TO listen to some radio reports one would have thought that Northern Ireland had once descended into a Latin American state of civil war.
Yes, cars and buses were burnt, and a bus driver suffered serious injuries, but Rathcoole and Cloughfern rioters were hardly on a scale that rivals Beirut or even Belfast in the 70s and 80s.
And it is half term and the teachers obviously didn’t set enough homework so the youngsters need something to fill their evenings with.
Step forward the brave men of the UVF; men who cite the balaclava as their favourite fashion item, to cajole their young charges to take assertive action.
One can only suspect that they have one or two main reasons for this: either to head off embarrassing PSNI enquiries that the Historical Enquiries Team thought were relevant; or to try and hide drug dealing.
Either way it was slightly amazing that the PSNI ended up being criticised.
First radio talk shows had a go, then amid accusations that the PSNI were heavy handed the DUP announced they were to meet senior officers.
We are slightly amazed – it is the sort of thing that Sinn Féin used to recite parrot like after every riot. Short summary: rioters take to the street; property destroyed; petrol bombs hurled, guns waved by masked cowards...the illogical conclusion is that it was all the police’s fault all along.
Now here’s the obvious solution. After each and every riot – sorry civil disturbance – a PSNI volunteer officer should take the blame and a suspension on full pay while an investigation is carried out to say that he or she should receive a slap on the wrist. Meanwhile thousands upon thousands of pounds are to be poured from the public purse to clean up the damage caused by the rioters with a ‘fair’ proportion of the cash going to the ‘community representatives’ who will make sure that there is restorative justice for those young people who break wind near a pensioner while ignoring said ‘justice’ when the young people are doing their riot work.
Such has it been in the past, so it shall be now. Verily we say to thee: Norn Iron’s a weird wee place.
And, by the way, while 200 people rioted 1,699,800 did not: that last statistic is just in case any foreign direct investors are reading (and if they are we have a few wee projects that could do with a cash boost!)
(Credit for photo - www.bbc.co.uk)