Twadell deal shapes up at last (but WTF kept youse?)

One of the massively frustrating aspects of the parading problem in North Belfast has been is just how arch and false the whole thing has been. Well, if Fresh Start means anything to real people in a real space it may just mean a whole bunch of pointless street trouble is coming to an end:

An agreement has been reached between the Orange Order and the nationalist residents’ group CARA that will allow Orangemen to march along the contested route past Ardoyne.

The troubles weren’t great for people either side of the ironically named Alliance Avenue a name that seemed more taunt on more than one occasion. But, finally (22 years after the ceasefires), there’s a promise people can go back to treating neighbours as humans again.


Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • AntrimGael

    Let’s not get all condescending and superior about what has been happening at Twadell and the Ardoyne shops. This has merely been a microcosm of the North concentrated into one small area. It’s easy to pontificate and lecture, but over a quarter of the Troubles entire victims died in North Belfast and there is still a lot of raw emotion, mental wounds and grievance that has not healed or been allowed to. If a deal has been done we should welcome it and not sneer.
    I am from North Belfast and know most people on both sides wanted this resolved. There have been genuine people from the two communities who do, and have done, a lot of important cross community work and they often don’t get the recognition. Despite the negativity of this episode North Belfast has been relatively quiet, especially in and around the interfaces, for a good few years and most people are just trying to live their lives. My biggest fear for the area is the massive influx of hard drugs that seem to appearing and we could be heading for a Dublin/Liverpool/Glasgow 1980’s type heroin, cocaine epidemic that seen 100’s, if not 1000’s of people, die from this scurge. I know most parents are more worried about this rather than parading and protests.

  • the moviegoer

    Surely its only a matter of time before M15 are blamed for flooding the place with drugs!

  • Jollyraj

    Collusion too, I shouldn’t wonder. With the evil British statelet planting agent provocateurs amongst the quaintly soviet-style collectives that Gerry Adams was so proud of setting up.

  • Nevin

    CARA may have accepted the standing down of the post-1994 Athboy strategy but it’s unlikely that Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective will; both sets of residents’ groups in Rasharkin are not on-message. Perhaps solicitor Michael Brentnall* could outline why some groups are reluctant to adopt the SF HQ ‘reaching out’ approach.

    * [Added] “Experienced in Human Rights and all aspects of challenging Government Departments Parade Disputes etc.”

  • Ciarán

    I suppose its progress of sorts that Athboy has gone from being called a conspiracy to a strategy. Secondly, why would you bother asking a solicitor a question that you know the answer to?

  • Nevin

    Ciarán, the SF HQ reverse ferret on the conspiracy/strategy is indeed progress of sorts but, as you can see, not all ‘associations’ and ‘collectives’ are in-step. Michael’s name keeps cropping up in relation to the latter so he should be better placed than you or I to explain the resistance to the ‘reaching out’ move.

  • Brendan Heading

    I’m in two minds about this. I agree that it’s a good thing that the agreement has been reached (although let’s not count any chickens – chances are that GARC will aggressively protest the final parade next Saturday, and a lot may hinge on how all of that goes).

    But let’s call a spade a spade here. This is a defeat for the Twaddell protestors. It was never going to go any other way. The protest camp was there, in part, because senior Unionist politicians actively supported it and encouraged it for their own narrow electoral purposes. All of the politicians, many of them with no connection to North Belfast and no interest beyond getting their picture taken, who went up there to stand alongside loyalist paramilitary figures and give speeches of support to the crowds assembled there, should account for what they said and did at the time.

    This scenario came about because politicians, and those on parade, spent almost two decades publicly refusing to hold talks with residents or local political representatives. When they realised that events were moving against them, they hurriedly announced talks, attempting to present this as an “initiative”. But it was too late to prevent the embarrassing climbdown that has now taken place.

    I think it’s important that people accept there was a defeat, in the same way that I think republicans should accept that the IRA was defeated. Critically analysing what was done is the best way to prevent it from happening again. I hope there are no more defeats, and no more parades in Belfast are subject to Parades Commission restrictions. For that to happen, people involved in parading need to engage and solve the problems before they grow out of control. They also need to face down politicians urging them to fight battles that they have no hope of winning in pursuit of a few votes.

  • Ciaran74

    That appears at odds with politics in general EK but your frustration may be normal.

    What is mis-understood in North Belfast is that this tension was pre-1969. It’s generational. My Mother was from the Bone (adjacent to Ardoyne but now demolished) and she talks about how the return marches were feared, her father securing the chapel, staying in it all night, the fighting, the mayhem. This was the fifties.

    Kick in the so called troubles, the Holy Cross, the domination of paramilitary bands, politicised resident groups, and a belligerent OO headed by former security personnel and its little wonder there’s been no agreement.

    Your picture of the north is maybe what you and I want but it’s not reality.

  • Ciaran74

    That’s been sub-contracted, they’re busy turning other countries to mush for the craic.

  • Ciaran74

    And they haven’t?

  • Ciaran74

    I agree on the point that the working class loyalist people of ‘upper’ Arsoyne have been used. It’s a pity it took so long for the Loyalist elders to detach themselves from the OO and the politicians.

    I hope they keep that pragmatic outlook intact for the future.

  • chrisjones2

    “a promise people can go back to treating neighbours as humans again.”

    Steady on Mick. I wouldn’t go that far

  • chrisjones2

    Just representing the interests of his clients?

  • Nevin

    I wouldn’t dissent from that, cj.

  • Jollyraj

    Crestfallen that it’s been resolved?

  • Nevin
  • eireanne3

    you’ll also miss the type of speeches William Mawhinney, Secretary of the great, grand orange lodge of belfast, used to give – all about papish onslaughts, wrecking the place and electoral fraud. Here’s the highlights of one

  • babyface finlayson

    Is it too cynical to suggest that this bit…
    “The Ligoniel Lodges also agree to use their best endeavours to ensure that no other Loyal Order, band, or other organisations would file for a return procession whilst the moratorium is in place.”
    …could prove to be a handy loophole should things all go a bit sour.?

  • Nevin

    bf, this is just a deal between those lodges and CARA; I doubt if they will have much influence on those who oppose it

  • Nevin

    Whatcha, CO’C!!

  • babyface finlayson

    So there would be nothing to prevent another lodge (or any group) applying to parade,should they wish to.
    I hope the spirit of co-operation prevails though.
    I have said before the OO should invite residents to join them for that part of the walk, even bring a band if they want.
    It would be very good PR for them, which they could be doing with,and even if the residents said no, the Orange would be the ones who looked proactive and conciliatory.

  • grumpy oul man

    “Perhaps solicitor Michael Brentnall* could outline why some groups are reluctant to adopt the SF HQ ‘reaching out’ approach.”
    Perhaps if some people would realize that the people protesting against contentious parades are not part of some SF plot, SF is involved as are other parties but the real driving forces are those who object to yearly sectarian parades through were they live.
    Nevin the situation might start to make sense to you if you give up this ridiculous Athboy conspiracy theory and admit that many residents have genuine concerns and are not SF pawns.

  • grumpy oul man

    Come on Jolly, you have to admit most OO spokesman are hilarious,
    they sound like something the village idiot would come out with sometime in the 16th century.
    How many years has it taken for them to get out of the corner the unionist politicians put them in, as a matter of fact how long did it take for them to even realize they were even in a corner.
    I will not miss the protests and am glad the whole thing is over but i will miss the completely unattached to reality speeches that came out of it.

  • grumpy oul man

    GARC depends on lowlifes to man its protests and has no support among those who live on the contentious route.
    It is difficult to get the average GARC supporter out of bed at 8.30 so i think they might have some sort of minor protest but the rentamobs of the past are gone.

  • grumpy oul man

    were are these “quaintly soviet-style collectives” you mention?

  • Nevin

    gom, Gerry Adams acknowledged that the conspiracy had been brought into play in 1994, the year of the cessations, and the Dick Spring briefing in 1996 shows that there was some Irish government support for this anti-Unionist activity. In subsequent years, Irish officials from the BIIS were able to discourage some of this activity but not all ‘associations’/’collectives’ will acquiesce.

    How do you explain the Rasharkin context where SF HQ has a ‘reaching out’ strategy, a strategy opposed by a SF rep and the residents association and both of these opposed by a residents collective? This confirms and elaborates on your point that some opposition groups are not SF HQ pawns; they can also be opposed to a SF HQ reverse ferret.

    How do you explain a contentious parade in Ballycastle which the Parades Commission don’t label contentious, which AFAIK wasn’t complained against by SF HQ or locally and where the Parades Commission subsequently removed a protest notification by an unnamed group from the PC website? It’s all most peculiar.

  • Nevin

    bf, the ‘Save the Dal’ campaign in Ballycastle illustrated a determined spirit of cross-party and cross-community co-operation but it was in opposition to high-handed bureaucracy.

    The problem in our tug-of-war constitutional scenario is that those who act in a conciliatory manner receive very little support from the electorate and I suspect a softening of the DUP and SF belligerence may well have cost both parties votes.

    Perhaps your final suggestion could best be adopted and promoted by those who mediated the current deal.

  • grumpy oul man

    Simple explanation about why the people involved in the Parades dispute differ and about the parade in Ballycastle and it is, There is no conspiracy surely you can see that or do you not accept that some people have genuine objections to parades and have different opinions on what is a satisfactory result.
    Perhaps SF didn’t object to the parade and perhaps most residents didn’t object either, perhaps another group put in a objection and failed to get any meaningful support from the more tolerant locals and the objection was withdrawn or removed because it was deemed invalid due to lack of support.
    I don’t think SF has done a “reverse ferret” on anything since there never was a conspiracy in the first place.

    I wont go into your belief that a statement by GA and a briefing from Dick Spring make’s a conspiracy,the flat earthers have more evidence for their beliefs.

  • Nevin

    gom, the protest notification in Ballycastle was posted to the PC website; it was there on July 12 but subsequently was removed. The objection was not removed so I see no reason for the removal of the posting. If the PC rejected the notification it could have posted its reasons just as it posts restrictions on parades and protests; I can find no such rejection on the website.

    When Gerry Adams praises those who participated in the conspiracy and gives us the timescale then a belief in random events sort of beggars belief.

  • grumpy oul man

    How do you know the objection was not removed.
    I do love how you give Gerry god like powers.
    And dispite the obvious differences in aims and tactics of residents and as you said yourself differences of opinions and actions within SF you still insist in your conspricy theory.
    Why do you find it hard to accept that people have real issues with a few OO marchs.
    You are aware that since the formation of the OO there has been trouble surrouding OO parades.

  • Jollyraj

    “but i will miss the completely unattached to reality speeches that came out of it.”

    I will take it that that goes for all of the shady and over-excitable ‘spokesmen’ for the residents, too.

  • Jollyraj

    GARC for one.

  • Nevin

    The protest took place; it was called off while the parade was in progress. According to a tweet from one of the protesters calling off the protest the police had threatened to arrest those who continued with the protest. Here is part of Claire Cartmill’s account later that day in the Ballymoney and Moyle Times [cached]:

    A young boy was allegedly struck by a piece of concrete during today’s Twelfth of July parade in Ballycastle.

    The child is not believed to have been badly hurt.

    The incident is understood to have taken place at the estate as Orangemen and bandsmen passed by en route to the Quay Road playing fields.

    Protesters gathered at the mainly nationalist area of the town to register their protest at the march and it is understood, although not confirmed, that police made arrests.

    Tri-colours were erected on lamp posts along at Altananam – a further indication of the feelings of some nationalist residents to the staging of a parade hosted by the seaside town every five years.

    “I do love how you give Gerry god like powers.”

    Is he some sort of cult leader or have you been cooped-up in that Trojan horse?

    I can identify with much of what AntrimGael has said; he seems so much closer to the pulse than Mick on this thread; I’ve widened the focus to illustrate the difficulties faced by those who have tried and try to regulate the conspiracy that allegedly was initiated in 1994, according to Gerry.

  • grumpy oul man

    So, there was no protest logged with the parades commission or the police could not arrest those involved in the protest and now we have gone from Conspiracy to alleged conspiracy.
    Do you have any other evidence of this conspiracy beyond unlinked statements from Adams and Spring!
    Could you confirm wither or not you understand that trouble around OO parades has been ongoing since the formation of the OO and before the IRA existed !
    do you accept that nationalists have issues with the behavior and content of some OO parades.
    And lastly if this is a huge conspiracy then how come it affects so few parades?

  • grumpy oul man

    Am no you cant, or perhaps you could point us to some of these statements by,

    “shady and over-excitable ‘spokesmen’ for the residents, too.”

  • grumpy oul man

    I don’t think SF (or the vast majority of residents) have anything to do with setting up GARC.

  • Nevin

    “there was no protest logged with the parades commission”

    gom, do try to pay attention. The protest notification was posted to the PC website; it was there on July 12 but it was subsequently removed.

  • billypilgrim1

    In fairness, the residents’ spokesmen tend to be like reincarnations of Cicero and Demosthenes in comparison to the gobshites the OO sends out.

  • billypilgrim1


  • billypilgrim1

    I’ll miss George Chittick. God love him, the poor man.

    Go back three generations, and these people were the world’s greatest engineers.

    WTF happened?

    (Clue: ask a nationalist. Any nationalist.)

  • grumpy oul man

    No you pay attention! either you are accusing the parades Commission of dirty dealings (and linking them into your absurd conspiracy theory) or the the protest notification was withdrawn by those who put it in.
    so which is it, is the PC breaking the law (if so bring this to roaring Jim and the TUV they will love it) or was the application withdrawn!

  • grumpy oul man

    Is he some sort of cult leader or have you been cooped-up in that Trojan horse?
    please explain what Cooped up in that Trojan horse means,

  • billypilgrim1

    All true, but I’d put it even more simply.

    This is what becomes of bad losers.

  • eireanne3

    Specially for you Billy – two videos so you never, ever, have to miss George Chittick Worshipful Master (whose master?) Belfast County Great, Big Grand Orange Lodge,

    Ps I suppose you do realise they appear -great-because-they-say-they-are?

  • Jollyraj


    Congratulations on being almost certainly (not being a reader of An Phoblacht, I’m forced to add the ‘almost’)the only person in the entire sweep of human history to favourably compare Cicero, perhaps the greatest of Ancient Roman orators, lawyer, consul and politician, with….. Dee Fennel (!)

    Right up there with comparing Adams to Mandela, or Sands to Jesus Christ, or Gerry Kelly to Malcolm X, or McGuinness to Art Garfunkel.

    The grotesquerie of baseless Irish Republican vanity never fails to astound and amuse 😀

  • grumpy oul man

    I will take it that that goes for all of the shady and over-excitable ‘spokesmen’ for the residents, too.

    care for some examples!

    and i think he said (billy pilgrim) that COMPARED to OO spokesman residents spokesmen are like Cicero,

    Now we have heard George and he is incoherent to say the least, compared to him a Parrot would seem like Cicero!

  • grumpy oul man

    Oh and this,

    Congratulations on being almost the only person in the entire sweep of
    human history to compare Cicero, pwrhaps the greatest of Ancient Roman
    orators, lawyer, consul and politician, with….. Dee Fennel (!)

    How in the sweep of human history (most of which happened before Dee Fennel was born) could people even be aware of Dee before there was a Dee!

  • billypilgrim1

    Thanks to Grumpy Oul Man for intervening on my behalf, and pointing out what must have been obvious to anyone.

    Are you drunk, Jollyraj, or is your comprehension really that bad?

    I’m embarrassed for you…

  • billypilgrim1

    LOL indeed!

    God help the poor man.

    The thing is, I’ll bet George Chittick is a good and decent man. I know people just like him, Orangemen, that I have great respect at a personal level for. It’s just such a sad thing to see good people diminishing and debasing themselves.

    Orangeism does this. Orangeism is a form of debasement. It’s very, very sad.

  • Jollyraj

    I don’t drink, as it happens – so it can’t be the drink. I believe the Shinner default reaction to criticism is to call the other person mentally ill, actually. Alcoholism is a new twist.

    Goid to see you are capable of embarassment, though.

  • Jollyraj
  • grumpy oul man

    Oh Dear, here is your problem.
    While i disagree strongly (and i suspect you do as well) Dee,s position he is coherent and explains his views in a rational manner.
    The point being made is that spokesmen for the OO are seldom coherent or explain their views in a rational manner.
    For example i would disagree strongly with Roaring Jim McAllister i could not accuse him of being incoherent or not explaining his views in a rational manner. it is not the viewpoint that is the issue it is the manner of delivery.
    I do hope that is clear to you.

  • billypilgrim1


    Touché, Jollyraj.