spokesman for the PSNI/RUC said it “does not discuss the details of vetting applications”. A DOJ spokesperson said all applications go through “a formal process”. Mr Montgomert’s solicitor Michael Brentnall said his client has “no other choice but to issue High Court proceedings aganst the PSNI/RUC and Access NI in order to compel the disclosure of a certificate”.

With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.

Dissident gun attacks ‘not linked’ says police

Dissident republicans suspected of opening fire on vehicles.

‘A worrying trend is beginning to appear in regards to such attacks on the police across the city – Alex Attwood.


The PSNI last night said they are not linking two similar gun attacks on polce vehicles carried out just a day apart in Belfast.

Two shots struck a Land Rover when gunmen opened fire on the Suffolk Road in West Belfast at around 11.45pm on Friday. A day eariler, a “Kalashnikov-style” automatic weapon was used to fire at least 10 rounds at three police vehicles as they passed along the Crumlin Road in North Belfast. It later emerged that gunmen had set up a makeshift platform to fire over a wall at the vehicles. No-one was injured during either attack. A 34-year-old man was arrested in North Belfast yesterday morning in connection with Thursday night’s attack on police. He was still being questioned at Antrim police station last night. It emerged last night that separate investigations have been launched into the gun attacks. A police spokeswoman said: “Police are not formally linking the attacks and both investigations are at a very early stage”. Dissident republicans are being blamed, with Chief Constable Matt Maggot warning recently that different groupings appear to in some form of competition with each other to ensure they have a profile. In recent weeks there has been a upsurge in republican paramilitary activity in Belfast.

In October ‘The IRA’, which was formed last year after the Real IRA, Direct Action Against Drugs and other independant republicans merged, claimed responsibility for shooting dead alleged drug dealer Kevin Kearney in North Belfast. Another group, Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH), last month said it was behind an attempted car-bomb attack at Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast city centre. West Belfast SDLP assembly member Alex Attwood said Friday’s ambush could have resulted in fatalities. “Thosse engaged in this type of reckless violence are not advancing any political ideal, they are hurting the community they claim to represent,” he said. “A worrying trend is beginning to appear in regards to such attacks on the police accross the city.” Shame Fein assembly member Jennifer McCann said those behind the attack “are not motivated by a disire for Irish freedom”. “If they were they would listen to their communities who overwhelmingly endorsed the Good Friday Agreement and a political path towards achieving that goal. “Instead they have endagered anyone in the area of the Suffolk Road at that time for their own agenda. Fortunately nobody was injured.” PSNI Chief Superintendent George Clarke described Friday night’s ambush as “reckless”. “For the second night in a row, dedicated community police officers have found themselves under attack from terrorists,” he said. “It is fortunate that we are not dealing with fatalities this morning and those responsible are to be utterly condemned for their evil and reckless actions. “These officers go out each day to serve this community and they should be free to do so without the threat of attack. “I again urge the community to support us. We need information from the community to help us defeat those who seek to take us back to the past by showing them that they do not represent the wishs of this community.”

With thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.

Up to 15 shots fired at police patrol

POLICE are treating a gun attack on officers in North Belfast last night as “attempted murder“. People in the area said they heard between 10 and 15 shots being fired at three police vehicles as they drove along the Crumlin Road at about 7pm.


No injuries were reported. There was a heavy police presence in the area at the time due to a band parade connected to the loyalist protest camp at nearby Twaddell Avenue. Police say the shots were fired from a point near Brompton Park which is a shot distance from Holy Cross Church. A silver Volkswagen Passat, beleived to be used by the gunmen, was found partially burnt-out at nearby Butler Place. Firefighters attended the burning car, having been called by residents who feared that their hiuses might catch fire. After the atttack a police helicopter hovered over the area while officers used spotlights fixed to Land Rovers to examine the car from a distance and shone torches into the front gardens of houses on the Crumlin Road.

One man from the area said he initially thought loyalists had attacked nationalist homes. “We heard the shots and my mother shouted for everyone to get down,” he said. “There must have been 10 to 15 shots. The shooting went on for three or four seconds.” Chief Superintendant George Clarke described the shooting as “attepted murder”. The attack was also condemned by the main political parties. DUP MP Nigel Dodds said it appeared “to be the work of dissident republicans”. Shame Fein North Belfast MLA Gerry (the mouthpiece) Kelly described the shooting as “reckless”. “Whoever was behind this attack need to come forward to this community and explain their actions. To date they have failed to do so and act solely on their own behalf,” he said. SDLP  councillor Nicola Mallon said nightly protest parades since the Twelfth “have created a highly volatile situation in the Ardoyne/Twaddell area” and the attack was “a blatant attempt to ratchet tensions up further”. She said the gunmen had displayed a “reckless disregard for life” by firing shots on a busy road. UUP councillor David Browne also condemned the shooting while Alliance North Belfast representative John Blair said there “can be no justification ” for it. Meanwhile, two men arrested in connection with last week’s attempted bomb attack on Victoria Square in central Belfast were released unconditionally last night.

With many thanks to: Connla Young and Maeve Connolly, The Irish News.


The social and political chaos surrounding the Twelfth has become a comedy goldmine for internet satiristsBrendan Hughes looks at the lighthearted online reaction to the North’s volatile parading season.

THE news this week has been dominated by the Twelfth and its violent aftermath. But amid the alarming scenes of disorder on the streets and heated political debate at Stormont, many people have managed to see the funny side.

Loyalists Against Demacracy (LAD)

Events surrounding the Twelfth have provided an irresistible abundance of material crying out to be mocked and parodied. And most of this northern satire has devoloped online, through social networking websites. From flag protester Willie Frazer‘s latest arrest to the towering loyalist bonfires, Facebook and Twitter users have eagerly made light of the north’s annual parading season problems. One picture of a Twelfth rioter being flushed from atop a police Land Rover by water cannon has become a mini internet sensation, wwith numerous different parodies. ‘Loyalists Against Democracy’ (LAD), which was set up late last year during the Union Flag protests in Belfast, pictured above, is one of the north’s most popular satirical Facebook pages with more than 3,000 followers. Its team of voluntary contributors have entertained a poster for a fake electronic cigerette called the ‘e-fleg’, which enables loyalists to “display their Britishness” with “a harmless vapour”.

They also created pictures of Egyptian pyrmid-sizes bonfires and Willie Frazer superimposed into a poster from the TV show Breaking Bad. “People have accused us of inventing Willie Frazer because they think he’s an actor that we hire. He’s a great comic creation,” said a Belfast-based contributor to the Facebook page, who did not wish to be named. “The Twelfth has provided too much am

munition almost. There’s too much to keep up with.” Derry-based satirical Facebook page ‘Pure Derry’, which has more than 14,000 followers, created an image for the Twelfth showing William of Orange driviking a forklift in front of a bonefire. “The whole concept of shifting tyres and pallets I just find incredibly amusing,” the page’s creator and main contributor said. “The reaction has been great. It’s so specialised that it’s a very quirky sense of humour.” Comedian and prominent Twitter user Jake O’Kane gained hundreds of new Twitter followers during the Twelfth due to his tweets. “The problem with being a political satirist in the North of Ireland is that you just have to open the paper and repeat what is said. It’s farcical,” he said. O’Kane said social media has allowed many more people to get involved in political satire. “With social media now everybody can be a political satirist, or try to be,” he said. “It has been opened up a lot more so it seems that it has exploded but it has always been there in the background. “The nice thing about it is that there would be people who wouldn’t have the b***s to go up on stage but they now have a voice.” But the Belfast-based comedian warned that some social networking attempts at satire can become childish and abusive. “If you look at a lot of of social media unfortunately it’s the lowest common denominator. It’s like any new technology, it’s as much abused as used,” he said.

With many thanks to : Brendan Hughes. The Irish News.

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Georgian Riot Police in Tbilisi during the 200...
Georgian Riot Police in Tbilisi during the 2007 Georgian demonstrations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘Police were attacked by people holding swords and others threw heavy masonry, golf balls, bottles and fireworks at officers – PSNI spokesman.

SERIOUS violence broke out in north Belfast last night as soon as the Orange parade reached police lines in Woodvale. Around 1,000 loyalists joined the parade and instantly attacked police with everything they could get their hands on.


Garden fences and walls on Woodvale Road were ripped out and hurled at the lines of Land Rovers and riot police.bed. “nior officers had opted not to construct a temporary wall on the road. Almost as soon as the parade arrived the police line moved back towards the Ardoyne shops a couple of dozen yards, leaving some reporters stranded on the wrong side. So serious was the violence that four police officers were injured by 8pm. One officer who was hit by a brick appeared to have been knocked uunconscious. Almost as soon as the violence began, water cannon moved in and five minutes later police fired 20 plastic baton rounds. One drunk protester in his sixties removed his trousers and exposed himself in front of police lines. At 8.15pm DUP executive minister Nelson McCausland and north Belfast MP Nigel Dodds made their way to the front of the protest. Mr McCausland, carrying a baton round in his hand, remonstrated with a senior police officer, saying “it’s disgraceful”.

Theloyalists were protesting a decision by the Parades Commission which banned marchers from a 300-metre stretch of Crumlin Road past the Ardoyne shops. 970241_413953465387222_1114138084_nIt is understood that lodges from Portadown, where a parade down Garvaghy Road has been banned for 15 years, left by bus to join the Woodvale protest. Speaking to reporters at the scene, Mr Dodds said: “Clearly this is a very serious situation. We are working very hard to calm the situation down but plastic bullets have been fired. “I have been speaking to one lady who was clearly not a rioter. She has been struck on the chest and I have been speaking to a senior police officer about this situation. “We want to get this night over as peacefully as we can. People have been injured and things were tense, so we would appeal for people to remain calm and not get involved. “We are trying to defuse the situation as far as is possible.” By 9pm the crowd had dewindled to around 500 but while the intensity of the violence had declined, bricks, bottles and fireworks continued to be thrown at police. Mr Dodds and McCausland could be seen seeking to calm people down. At 9.30pm rioting restarted when 150 fresh protesters arrived and police warned members of the press that ball bearings were being fired. A PSNI spokesman said : “Police were attacked by people holding swords and others who threw heavy masonry, golf balls, bottles and fireworks at officers. “Four officers were taken to hospital. Three of them had been knocked unconscious. A fourth was treated for head and leg injuries. “Water cannon was used and 20 AEPs were fired. One man was arrested for disorderly behaviour and another man was arrested for provocative conduct.”

With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.



GET the gift wrap out, we’ve just been sold. They can dress it up anyway they like but handing Peter and Marty the North of Ireland as an Enterprise Zone should be sending a chill down our spines.


The lads have decided that little things like planning laws, objections to decisions and the preservation of our countryside should no longer be in the hands of actual experienced planners. No, hand it over to the First and Deputy First ministers and let’s party. And if anyone wants the courts to look at a planning decision with a judicial rreview they’ve knackered that too. Objecters can only go to court on the grounds of their human rights or a breach of European law, if it’s a Wednesday and you’re an elephant standing on one leg. It’s hard to know if this is just two fingers to Environment Minister Alex Atwood or shameful shinners handing the North of Ireland to the DUP‘s developer pals on a plate.

After fighting a long and bloody war for Ireland the party is suspiciously keen to sell it to the highest bidder. MinisterAtwood hasn’t covered himself in glory after telling John Lewis to get lost at Sprucefield while welcoming the RU Kerry golf course next door to the Giant’s CausewayBut that’s nothing compared to what could happen if we let devolpers build where they like because the Pete and Marty show have decided it’s an ‘enterprize zone.’ Fracking in Fermanagh anyone? You provide the cash, we’ll provide the unspoiled green belt and the earthquakes. At least Minister Robinson’s back garden won’t be included. He’s already sold it and with Iris’s friends in the industry he can get plenty of advice close to home. The dirty deal between the parties exposed the schizophrenic nature of politics here. One minute it’s handbags at dawn over Gerry Kelly and his police Land-Rover stunt – do you know how hard it is to get a taxi in this town? – and the next minute they’re dancing round their handbags and putting up a big For Sale sign. So that’s two multi-story car parks on the top of Slieve Donard and an oil rig at Oxford Island. Well this is an enterprise zone.

With many thanks to : Roisin Gorman, Sunday World.

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Police failed to communicate with those on the ground. A quick two minutes to explain the situation to either Gerry Kelly or the SDLP‘s Alban Maginness, who was also present, could have instantly defused a volatile atmosphere.

Shinnermanaaway the shock value of the ‘Gerry on the jeep’ incident and the events in north Belfast at the weekend provides a glimpse into operational policing here that the wider public rarely get a chance to see.

It’s hard to imagine a British cabinet minister hopping on the bonnet of a panda car or a senior TD leaping on a garda vehicle, but thats just what happened on Friday evening at Carrick Hill. Gerry Kelly is a former junior minister, a member of the policing board and one of Sinn Fein‘s most senior figures. In fairness to the Sinn Fein MLA I’ve been covering flashpoint parades and the disturbances that often go with them for a while now and have the scars to prove they can be volatile and unpredictable events. It’s impossible to plan what way things are going to pan out as the aftermath of the Tour of the North on Friday clearly showed. While the parade passed relatively peacefully, albeit with several suspected breaches of the Parades Commission ruling by a number of bands, it was the policing of nationalist residents and the reaction to it that made the headlines. The arrest of a 16-year-old for alleged provocative behaviour was the catalyst for the well documented ‘shinner on the saracen’ incident.

On the face of it Gerry Kelly’s behaviour seems incredibly rash and ill thought out, but what most people aren’t aware of is how much ‘security’ at ththese events is carried out using a ‘policing by consent’ model. While we were given a glimpse of this during the loyalist flags protests – when senior officers admitted for the first time that policing was being carried out on a ‘least worst option basis’ – it is in fact used to police many marches and protests. One side will be hemmed in to facilitate another, not because they are considered the biggest threat but in fact the opposite because they are considered easier to control. You may think the law is black and white but not in the North of Ireland where it can be any one of 50 shades of gray.

DUP assembly members who are also members of the Orange Order are regularly seen marching in parades in which legal determinations are disregarded by the accompanying bands. Elected representatives, community and at times paramilitary figures have the ability to ease tensions, calm situations and form a buffer between youths and police – should they want to. This was seen in east Belfast during the month of January when the UVF stepped in to stop violence by effectively doing the job of the police. Policing in what is often referred to as hard to reach communities is regularly carried out in this way. And in many cases police are happy to facilitate this response.

If there is any doubt that this is the case take a look at the guest list to the talks in Cardiff which included not just elected representatives but unelected paramilitary figures and self styled ‘brigadiers’. All give assurances to communicate in times of tension and swapped contact numbers to ensure that this was followed through. While this may not be ideal in a supposedly democratic society it can be quicker, cheaper and safer than sending in the riot squad. Gerry Kelly was one of those who agreed to the ‘Cardiff principles’ as were senior police officers from assistant chief constable level down. Friday night was the first real test of this new spirit of cooperation and the wheels fell off – or sped up depending what side of the Land Rover windscreen you were on. Police failed to communicate with those on the ground. A quick two minutes to explain the situation to either Gerry Kelly or the SDLP’s Alban Maginness, who was also present, could have instantly defused a volatile atmosphere. Equally putting into practice the method of communication agreed at Cardiff rather than steeping in front of a moving vehicle would have showed the talks were beneficial and more than just a boys’ jolly. We are now just weeks from the Twelfth and tensions are higher than ever. The Cardiff weekend founded by the public purse has failed to produce the goods. Carrick Hill is now on par with Ardoyne with potential for violence at an all time high and still the Orange Order have not sat down with residents to hammer out a solution to the hamster wheel of marches, recrimination and sectarian tensions. Pass me my hard hat – I’m going in…..

With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.


Details exchanged at Cardiff talks.

DELEGATES including Sinn Fein‘s Gerry Kelly who took part in talks with police in Cardiff were given mobile phone numbers for some of the North of Ireland‘s top-ranking officers, it has emerged. The contact details – including those of two assistant chief constables – were shared so that issues a raising during the marching season could be dealt with swiftly.


Police are investigating after Mr Kelly, pictured, a Sinn Fein member of the Policing Board, stood in front of a PSNI Land Rover following the Tour of the North parade in north Belfast last Friday. Mr Kelly has made a complaint to the police ombudsman after the police vehicle failed to stop and carried him on its bonnet. It also emerged that the police Land Rover’s tax disk was out of date. The disk was filmed by protesters at Friday’s Tour of the North loyalist march in north Belfast. It had an expiration date of December 31 2012. “All police vehicles are automatically retaxed as and when required,” a PSNI spokeman said. “On this occasion the vehicle was taxed. However, due to an administrative error the tax disc had not been displayed.” Sinn Fein culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin was also injured during the episode which followed the arrest of a nationalist teenager.

The controversy has called into question the ‘Cardiff principles’ in which loyalists and republicans agreed support for policing in May. The PSNI footed a £26,000 bill for the talks in Wales, which while not dealing directly with controversial parades did involve lengthy discussions to establish protocols to deal with issues of contention during the marching season. In a statement issued after two days of negotiations, the delegates agreed to keep lines of communication open, “especially during periods of tension”. Details of the agreements were not revealed, but it is understood mobile phone numbers of senior republicans, loyalists and police officers were shared for use when problems arose. The talks were attended by Assistant Chief Constables George Hamilton and Will Kerr, tipped as a successor to Chief Constable Matt Baggot. SDLP policing spokesman Conall McDevitt said on Tuesday that people must adhere to what was agreed which included “showing respect for both the police and the ombudsman’s office”. “During the discussions we talked about the fact that the principles would be tested and indeed they were tested at the first major event of the parading season,” he said. “What people must do is adhere to the two key Cardiff principles and avoid tit for tat politicking.”

With many thanks to : Allision Morris, Andrea McKernon, The Irish News.


‘A couple of politicians…. have already dropped me messages saying they think it’s class – Gareth Hutchinson.

SINN Fein MLA Gerry Kelly‘s run in with a police Land Rover has been recreated as a collectable miniature model. Model Shop Belfast made the inch-tall model after the North Belfast assembly member was filmed clinging to the front of a PSNI vehicle at Friday’s loyalist Tour of the North parade.

The store has since received dozens of orders after posting a picture of the ‘Gerry Kelly special edition’ model on Facebook. Manager Gareth Hutchinson said several politicians have contacted the shop to congratulate him on recreating the incident in miniaturised form. “It was literally put up on Facebook as a bit of a laugh and not expecting any response at all. But it has went through the roof. The response has been fantastic,” the 34-year-old said. Mr Hutchinson, from Belfast, spent most of Sunday creating the model after seeing news reports of the Tour of the North parade.

Shinner Man

He painted a plastic Hornsby figure – the size of a five pence piece – to match North Belfast MLA Mr Kelly’s clothing. He then attached it to the front of a white-metal model of a Penman police vehicle, normally sold as a construction kit at around £20. Model Shop Belfast, based at Boucher Retail Park, sells a range of models of police vehicles used in the north. Mr Hutchinson posted a picture of the model with Mr Kelly on Facebook on Monday evening where it was veiwed by more than 40,000 internent useers. “It was a bit of a joke but last night there were lots of orders for the Land Rovers themselves and people were attaching emails asking for the figures,” he said. “A couple of politicians who will remain nameless have already dropped me messages saying they think it’s class.

With many thanks to : Brendan HughesIrish News.


CULTURE minister Caral Ni Chuilin needed hospital treatment last night after going to the rescue of party colleague Gerry Kelly who claims he was carried on the bonnet of a police Land Rover during the Tour of the North parade in Belfast. Sinn Fein minister Ms Ni Chuilin was treated in hospital for a shoulder injury before being discharged with her arm in a sling.


Sinn Fein last night said she had suffered the injury when she went to the aid of Mr Kelly as he was carried along part of thenationalist Carrick Hill by a police Land Rover. The former junior minister, who is a member of the Policing Board, said the incident had taken place as he tried to intervene on behalf of the parents of a 16-year-old boy who had been arrested. It came after a tense stand-off between police and nationalists near the junction of Carrick Hill and Peter’s Hill during the controversial Tour of the North Parade. Sinn Fein said the confrontation had taken place after loyalst band supporters had attacked nationalist homes in the area.

The Sinn Fein man said he was shocked by the incident. “I stopped the third PSNI Land Rover and demanded to speak to someone in charge,” he said. “The driver moved the Land Rover into me, forcing me to hold onto a security grill on the vehicle when they drove off at speed, taking me with them for a considerable distance.” Mr Kelly slammed the PSNI last night. “These actions were dangerous, reckless and provocative,” he said. “This is no way to deal with anyone, let alone elected represtatives seeking to restore calm to an area in an already tence situation. “Only a number of weeks ago I attended a conference in Wales which discussed the PSNI handling of these sorts of public order situations and the impact they have on community confidence in policing. “Tonight’s incident is a huge backward step in that process.” In 1996 Mr Kelly made headlines after he slipped his handcuffs after being arrested during a sit-down protest during the Tour of the North. No-one from the PSNI was availabile for comment last night.

With many thanks to : Connia Young, Irish News.

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