The Twelfth is over for another year and there has been no change in how events played out. 55 police officers injured, 70 baton rounds fired, blast bombs, petrol bombs, bricks etc thrown and millions of pounds wasted. For what exactly?
The reason given by most Nationalists is the provocative marching of the Orange Order in areas they are not welcome such as Ardoyne. However this does not explain violence in Lurgan and Londonderry where there were no contentious parades. An attempted train hijacking, petrol bombing of homes in Derry and police shot at. I find it difficult to accept that this is all due to the Orange parades. I accept that the Orange Order is insulting to Nationalists and creates sectarian tension but almost all contentious parades have been sorted out in recent years except for a 100metre stretch in front of the Ardoyne shops. The people involved in these riots were in no way provoked. Reports suggest that high ranking dissident figures were in Ardoyne on the Twelfth no doubt with the aim of ensuring civil disorder took hold. The riots were intense but they did not involve thousands of people as seen in past years. The main culprits seem to be teenagers and young men from working class areas. Unintelligent thugs encouraged on by the older Republican/Dissident leaders unwilling to get their hands dirty. Peaceful nationalists condemn these attacks outright but there is little being done to stop this 'recreational rioting'. Whether this is due to the people involved being too thick to understand that rioting in their own communities only causes grief to local residents or due to IRA control of the area is open to debate. Personally I think it is a mixture of both. It is clear that the aim of last night's disturbances was to create civil unrest and injure police officers. However it is difficult to see what this could achieve in the long term Republican aim of a United Ireland. There are only so many scumbags out there and the dissidents are not going to create an army out of them.
The attacks will continue for the foreseeable future but the police response to these incidents is getting more intelligent. Rather than fighting back the police are collecting intelligence on frequent offenders and it is only a matter of time before these scum are lifted.
The violence of last night has only cemented the determination of the vast majority of Northern Ireland to rid society of these terrorists. By all means campaign for a United Ireland or a United Kingdom, parade your culture where it is wanted and hold firm to your beliefs but the lesson that history has taught us is that nothing will be achieved through violence in this country.
A violent Twelfth but I am optimistic that Northern Ireland will remain relatively peaceful in the future. However I still believe that attacks will continue and deaths seem inevitable but the dissidents are fighting a losing battle. The sooner they realise that and fuck off the better.