I COULDN’t agree more with your July 13 editorial stating that it was time to penalise the rioters in the vicinity of the Ardoyne shopping complex.
The long-suffering law-abiding community are sick to death watching the tedious TV coverage of violent acts perpetrated by dissident republican hoodlums, for whom the penalties imposed each year have been no deterrent whatsoever.
We would all agree that long prison sentences for petrol bombers etc are called for.
This was actually promised by the Belfast Recorder a few days before the Twelfth.
PSNI officers are expected to stand up and defend themselves with only the aid of riot shields, water cannon and plastic baton rounds, few of which ever seem to have the desired effect when fired.
Yet these miscreants can always manage to inflict mayhem and sometimes serious injury to the luckless police officers as well as causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to property. The PSNI commander in charge did warn that rioters would be robustly dealt with if identified on camera. Some arrests have already been made.
It would be good, in my opinion, if PSNI strategy could be changed to allow riot snatch squads go in and arrest the ringleaders, especially as it is almost impossible to identify rioters wearing hoods, masks etc, principally to avoid detection on camera.
A lot of man hours is wasted going through CCTV footage which could be used to great advantage dealing with ordinary crime on the streets of our towns and cities.
It is very disheartening to find that, when hoodlums are identified eventually and brought to court, the sentences they receive for these violent offences are simply derisive.
Only long prison sentences for leading rioters will stop this annual ‘plague’ which tends to blight this area of the Crumlin Road each year.
As a long-serving member of the Orange Order, could I commend the Ligoniel lodges returning home for carrying out the ridiculous requirements of the Parades Commission to the letter.
All Orangemen would certainly want to condemn the Parades Commission for denying them their right to participate fully in the religious service following the main parade.
This discredited quango should be stood down immediately.