Belfast Gonzo at Slugger O'Toole has a post on the leniency showed by a Northern Irish judge to persons convicted of rioting and assorted mayhem. He compares this to the sentences passed on persons found guilty of serious offences during the 2001 Bradford race riot, unfavourably, and compliments one of the judges on a shake'em rigid condemnation before the court. I think the Gonzo's right in saying that (in effect) they've built up a tolerance to street violence that has to go.
But - ironically, I remember that lawyers for some of the Bradford rioters used exactly the opposite argument in an effort to get their clients off the hook. They pointed out that rioters in Northern Ireland frequently got away with, if not murder, similar levels of violence without serious jail time. I didn't think, and still don't, that this was a sensible argument. Wasn't it Belfast that was the outlier? And, ahem, the results weren't that great...(although it's just come crashing across my mind that the 7th July 2005 was the fourth anniversary of the Bradford riot)