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Victims of Cluan Place

Peter Robinson MP. 

 Available at www.dup.org.uk/pdf/cluan.pdf

The day this review was written, there was a news item on BBC News Northern Ireland about an outbreak of 'interface trouble' at Cluan Place.  The report simply stated that both property and the police were attacked.  Each side was reported to have blamed the other.  

Peter Robinson's booklet looks behind such superficial media accounts and analyses what has really been happening, who is instigating the trouble and what their motivation is.  The media generally portrays interface clashes as mindless sectarian hooliganism, but the Democratic Unionist Party MP builds a convincing case that in East Belfast at least, the violence is being instigated in pursuit of a definite republican strategy.

Loyalists are enmeshed in this strategy by reacting to the republican violence and launching tit for tat reprisals.  The victims are those on both sides being terrorised from their homes.  The only winners are the Republican Movement. 

The booklet lists seven ways in which republicans gain advantage from this violence.  The authority of the Police Service of Northern Ireland is undermined in nationalist areas.  IRA volunteers are kept busy and are less likely to drift away to join dissident groups.  The people of the Short Strand become new martyrs to continue the republican mythology of victimhood. Republican territory and ultimately their electoral representation is increased.  The nationalist community, seeking protection from loyalist retaliation, is forced into the hands of the IRA.  An expansion of the Short Strand onto the Albert Bridge Road will make Orange parades along that route 'contentious' and add fuel the anti-Orange element of the republican gameplan.  Finally while their community is perceived as being under attack, the IRA can justify retaining their arms.

This booklet is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand what is going on in the Short Strand area.  To its credit, it doesn't try and portray loyalists as angels but makes it clear that retaliation simply plays into republican hands.  The residents on both sides of the peace line are simply the pawns in a cynical republican cold war strategy.

David Nevin.


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