Orange ratchet up tension in Portadown with Drumcree march breach

Having introduced a weekly Wednesday night protest march to accompany the pre-existing weekend protest march, Orangemen in Portadown have attempted to ratchet up the tension in Portadown following recent sectarian rioting by breaching a Parades Commission determination and marching to the edge of the Ballyoran estate.

Interestingly, Suzanne Breen had noted in the Sunday World a couple of days ago that the Order failed to attempt to march the road on July 3rd, when PSNI officers didn’t show up to accept a protest letter from the Order. On that occasion, the Orangemen contacted the PSNI, who sent an officer to assume the appropriate role in the Order’s Drumcreew pageant, though Breen did quote a loyalist as condemning the Orangemen for “not having the guts” to seize the opportunity to proceed with their march.

  • keano10

    So they suddenly decided that they did, (after all), “have the guts” to attempt a march along a piece of virtual wasteland but their new found bravado subsequently deserted them again once The Ballyoran Estate came into view.

    And so they toddled off home in time for tea…

    Not really The Spirit of The Boyne now, is it…?

  • between the bridges

    i expect the same results as this illegal parade

    Interestingly a republican stated ‘Well done marty and murphy, glad to see there’s still a bit of revolutionary in them.
    just wish they wouldn’t condemn everyone else for having it.’

  • “[John O’Dowd] called on the order to engage in dialogue with residents to “resolve the marching issue”.” … Beeb link

    Would that be with prominent dissident Republican Breandán Mac Cionnaith, the former political adviser to O’Dowd?

    Perhaps Breandán was unhappy with SF HQ’s about flip-flop on opposition to Loyal Order parades and on policing. If he has no longer anything to say to SF he’s unlikely to want to talk to the Loyal Orders.

  • eddie poole

    ‘though Breen did quote a loyalist as condemning the Orangemen for “not having the guts” to seize the opportunity to proceed with their march.’

    In the light of this ‘hold me back’ parade, perhaps yellow is a more appropriate colour than orange?

  • between the bridges

    i wonder did sin fin ever get round to commenting on this illegal parade..

  • Im sure Breandan appreciates a return to the Spotlight from his self imposed obscurity on the republican fringe. But as usual he didnt make any sense.
    But surely its just a case of Life (almost) imitating Art.
    Hasnt “Give My Head Peace” already had a little scenr where (in the middle of night) Uncle Andy drops sash wearing Big Mervyn off at the corner of Garvaghy Road and tells him to run like hell.
    So no change really.
    If Orangemen can have a sham fight, they are entitled to a sham march while the band plays “Im Walking Backwards for Christmas”. (“Christmas” makes it a hymn).

  • And now a further opportunity to once again….


    Articles can exclusively reveal that world famous actor Ben Kingsley has said YES to re-creating his role of Mahatma Gandhi and YES to leading a peace march down the Garvaghy Road, Portadown. This latest initiative to end the long running Drumcree dispute is the brainchild of Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey who hopes to score a knockout blow in his titanic make or break election battle with the DUP’s Reverend Willie McCrea for the constituency of South Antrim

    Articles can exclusively divulge that the idea came to light in a document mistakenly left on a Stormont photocopier. An embarrassed spokesman for Sir Reg initially denied its existence but later called back to confirm its authenticity. Sir Reg Empey himself refused to comment immediately but invited Articles to a press conference to be held Monday of next week.

    Sir Reg Empey sets out his proposals in a memorandum addressed to fellow unionist Harry Hamilton, the Freddie Mercury impersonator, who is standing for election in Upper Bann, the constituency in which Drumcree near Portadown is located. Empey speculates as to the possible reaction of key players, emphasises the need to massage public opinion in advance and ends with this appeal to Mr Hamilton “If we want to end this impasse, we cannot be impassive, we have to be imaginative, we have to be creative, we have to break free.”

    In detail, the proposal envisages Sir Ben Kingsley dressed as Gandhi hand in hand with Sir Reg Empey and Harry Hamilton together with the Grand Master of the Portadown Loyal Orange Lodge leading a small procession of Orangemen down the Garvaghy Road singing a peace song the chorus of which runs:

    “We’re going Gandhi
    Down the Garvaghy
    With Sir Reg Empey
    And Freddie Mercury
    Everything’s raji
    It’s a kinda of magi….c”

    The vision continues… “The massed Garvaghy Road residents will part allowing the Orangemen to walk through and then fall in beside them singing from the same sheet. The whole drama to unfold in the absence of any security forces in the anticipation – carefully choreographed beforehand – that all parties merely wish to bring the present dispute to an end and start afresh and that there are to be no winners and no losers.”

    Reaction on the ground was immediate and mixed. A spokesman for Portadown Loyal Orange Lodge said “Gandhi you say – which Gandhi is that then, where’s he from ..Delhi? ah LondonDelhi you mean. But seriously if you’re asking me whether our reaction would be positive then the answer is yes. We are determined to walk the Garvaghy Road, if Empey can fix it and this fellow Gandhi wants to come along too, then we’re right behind them”

    Breandan Mac Cionnaith of the Garvaghy Road Resident’s Coalition was more guarded and recalled memories of David Trimble and the Reverend Ian Paisley dancing a jig. “We’ve been through too much to let them (the Orange Order) through just like that. I’d have to be convinced of their sincerity. Perhaps if the Orangemen forgot their suits and sashes for the day and dressed up like Gandhi – OK they could keep their bowler hats and their umbrellas – just so that the symbolism is clear to all, well we could possibly run with that.”

    Meanwhile Mr Hamilton refused to take my call. A spokesman claimed not to know of the document’s existence raising the possibility that the Freddie Mercury impersonator has disassociated himself already from what is the latest in a long line of political initiatives from the ever creative Ulster Unionist leader and strategist.

    Sir Reg Empey’s opponent in South Antrim, the Reverend Willie McCrea, was less reticent “He can’t sing, he can’t dance and he can’t find a seat. It doesn’t matter where this fellow runs for election; East Belfast, Upper Bann in the future or South Antrim this time around, the good unionist people of Ulster will not vote him in.”

    Last night, the final word fell to Mr. Kingsley who speaking from his London home said “I am willing to do anything I can to help bring peace to a troubled community.”


    And for those readers puzzled by the word “raji” the Ulster Scots Agency confirms that it is Ullans for great news.

  • Nevin,

    “[John O’Dowd] called on the order to engage in dialogue with residents to “resolve the marching issue”.”

    I guess it depends on the competing definitions of “resolve”:

    We have been pursuing the principle of talks for the past five years – talks without preconditions – and the GRRC doesn’t want to know: Portadown district master Darryl Hewitt

  • aquifer

    I think if the Garvagy road residents were into solutions they would phone the police first insead of going on the TV.

    Can it be that they don’t care about the parade any more, the Orange are failing to wind anybody up while putting themselves in the commission’s black book,, and that Brendan is actually redundant?

    This stuff is so last century.

  • al

    I’m no fan of the Orange Order and I’m not trying to defend them but this photo seems to back up their claims that they marched to the bridge to hand over thier request to proceed down Garvaghy Rd.×160/drumcree_standoff_10072011.jpg

    The Parades Commission ruled they cannot enter Garvaghy Rd and if this picture is from Wednesday nights parade it would seem they only proceeded to the bottom of the hill and not onto the Garvaghy Rd.

    I might be wrong and I’m sure someone will correct me if I am 😉

  • Mac

    Look at the photo file name you linked

    which was three sundays back.

  • between the bridges

    Residents’ Group ratchet up tension in Newtownbutler with 12th march breach

  • al

    Ah yes thanks Mac. I’m not great with technology at times!

    It seems from this photo which I’ve only just found that indeed they did walk down Druncree Rd right to the edge of Ballyoran:

    In which case those identified should be dealt with accordingly

  • Mac

    “Ah yes thanks Mac. I’m not great with technology at times!”

    Easy mistake to make, although that image has been processed for display on line, the data in an image contains more than just what it looks like.
    Digital cameras can add a lot of meta-data to the file, where the photo was taken, what type of camera, when the photo was taken, how far away the subject was, was a flash used etc etc.

    A perfect example of a lesson learned was provided by the Israeli Government when they released photographs of weapons they alleged were on board the Turkish ship they attacked. Unfortunately for the Israelis, they forgot to remove the meta data that showed the photos were taken months before they attacked the ship.

  • HeinzGuderian

    ‘ unfortunately for the Israelis’ ??

    I don’t think they lost much sleep over it !! 😉

  • Hopping The Border

    BTB –

    Why just state:

    “But what about this”

    in all of your posts – it will have exactly the same effect, be exactly the same point and save us having to click through your whataboutery links.

  • Comrade_Trotsky

    @between the bridges

    Google: ‘sinn’ ‘fein’ ‘illegal’ ‘parade’


  • Mac

    “I don’t think they lost much sleep over it !! ”

    One of the ‘benefits’ of lacking a conscience.

  • mmmmmm. Slightly disinegnious description of Ms Breen’s piece. Heres a few lines…

    “Orangemen fail to walk ‘open’ road”

    “The Order has kicked up a stink over the fact that it’s been banned from walking its ‘traditional route’ through the nationalist area since 1998….. Yet when Orangemen had the opportunity to march down the Garvaghy Road earlier this month, they bottled it.”

    “on 3 July when the Orange delegation arrived at the bridge, they found no police there. The road ahead lay clear for them to walk along.Yet instead of seizing the chance to continue marching and enter the nationalist area, the Orangemen lost their nerve.”

    “..the Orangemen’s climbdown came as they announced they are intensifying their protest at Drumcree.”

    The Orangemen obeyed the law, did what they were meant to and abracadabra… lovely piece of impartial journalism ripping them to shreds, challenging them and proclaiming their lack of integrity and cowardice.

    It was a non-story. More manufactured stuff to get a dig. Anyone with any remote knowledge knows that there have been a plethora of occasions with no police. And anyway, if the OO wanted to walk down the road without permission they could do it any night they wanted!

    What happened the other night (if anything really did) is at least in part due to Ms Breen’s goading and abuse last week!! Pull the tigers tail and all that.

    Im an Orangeman. If i walk down the side of the Garvaghy road today to the lovely Thai takeaway would i be breaching a PC ruling or breaking the law?? Last night some people who happened to be at a protest and who happened to be Orangemen went for a walk along a Country road- there was or is nothing in law that says they cant.

    Oh, and good oul John saying the Orange should talk to the Residents… locally they have been trying for several years. But the Residents group says no. Well they have won so why would they?? So much for wanting mutual understanding.

  • Drumlins Rock

    For those unfamiliar with the geography have a look at the google map for the area, as you can see from the satelite image the parade is still on the bridge waiting!,-6.45893&spn=0.01,0.01&t=h&q=54.4402,-6.45893

    How did they manage that? co-incidence or making use of resources?

    Anyways, going by the picture supplied by AL above they have barely walked the length of the bunglaow beside the road!

  • between the bridges

    hopping the comrade…
    my sincere apologies i have to admit to been unaware of the ‘rule’ that my post’s had to meet with your approval/s. the fact is that the majority of breach’s of PC guidelines are by republicans, ranging from non notification to symbolism. The number of illegal republican parades is higher than the number of illegal PUL parades, given that the ratio of PUL to Rep parades is approx 10 to 1 this tells its own story. I will provide no links as this would be in breach of said ‘rule’.

  • Hopping The Border


    I’ll leave it to MF to explain the concept of whataboutery – suffice to say you have proven adept at it.

    Use links to back up your arguments concerning the blog topic – not stray off it by focusing on what “the other side” are doing which excuses the point made in the blog.

    As such perhaps you would provide evidence that incidents of Rep events/parades/protests breaking PC rules and guidelines are higher that the corresponding PUL infringements?

  • grandimarkey

    Hopping The Border – Agreed.

    Instead of dealing with the issue outlined in the original post, the commenter has posted links to similar incidents from the ‘other-side’.

    What point the commenter is meant to be making is vague, perhaps it’s “well they do it, why shouldn’t we?” or perhaps it’s more along the lines of “we’re both just as bad as each other, eh?”

    In fact it’s neither as the commenter has gone as far to say the ‘other-side’ is actually worse than ‘our-side’.

    All the while failing to comment on the outlined incident of alleged wrong-doing.

    I here-by request a “Slugger ‘Whataboutery’ Award” to be instated. It could be attached to the side of a commenters name similar to a yellow or red card, for a week or so, when someone fails so terribly at not falling into the oh-so-easy trap…

  • USA

    “given that the ratio of PUL to Rep parades is approx 10 to 1”

    Yes, and that fact tells it’s own story too. Therin lies the problem.

  • USA

    A what-a-boutery card (Wab), may be a good idea. It could possibly improve the level of discussion by keeping people focused on the topic at hand.

  • ayeYerMa

    Trying to “ratchet up tension”? You mean like writing an excessive number of blog posts showing nothing but sheer intolerance for a bunch of old men to silently walk home from church? sounds about right.

  • redstar2011

    Now that the loyalists have been given the go ahead to resume marches on Garvaghy road many Republicans wait with great interest in SFs response

  • Morpheus

    I am more interested in how the OO, the bands and their supporters will behave. Is a display of Christian spirit, respect and dignity too much to ask?

  • MYtwocents

    The BBC understands the Parades Commission has been in touch with the secretary of state over issues raised by some Northern Ireland politicians.

    The commission told Theresa Villiers politicians had raised issues beyond their remit in relation to their decision-making in north Belfast.

    It is thought this concerned representations about the impact of rulings on the wider peace process.

    It is believed the commission said it would continue to fulfil its remit.

    Questioned about recent contact with the Northern Ireland Office, a Parades Commission spokesperson told the BBC: “The commission does not comment on discussions with stakeholders nor does it comment on oral or written representations received.”

  • MYtwocents

    What can We/one read into the above, the still active IRA through their Ardoyne reps have been pushing for a return to more troubled times for some time and the less active IRA through their Ardoyne and wider reps, have been letting the Parades commission (with a nod and a wink?) know that a parade pass the shops would promote the active IRA, in short the Irish Nats mantra is the back to the troubles big stick, so for the PP to contact the Sec of state and it to be reported to the press as this has We/one could assume the “It is thought this concerned representations about the impact of rulings on the wider peace process.” threat? is coming from the non Irish Nats side.

  • Morpheus

    Oh for goodness sake, have you anything more than ‘yeah, it’s all themmuns fault’? It’s mind-numbingly, depressingly ill-placed and very 1970s of you. Rather than thinking about the IRA conspiracy theories has the thought ever entered your head that people would genuinely not like to see what are viewed as sectarian, bigoted, triumphalist, supremacist marches going past their homes forcing them to either stay in their homes or be shipped off to relatives in the country where their safety is guaranteed?

    In my humble opinion the PC have caved to political pressure and have now turned an area which has been peaceful for almost 2 decades into a potential flashpoint….again. These people deserve better.

  • MYtwocents

    from utv
    “The Commission has allowed a march to parade along Victoria Terrace in the town this Saturday for the dedication of a new loyalist arch.

    In the notification for the march, submitted to the Parades Commission, it is expected two bands will take part with around 200 people.

    Nationalist residents, however, have expressed their anger at the decision as they consider Victoria Terrace to be a part of Garvaghy Road.

    Brendan MacCionnaith of the Garvaghy Road Residents’ Coalition told The Irish News the decision was “deeply flawed and incomprehensible”.

    On Tuesday the Parades Commission said it had requested further information and will discuss the decision at some stage during the day.”

    sounds like the PC may yet cave in to a threat from Irish Nats again.

  • MYtwocents

    yep, cave in they did.

  • DC

    The Garvaghy Road residents are a bunch of pussies.

    Across the water in England the other day another a religious group was calling for the beheading of David Cameron fundamentalists like that are tolerated in England whereas in N Ireland a wee bit of Orange and there are convulsions like its some sort of fate worse than death, end of the world, poltergeist type visitation.

  • DC

    What is it – it’s the…

    …Orange Order…arrrrrgh!!!!!

    Regulate them off the road, regulate off the road, arrgghh!

  • Morpheus

    “yep, cave in they did.”


    …ensured that an area that has enjoyed peace for close on 2 decades continues to do so

  • Kevsterino

    The Orange Order not fulfilling their public responsibilities while parading is what brought about the creation of residence groups, and the gawd-awful Parades Commission. They don’t deserve the right to complain about the PC. If they had done right in the first place, there would be no Parades Commission.

    It is their bed. Now they can lie in it.

  • Mick Fealty

    I meant to blog this today with some up to date and accurate detail on the dispute, but the window open and closed before I had time to do it…

    My understanding was that this was in a Protestant majority (ie, NOT exclusively Protestant) area and the proposal was to march to the opening of a renewed arch…

    I leave you with this thought from a far shore…

  • Morpheus

    Had a look at Google Maps because I am not familiar with the area. The application wanted to go from Castle Street to Victoria Terrace, back to Castle Street and continues from there. The map shows the route as this.

    That to me is a parade down the contentious Garvaghy Road – can any locals shine a light?

  • tacapall

    Why dont the Orangemen publicly dedicate and carry a banner honouring the four Quinn brothers who were burnt to death by the UVF because Orangemen could not walk up Garvaghy Road. Perhaps then we could all see lessons were learned about not whipping up hysteria when you dont get to rub salt into residents open wounds,

  • tacapall

    Of course there was Three Quinn brothers murdered not four. Sorry.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I think a little reasonable dialogue is needed here, had the Orange paraded on when the police did not show up to accept the protest letter there would have been criticism of the Orange for stoking trouble within the area. Chants on cowardice are unjustified, unfair and one could even say a little mischievous with undertones on a hidden agenda.

  • Morpheus

    Yes, there would have been criticism Joe because it would have broken a Parade’s Commission determination – but that doesn’t seem to concern a lot of people these days anyway.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Are the Orange breaking PC determinations?

  • Jagdip


    Will the middening never end.

  • MYtwocents

    tacapall, you are a believer in the saying that if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth, do you know that is believed to be a quote from Joseph Goebbels, fitting!

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    As unusual as this is, I must side with tacapall on this one.

    The Quinn brothers died because of Drumcree.

    I mind fine and well the chat about drugs and whatever in ‘the field’ the next day but everyone knows it was hokum.

    It caused the departure of the very fine and Reverend Bingham.

    When the blood is up in the mob then anyone who looks or sounds ‘taigy’ is suspect, anyone born into a Catholic background is very suspect and anyone married to a Catholic is suspect.

    There is a trickle down effect to the OO’s decisions.
    They can’t blame them all on SF.

    One of the oddest things I heard that very summer was a chant from a respected bass drummer at a local Drumcree orientated road block; he shouted at the British soldiers “go home you British bastards!”.

    I finished with loyalism shortly after, it was my American History X moment (no, no shower scene…).

  • MYtwocents

    AM, quick one back at that, the attack was carried out by UVF elements the UVF where not backing the Drumcree folk by that stage,

  • Joe_Hoggs

    However disliked the Orange may be on here, they did not call for violence and were as abhorred as anyone else with the deaths of the three Quinn brothers and who wouldn’t be?

    What the Orange did then as now is show a complete lack of leadership and as usual it is the ‘hangers on’ rather than members of the Orange who cause most of the problem fueled by poor leadership within the Orange.

    On a side note are Reverend Bingham and David Trimble still in the Orange?

  • Morpheus

    The perception Joe – and let’s face it, a perception that is based in reality – is that the OO leaders are happy to wind the often inebriated hangers-on with talk of ‘cultural war’, the ‘stripping of the Union Flag from City hall’ and the Parades Commission, the law of the land, being ‘irrelevant’ and then retire to their armchairs as others pick up the injuries and criminal records.

    I do get the fraternal, Christian concept behind the OO, honestly I do, but images like this and this scream that they are a million miles away from where they think they are and it’s ordinary members like you who are paying the price.

  • Joe_Hoggs


    I agree changes internally are needed along with a paid leadership rather than relying on a full time farmer to deal with these issues. In fairness to your picture of Billy Hutchinson someone whom I loathe – he has been at the forefront to stop riots etc from happening in the recent past.

    A big problem is the lack of funding the Orange get in comparison to the GAA.

  • Morpheus

    The picture to me highlights the gross hyprocrisy that goes on, the ‘stop-republican-marches-but-ours-are-OK’ and the constant drones about SF and their past but having no issues whatsoever having their leaders sharing a stage with a convicted murderer who bizarrely feels that killing 2 innocent Catholics some how prevented a united ireland and a reputed UVF Commander

    The perceived ‘moral high ground’ is gone. The entire Christian ethos than you obviously live by and the charity work carried out by your lodge in difficult circumstances all go out the window I’m afraid and you have my sympathies.

    As for funding then I am of the opinion that the membership of the organisation should be open to everyone in order to get public funding. The GAA have an increasing number of Protestant players and have taken strides to ensure it is inclusive, I’m afraid the OO doesn’t fall into that category. If an organisation choose to exclude huge sections of the public then they should not expect big handouts from the public purse.

    But the OO did get £4m for interpretative centres in Belfast and County Armagh – nearly £3m coming Europe’s Peace Three programme with £1m jointly coming from the Dublin government and the Stormont Executive.

  • Jagdip

    I see the Orange Order twitter account has this morning retweeted the following

    “How can you dedicate an Arch when you can’t see it or get within 300 yards of it. Only the non parades commission know how.”

    Who gave these people permission to erect “arches” on public property, that is, on footpaths and roads. The same people indulging the Twaddell caravan park? The same people who permit lamp-posts to be used for all this middening.

    How strange that the PSNI say they will only get involved in such lawlessness if there is a risk to public order. What would their colleagues in Britain do? If the PSNI doesn’t have the resources to deal with this lawlessness, then it has the ability to call on mutual aid. Until the leadership of the PSNI does enforce the law, the rank and file will look like impotent clowns.

  • Joe_Hoggs


    Arches are erected following planning approval and are subject to very high insurance premiums.