As an Irishman I’ve a quaint fondness for folk bewildered why the UK media has barely mentioned the riots in NI this week. It was like this for nearly 40 years during the Troubles. The UK media only cared when the violence crossed the sea or was so appalling it had to be reported
As a reporter I spent years covering murder and terror in my homeland NI - some of the violence so dreadful it still wakes me in the night. Only about 5% of that violence was ever reported in the British media. There’s your reason for silence on the Belfast riots. They don’t care
If this violence was happening in Glasgow, Cardiff or London coverage would be endless. There’d be public inquiries. But for NI, silence. And people wonder why there’s violence. The silence - the othering of NI - allows violence to fester. The riots are British failure writ large
And need I say the NI riots represent the ignorance of the British government and London media returning to haunt them. They mocked the idea that their Brexit wet dream would cause violence. They were warned. Now it’s happening. Where’s the apology, contrition? You’ll die waiting
In terms of Scotland, attention is greater here on NI primarily due to strong cultural and family ties. But I’ve still had to beg - beg - commissioning editors over here to run NI stories. ‘You paddies killing each other again’ is a refrain many Irish reporters are familiar with.
This may sound sick and twisted but it comes from 30 years reporting on NI: in some terrible way violence from both sides is a dreadful scream demanding UK attention. That’s why the IRA took its killing to England as nobody listened when it happened in NI. These riots are similar
This all said newspaper and TV editors now have a public duty to make amends and report what’s happening in NI honestly and dispassionately. And British politicians have a duty to heal the wounds they’ve reopened in NI. We as the public have a duty to care, not to pretend we care
My final thought on this: NI isn’t a ‘story’. That’s the awful truth about conflict reporting: the use of the word ‘story’ to discuss murder and grief and fear and ruin on a national scale. We need better words for the things we try to describe: the suffering on our own doorstep.
Everyone from Northern Ireland dreads what may come next. Someone dead, murdered. Then tell me, who do we blame for starting this? Again and again and again.

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More from @NeilMackay

5 May 19
A day of endless abuse for reporting a story accurately, and with full on the record quotes from SNP leaders, about concerns regarding behaviour by an online fringe of Yes supporters. And it included full details of vile unionist trolling as balance too…
Oh, and for what it’s worth I’m an independence supporter. So I have to wonder what all those intelligent and open-minded undecided voters needed to win a Yes vote, make of this circular firing squad behaviour. Not much my spider-senses tell me
The SNP leaders who spoke to me did so to say that nuance and persuasion are needed if independence is to be won. Their point is brilliantly illustrated by the reaction today of a brittle, fragile, rather histrionic, fringe who are becoming a lens the Yes movement is seen through
Read 5 tweets
12 Oct 18
As a man who’s considered himself an ally of women my entire life, the stories I’ve heard from women across Scotland this week - in the wake of my daughter speaking out about the way police failed her after she was the victim of a sexual offence - have left me horrified...
I knew things were bad - but the state of affairs is actually appalling - and I say this as a man who thought he knew what women from all walks of life have to endure everyday...
From employers to the police through to the justice system of courts and lawyers, women who’ve suffered sexual offences are failed time and time again. Failing victims is routine, systemic, institutional... it’s normalised, and that’s what’s so dreadful ...
Read 10 tweets

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