Cluan Place & “interface” areas, Under siege!

The reality of life in Cluan Place for the small unionist population.

This account, unapologetically, sets out to put the record straight. It is essential that the unionist case – one which is not always heard – be told. The people of Cluan Place, Madrid Street, Thistle Court and elsewhere along the Short Strand interface deserve no less.

Cluan Place

Cluan Place is an isolated Unionist area backing on to the republican Short Strand. It is a street of 25 houses. Each home has been attacked at one time or another while some have been attacked on many occasions.

Thistle Court and Madrid Street, until very recently were completely exposed to republican Short Strand and suffered drastically as a consequence. More than 40 out of 79 houses sit derelict in the Thistle Court/Madrid Street area as a result of I.R.A. attacks. After pleas to Government, gates eventually were erected across Madrid Street beside Thistle Court, stopping republican incursions but the missiles continue.

Madrid Street

Conflicts, such as those around areas like Short Strand, do not happen by accident. They have been carefully created and manipulated by republicans. In order to properly understand the current violence it is important to understand the republican mentality which brought about the present situation.

There are a number of reasons for the present outbreak:

Undermine the Police Service
It is clearly the intention of republicans to create a situation which will draw the police into nationalist areas and into conflict with the local population. Republicans intent on violence will seek to exploit any attempt to restore order by the police and will attempt to police their own areas and make them no-go areas for the police.

Keep Volunteers Busy
It is critical to the Sinn Fein/I.R.A. twin-track approach that they have volunteers who are available, when required, to intensify the pressure on the British Government. The Provos therefore find it useful to orchestrate incidents to keep the volunteers busy and ensure they do not drift away from the organisation.

Create New Victims
Central to the entire ideology of Irish republicanism is the notion of victimhood. This goes back centuries but is used by modern day republicans to first create and then exploit ‘victims’.

Territorial Expansion
The expansion of republican communities into unionist areas by intimidating neighbouring Protestants has been a feature of the thirty years of the troubles.

Cause Nationalist Reliance On I.R.A.
Creating fear within the nationalist community follows from the predictable loyalist reprisals and ironically has the beneficial effect (for the I.R.A.) of making nationalists, turn to the Provos for protection from the violence it initiated.

Justify No Decommissioning
A community that lives in a climate of tension is likely to be less demanding on the I.R.A. to decommission its illegal stockpile of weapons.

The I.R.A.’s Tactics

The pattern of republican action is always to stir up unrest, offer dialogue as a diversionary tactic, then attack loyalist areas before withdrawing to manipulate the media coverage of the interface. Having planned the acts of aggression they unfold their prepared propaganda offensive and have it up and running while the poor Protestants are still reeling from the violent attack.

The attacks along the boundary with Short Strand have ranged from comparative low-level stone-throwing by children, (disturbingly referred to as recreational violence), through street riots, up to full-scale assaults including the use of guns, petrol bombs and blast bombs.

Violence emanating from Short Strand goes back several decades. Precisely thirty years before the present shootings the St. Matthew’s massacre took place when I.R.A. gunmen rained gunfire down into the Newtownards Road, murdering three people and injuring five others. The I.R.A. murderers positioned in the Chapel steeple shot indiscriminately at Protestants in the road below.

Republicans repeatedly launched attacks on Protestant homes, burning them down, destroying the fabric of the area and forcing Protestants out. The evidence of this campaign of “ethnic cleansing” is all around and visibly evident.

The Facts

The pictures tells the story. This is Cluan Place. Houses destroyed by republicans attacks. Residents forced out – the street left derelict and deserted.

Cluan PlaceCluan PlaceCluan PlaceCluan PlaceCluan Place

 

Members of the Inner East Belfast Forum have meticulously recorded the incidents during the month of June 2002:

 

INCIDENTS:

 

Attempted murder:

[ Cluan Place (5) ]

Attacks using Petrol Bombs:

[ Cluan Place (24), Thistle Court (6) ]

Attacks using fireworks with nails attached:

[ Cluan Place (11), Thistle Court (8) ]

Attacks using Blast bombs:

[ Cluan Place (7), Thistle Court (3) ]
Attacks using stones, bricks, bottles and other missiles:

[ Cluan Place (72), Thistle Court (47) ]
Attacks using pebbles etc. from catapults:
[ Cluan Place (38), Thistle Court (20) ]

Another key indicator of who the real victims are is the level of homelessness – and which community has been made homeless in that area:

HOMELESS APPLICATIONS:

Cluan Place – Unionist: 19
Duke Street – Unionist: 1
Paulette Avenue – Neutral: 1
Clandeboye Drive – Nationalist: 1

Yet another test of the direction of the violence is the fact that 5 Protestants were shot, several seriously. One of the men shot, twice, had received a peace prize from the Secretary of State only a week before. He was in the area to help young people he was working with get away from danger. Two other young men were shot while boarding up the windows of houses attacked by republicans. As well as those shot by the I.R.A. from Short Strand there have been several near misses. No Short Strand residents were shot.

On the eve of the 12th July police seized potentially lethal items from Short Strand. Just before the main loyalist parade in the area the police discovered eight crates of bottles to be used for petrol bombing the parade. Along with the bottles were a large bag of nuts, bolts and lead weights to be used as missiles.

Yet statistics seem woefully inadequate in quantifying the impact of the constant violence on residents. The scene in Cluan Place is one of devastation. Every house has its windows boarded up while the backs of houses bordering the peace wall are virtually destroyed. Most roofs have gaping holes in them and there is debris everywhere. The scene is all too familiar, having been the pattern experienced by Thistle Court and Madrid Street previously.

However, it is the Street’s inhabitants that have suffered most. As one resident put it, “The worst thing is living in constant fear. You never know when the next attack will come.”

The Propaganda War
When running a propaganda campaign that has no regard to facts, there is seldom a difficulty in rebutting any and all accusations. If you are prepared to resort to lies then any excuse will do. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive statistics demonstrate the falsehoods that Sinn Fein/I.R.A. has been propagating about the number of houses in Short Strand damaged and the number of residents declared homeless.

Republicans in short Strand have no embarrassment about the extent of the lies they tell. One even had the audacity to suggest that republicans had not been involved in any stone throwing. Just take a look at the devastation in Cluan Place and read that quote again.

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2 Responses to “Cluan Place & “interface” areas, Under siege!”

  1. strongholdulster Says:

    I had two family members that lived on a interface street thats not listed there. House was attacked alot and a other family member got attack alot more and a few time nail bomb was fucked over SO FUCK YOU SHORT STRAND SCUM!

  2. ulstermadman Says:

    thats all the fucks can do is burn ppl out of there own homes the sick fucks.short strand is a shit hole.meny times i have went to the city cnre on the bus and when the bus gets to the short strand the fuckers brick the bus.i lived in east belfast but now live in lisburn so all i can say to the ppl of the short strand is go fuck u scum cunts. strongholdulster is a good m8.and hate to hear things like that they done to some of his family.

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