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16 July 1998 Edition

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A surreal scene greeted those at Drumcree last Saturday night. Across the barbed wire, water-filled moat and barricades the two sides faced each other. The RUC, in futuristic riot gear, looked down on the baying Orangemen. Each side shone floodlights on the other as fireworks exploded all around. It was an incredible scene.

A journalist, on the residents' side of the action, glanced over to a nearby house. Through the window, he could see a young boy watching Terminator 2 on the television. He couldn't help thinking about the unreality of it all - the scene just fifty yards from the young boy's house was even more dramatic than the big-budget science fiction classic he was watching.


A caller to Pat Kenny's radio show on RTE may have come up with a solution to the Drumcree crisis. Why not rename the Garvaghy Road `The Road to a United Ireland''. The Orangemen would then abandon that particular traditional route.


The right-wing US publication, The New American, recently carried a jaunty little piece about Gerry Adams. It was headed `Guerrilla Glamour Boy' and described him as ``the political front man for the murderous Marxist Irish Republican Army''. He is, it says, ``the most recent fashion in radical chic'' and if he takes a seat in the Assembly's Executive he will be ``joining the malignant likes of Yasir Arafat and Nelson Mandela who have made the transition from Marxist terrorists to `world statesmen'''.

But watch out, The New American tells us that ``the IRA's frequently reiterated prediction'' is that ``the real war will begin once Ireland is unified under their control - and the task of imposing radical socialism upon that tragic island can proceed.''


Among the people arrested and charged during the Drumcree stand-off was Richard Monteith, Portadown solicitor and Orangeman. Richard, whose fame grows by the day, was remanded in custody to Long Kesh when he appeared in a special court in Craigavon last Friday charged, along with eight others, with being involved in an illegal roadblock in Lurgan earlier the same day. The incident involved a car being damaged and a tree being felled and placed across the road.


Also remanded in custody was RIR member William Jackson who was in Derry's Magistrate's court on Monday 6 July charged with riotous behaviour on the loyalist Tullyally estate the previous day. Apparently some loyalists were objecting to the Parades' Commission's decision to reroute the Orange Order's march at Drumcree.


SDLP Assembly member Alisdair McDonnell joined the nationalist protest on the Ormeau Road on Monday morning. Well, he sort of joined it. Unfortunately, none of the residents would stand within ten feet of him. One RUC man walked up and asked if he had put on the wrong deodorant. But I think the problem was more political than personal.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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