I WALKED THE construction zone called O'Connell Street the week before the Orange Order marchers planned to parade down the street and wondered if Dublin City Council had planned for failure. It's a management concept that served me well back in the days that I taught young pilots how to rejoin on a leader's wing while pulling 3Gs in a 400 mph banked turn. You needed to know where your vector was taking you and you had to plan for it to fail. Organising a sectarian march was the same in my mind. It should have been planned to fail.
A march fails when disrupted. Reasons for disruption of an Orange Order march are well-known and most involve missiles. So when an Orange Order march is scheduled down a street full of bricks in piles, loose concrete slabs and unattended storage bins that can hold petrol bombs it appears to me that it was designed to fail. Anyone reading the European Sunday papers today can see the results of that failure. It's a top 25 tag on Flickr as well. In one quick snap, Dublin Tourism has placed itself on the same thematic pages as destinations noted for burning cars on city streets.
This march should not have been permitted on the route it took because it was doomed to fail. Ireland has no water cannon, no expertise in securing city streets from gurriers, no police presence to prevent bus hijackings and no SWAT-like sweeps co-ordinated by lookouts. You don't offer up virgin streets to rampage-minded louts who know the business of mayhem without closing those streets to the unsuspecting public. Those lessons are well-documented by police in Northern Ireland. Those who ignore the history of street confrontation are destined to repat it. Moving a sectarian event a few hundred miles down the road from its polarising audiences does not remove sectarian violence from it. Surely someone in leadership must have appreciated this fact. Or were they stifled by a government unwilling to examine all the cards on the table? That government failed to protect its citizens the moment it permitted a polarising march to wind its way through road works next to a crowd filled with lads wearing hoods over their faces.
Certified accurate image of the Dublin riot aftermath taken from Left Of Centre's Flickr Photostream.