Lord Laird Under The Microscope


That dubious champion of the Irish-Scots dialect, Lord Laird, is placed under the spotlight by Niall Meehan over on Spinwatch following his fall from grace over accusations of seeking payments from parliamentary lobbyists. Well worth a read not least for the reappearance of Ireland’s former Minister of Justice and supposed paragon of virtue, Michael McDowell.

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THE DUP has denied suggestions that North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds was targeted deliberately by loyalists during disturbances on the Twelfth.


Mr Dodds was knocked unconscious on Friday night by a brick thrown during riots on Woodvale Road. Violence erupted following a Parades Commission ruling that banned a return Orange Order parade along Crumlin Road. It is understood the same brick that hit Mr Dodds also struck Orange Order deputy county grand master for Belfast Spencer Beattie. A DUP source said the North Belfast MP was making a good recovery and was likely to return to his political duties later this week. On Monday a statement from the Orange Order referred to Friday night’s trouble. “Orangemen and polititicians tried to calm the situation down and we pay tribute to Nigel Dodds, local politicians and other partners from the Belfast Parades forum – not only for their work at this protest but also at several other times throughout the day,” it read.

With many thanks to : John ManleyThe Irish News.


ANALYSIS – John Manley.

FOR the second time in little over six months scenes of loyalist unrest are being beamed across the world, undermining any positive PR last months G8 garnered. The disruption may not have been as extensive as it was at the height of the Union Flag protests but the violence has been just as vicious and the accompanying statements just as vitriolic.


The parallels do not end there. In December and January we saw  a comparatively small number of people dictate the political agenda while unionist leadership gave their cause legitimacy through equivocal condemnation. They said street protests and rioting were wrong but that ultimately fault lay with those who “tore down the flag from Belfast City Hall“. Likewise, the actions of those who in recent days threw stones, bottles and petrol bombs at police lines have been condemned. Yet, according to unionists, it was not the iinflammatory rhetoric of the Orange Order that brought people onto the streets but rather the Parades Commission and its folly in banning an evening march along Crumlin Road. As with the flag protests, the messages from Peter Robinson appear inconsistent and contradictory. On the one hand the first minister joined the north’s five main parties ahead of the Twelfth in calling for Parades Commissions determinations to be observed. Yet when the ruling on the contentious parade past Ardoyne was made, the DUP leader recalled the assembly and accused the commission of doing “nothing to encourage mutual respect and tolerance”. Even Mr Robinson’s condemnation of the Twelfth night loyalist rioting on Crumlin Road mentioned the “justifiable anger” against the commission but failed to address the order’s role in bringing people onto the streets. Many nationalists see the order as blatantly sectarian while a large sectiono of the unionist popopulation claim it does not represent them, yet the first minister and his DUP colleagues continue to support the institution’s actions and its refusal to engage in meaningful dialogue. The strategy of riding two horses at once is fraught and unsustainable.

With many thanks to : The Irish News.

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