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Annual Orgy of Sectarianism Highlighted in Ardoyne

15/07/11

For the last five years, father-of-one Paul McCauley has lain in a coma caused by severe brain injuries.

In July 2006, Paul was attending a going-away barbeque for a friend in Derry’s Waterside area when he and his companions were set upon by a unionist mob. The provocation? Paul and some of his friends were catholic. The perpetrators? The UDA, an organisation alleged to be on ceasefire.

Now, Paul’s father is battling to ensure the only man convicted in relation to the brutal attack – on charges of causing grievous bodily harm – also stands trial for attempted murder.

About Paul, Jim McCauley says: “He is now as he was just hours after the attack. He remains in a minimum responsive state without communication. The left side of his skull is missing [his brain is covered by skin] and he has been diagnosed as being totally blind.

“Doctors have told us this is the way it is going to be. We are now gradually acclimatising ourselves to the fact that this is how it’s going to be. The best we can do is care for Paul, who exists at a low level.”

Half a decade on from the Waterside attack, another unionist mob, this time in the form of the UVF – another organisation alleged to be on ceasefire – descended on the Short Strand area of Belfast in a clearly premeditated act of sectarian savagery.

Among the casualties in this incident was another young catholic, hospitalised with bleeding to the brain after having a breeze block dropped on his head.

This is the price nationalists and, increasingly, foreign nationals in the Six Counties have to pay for the Orange Order’s annual festival of hatred, which cranks up feelings of enmity and bigotry to life threatening levels.

In Ardoyne on July 12, the concoction of elements who conspire to foist Orangeism’s ‘celebrations’ on the whole of society had created yet another nightmare scenario for this isolated nationalist community.

Firstly, the Six County Parades Commission, as it does every year, gave the Orange Order permission to march past Ardoyne shops in complete contradiction of the wishes of local residents.

Secondly, the PSNI deployed the full range of its paramilitary paraphernalia to hem the people of Ardoyne into their homes to ensure the bigoted brethren could walk their route unimpeded by any troublesome croppies.

And, last but not least, the Orange Order, the unionist political parties and their death squads gratefully accepted this facilitation by state agencies and gleefully strutted over the rights of an entire community.

What they didn’t bank upon was the residents of Ardoyne demonstrating in a unified, determined manner that they wouldn’t be treated as second class citizens. Hundreds of them took to the streets in a march organised by the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective that was attended by many éirígí activists.

As can be seen in the video that is along with this article, the determination of the residents to remain peaceful and dignified in the face of massive provocation stands in stark contrast to the violence first, questions later policy of the PSNI.

Ardoyne is increasingly the epicentre of a sectarianism that, this year, also reared its ugly head in Ballyclare, Ballymena, Bangor, Carrickfergus, Magherafelt, Portadown, Short Strand and elsewhere. And Ardoyne, like some many times in the past, has also shown the way in how to combat this sectarianism – with dignified, militant protest and a complete refusal to be treated as anything other than a first class citizen.

 

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