Tuesday, May 05, 2009
The police, and the Ombudsman's office, withheld these from the prosecution. They really like to protect their friends from Justice.
This is what happens when you stand up to a fake residents' group. When I walked down to Donegall Pass, leaving a trail of bloodspots on the way, the police sent the ambulance away. I was taken into a small room where a number of officers proceeded to bully me. I was told not to press charges and cautioned for the crime of criticising Katrina O'Neill. They falsely claimed that many public representatives have used the harassment legislation to silence their critics. It would be correct to say, however, that this law exists to stifle dissent. It has been used repeatedly by corporate interests to prosecute those who expose their evil deeds.
It is hard to deny that the police have endorsed the violence inflicted upon me. They refused to investigate for six months until I revealed the false name used by my assailant and his puppetmaster, Miss O'Neill. When the police finally went through the motions they cautioned me with the usual counterallegations and insisted the photographs were inadmissable.
For eighteen months a disk, and evidence statement, have languished in the care of the Ombudsman's office who insist they are for their own use and not to be passed over to the PPS. They have even tried to rewrite the Rules of Evidence, an affront to the intelligence of any criminal counsel.
The attack on me two years ago was attempted murder. Had it happened as planned, on a dark night rather than in broad daylight, I would be dead, Mr Catney would be walking free, as he is now after perjured evidence got him acquitted. And an act of instrumental violence would have made it clear that you do not criticise certain people. The various bogus allegations made by Miss O'Neill and her extended family would have posthumously smeared my name.
I am alive yet live forever in the shadow of death, waiting for a police informer to finish what he started. Every day I live is revenge.
I see them across the street. My summer day's daze is shattered.
“What the fuck are you lookin' at cunt!!”
“....I was just saying hello.....”
It's no use. He has the predator's stare. He's in terminal homing phase like a guided missile.
“Who the fuck are you to talk about my wife!!”
Say nothing. Match his stare.
“I'm gonna cut out your eyes and rip out your throat”
Show no fear.
“It's up to you”
We're nose to nose. I'm falling. He follows through and I know to kick up.
Kick up. Don't stay on the ground.
I'm on my feet. We're eye to eye. Katrina's screaming. He ignores her. Only his target exists.
“I'm gonna cut out your eyes and rip out your throat”
I head-butt him. He staggers. I try to punch him. He calmly steps aside and I go spinning. We carousel from one side of the street to the other, his feet hitting my eyes. I feel nothing; thuds, but no pain.
I'm on the ground. My head is hitting the pavement. And I feel no pain.
I'm on my back. I can't breathe. He has me in a neck-vice.
Pull his arms loose. Gulp air.
The vice closes.
Pull. Hit him with the back of your head.
Above me Tony's watching. Through his thick lenses his piggy eyes are filled with jubilation.
Pull. Gulp air.
I'm on my knees in a doorway.
“I'm gonna fuckin' kill you!!”
Pull. Gulp air.
“Everybody dies! Fuck you!!”
I know I'm dying.
“Get my Daddy! Get my Daddy!”
Mark is watching. He's waiting for me to die.
Keep breaking the neck vice.
I see sky. His hands are round my throat and I'm punching impotently up at him. He's laughing.
I'm on my knees.
“I'll stop if you apologise.”
“Fuck you! I'm apologising for fuck-all!!”
The world is spinning. I fall onto my backside.
Two girls are looking at me. They can't be more than eleven.
“Why did you not apologise when he said he would stop?”
“I don't think I have anything to apologise for.”
“I suppose you're right. It's not nice someone being a Tout”
My head's sticky. I pull my hand away and it's covered with blood. I murmur something.
“What the fuck did you say!!”
It's Bernard; her father; yesterday's Republican.
“I said my head's bleeding”
“I have no more fuckin' patience for you!!”
I stare at him.
“Stop Fuckin' Filmin' This!!”
He's storming across the street, screaming up at a window.
I see Tony. He's moved away.
“I hope you're proud of yourself Tony”
It's the least I can say.
I stagger to my feet, swaying, then collect my coat off the ground where it fell; over where it all began so long ago.
“Are you okay?”
It's a motorist. He's shocked. He's staring at me and I don't know why.
“I've had better days”
I stumble off down the entry.
Don't go to your own house. It's not safe.
I go to her house. Damien answers.
What does he see? He can't believe it.
“What the Fuck!! What happened??”
“You look like someone tried to kill you”
“You need to go to hospital”
“I need to speak to the cops”
“Get the station to call you an ambulance”
I turn to go and from across the street comes Karen. The colour has drained from her face.
We walk down Botanic Avenue and I pause at Clements. I have to go in. Everything stops and heads turn.
Where is Jane?
Open mouths and goggle eyes have no answer to my silent question.
She'll think I've stood her up.
Time to go.
The station has no cops. The girl behind the desk calls an ambulance. She gets water. My hands are staining the glass with blood. There's something on my tongue. I pull it off. It's a slice of tooth.
The ambulance comes.
“That's a nasty head wound. You need that X-Rayed and stapled. You've got concussion. You could have a closed head injury. You need to go to hospital.”
The cops arrive. There's a flood of them.
“We need to talk to him”
The paramedics leave.
We go into a small room. There are two seats. I take one while they stand.
Good Cop speaks,
“You got a couple of digs in”
“That's nice to know”
“You've been harassing Katrina O'Neill”
It's bad cop. She's short, English and very hostile.
“We want to talk to you about these incidents”
“You intimidated her at a residents' meeting and then there's this latest incident on the Ormeau Road”
“You stared at her”
“Outside the Ormeau Bakery”
“We passed in a walkway”
“You stared at her”
“What about the meeting?”
“You intimidated her”
I look at Robin, the sergeant in the corner in the boiler suit.
“You were there. Did you see any intimidation?”
“It was a hell of a row”
“But did you see any intimidation?”
“We weren't there for all of it”
“But you were in the building”
“Was it reported to you then?”
The wall's cracking. The English one counter-attacks.
“We're going to caution you. She doesn't want you writing about her on the internet”
“She's a public figure”
“It doesn't matter. Politicians have prosecuted people for writing about them. It's harassment.”
Someone's coming and going.
How many are there? Five? Six?
I'm losing count. Another one speaks,
“Will I do it?”
“Alan Murray, I'm cautioning you for the offence of harassment against Katrina O'Neill. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention .......................”
It's not a dream.
"Do you have anything you wish to say?"
"I think this is absurd"
“You are entitled to a legal representative. Do you wish one to be present now?”
“I have concussion. I need medical attention. I came here to report an assault”
“You don't want to do that. She has six witnesses who all say you started it. You attacked her boyfriend Declan Martin. And you threatened to burn her house down with her and the kids in it. "
"Is she pressing charges?"
"Why not? if someone threatened to burn your house down with you and your kids in it would you not want to press charges?"
"I want him prosecuted."
"You'll lose. Then she can take civil action against you. I know it's not fair, but, there you go"
“I'll take legal advice. Can I go to hospital now?”
They take me to the City.
Even a doctor's shocked at the sight of me. He takes an inventory of my injuries then goes away while a nurse bathes my wounds with saline. I like her. She admires my freshly broken nose.
“There's no skull fracture. The X-Rays are clear, but we need to staple that head wound.”
By the end my teeth are gritting. Pain has returned to me.
He leaves me in the care of the nurse. She comes and goes as I wait out the necessary few hours of observation.
“Will you be okay to go home?”
“I don't know if the house will still be there”
I'm good to go.
Suzanne's shocked. We're on my doorstep.
“You look like a bare knuckle boxer beat you!!!”
Little did we know, he is.
Looking back it's like a dream. Time does that to you. You never forget. You constantly replay it in your head; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To fight for your life, knowing you're going to die is, they say, the most damaging of experiences. Yet I would change nothing. It would have been a good death. There is honour in such things.
The executioner will come again. I am ready to die.
Answer this question:-
"What is the role of a free press in a democratic society?"
I haven't heard that one in a long time. Perhaps someone should pose it to Hugh Orde, soon to be head of the Association of Chief Constables. Clearly he was the right choice to head our shiny new police force that looks increasingly like the old RUC. The fact that it was the RUC until it changed its name, but not its membership, should make this easy to understand.
I'm reliably informed that the members of this putrid old vintage in new, but only slightly different, bottles have all had human rights training. I wonder if they sat an exam at the end of the course.
"In six hundred words define the relationship between freedom of speech and public accountability. Illustrate with examples from Eastern Europe."
Interestingly enough, East Germany's "Volkspolizei" wore green tunics and white shirts remarkably like those of the RU.......errrr.....PSNI. They also had a habit of arresting and prosecuting those who criticised public figures or asked awkward questions. Such prosecutees had defense counsel and were able to argue their case in court. So no human rights issues there. After all the police are obliged to investigate, caution, arrest and prosecute those who make a nuisance of themselves, looking into wrongdoing in high (and low) places, questioning the integrity of those fine Party Members who work so hard for the public good. Comrades Brown, Smith, Harman etc would never line their pockets at public expense. Indeed, we will send the Stasi to raid the offices of a member of the People's Assembly in order to make the point that no-one whose loyalty we doubt can ever feel safe. Journalists must do their duty and reveal their sources so that these subversive elements can be rooted out and put on trial.
The UK looks increasingly like East Germany without public housing or free education. It's a vast panopticon where privacy is seen as a threat to the social order. Protest is criminalised. It's "harassment" to criticise corporate interests who even have lawyers on the payroll who specialise in the use of this law to stifle dissent. Police assault the public at will in the full knowledge that CCTV footage will become "unavailable". Dissent is driven underground and protest groupings riddled with informers and agent provocateurs. Special operations are launched, arresting hundreds (contrast the Holyland) who were "planning to attack the power supply". Bogey men are invented readily and appear everywhere, thereby justifying the end of privacy. Phones are tapped. Houses are bugged. Emails are monitored. The DNA profiles of millions are kept on file. And all of this to protect our freedom, just like in the German Democratic Republic.
Hugh Orde has shown his true colours. He has no interest in democracy or accountability or freedom of speech. He's the perfect choice to head the Association of Chief Constables. Interestingly enough, Ronnie Flanagan, another RUC Chief Constable, became Chief inspector of Constabulary for the UK. This is a man on whose watch police ran death squads, murdered solicitors and ran a network of informers so extensive that "every tree has its Special Branch". That network has not gone away. In fact it is constantly renewed with the usual suspects; drug dealers, thugs etc who have a license to do whatever they want. Communities live in fear and, bizarrely, are expected to look to the police to protect them from their own employees. Ronnie's swansong as a public servant was to oversee the murder of a Brazilian on a subway train by a police death squad. The jury at the inquest were not allowed to return a verdict of "Unlawful Killing".
Under the Terrorism Act police evidence is heard in closed court. Neither the defendant nor their counsel are allowed to know the nature of the case against them. They are therefore unable to mount a defense against it. This is more draconian than the Prevention of Terrorism Act. It makes a mockery of Justice and Accountability and Freedom of the Press. A journalist is not allowed to protect their sources. Whistleblowers are not protected. In the UK there is no right to silence. The arrest caution is deliberately worded to undermine the presumption of innocence. Suzanne Breen faces a potential five years in jail. So does any investigative journalist. Why? Because the definition of terrorism has been expanded to cover any activity that challenges institutional power.
The elevation of Hugh Orde and Ronnie Flanagan to high office reveals a chilling truth. Northern Ireland is a training ground for tyranny.
they're going to film the mayhem. The council will have "mobile CCTV" deployed in the Holyland.
What do they hope to achieve? The cops have regularly filmed what goes on on Halloween, or St Patrick's Day, and done nothing. They had loads of footage of the recent riot, and, we're told, they're trawling through it to get faces, addresses etc. I wish the media wouldn't buy into such patent horseshit. There will be no arrests or prosecutions based on the filming. As I've discussed previously, the universities will do fuck-all.
CCTV is a weapon used by one group of people who have power against those without. Ultimately that means the vast majority of the population. Big Brother is watching and "the innocent have nothing to fear". This is the first cry of the tyrant.
It is interesting that when police assaulted Ian Tomlinson, very probably causing his death, the footage from neighbouring cameras became unavailable. It was the public, using their mobile phones and camcorders who exposed the truth.
You would think that the cameras in police stations record. They probably do, but when it suits the cops they suddenly don't. I'm speaking from personal experience.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
You needn't look to the IPCC in England or the Ombudsman's office here for accountability. Once again I speak from experience.
In England there is a call for the panopticon to be pulled down. The death of Ian Tomlinson has exposed it's moral bankruptcy. It watches us, but not power or its servants.
The "mobile CCTV" will acheive nothing for residents. Their activities will probably be its primary focus. No more writing on walls will be permitted.
It will, however, provide endless amusement to "students". They will play cat and mouse with the camera vans using their mobiles. It's very kind of the Council to provide them with a new game to while away the night.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Like the ghost of a cultured past, the Gown haunts Queens. It's on it's last legs and trading on it's past. You have to be an "Ex-Gownie" to get a job in journalism. To get on the TV you have to have worked on Queens Radio. After all, degrees are commonplace. Two-ones and firsts are are a currency that is, well, debased. You have to maximise your Cultural Capital, and that's what Queens is all about.
It's all gone wrong. Degrees are meaningless. They're doled out to anyone who can pay. And in the Race to the Bottom a First, a Second, a Third means as little as the flood of A-level top grades that gets mediocrities into that place. It's like viewing the Flynn Effect through the Looking Glass; marks go up as students get dumb and dumber.
The Gown is desperately seeking funding, and, like a student with no money who gets no student finance, they hear from Queens a resounding
Gregson's promise to help the Gown and
"all students who need it"
turned out to be a lie.
What sealed the Gown's fate was it's last act of honest journalism. Exposing the Caterpillar Blood Money scam shined a light into dark places and now informed opinion knows that That Place is a corporate whorehouse devoid of morality like a a gated business park in a J.G. Ballard novel. Indeed, the rape of neighbouring communities looks like the "Ratissages" carried out by executives at the Eden-Olympia Complex.
This may be its last issue and it is with sadness that I find myself reviewing a swansong so filled with dishonest mediocrity. It has had its low points in the recent past; trashing the name of a Holyland resident who died tragically young being the worst. Now it signs off with apologia for the "Ratissages" that drove a community from their homes.
It's not "students", who, after all, work hard to become our future professionals. That half of them never go to class, yet still graduate, seems not to matter. It is not they who throw the bottles, shout the taunts, and for fifteen years have tormented people till they can take no more and leave. Who is it that gangs together and stops a woman on a dark night to tell her,
"Sell your house and get the fuck out of the Holyland. This is our area now."
Obviously it's not "students" who are too busy, well, studying. It must be someone else.
Who is it that deprives people of sleep 'till 4 or 5am. It's not "students". They're doing what residents cannot; sleeping. We're not told how they manage this. We're also not told how they can study in that environment. Those two-ones and firsts are looking more and more bogus. Is it any wonder that thinkers are leaving? What value can they place on a degree from that place?
Only one Queens student has been charged. This reminds me of that infamous St Patrick's Day some years ago when the police made a point of only arresting kids from the Lower Ormeau despite every street being filled with mayhem at the hands of those who are obviously "Not Students". It's their friends, their brothers, their sisters, Wee Cahal from the Country up in the Big City for the day.
It must have been "wee trampy spides" who rioted this year, just like every other year, and the cops have bought into that narrative with a vengeance. The kids from the Ormeau Road are "The Problem". All crime comes from them; Scapegoats; Untermenschen. There is, we are famously told, no such thing as student criminal behaviour. That is police policy.
The one "student" charged should be "hung out to dry". He is an exception. And being such, proves the rule.
It's not students. It's always someone else.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I wonder why.
Is it because he sees who they're doling out degrees to? Remember the one interviewed after the riot who could barely talk?
Is it because they expel people who can't, and shouldn't, pay fees or who have serious personal difficulties? How many lives has Denis "Sweeny" Todd from occupational health destroyed? First do no harm??? "Fuck that!!" says Denis.
Is it because they have destroyed the Holyland and are raping the rest of South Belfast?
Is it because they have introduced an "Off Campus" disciplinary code that is legally unenforceable and therefore a cynical PR exercise?
Is it because they have trashed their own academic base? Bye Bye Classics. Bye Bye Russian. Bye Bye Italian. Bye Bye the only geosciences department in Ireland. They had to back-track on that one, but only after they had sacked all the academics. While enrolling for my First Year I saw skips piled high with specimen trays.
Is it because they want to charge £10,000 a year? If you haven't got the money fuck off.
Is it because it's an intellectual sewer, and cognitive blight on South Belfast, and, for that matter the whole society? Free thinkers who can afford to leave will not go there and who can blame them? Queens, driven by greed, is fueling the intellectual meltdown of Northern Ireland.
Is it because the lecturers are queuing up to get the fuck out of Dodge?
What should we call this new piece of grotesque corporate architecture?
"The Aircraft Carrier"? It looks like one.
"The Death Star"? I can picture Darth Vader standing atop that tower, his cloak blowing in the wind. Overhead tie-fighters do a fly-by.
"The Blood Money Building"? After all it was financed by Caterpillar, supplier of armoured bulldozers to the Israeli Army. At least Queens are consistent; ethnic cleansing and house demolitions. It's "Regeneration" after all.
Apologies to the Palestinians. I do not seek to demean their plight by associating it with the Belfast Holyland. Apologies also to the family and friends of Rachel Corrie. I'm raising big issues, not cheap points when I discuss her murder by the IDF.
I'm open to suggestions, but I'm leaning toward "The Death Star".
Monday, April 20, 2009
Mister Can Do
It should be “Sir Can Do”. Soon it'll be “Lord Can Do” as Reg is headed for a peerage.
“We all felt empowered as soon as we walked in the room.”
It's easy to charm the pants off some people, although the thought of Ray Farley naked is scaring me. He's not the first to feel moist and important in the presence of “Lord This”, or “Baron That”.
Who is Ray Farley? He does not live in the Holyland. This perhaps makes it easier for him to call for more people to be imprisoned there. Only a handful of residents agree with him and we all know who they are. They're strangely absent from the public gaze these days. I dare say the media are sick of hearing from them. Recently the BBC had to edit Ray's gibberish because he seemed to be saying the universities had let their students down on St Patrick's Day. This is like David Farrell describing students as “victims” on the Nolan Show. After he subsequently announced Declan Boyle's address live on the air they quietly dropped him from their interviewee list.
What does “Sir Can Do” have to offer apart from “empowerment”? He cannot make the universities do anything, although he does want to set their fees sky-rocketing. This they welcome with the corporate equivalent of kicking your heels high in the air and your knickers flying. He's some charmer that guy. OK, not much to look at, but he “Can Do”.
Neither he nor Poor Wee Sammy can pass a law to stop adults drinking alcohol on private property. So that's the front garden thing fucked.
I'm not quite sure what a “verifiable term-time address for first-years” is supposed to achieve, but it sounds good and at least Ray can claim a victory as Chairman of somebody else's “Regeneration Association”. It's progress you see, like that thing with deckchairs on the Titanic.
Using vacant property in the city centre is actually a good idea. It's a little late for the Holyland, by at least a decade, but something has to be done to save all the other communities being targeted by landlords and universities. It is, however, impractical to vest then convert, demolish, rebuild, or whatever derelict shops, warehouses and offices. The hundreds of millions involved in such a project would be far better spent on housing for, you know, real people. Perhaps Mark Durkan can upend the sofa and see if he can shake another £400 million out of it to line the pockets of property developers. Reg would, perhaps, welcome that. He's all for the “Wealth Creators”. That such people create no wealth, but do soak up vast amounts of public money (see the antics of Brown and Obama) does not matter. “To him who hath” and all that.
Reg cannot oblige the universities to invest their ill gotten gains on city centre student housing. They'll politely tell him to fuck off and hurry up with the fees raise. He's unlikely to try it on.
So he wants to get all the “Stakeholders” together in a room to thrash out a solution. We've had this before and it's all horseshit. He cannot “de-HMO” South Belfast. Nor can any Stormont Minister. It is not within their gift to make any meaningful change to a housing policy invented elsewhere. Planning is seemingly out of control, but is servicing the interests of property developers, and this agenda comes from London. Blair, Brown, Thatcher; it's all the same; a bubble economy based on property and money speculation. All of them set out to obliterate Public Housing. And so the Housing Executive is not allowed to build. I see no one being allowed to change that policy. Instead, making families on the waiting list rent from private landlords is right up their street, and, for that matter, coming to a street near you. Our “Executive” are mere sock-puppets. This makes the whole “can do” thing an extremely cruel pantomime. Reg may have been shocked at the “war zone” and “intimidation” he witnessed on St Patrick's Day, but he can do nothing of any substance. He may have wondered why 25% of our undergraduates leave to study elsewhere. Now he has the answer, and no Ministerial trips to Scotland will entice them back.
Planning, doing their masters' bidding, are like a rooftop sniper picking off communities one by one; first the Holyland; then Stranmillis; then Lisburn Road; then Ballynafeigh; then Rosetta.
There it is in the South Belfast News. Planning have rubber stamped the rape of Rosetta. And who can stop them? Sammy? Arlene? Reg?
“Studentification” has blighted cities across the UK. Nowhere has suffered like South Belfast, and the Holyland is a nightmare that shocks every visitor from a university town in England. They cannot believe the barbarity. In England an answer has been proposed. Don't get your hopes up because it comes from the sinister coalition of universities and landlords. The hidden agenda is to trash huge swathes of the urban landscape and turn it into Landlordville. And lo the policy comes to Belfast.
The “solution” comes in the form of secondary tumours. Spread the cancer around the city, especially certain target areas. The 30% HMO cap guarantees that target communities will be destabilised and spiral downward fast. This serves landlords and universities and, being a “cap” throws a bone to the Useful Idiots who hang around the master's table seeking “empowerment” while South Belfast dies.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
He spoke with a passion born of desperation. The landlords don't want their properties trashed. The students want to study. The universities want to help. The cops will enforce the law. We have to pull together!!
It was sincerely felt horseshit. We've been here before, six years ago. We'll regenerate the Holyland. We'll redress the population balance. The wolf will lie down with the lamb. We'll all be friends. Let's have a group hug and Praise Jesus!!
There is no community left. The landlords and universities have won. They had already won six years ago, or ten. Everything since has been perception management. Who knew the horrors? The universities did. They spent six years silencing it. Now they have shit on their face. It doesn't matter. They have the Holyland. They have their campus and no-one can do a thing about it. Between them they can spend £545 million on corporate architecture. So a community had to die. So be it. More will go the same way. That's what this is really about.
The PACT meeting was a time-warp. The venue was different; no longer the smelly back room of a church, but the Lanyon Building of Queens University itself! My we have come a long way. And the politicians are there. It's all one big partnership!
The people from Stranmillis and Rugby Road and Lisburn Road are there talking about sanctions and expulsions and Partnership. There's that word. Queens are gonna have a committee meeting. Stormont are gonna have a committee meeting. I can recall people running round like blue arsed flies, going to meetings about meetings about a mural. Residents and students will paint a mural together and we'll put it on a wall and we'll all have lunch in City Church afterwards and we'll go on the TV and it'll be so good! And we'll have an art festival. And we'll get school kids from some Christian summer camp to come once a year and scrape the dead animals out of the entries and clean the landlords gardens for them and have a barbecue where residents and landlords can sit down together and .............................group hug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The objective is to make Stranmillis and Lisburn Road and Rugby Road and Ballynafeigh and Lower Malone partners in their own destruction. This is what “partnership” really means. The power agenda centres around universities and property developers. Give them whatever they want. For thirty years inner cities in the developed world have been reamed out. Think of London's Docklands. Twenty years ago I was living in a hostel and found myself watching a documentary. New York's homeless talk to Michelle Shocked. Their story is one of public housing projects demolished, their tenants dumped on the street to make way for big money. Affordable Housing?? Fuck That!!! This land is for the Rich. Every square foot represents maximum profit.
Before New Orleans had its Katrina Moment, its Mayor, Ray Nagin, was evicting his fellow blacks from public housing so he could sell it off to his property developer friends. A reign of terror was inflicted upon the tenants of HUD. Any and every excuse was found. Get them out; by any means necessary. Then the storm came and the levees broke and he cried his crocodile tears all the while knowing that he would be mayor of a Theme Park. The population would not be allowed back. Public housing was sealed up. Private landlords dumped tenant's possessions in flooded streets and waited for the Big Money to flow. On the higher ground Blacks owned their homes. Men with guns from Blackwater came and you would submit to ethnic cleansing or you would die. Don't take my word for it. Malik Rahim was there and his community resisted. They organised schools, they organised food, and they organised guns. They're still there.
The reason I digress is to show that the rape of South Belfast is neither new nor unique. Driving communities from their homes is the way power does business. It's not a conspiracy, it's coalitions of shared interests. Daniel Guerin described it well in “Fascism and Big Business”.
What about our local politicians? They'll help, won't they? Won't they?
Sunday, April 12, 2009
This should tell us a number of things. In order to get fined you have to have got your wrist slapped for two "proven" previous incidents. Fines range from£20 t0 £200, an average, say of £50. £50 into £10,000 goes 200 times multiplied my three "proven" incidents makes 600 "proven incidents". This is surely the tip of the iceberg. How many residents take the hint and give up after the first or second complaint gets them targeted and no-one to protect them. The universities won't and the cops, well, it took them twelve years to finally do something, and that involved precious few arrests and fewer prosecutions resulting from St Patrick's Day.
We will never know the full extent of torture and intimidation doled out to residents. Suffice it to say a community no longer exists. This was not an accident. The Universities have got their campus which is growing. Queens University is a giant cancer devouring every residential area anywhere near it. It's landlords and "students" do the dirty work of social cleansing while it, and UU sit back rubbing their hands with glee and spending their hundreds and hundreds of millions on corporate architecture.
The universities' "Off Campus Disciplinary Code" is legally unenforceable. There will be no expulsions, and "students" only tolerate it's sanctions because they are so trivial. This being the case, why was it introduced? The explanation is truly diabolical. They can claim they are doing something. The £10,000 in fines sounds truly impressive until it's deconstructed. When it is it reveals the awful truth. The objective is to target residents. Encourage them to complain, get them tortured and threatened, teach them to shut up or leave or both. It is a vehicle for social cleansing and reveals the depth of evil among those who dreamed it up.
The £10,000 is merely icing on the cake. It will buy bubbly for the directors of these degree mills that manufacture ignorance and dispossession.
"Look what a wonderful job we're doing"
They really are proud of themselves. Declan Boyle's properties do indeed meet building standards. It is perfectly legal to demolish a family house and cram sixteen students into the flats you build in it's place. One would expect no less given the enormous amount of taxpayers' money doled out to him in grants. They are, legally, not slums. They are dry. They are warm if you can afford the enormous gas consumption such inefficient housing requires. He's not like Dermott Laird, property manager to countless anonymous slumlords. Michael McMahon, who owns more properties than Declan, most of them Dunderin' Inns, was obviously too ugly to feature in this photograph. Declan's smug smile is wonderful. Sammy's thinking,
"Why am I here, and who is this cheesy cunt???"
The cheesy cunt in question boasts that,
"We're not trying to pull the Holyland apart."
This is like Thatcher's chilling,
"The NHS is safe in my hands."
or the truly sinister claim buy Blair that,
"I didn't get into politics to make the poor and vulnerable poorer"
They have raped the Holyland to death. In the latest edition of the South Belfast News Declan claims that,
"Families do not want to live in or move into a student area"
Therefore the cap on HMO's should be scrapped to enable people to sell up to a landlord and leave. This belies his claim the previous week that they want to work with residents. They have this in common with their allies, the universities. It's a bit like the rapist who says to the victim,
"We're in this together here. It's easier if you work with me."
Now they, and the universities, have more targets in mind. Stranmillis, Lisburn Road, Lower Malone and Ballynafeigh will all become part of their extended private campus. The HMO cap of 30% guarantees the destabilisation of these areas. Only 8 or 9% is sustainable. While these areas are demolished and 2 bed flats crammed onto the cleared sites we will hear the call ever louder that "Regeneration" requires the lifting of the HMO cap. Thus residential areas become "student areas", their populations driven out by noise, sleep deprivation and threats. These communities must not co-operate with those determined to destroy them, the universities and their landlords. Do not go the way of the Holylands. There can be no partnership with the oppressor.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
"Carpetbagger Landlord criticises Civil Service bonuses."
"Declan Boyle form the Landlord's Association said he hears a lot of complaints about the agency's performance. "They just seem to run at a very slow pace for whatever reason. There is a lot of room for improvement," he said"
Is this the same Declan Boyle who has been claiming £36,000 per property in conversion grants from the Housing Executive? Perhaps he could tell us how much taxpayers' money has been doled out to him from the Housing Budget. Is it more or less than £10 million? How many families have no home because the money that should have built them one lines the pockets of this parasite? How much of a kickback do he and his fellow landlords get from Belfast City Council now that they no longer have to pay rates on their properties? Does he collect rent in cash from his tenants? Did the envelopes I have seen changing hands contain birthday cards? He seems to have one every month. It would be interesting to know how much of his income he declares to the inland revenue; all of it? Some of it? We'll never know, but it's a worthwhile question.
I hear that he and his pals may be seeking compensation for the damage caused to their properties on St Patrick's Day. At a police meeting some years ago he wanted to know why residents objected to their "student" tormentors having "fun". Well they've been kind enough to film their antics and put it on YouTube, so now we know what they and he mean by "fun".
The Social Cannibals have raped the Holyland to death, and they're proud of it. Now Stranmillis and Ballynafeigh are in their sights. Let's hope these communities don't follow the example of the Belfast Holyland Regeneration Association and enter into "Partnership" with those, the universities and landlords, who are determined to destroy them.
Monday, March 30, 2009
"Thumbing my nose at You Know Who"
Let us free Ireland! Never mind such base, carnal thoughts as concern work and wages, healthy homes, or lives unclouded by poverty.
Let us free Ireland! The rackrenting landlord; is he not also an Irishman, and wherefore should we hate him? Nay, let us not speak harshly of our brother – yea, even when he raises our rent.
Let us free Ireland! The profit-grinding capitalist, who robs us of three-fourths of the fruits of our labour, who sucks the very marrow of our bones when we are young, and then throws us out in the street, like a worn-out tool when we are grown prematurely old in his service, is he not an Irishman, and mayhap a patriot, and wherefore should we think harshly of him?
Let us free Ireland! “The land that bred and bore us.” And the landlord who makes us pay for permission to live upon it. Whoop it up for liberty!
“Let us free Ireland,” says the patriot who won’t touch Socialism. Let us all join together and cr-r-rush the br-r-rutal Saxon. Let us all join together, says he, all classes and creeds. And, says the town worker, after we have crushed the Saxon and freed Ireland, what will we do? Oh, then you can go back to your slums, same as before. Whoop it up for liberty!
And, says the agricultural workers, after we have freed Ireland, what then? Oh, then you can go scraping around for the landlord’s rent or the money-lenders’ interest same as before. Whoop it up for liberty!
After Ireland is free, says the patriot who won’t touch socialism, we will protect all classes, and if you won’t pay your rent you will be evicted same as now. But the evicting party, under command of the sheriff, will wear green uniforms and the Harp without the Crown, and the warrant turning you out on the roadside will be stamped with the arms of the Irish Republic. Now, isn’t that worth fighting for?
And when you cannot find employment, and, giving up the struggle of life in despair, enter the poorhouse, the band of the nearest regiment of the Irish army will escort you to the poorhouse door to the tune of St. Patrick's Day. Oh! It will be nice to live in those days!
“With the Green Flag floating o’er us” and an ever-increasing army of unemployed workers walking about under the Green Flag, wishing they had something to eat. Same as now! Whoop it up for liberty!
Now, my friend, I also am Irish, but I’m a bit more logical. The capitalist, I say, is a parasite on industry; as useless in the present stage of our industrial development as any other parasite in the animal or vegetable world is to the life of the animal or vegetable upon which it feeds.
The working class is the victim of this parasite – this human leech, and it is the duty and interest of the working class to use every means in its power to oust this parasite class from the position which enables it to thus prey upon the vitals of labour.
Therefore, I say, let us organise as a class to meet our masters and destroy their mastership; organise to drive them from their hold upon public life through their political power; organise to wrench from their robber clutch the land and workshops on and in which they enslave us; organise to cleanse our social life from the stain of social cannibalism, from the preying of man upon his fellow man.
Organise for a full, free and happy life FOR ALL OR FOR NONE.
I've got goosebumps.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
They had little to worry about. No-one showed. As one commenter put it,
"They wouldn't have the brass neck"
He was right. Despite copious posters and leaflets and texts, nobody came. The True Believers of the Socialist Workers' Party stood around in the rain hugging their wet placards and looking ever more stupid. I would have felt sorry for them, but I thought their protest was a cynical prank at the expense of the handful of residents imprisoned in the Holyland.
-No Riot Police in student areas.
An interesting demand. How are we to deal with public disorder? You will by now have seen the clips on YouTube. Should we offer such people a nice cup of tea and a bun if only they'll keep the noise down and stop wrecking cars? There are churches in the area that hand out free burgers and coffee and biscuits to this lot on their way to and from the pub. A representative of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church told a residents' meeting that they should do just that and it'll make things better. I suppose he thought we should pray too. The prayers of many have not prevented the death of the area, nor will they resurrect the corpse of a community that has clearly died.
-No Slum Student Housing
An admirable demand. One might ask where the untold millions in HMO grants have gone. At the recent PACT meeting it was pointed out that the landlords have demolished the area and built a slum. Declan Boyle took great offense at this.
"My properties are to the highest standard. They're passed by Building Control. They're passed by the Housing Executive. There's nothing wrong with them."
Such righteous indignation ignores the obvious question. What exactly are the authorities doing? They have doled out £240 million in HMO grants across the province, financing the rape of untold communities. This money came out of the housing budget, a fact that would explain the presence of 20,000 homeless. The Housing executive is not allowed to build. Instead it finances the private sector through grants and £140 million every year in housing benefit. In a sane and just society this money would be recycled to finance environmentally sustainable public housing. I digress. To demolish a family home and build flats to house 16 students in rooms smaller than a prison cell is slum housing, no matter what the authorities say.
- No expulsions for St Patricks Day.
I, and apparently the Union, had expected a large turn-out in support of this. No show. Why? Perhaps because no-one will be expelled and we all know it. At the PACT meeting Gerry McCormack belittled the concerns of residents to the point of obscene absurdity. As it happens Queens do expel people; if they can't pay fees for example, or their studies have suffered because of health concerns or adverse circumstances. Students call this the "Sweeny Todd" syndrome, but it's not just the head of Occupational Health, Denis Todd, that flushes people down the toilet. The School of Psychology does it too, and this 40 years after they expelled Bernadette Devlin just before her finals.
This brings me to the big point. Queens was once a hotbed of radical student activism. Today it's a cultural sewer. Why will they not fight against fees? Why will they not demand full grants? Why do they not demand decent housing for all? The destruction of the Health Service; anyone care? Apparently not. Water privatisation; anyone listening? Silence.
What has happened to the student body? The answer can be found on YouTube. Thinkers are packing their bags and going. We are in intellectual meltdown. We are also in moral meltdown. Whether it is privileged nihilists high on ethnic chauvinism, or a lost generation who drown their despair in drugs, our youth have no sense of purpose. I could argue that this shows the moral bankruptcy of Christian schooling, and I would not be wrong. I think the larger issue is structural. Thatcher and her heirs have quite literally destroyed society and in its place is that thing understood by Connolly; the morality of the pig trough.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Click to enlarge.
Does Harry Hutchinson consider himself a socialist? He is, I assume, one of those who considers the bank manager to be a fellow worker who lives by selling his labour. I will not get into a deep discussion about structuralism and the "co-ordinator class". Instead I will refer you to Michael Albert's Parecon site.
In Northern Ireland we have "peculiar arrangements". A middle class has been engineered in Mid-Ulster. These people bear no resemblance to the description above which refers to the working class. Such despair is painfully apparent in the Lower Ormeau; thus the epidemic of drug crime.
What can be seen five nights a week in the Holyland is the rampage of those who are privileged, arrogant and bigoted. It was not the lost generation that rioted last Tuesday. It was a middle-class of nihilistic ethnic chauvinists.
Harry Hutchinson would do well to get his facts straight before firing off his words of wisdom to the Irish News.
It's not just residents that wreck cars
"Someone needs to throw the first bottle"
"Waddya think ah the car? It's good crack like isn't it?
"We all live in the Holy-Holy-Land"
Dancin' in the streets
"Let's go fucking mental"
This could be the beach bonfire in The Lord of the Flies
"That's fantastic, boy"
"Violence not seen for a long time in Northern Ireland"
The day after. At around 0.59 you can hear the voice of our future. He can barely talk. He has no remorse. What the fuck is this creature doing at a university?
"Tomorrow belongs to me." The beer garden scene from Cabaret. Watch carefully and see the resonance with the Holyland.
"We had 30 complaints from one individual about students next door playing computer games. Now I don't think that merits expulsion, or a fine, or a disciplinary. If we expel someone from university, we're giving them a life sentence."
This was at a meeting to discuss St Patrick's Day.
"How many students, have you disciplined?", asks a resident.
"This year we and UU have disciplined 218 of which 50 were fined. Our system is meant to be transparent, accountable...blah...blah...blah"
"We...at...U..U...take...discipline...very...seriously", says Una Calvert in that slow, ponderous voice that...fakes...sincerity...but...shows...she...doesn't...give...a...fuck.
I have much to say about the PACT meeting, and want to spread it over several articles to tease out the issues and savour the absurdity of the whole thing.
How many students, bar St Patricks Day, have you expelled for anti-social behaviour?"
Gerry's proud of this and incites the wrath of the articulate graduate from Queens,
"Since I graduated in 2001 I've noticed it gets worse every year. These people have no respect for anyone. We have to make it clear that if you're going to behave like an animal you will lose the opportunity to complete a third level education."
Until a week ago such views would have been considered extreme. I've been called that for voicing them. Now we've had our wake-up call.
"These people have filmed themselves and put it on YouTube", voices the chairman with passion,"I would like to think that people identified from these videos would be expelled"
Gerry's not listening. He's playing with his imaginary games console.
"We saw students coming out of court giving one fingered salutes".
It's the graduate. His shock and disgust pour out with admirable force.
Una's right. She doesn't say it'll never be students, unless they're working class and therefore scapegoatable.
"Why were people taken into a prison van and then released?"
"We only have 15 cells in South and East Belfast."
Gordon the new, new, new inspector informs us. These people come and go so fast I can't keep track of them.
"We take their details and then let them go to come back and be processed later."
"There's an empty jail up the Crumlin Road you can use!!"
She may be a pensioner, but she's no dope.
The teachers in Botanic Primary School were so scared for the children they canceled the clubs meetings. They had despaired of calling the cops to deal with the mob of hostile "students" floating around outside. They called the parents to come and collect their terrified children. Thursday was an exception, not because of the menace that oozes from our "students" like sweat. What was different was the presence of four landrovers in the area; tactical support units. What's interesting is that their presence was felt necessary then, 2 days after the "cultural event", but not today, or tomorrow or any other day that these people own the streets and act out their dominance day and night under the noses of cops who drive on by, legitimising it with their deliberate inaction.
Jimmy Spratt pulls Gordon on resources. He can't get an answer other than that the Holyland has the largest single share of manpower in the sector; at least they did last week. Normal service will be resumed shortly. Jimmy's angry at Gordon's evasions, and is taking this to Orde at the next policing board. I hope Hugh has his figures ready. Jimmy's on a warpath, but as we'll see in later articles, he's easily fooled by the whole "partnership" number. I like Jimmy. I never thought I'd say that about a DUPer.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
This is interesting.
"Why do you stay here?"
"I don't. I've left. But the others........they can't get rehoused."
It was the evening. The rioters had gone to the pub. We're talking as he waits for his taxi. It could take some time; the drivers have refused to come into the area. We've discussed the day's events and I've played ball as he pulls out the tiny minority argument despite having witnessed the mayhem on his doorstep. Then he lets it slip,
"Jordanstown had me up for anti-social behaviour. Well I said fuck them. I threatened them with Human Rights and all the rest. I threatened to sue the cunts"
He might have a case. The Holyland is "Off-Campus". However most punishments are so trivial that they are not contested. Why go to court over a hundred pound fine? And that will only happen after you've had your wrist slapped a couple of times for previous antics. However if someone chose to fight them they would probably win. There is no contract for off-campus behaviour, nor will there be. A "code" is not a contract. It's not like forty years ago when Bernadette Devlin was fucked out of Queens' School of Psychology just before her finals. They have other ways of fucking their students these days; other excuses for expulsion, money being one.
If you're a bogus student they don't give a fuck. You can do what you want and they'll still give you your degree. Just keep the money rolling in. It's a business. It's no longer academia.
His question was an honest one. Why would anyone want to live there? It's no longer a community. A handful of disparate and demoralised people is just that. They've turned on each other like the survivors on The Raft of the Medusa. It's such a shambles they need an outsider to speak for them. Why are those who want out ignored? How can the lie of "regeneration" be taken seriously? What Tuesday has made clear is that there is no longer, and can never again be, a community in the Holyland. How longer can people be kept imprisoned there? Who can justify such torture? People have served their time in hell. Give them new homes.
Friday, March 20, 2009
There is an inconvenient truth at the core of the controversy over student misbehaviour in one square kilometre of south Belfast and it is all to do with sectarianism.
On St Patrick's Day the issue of student drunkenness and hooliganism came into sharp focus once again. The battleground was of course Belfast's Holylands, a small area running from the edge of the university district down to the River Lagan where the streets are named after the cities and biblical place names of the Middle East.
Scenes of drunken students taunting police officers, setting fire to cars, throwing bottles and stones at PSNI riot lines and blocking off streets while they held al fresco parties have reignited the arguments about whether it is right to shoehorn so many third level students into a tightly packed area.
Amid all the outrage and anger, most of it from the few remaining indigenous residents of the Holylands, two facts about those causing the trouble are rarely amplified. The first is that judging from the Gaelic football and Glasgow Celtic shirts as well as the names of those the PSNI decided to arrest, it is clear the overwhelming majority of the raucous revellers come from Catholic/nationalist areas of rural Northern Ireland. This is the unspoken truth of the culchie-student "invasion".
The second is that the dominant presence of these students has transformed what was once the only non-sectarian working-class/lower middle-class district to survive the Troubles into an eight-months-a-year nationalist ghetto. The most important lesson to draw from the brazen behaviour of the rural lager louts on St Patrick's Day is how tribalism actually solidified and grew during the years of the peace process.
It would be inaccurate to say that an area such as the Holylands escaped the Troubles. There were a few incidents of bombings and shootings where people living in the area lost their lives. Nonetheless the numbers were far fewer than say across the River Lagan in north Belfast, where almost a quarter of all the deaths in the conflict took place.
Throughout nearly 30 years of civil strife, however, the Holylands remained an enclave for the lower-paid leftwing lecturer, the aspirant teacher, the radical fringe, the punks from both Northern Ireland and beyond (many, for some inexplicable reason, from Bristol in the 1980s) in their squats or those simply wanting to live in an area where territory was not marked out by flags or painted kerbstones.
Among those who grew up or spent decades living in the Holylands even in the darkest years of the Troubles there is a common perception today that the influx of a monoreligious, rural student population, many reared on an aggressive nationalist diet, has altered the nature of the area.
Conversely the main driving force behind the St Patrick's Day violence may have been nihilistic and drink-fuelled but in the background lurked a collective belief among the third level revellers that this is now somehow "their area", that this is now "their territory". Indeed, during a previous television documentary about the rural student influx, longer-term residents who remonstrated with them were dismissed and told this was now "our area".
Back in the 1980s it would have been shocking to witness the sight of, say, an Orange band playing loyalist party tunes marching around the streets of the Holylands. People who wanted to escape parades and paramilitary murals felt relatively safe there even if just south of the river, across the Ormeau Bridge for instance, the UDA was engaged in a campaign of sectarian assassination. Even by the beginning of the peace process it had still survived as a haven for the aspirant worker and the radical leftwinger.
At present the devolved government in Northern Ireland is officially committed to a "shared future" programme that is designed, on paper at least, to create more common space in areas such as housing, sport or education between the two communities. It faces major challenges such as what to do about the so-called "peace walls" that have become near-permanent symbols of division between Protestant and Catholic areas.
The blueprint for social integration also has to tackle a divided education sector in which the overwhelming majority of Catholic and Protestant schoolchildren are still educated apart. There are serious doubts about how much the programme can achieve in terms of creating non-sectarian environments – especially on the big issues of the physical walls or the separate schools.
Perhaps the first place to start would be the Holylands, where the power-sharing coalition could create financial enticements for families to move into the area and conversely to encourage landlords not to turn their houses into homes of multiple occupancy; to persuade the two universities to build more on-campus halls of residence and ensure they become socially, ethnically and religiously mixed; to launch an education campaign within education aimed at persuading second level students, particularly those from rural nationalist Ulster, about the benefits of not following their mates from primary school all the way to Queen's and the UU and instead to go out and meet new people, maybe even in a university outside Northern Ireland.
In short, restoring the Holylands as a unique area of integration, both in terms of religion and class, would be one small step in that "shared future".
This is my reply:-
I disagree with you fundamentally about what can be done with the Holylands. Six years ago the Extern organisation survey found 200 residents besieged by 5,000 students. Today there are between 50 and 80 residents left. Most want rehoused, but the authorities will not do that. The area is gone. The landlords have demolished most of the houses in Rugby Avenue and replaced them with flats. They're pulling the rest down as I speak. Theree is no community left there, and there never will be again. This is profoundly sad and unbearably true. No-one should be rehoused in that area, and no-one will willingly choose to live there.
We have to face up to the fact that the ethno-political conflict continues in a different form. It has metamorphosed into the destruction of neutral spaces like the Holyland, and now Stranmillis. The Universities are being homogenized and the brain drain is not just that of protestants. Anyone who thinks for themselves and can afford to is leaving to study elsewhere, whether below the border or across the water. It's not just the chill factor within the student body. The quality of tuition in Queens is atrocious and it is rightly viewed as an academic slum.
The new middle class from mid-ulster will not study elsewhere because this is where they want to be. They're also not that keen on studying. It's an excuse to party for three years and get a degree at the end of it. What value can anyone place on such a qualification? This is a frightening issue. If our brightest and best are leaving this ignorant bunch will be our future professionals. They will be the glue that holds society together and that should scare everyone shitless. Do you want them teaching your kids, treating you in hospital, representing you in court? A society in intellectual meltdown is doomed and we have to face this rather than hide from it.
Our political class are working together,sometimes I think for their benefit rather than ours. On the ground however, the two communities are pulling further apart. Look at mid-Ulster and South Armagh. The triumphalism of its demon offspring comes from the aggregation of brutal victories by its parents' generation. Every protestant farmer shot off the back of a tractor, every protestant family driven from their home becomes a "fact on the ground". And this mentality plays itself out in the Holyland. It's "their area" and residents, especially protestants, can get lost. A community was driven out, deliberately and systematically by landlords and their tenants. The journalist Suzanne Breen tells her own story. A gang stopped her on a dark night and told her to,
"Sell your house and get the fuck out of the Holylands. This is our area now"
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Apologies for not pouncing on this immediately. I wanted the press to have their head before I turned around and said "I told you so". Apologies also to commenters, I wanted to get this published before I got round to you.
The chickens have come home to roost. The universities can't PR their way out of this one. No-one's listening to their fake residents' group, who will have run out of nice things to say about them. Having said that, there's no depths to which some people will not plumb (I expect colourful comments in reply to that ;-)
I want time to reflect on this because I have much to say. However, I do note that it was not students that were charged. None will be, unless they're working class. The new middle class in Mid-Ulster must not be alienated, no matter that they are sectarian ethnic chauvinists. It is wonderful to contrast the cosmopolitan parade in the city centre with the ugly truth that lies within. What did the wider world see? The manufactured image of the "New Northern Ireland" was drowned out by who we really are. Your future lawyers, teachers, doctors are waving pizza boxes and throwing (badly) bottles. They couldn't riot for shit; Designer Republican Arsewipes. They really are good for nothing. What a waste of public money.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
People have been complaining about these. I don't know why. We should be immune to the vulgarity and it's hard to disagree with the sentiment. What the fuck are people paying for? Why are genuine students (unlike our friend above) excluded from higher education because they can't afford £3,500 a year? Queens, Academic Slum Extraordinaire, are planning to up it to £10,000 a year. Who are these cunts fooling? Not our brightest and best who are queuing up to get the fuck out of Dodge. Good luck to them, I wish I could join them.
Shane Boylan was not elected, much to the relief of Queens. Let's have a look at his manifesto.
Click to enlarge. You might want to have a closer look at this:-
Click to enlarge.
You couldn't make him up. Note the "extremely small minority" myth, those who's misdeeds are used to "blacken the name of the student community". Residents are given a "disproportionate voice", perhaps because they actually do live there. How someone who has a "home address" and a "term time address" can claim to be a resident is beyond me. The distinction is obvious; the "home address" is not in the Holyland. Shane might well have wondered how it became a "student area", but that would address the fact that an entire community were driven from their homes, and we just can't go there can we?
It is "discriminatory and totally unfair" that those imprisoned in "student areas" should be heard. Six years ago the Extern organisation found 200 hundred residents beseiged by over 5,000 "students". Today there are about 50. If they're outnumbered 100 to 1 perhaps they should have one hundredth of a voice. Queens would love that.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Computers drive me crazy.
Still, It's good to be back.
Is it any wonder no-one can live among them.
Friday 6 March 2009
STUDENT SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS’ DETENTION FOR MANSLAUGHTER
Summary of Judgment
Mr Justice Hart, sitting today in Belfast Crown Court, imposed a sentence of two years’ detention on Ciaran Laverty, aged 19, for the manslaughter of Aaron Montgomery outside the Skye nightclub in Belfast on 15 February 2008.
Aaron Montgomery (aged 23) was standing outside the nightclub with his brother and his friend. A large number of people were leaving the bar at this time and there was some congestion in and around the doorway. Ciaran Laverty was head-butted and was mistakenly told by his friend that it was Aaron Montgomery who had attacked him. Mr Laverty then punched Aaron Montgomery on the side of the head or neck and he fell to the ground. The court heard that such a blow can cause very rapid death.
Mr Laverty remained at the scene and was arrested by police. He expressed remorse and regret for has actions immediately and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. Mr Laverty had no previous convictions. The court heard a number of testimonies about his previously excellent character - at the time of the attack he was a first year student at Queen’s University. He told the court that in the course of the evening he had drunk ten bottles of beer, two pints of beer and a cocktail.
Mr Justice Hart was provided with victim impact statements from Aaron Montgomery’s parents, brother and sister and other relatives. He said that they “eloquently and movingly expressed the acute loss and deprivation each has suffered as a result of Aaron’s sudden and unnecessary death”.
The judge accepted that Mr Laverty’s conduct that night was out of character. He said that Mr Laverty was “an able and intelligent young man of hitherto excellent character”:
“Sadly the reason for his behaviour is all too familiar with cheap alcohol readily available and large numbers of drunken young people spilling onto the streets when pubs and night clubs close. The events of this night were brought about by the combination of heavy drinking and a mistake on [Ciaran Laverty’s] part as to who had earlier assaulted him”.
Mr Justice Hart noted that a custodial sentence will clearly have a severe effect on Mr Laverty and his future but said that “it has to be remembered that his conduct brought about the death of a young man of blameless character who had done nothing whatever to provoke this unjustified attack which it appears was because of a case of mistaken identity”.
He sentenced Ciaran Laverty to two years’ detention.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. The full judgment is available on the Court Service website (www.courtsni.gov.uk).
2. The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland in the case of R v Ryan Arthur Quinn  NICA 27 held that the proper range of sentence in this type of case on a plea of guilty falls between 2 and 6 years’ imprisonment.
You may not have noticed this:-
Amnesty Urges Action on QUB Corporate Sponsor Caterpillar
Posted: 08 May 2007
Amnesty International is urging Queen's University and its students at to bring pressure on Caterpillar Inc for their role in the destruction of Palestinian homes.
As reported in The Gown, the Queens University student newspaper, The company - which has recently given $100,000 to the university towards the costs of its new library - is one of the biggest equipment suppliers to the Israeli army. Amnesty International has previously reported how Caterpillar bulldozers are being used to destroy thousands of homes of Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The company's bulldozers have also been used in the construction of the fence/wall built around and through the West Bank. In 2004 the International Court of Justice declared the fence/wall to be unlawful.
The company has donated $100,000 to the University towards the cost of its new £45 million library, due for completion in 2009. The library is due to have an area named after the company's charitable wing.
Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director Patrick Corrigan said:
'Caterpillar produces the bulldozers used by the Israeli army to destroy the homes of innocent Palestinians. This is clearly illegal - a serious violation of international law which deprives innocent people of the right to a home.
'Amnesty International has asked Caterpillar to adopt a code of conduct which complies with the United Nations Human Rights Norms for Business. To date, the company has refused to do so and to take steps to prevent their products being used to commit human rights abuses.
Peter McGovern, chairperson of the Amnesty Student Society at Queen's University said:
'Caterpillar's sponsorship of Queen's University provides the perfect opportunity for the university to ask some hard questions of the company. Meanwhile, the student body and faculty should bring pressure to bear on the company to abide by international human rights standards. Caterpillar may see this donation as a positive PR opportunity - let's see them prove their bona fides as good corporate citizens by ending their complicity in these abuses.'
Excerpt from the Amnesty International report, Israel and the Occupied Territories - Under the rubble: House demolition and destruction of land and property, published in 2004.
"Tens of thousands of men, women and children have been made homeless or have lost their livelihood as a result of house destruction by the Israeli army. Thousands of other houses have been damaged, and tens of thousands of others are under threat of demolition, their occupants living in fear of homelessness. House demolitions are usually carried out without warning, often at night, and the occupants are forcibly evicted with no time to salvage their belongings. Often the only warning is the rumbling of the Israeli army's US-made Caterpillar bulldozers beginning to tear down the walls of their homes.
"The victims are often amongst the poorest and most disadvantaged. In most cases the justification given by the Israeli authorities for the destruction is "military/security needs", while in other cases it is the lack of building permits. The result is the same: families are left homeless and destitute, forced to rely on relatives, friends and humanitarian organizations for shelter and subsistence."
Rachel Corrie was murdered with a Caterpillar bulldozer.
Queens are naming a wing of their new building after Caterpillar. It is apt that having sponsored the destruction of the Holyland they take money from a corporation that has profited from far worse crimes.
Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “We are very grateful to the Caterpillar Foundation for this very generous donation. This gift is an excellent example of how local companies can support the communities in which they operate. The University's new library will not only enhance the Queen's Experience for our staff and students, but in doing so, will also play a leading role in sustaining and expanding the local knowledge-based economy.
“This donation will further enhance the links between the University and FG Wilson. We have enjoyed a productive relationship for many years, with the company's sponsorship of a major schools outreach project, ‘ABC for Life’, under which medical students teach CPR skills to Year 7 primary school children in order to create a generation of young people with the skills to save lives.”
The Caterpillar Foundation was founded by CAT in the early 1950s and since then has invested over £125 million in a wide variety of projects around the world. In 2005 some £15 million was distributed, with more than £600,000 awarded to projects in the United Kingdom. Since 2003 the Foundation has been active in the UK, working in partnership with CAT's UK businesses, especially in the area of education.
The decision to support this education based project lies comfortably within FG Wilson's philosophy and approach to social responsibility. The Company is a major employer in Northern Ireland and aims to support projects which impact the whole community in a positive manner. To date providing support for education based projects has been a key focus of FG Wilson’s sponsorship activity.
“The Caterpillar Foundation is delighted to work in partnership with FG Wilson and Queen's University to assist in this most important project. As its first direct investment in Northern Ireland, the Foundation sees this as a flagship for its future endeavours in the Province, and in association with FG Wilson looks forward to identifying further projects with the University”, said Dick Elsden, Director for Government Affairs for Caterpillar Inc in the United Kingdom.
Building work has commenced on the £45 million library, which is due for completion in 2009. Designed by Boston-based architects Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson & Abbot (SBRA), the new building will accommodate 2000 reader places and house 1.5 million volumes.
For further information contact:
Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310
The blurb from the QUB website will probably follow the gownn article down the Memory Hole, so I have published it here.