The violence at Ardoyne was fomented by dissident republicans and initiated by republicans. It was dissident republicans who brought out their guns and it was republicans who threw petrol bombs. The violence was therefore overwhelmingly republican.
In spite of the evidence of burning vehicles, petrol bombs and gunfire in nationalist Ardoyne, some elements in the media have implied that loyalists were as much to blame as republicans. Nothing could be further from the truth and the truth must be told.
During the course of the evening frustration built up amongst some of the loyalists who were present and several people were arrested by the PSNI as a result of scuffles with the police but not a single shot was fired by loyalists and not a single petrol bomb was thrown.
- Who were the people using guns in Ardoyne? Answer - dissident republicans
- Who were the people trying to murder police officers? Answer - dissident republicans
- Who were the people throwing petrol bombs? Answer - republican hooligans
- Who were the people who burned cars? Answer - republican hooligans
Finally, we should not forget that the violence which was initiated by republicans is not only about a sectarian hatred of Orangmen, it is also about creating a context in which dissident republican gunmen can try to murder policemen, as they did again this year.