Jude Collins

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Enough generalities - the Village area can deal sectarianism a deadly blow

It’s a long way from the Village area of Belfast to Stormont.  You can work at an official level towards a shared – and improved – future, but you can’t legislate for the conversion of sectarian morons like those who attacked young James Turley the other day and left him for dead. Why did they do this? Because he was ‘a taig’. If you’d been looking for an example of full-frontal sectarianism, you’ve just found it. These knuckle-dragges weren’t looking to settle some old inter-community score – they just wanted to attack/leave for dead a taig.  

I’m just off the Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster /Raidio Uladh, where this topic was discussed. Dawn Purvis, former leader of the PUP, was keen to stress that sectarianism runs right through all classes of our society in the north, and she’s right. Where she’s wrong is in putting the emphasis at this moment on desegregated housing, desegregated schools, desegregated communities.  The focus now should be firmly on this  primeval attack which is bad for the reputation of the decent people of the Village area, bad for the film industry here and bad for the reputation of the north in general. 

So what to do? Two simple actions would help considerably.  First, it would take no more than five minutes for Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, as First and Deputy First Minister to appear before the cameras together, as they did when PC Ronan Kerr was killed, and label these thugs and their actions in emphatic terms. Second, this attack happened in broad daylight – there are bound to be people in the Village area who know who they were. If they truly detest what happened, they should identify the  troglodyte attackers to the PSNI, they should be arrested and they should learn that actions have consequences and that vile actions have very, very uncomfortable consequences.  

  We all learn best by example. If the top of our society – Stormont – and the ground-level of our society -  the Village area – were to act as one in this case,   make it clear that they totally disown such people and their stupid, vicious actions, you’d be surprised how that co-ordinated action would send ripples of approval and attitude-change throughout our society.  If they don’t, then let’s hear no more preaching from the top or pretence that sectarianism isn’t welcome and nurtured at community level. 


  1. I often wonder how they manage to work out the religion of someone walking down a street.

    One has to also wonder at the comment of some householders in that neighbourhood who wouldn't help the young man.

    In similar terms to the murder or Ronan Kerr, the people who did this are traitors to their country.

    However, Jude, I would disagree that desegregation shouldnt be the priority, it is needed sooner than later, if these thugs grew up around people of different backgrounds they'd not attempt to be singling out their differences, they have more in common than they have separating them.

  2. Ryan - thanks for your thoughts. THE priority now is the group which tried to kill a young guy because he was 'a taig'. I agree the social and educational divisions need looking at, but they don't necessarily produce bigots, let alone murderous bigots. I don't think - I hope - I'm not a bigot, and I'm pretty sure you're not one; yet we're both products of the aforementioned social and educational divisions. But I do agree - they require attention too. But right now the test is: does the Village area reject the murderous bigots in their midst? It's a hard test but a vital one.

  3. Jude, the Village area has had similar tests in the past. This is the area that attacked ethnic minority residents over a sustained period of time. I've had my own run-ins in the area in the mid to late 90s when I was organising womens groups in Belfast and a fatwa was put on the womens centre in the area by loyalists because local women were working and building relationships with catholic women. The response of the neanderthals was to firebomb 3 times the local womans centre and threaten local women. The Village may not be unique in harbouring unreconstructed bigots but it is unique in that they have been able for more than 20 years to rule the area with the tacit support of unionist and loyalist politicians and leaders. Frankly I sure as hell wouldnt wish these lethal morons on anyone as neighbours.

  4. Saw on wall on the Castlereagh road recently, the words painted 'Prejudice is all in your head.' Bitterness is like the river Farset in Belfast, you cannot see it, but it's there and has been flowing for generations.

  5. 'does the Village area reject the murderous bigots in their midst? It's a hard test but a vital one.'

    Indeed, the answer of course is they do if the UVF allow them to, and it's Purvis not Purves Jude.

  6. Anon 15:45 - thanks for the spelling correction - I half-knew it was with an 'i' but I was too lazy/stupid to check. Re the Village being firmly in the grip of the UVF: how come politicians don't come out and say this? Or the police?
    Neil B: Like love, prejudice is all around you, not just in your head. But when it turns into a murderous assault, isn't law-and-order supposed to prevail?
    Marie: thanks for your very instructive comment. The grip of the UVF dismays me; the 'tacit support of unionist and loyalist politicians and leaders' outrages me. And where in this equation is the generally-accepted claim that Sinn Féin has won a degree of grudging respect - and even some votes - in the Village area?

  7. Hi Jude, was reading up about this, and i know that this has no relation to what happened to this guy, but when reading the articles on the internet, i seen that this guy's father was murdered, goign by what it says on the BBC.


    I wonder if it is the same guy who got shot dead, with links to crime and the drugs trade?



  8. Couldnt agree more with your comments re inaction of F M/D F M.What important business were they dealing with last night?Oh yes they were considering proposals to continue the carve-up that prevents a nationalist taking the Justice portfolio!B T W,have you already broken your resolution not to engage in blogsite discussion? We realise your time is precious but its more fun challenging some of your views and assumptions!

  9. OK Anon 21:00 - you've reminded me - thanks. No more comments for next month at least.

  10. Two points come to mind over this barbaric attack
    1. Why have we heard nothing from our deputy lord mayor Ruth Patterson who is a councillor for this area?
    2. Is this not further proof that Windsor Park is hardly a suitable venue for NI matches if the IFA really wants to to "Give Sectarianism the Boot?"

  11. Ruth had planty to say when the Lord Mayor snubbed the army cadet, now?, silence.Sure it's only a fenian.

  12. The Village has bad history a friend of mine was nearly beaten to death a few years ago. He is a Protestant, who worked near the old roundabout at Broadway so when walking home was obviously mistaken as a catholic. As for the stadium couldnt agree more but Im afraid with Windsor getting 30million upgrade the IFA wont be moving soon - idiots!!!