And then, the marching season was back upon us…

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The Parades Commission has given its determination on the latest application by the ‘Ligoniel Combine’ to stage a parade along the section of the route that the Commission has specifically ruled out since 12th July last year.

The reaction to this will, to some extent, colour the atmosphere as those summer parades that are usually contentious approach. Significantly, yesterday, First Minister Peter Robinson chose to avoid the debate on racism in the Assembly that his own comments sparked. Instead, he went with a delegation including the PUP and UPRG to meet the Parades Commission and try and pressurize it into overturning its determination on the 12th July return parade last year that the parade organisers have continually refused to accept.

Ever since, the Twaddell camp that was set up as part of the protest against the 2013 Parades Commission determination has been satirised continuously by @LADFLEG. The protests have seen parades of men and bands dressed in balaclavas, and, repeated playing of music and songs with overt sectarian content (see the Pride of Ardoyne and Orange Order’s rendition of the Famine Song below).

It is pertinent to note that the PUP, who Robinson and party colleague Nigel Dodds joined in the delegation yesterday, are aligned to the UVF. The PSNI said the UVF was behind the racist attacks in South and East Belfast barely a month ago.

The response to the Parades Commission determination from Nigel Dodds of the DUP is as absent of any sense of leadership and as divorced from realism as ever.

“The Parades Commission has shown why it is a failed approach yet again. The parade organisers have done everything to fulfil their responsibilities to exercise their right to freedom of assembly along this section of the Crumlin Road. It was clear that the only argument nationalism offered was the threat of violence and this commission has caved to it yet again.”

None of that ever bodes well for those who live in interface areas over the summer. As Einstein is often quoted as saying: To do the same thing over and over again and expect different results is the definition of insanity.

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  • Submariner

    Not really surprised at the decision. Nothing has changed since the last determination that would change the commission’s mind.BTW. John your link to the determination seems not to be working

  • Morpheus

    Surely no one can be surprised at this decision following scenes like this just a few weeks ago? Masked men in ex-military vehicles pulling up to police lines shepherded into place by sash wearing OO members? C’mon

  • märsta

    Those boys and girls really love dressing up and playing Toy Soldiers. Whats that all about? What is this fascination with all things military?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “None of that ever bodes well for those who live in interface areas over the summer.”

    John, you’ve failed to give credit to Gerry Adams and that post-1994 Athboy conspiracy:

    Gerry: “Ask any activist in the North did Drumcree happen by accident, and they will tell you ‘no’ ….. three years of work on the Lower Ormeau Road, Portadown, and parts of Fermanagh and Newry, Armagh and Bellaghy, and up in Derry”.

    “Three years’ work went into creating that situation, and fair play to those people who put the work in”. .. “And they are the type of scene changes that we have to focus in on, and develop, and exploit.” The Irish Times 5 March 1997

    In your own style, SF is aligned to PIRA and both are managed by the Army Council. Even if SF and its friends in CARA can cut a deal on parades they can be outflanked by GARC and other republicans who use the same tactics as their opponents developed back in 1994.

  • Sp12

    “John, you’ve failed to give credit to Gerry Adams and that post-1994 Athboy conspiracy:”

    He’s been here long enough to know you’d be along to mention it once again, so probably didn’t feel the need to?
    If it’s any help Nevin, I could write you a little app for your smartphone that would trawl the slugger website looking for any mention of the OO and parades and post that whole Athboy thing in automatically for you. Considering it’s coming up to marching season it could potentially free up a lot of your time.

  • John Ó Néill

    Thanks Submariner – I’ve updated it.

    Nevin, neither did I go back and list the chronology of violence around the Twelfth in Belfast, starting with the riots in 1813 that left two dead. It would take a long time.

  • JR

    Important decision. Hopefully loyalism will get the message that they can’t bully their way up a road anymore. I hope that one day soon when the OO can reach an accomodation with the residents of Ardoyne they can march the crumlin road in it’s entireity again. However the parades comission have rightly decided that this has to happen through dialogue and mutual respect. not by months of nightly rallies by masked men and sectarian songs.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I long for the day when the OO grows up and admit that this is a mess of their own making. They had years to get rid of the people who bring shame on them, yet have refused to do so. The leadership shown by the OO “leaders” has been pathetic. If you add in their arrogance and lack of Christian charity, then it’s no wonder the Parades Commission ruled against them.

    Here’s a verse from the bible for the OO leadership;

    Proverbs 13:10

    Where there is strife there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

  • Jagdip

    “Those in support of the parade contended that their approach to parading in the Ardoyne area is responsible and respectful to all communities, is well marshalled and processed peacefully, and with due regard to the rights of others”
    Seriously, how do the members of the Parade Commission keep a straight face when listening to these jokers? Aside from the rioting last year, just look at the Youtube video, the bands couldn’t restrain themselves for 60 seconds, after being stopped, before they start belting out the so-called “famine song”
    “Representations were also made that the parade organiser does not need to seek consent”
    It would have been interesting to find out who made that representation. Doesn’t augur well for acceptance of the PC determination, and public order on the day.
    As surely as grouse season follows salmon season, rioting and public disorder follows the Northern Ireland phenomenon of marching season. Hopefully, this year, the PSNI will request and receive the mutual aid assistance it needs from Britain; stick an extra 5,000 policemen on the streets, keep the courts going 24-7, throw the book at offenders – it worked on the streets of Britain in 2011. If it’s good enough for Madame Villiers’s north London, why isn’t is good enough for north Belfast?
    Meanwhile down in the Republic, it’s high time that financial support provided by the Irish government to “cultural” organisations which marshal and foster such disorder, is discontinued. And I’d be willing to bet by the third week in July this year, such financial support will be removed.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    “Athboy conspiracy….”

    It was surely a disaster for the Irish economy, in the following years more and more of the sodding residents felt safe remaining in their homes over the 12th instead of boarding up their windows and getting out of the North for the week.

    Damn you Gerry Adams for organising resident protests instead of buses to Bundoran.

    Ah well there’s always the muslims………..

  • JR

    I see dodds on the TV complaining that these men have been denied the “just right to return home” does that mean they will be starting after the Ardoyne shops given they havent yet got home since last year.

  • Zeno

    I see dodds on the TV complaining that these men have been denied the “just right to return home”

    If only someone would invent the Bus, or even Taxis.

  • David Crookes

    Northern Ireland contains a large number of decent civilized people who want to live their lives in peace and quiet.

    It also contains a large number of barbarians who want to bully their vulgar way over decency and civilization.

    If what remains of NI’s civilization is not to perish, these barbarians must be forced to obey the law, which includes decisions of the parades commissions.

    The fact that some leaders of our devolved government are siding with the barbarian bullies against the rule of law proclaims them to be traitors to their own offices.

    Decent civilized people will all accord with Jagdip when he expresses the hope that “this year, the PSNI will request and receive the mutual aid assistance it needs from Britain; stick an extra 5,000 policemen on the streets, keep the courts going 24-7, throw the book at offenders – it worked on the streets of Britain in 2011.”

    We need to crush the infamy of lawless loyalism. There is no complicated history or long-ago conspiracy about it. There is only barbarity. You are either with the decent civilized people who want to live their lives in peace and quiet, or you are against them.

    The sort of resolute action that Jagdip suggests will have to take place over the heads of treacherous, stupid, and culturally illiterate local politicians.

    Decency will win a great victory in 2014 if the police and the courts enforce the law.

    Crush the infamy.

  • MYtwocents

    Nevin, if the above posts where to be believed your the only non irish nat in the viliage, lucky for you some of the above posted links that show there are many other folk who believe the parade has the right to return.
    John, “around the 12th” all the fault of one side?.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you David, well said!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    David

    Hear hear.

    A contender for post of the year, if ever I saw one.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    And Jagdip too.

  • David Crookes

    Bless you, Seaan and Billy. I was merely echoing Jagdip. If the new chief constable wants to go down in history, he should do exactly what Jagdip says.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    John, you left yourself wide open to the pot, kettle and black caricature so you can expect your butt to be kicked.

    It’s not unusual for SFers and their apologists to lose the run of themselves when it comes to stirring-up community strife. Cara McShane* was spared further embarrassment when it turned out that the cross-community group which had organised a parade in Ballintoy had failed to notify the authorities of said parade and it’s not to be found on the Parades Commission website. Some years earlier, Martin McGuinness had to step in to resolve a protest in Dunloy that involved Philip McGuigan, the then SF MLA. Provoking a fight is one thing; controlling it is quite another.

    *As I’ve pointed out previously, Cara was the only councillor to jump to my defence when a prominent legal eagle tried to intimidate me but that doesn’t provide her with any protection when IMO she steps out of line.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “It also contains a large number of barbarians who want to bully their vulgar way over decency and civilization.”

    You’re a bit too late, David. The electorate is prepared to vote for folks who have a track record in loyalist and republican paramilitarism as well as folks in hard-line unionism and nationalism. Only a vulgar unionist or a vulgar nationalist or the politically naive would point the finger at one of the erring tribes. The late Ray Davey and the late Sr Souboris were the sort of folks I identified with and it hardly seems like forty years since she wrote these words of appreciation:

    I personally learned a tremendous amount from their unselfishness. I only wish more people in our divided communities could experience how easy it is to love and live together once the will to do so is there

    Unfortunately IMO the constitutional arrangement agreed in 1998 frustrates such an admirable wish.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Nevin. The 1998 thing with all its sleazy contradictions represented an attempt to cut one big Gordian knot. It has worked up to a point. Another Gordian knot will be cut if the police and the courts deal with lawless loyalism. If they succeed, they can go on to deal with so-called paramilitary gangsterism.

    There are less than two million of us. If it needs a bit of coercion to get the lawless among us to keep the law, let’s have a bit of coercion. We have to start where we are now, not where we might have been if something different had happened in 1998.

  • bystander

    David, thank god that moderate people like yourself still live in Northern Ireland, i mean describing everyone connected to the marching tradition as barbarians proves how intolerant pastor McConnell really was. Anyway would those people who came from all over Ireland last year to the Fleadh in Derry/Londonderry, will be shocked that the barbarians were allowed to take part in such an important celebration of Irish traditional music. Shame on them
    ps
    Derry/Londonderry is approx 75 miles from Belfast just in case you didn’t know.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks a lot, bystander. I’m bemused by your words “describing everyone connected to the marching tradition as barbarians”. Who did that? I didn’t. When I characterize as barbarians people who commit acts of lawless violence, I’m talking about people who commit acts of lawless violence, not about everyone connected to the marching tradition.

    Years ago a sort of mathematician published an article in a refereed journal in which he created his own definition of figurate numbers, accused me of having created this definition, and then took me to task for creating it.

    But you expect better on Slugger.

  • bystander

    Sorry David it was my perception of what you wrote in relation to the general theme of this tread, glad that you don’t see us all as barbarians.
    Decent civilized people will all accord with Jagdip when he expresses the hope that “this year, the PSNI will request and receive the mutual aid assistance it needs from Britain; stick an extra 5,000 policemen on the streets, keep the courts going 24-7, throw the book at offenders – it worked on the streets of Britain in 2011.”

    We need to crush the infamy of lawless loyalism. There is no complicated history or long-ago conspiracy about it. There is only barbarity. You are either with the decent civilized people who want to live their lives in peace and quiet, or you are against them.
    I wonder how many on here would have agreed with this statement if loyalist was changed to nationalist and it related to the PC determination two years ago in North Belfast.

  • David Crookes

    Bless you, bystander, and sorry if I seemed to be laying on the condemnation with a trowel in my original posting.

    Yes, of course the law must be applied evenhandedly.

    When I was a younger man I took part in Orange services, preached several times in an Orange hall (that was in Londonderry, so I know the distance from Belfast!), enjoyed a country Twelfth every year in the Mournes, and once wrote an appreciative article for a local paper about the wonderful artistry of Orange banners in North Antrim. If the whole marching season could be purged of alcoholic excess, ungenial territorialism, and paramilitary links, the quality of life for everyone in NI would be greatly enhanced.

    When I spoke of barbarity I had fleg-related violence more in mind than marching.

    Have a good night.

  • carl marks

    I suppose after all these years I should not be surprised by the level of denial unionists display when OO parades are discussed, within the last couple of days I have watched Winkie Irvine, Dodd’s and Mervin Gibson all claim with straight faces that the OO has kept all the PCs ruling, Camp Twat (joint organisers OO, UVF, UDA) is portrayed as a civil rights camp and the numerous arrests at the camp, the nightly illegal parades and sectarian songs are ignored or down played.
    On the Nolan show a DUP rep William Humphreys made a noble claim that the Ardoyne march was a civil rights issue” in a democracy people have the right to march wherever they want”, but when asked would he support a republican march down the Woodvale, civil rights went out the window and we were told there was no tradition of republicans marching down the Woodvale.
    Most Hilarious of all was the PUP/UVF spokesman Irvine telling us that OO members, Bandsmen, and followers had shown the nationalist community nothing but respect and goodwill. Obviously there is a Cultural misunderstanding here, Nationalists/Catholics take offence at people pissing on their place of worship, singing sectarian songs and being called unwashed Fenian Bastards sure it’s just a bit of Craic.
    Until Unionism recognises that the behaviour of some Lodges the Bands they employ and the coat trailers will have to change no progress will be made on these problems and marching season becomes one long Groundhog Day.
    David let’s hope the incoming Chief Constable reads you post,

  • David Crookes

    Carl, the whole ‘Queen’s highway’ nonsense ( = people should be allowed to march wherever they want) drops dead once you adduce the ‘no tradition’ nonsense ( = the unthinkable idea of themmuns marching down a road of their choice)

    It still sickens me that when certain law-abiding citizens proposed to march along Royal Avenue, and were given permission by the PC to do so, they were prevented from marching along the ‘Queen’s highway’ by the threat of loyalist violence.

    What can be done with lawless loyalists? They want to have their cake and eat yours.

    In Belfast at least the OO, which claims to be a Christian organization, associates itself voluntarily from time to time with ugly manifestations of hatred

    Its leaders need to be warned. IN 2014 ANY SUCH MANIFESTATIONS WILL BE DOCUMENTED MORE METICULOUSLY THAN EVER BEFORE.

    The Belfast OO has less than five weeks to clean its act up completely. Inadvertence and carelessness will no longer serve as excuses. If the Belfast OO continues to associate itself with manifestations of hatred, it will be seen by the world as a consentient vehicle of hatred, and the world will be right.

  • carl marks

    bystander
    “We need to crush the infamy of lawless loyalism. There is no complicated history or long-ago conspiracy about it. There is only barbarity. You are either with the decent civilized people who want to live their lives in peace and quiet, or you are against them.
    I wonder how many on here would have agreed with this statement if loyalist was changed to nationalist and it related to the PC determination two years ago in North Belfast.”

    No problem here,
    Rioters, be they taig or prod, arrest them charge them bring them in front of the courts.
    Very few on the nationalist posters on this site would disagree; I have as little in common and as little sympathy with the dissident thugs and the nationalist corner boys who get off attacking police and making the place hell as I do with the UVF/UDA and the loyalist corner boys who get off attacking police and making the place hell.
    Is that clear enough!

  • bystander

    Carl clear enough for me.
    To be honest the debates on slugger always seem to focus on the negativity of Belfast/Stormont politics as if it reflects the whole country. Politics and culture do survive outside of the capital and in many places we see positivity and even some of the issues being resolved. think its time to leave it to you good Belfast people again. Goodbye