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Reading the ‘Riots’

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Abstract

This chapter, structured as a case study, focuses on the media’s representation of rioting in Northern Ireland in July 2010. The chapter contextualises the case study by reviewing literature on the contestation of space and conflicting identities in Northern Ireland. It also uses content analysis to establish how local, national and international newspapers framed youth involvement in rioting. Further, it explores the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) initiative, Operation Exposure. This involved the dissemination of images of children and young people accused of ‘sectarian disorder’ in Derry/Londonderry and the publication of images following major disturbances in Ardoyne, Belfast.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The rioting in Ardoyne in 2010 has been employed in existing academic literature as an example of contemporary violence, to question Northern Ireland’s ‘political future’ (Bean 2011: 154) and to assess the police’s role in a transitioning society, from the perspective of the PSNI (Kay 2011: 151–152).

  2. 2.

    Farrell (2000: 62) refers to ‘Orange’ in relation to Orange Order parades and ‘Green’ in relation to Nationalist parades. He also refers to parades on Saint Patrick’s Day as part of the Nationalist community’s expression of culture.

  3. 3.

    Jarman’s (1997: 108) research notes the experiences of ‘the Roman Catholic population’ on 12 July, ‘who … are in some cases virtually imprisoned for the day’ and typically ‘allowed no part in the proceedings’. Further, Kaufmann (2007: 150) notes that ‘since the 1960s, British pressure, Republican agitation, and IRA violence have led to an expansion in Nationalist parading and resistance to Unionist parading through “Nationalist areas”’.

  4. 4.

    Kaufmann (2007) discusses the curtailment of republican parading, however not Orange parades as they had the status of ‘traditional processions’. Thus, Kaufmann (2007) argues that in the past Orange parades have been supported by both the government and RUC. Legislative interventions, such as the Public Order (NI) Order 1987 is one such example. See: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nisi/1987/463/contents/made (accessed on 1 June 2011).

  5. 5.

    For further information on ‘The North Report’, see: http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/parade/north.htm (accessed on 20 August 2011).

  6. 6.

    For further information on the role and remit of the Parades Commission in Northern Ireland, see: http://www.paradescommission.org/ (accessed on 30 July 2011).

  7. 7.

    McKeown’s (2001) database, which records and analyses the ‘patterns of politically motivated violence during the years 1969–2001’ demonstrates the extent of violence and fatalities during this period. McKeown’s (2001) findings are clearly not in line with the contemporary media’s claims that the riots in 2010 were the ‘worst’ in years. See: http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/victims/mckeown/index.html#intro (accessed on 21 August 2011).

  8. 8.

    Timing of the riots was a theme frequently highlighted by journalists. For example, news items described how ‘wilful young adults’, ‘released from school… join their annual summer scheme for a bout of recreational violence and peeler taunting’ (The Irish News, 5 July 2010: 10), as the ‘flags, flutes and family combines with warmer weather for a recipe of literal and figurative Molotov cocktails’ (Global Post, 21 July 2010).

  9. 9.

    Reilly’s (2010: 1; see also Reilly 2011) contemporary study explores the use of social media in riot and interface situations in Northern Ireland and looks at the ‘strategies being deployed by community groups and the … PSNI to prevent incidents of recreational rioting … with a particular focus on how they respond to suspicious activity on social networking websites’. The research is based on interviews with the PSNI and interface community workers and differed from Leonard’s (2010a) research, which includes the voices of children and young people to gain a direct insight into young people’s perspectives on rioting in Northern Ireland.

  10. 10.

    This is a label historically used to describe the police in Northern Ireland. The ‘SS’ relates to the name given to Hitler’s police and the ‘RUC’ refers to the Royal Ulster Constabulary, which was the police force prior to the establishment of the PSNI (see Appendix 1).

  11. 11.

    Mrs Rosemary Craig writes this comment piece in her capacity as an Associate Lecturer at the School of Law, University of Ulster.

  12. 12.

    Interview conducted on 2 November 2010. The interviewee is referred to throughout the monograph as: PSNI1, however he did waive his right to anonymity (see Appendix 2).

  13. 13.

    AEPs were introduced by the PSNI as a ‘less lethal replacement’ for the ‘L21A1 baton round’, and there have been several concerns raised about the impact of AEPs on children and young people. For more information, see: http://www.nipolicingboard.org.uk/index/our-work/content-humanrights/content-lesslethal/content-aeps.htm (accessed on 30 July 2011).

  14. 14.

    For further information on the role, responsibilities and work of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, see: http://www.nipolicingboard.org.uk/index (accessed on 30 July 2011).

  15. 15.

    This news item, ‘COMMISSIONER’S CONCERN OVER PSNI LEAFLETS’ (Derry News, 20 August 2010) can be accessed online, see: http://www.derrynews.net/2010/08/20/commissioner’s-concern-over-psni-leaflets/ (accessed on 21 August 2010).

  16. 16.

    This news item can be accessed online, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11249047 (accessed on 4 July 2011). See also the role of Crime Watch UK role in releasing the images: http://www.bbc.co.uk/crimewatch/appeals/2010/09/belfast_riots.shtml (accessed on 4 July 2011).

  17. 17.

    For more information, see: http://www.u.tv/news/Police-pictures-risk-childrens-rights/d2e7b577-d003-4da3-9e87-2a744216c202 (accessed on 4 July 2011).

  18. 18.

    Interview conducted on 5 November 2010. The interviewee is referred to throughout the monograph as: POL3 (see Appendix 6, Table 6).

  19. 19.

    This document was released to the researcher by the PSNI via e-mail, for the purposes of this research.

  20. 20.

    For more information, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11429160 (accessed on 4 July 2011). The local print media reports on the judicial review include headlines such as: ‘“EXPOSURE” PHOTO BREACHED TEEN’S PRIVACY: COURT HOLD’ (Derry Journal, 28 September 2010) and ‘DERRY TEEN WINS PHOTO PRIVACY BID’ (Derry Journal, 29 September 2010).

  21. 21.

    For more information, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11435661 (accessed on 4 July 2011).

  22. 22.

    For more information, see: http://www.psni.police.uk/operation_relentless (accessed on 25 November 2011). For access to each news item, see: http://www.u.tv/News/PSNI-put-warrant-wanted-pictures-online/aab87fbd-f6ca-4743-ba73-19e2aa90b819 (accessed on 22 November 2011) and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-foyle-west-15833297 (accessed on 22 November 2011).

  23. 23.

    [2015] UKSC 42.

  24. 24.

    Gordon, F. (2016) ‘Publication of children’s images, privacy and Article 8: judgment in the matter of An Application by JR38 for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) [2015] UKSC 42’ Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, 67 (2), 257–261, 2016.

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Gordon, F. (2018). Reading the ‘Riots’. In: Children, Young People and the Press in a Transitioning Society. Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-60682-2_5

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