Category: Archive

Echo Editorial: No winners in riot

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

And definitely not the senior Garda officers who estimated that such an event would require only a small police presence.
And absolutely not the thugs and morons who threw rocks and bottles, overturned cars, and used the opportunity to loot city center stores.
In fact, as the pictures of the chaos flashed around the world, Ireland, and her normally vibrant and forward-looking capital city, was the loser.
The event descended first into farce, then mayhem, and the condemnation was swift. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said the attacks on the march was “disgraceful.” Sinn Fein, which beforehand had called on Dubliners to simply ignore the “provocative and sectarian” march, said the violence “entirely wrong and reprehensible.”
It has since emerged that a significant number of those involved in violence were regular district court attendees who happened to be in the city center at the time and took the opportunity to attack the police and loot some shops. A glance through the names of those arrested reveals not political but criminal motivation.
The job of the police in such circumstances is to gauge the numbers likely to attend such a march, and plan for any mischief. They must do better in future.
Another salient fact: freedom of expression, in any democracy, is non-negotiable. Regardless of how ill advised, insulting or even provocative the match was, the loyalists have the right to be seen and heard, as do their political opponents.
There is an onus upon us all to guard that freedom.

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