Sinn Fein asleep at the wheel over Parades, Flags & Identity Commission

The Irish News broke a story yesterday revealing that Neville Armstrong, the Independent joint chairman of the new Flags, Parades and Identity Commission established under the Fresh Start Agreement, is also a DUP appointee to a SIF group.

In fact, as John Manley outlines in the paper, he is the DUP’s “sole political appointee on the body overseeing SIF projects in the ‘Western’ zone, which includes Co Fermanagh and Co Tyrone.”

The composition of that committee was already the subject of contention given its overwhelmingly pro-Unionist membership.

The commission includes seven political nominees and eight ‘independent‘ appointments, but what is very clear from even a cursory glance at the membership is that unionists were clearly extremely organised to ensure that their views and perspectives were well represented among the members who secured independent appointment.

Neville Armstrong had previously been depicted as a “community worker,” and the Irish News notes that he has “declined to say” whether he is a DUP member.

From The Irish News article:

“When the make-up of the commission was announced nearly six months ago, the SDLP voiced concerns that five of its members had clear links to unionism, including two of the non-political appointments. Just three nationalists sit on the panel, and only one woman.

Mr Armstrong was not regarded at the time as being linked to any political party.” (emphasis added.)

It is worth exploring the appointments in more detail to establish just how unionists were able to gain the upper hand and in a manner that has damaged the credibility of the commission prior to it even presenting recommendations.

Political appointments

  • Mr Doug Beattie MLA MC (UUP)
  • Mr Carl Whyte (SDLP)
  • Mr Richard Good (ALL)
  • Mr Tom Hartley (SF)
  • Mr Donncha Mac Niallais (SF)
  • Mr Nelson McCausland MLA (DUP)
  • Mr Ian McCrea (DUP)

Non-Political appointments

  • Dr Dominic Paul Bryan (joint chair)
  • Mr Neville Armstrong (joint chair)
  • Prof Thomas William Hennessey
  • Dr David Thomas Hume MBE
  • Dr Katy Radford MBE
  • Mr David Anthony Robinson
  • Mr Mukesh Sharma MBE
  • Mr Ian Crozier

The Commission was established under the now year-old Fresh Start Agreement, where its means of agreeing recommendations were outlined as follows:

The report and recommendations will be agreed by a majority of the overall Commission, including at least five of the seven members appointed by party leaders.

The background and stated positions of many political and purportedly non-political commission members indicates that the opinion of the majority is likely to solidly reflect a unionist outlook.

David Hume was a senior figure within the Orange Order for twelve years, only leaving his post as Director of Services within the past twelve months.

Ian Crozier resigned as a DUP councillor in 2011 to become the chief executive of the Ulster Scots Agency.

The joint chair of the group (alongside Armstrong) is Dr Dominic Paul Bryan, who has put his name to a report, published in February 2016, which included a clear recommendation that majority nationalist councils- including Derry and Strabane, Mid-Ulster, Newry/Mourne and Down & Fermanagh and Omagh- be forced to fly the Union Flag 18 days a year (the designated days policy favoured by some Unionist councils.) According to Bryan and fellow author, Paul Nolan, this is somehow to be construed as ‘symmetrical pain’ as unionists would be forced to not fly the Union Flag on more days than the 18 designated where they form a majority.

His recommendations did not include flying the Irish National Flag from civic premises in Northern Ireland, a key element of Sinn Fein’s Equality or Neutrality policy on flags from civic premises in the north of Ireland, outlined in the party’s submission to the Haass Talks in 2013 here.

So the position of the joint chairs can be summed up as being somewhere between recommending that the Union Flag fly on every council 18 days a year (Bryan) and the as yet stated position of a DUP political appointee, a party whose stated position is that the Union Flag should fly every day from all councils in the state.

It is hard to conclude anything other than that the composition of the commission is another example of DUP-led unionism outmaneouvring Sinn Fein-led nationalism in precisely the type of manner that has led to nationalist disillusionment, a point which Fionnuala O’Connor perceptively touched on during BBC NI’s The View last Thursday (33 mins in.)

The fact that no voices from the GAA, nor Irish language movement, were appointed from amongst the non-political appointments is noteworthy in itself, in contrast to the appointments of senior figures from within both the Loyal Orders and Ulster-Scots Agency.

But the nature of Sinn Fein’s political appointments is revelatory in itself. Both Tom Hartley and Donncha MacNiallais are names from the past, respected as republicans and no doubt trusted by the party leadership to fulfil a role. But given the critical legislative dimension to the remit of this group, Sinn Fein’s continuing failure to entice and recruit individuals with a professional legal background- in marked contrast to the DUP- is all the more apparent.

For quite some time now, the failure of Sinn Fein to expedite the process of transitioning to a new political leadership in the north, fit for purpose in an age of governance, has contributed towards the sense that the party plays second fiddle to the DUP at Stormont. Part of that problem relates to a seeming inability or reluctance to move past a modus operandi that has seen republicanism through its most challenging periods of ceasefires, peace process, political compromise and bedding in the northern institutions.

Recently, there have been signs that the republican leadership recognises the need for change, and it will be worth watching in coming days to see if the imminent co-option of a replacement MLA for West Belfast’s retiring Jennifer McCann represents a new departure for Sinn Fein.

  • mickfealty

    Chris, they are partners in government, so one can hardly be a watchdog over the other. Besides we’ve seen SF play this very same game at the policing board, with in one case an ex mayor of Derry claiming he was independent.

  • Brendan Heading

    Chris, they are partners in government, so one can hardly be a watchdog over the other.

    Surely that’s one of the main things they’re supposed to be doing.

  • Declan Doyle

    Its not enough to simply say ” oh but look what they did over there “, as if one justifies the other, thats a bit lazy tbh.

    But SF are playing a different game, they have changed the tone of their tune completely engaging with Unionists to one of cooperation and patience. Many might see this as ‘roll over nationalism’, it is to some extent. But DUP Unionism is very fractious when they dont get their own way, for now it seems the only way to avoid a battle a day is to let them play with all their toys at once.

  • Brendan Heading

    So the plan is basically

    1. Give the DUP whatever they want
    2. ???
    3. United Ireland

  • Declan Doyle

    1. First allow the DUP time to first understand equality as a concept.
    2. Deliver equality
    3. ???

  • Granni Trixie

    I think it unfair to label one of the Commissions Chairs as “unionist” by the fact that in a previous report they opted for designated days and did not recommend flying the tricolour in NI. First of all because, as is easily observed, some unionists
    Want year round flying of union jacks hence the recommendation is a compromise and secondly because there is not consensus in NI that the flying of the tricolour is appropriate.

    May I also say that since the mid 90s I have listened to Dr Bryan at public events give talks in which he analysed marching,parading and OO. He brought to the table not only an outsiders perspective (he is Not from NI) but also insights from anthropology (his day job). he defnately helped you get a handle on what is going on. He also draws on years of documenting parades every July.

    So whilst I can ofcourse agree that there seems to be the usual DUP/SF shared out system going on as per usual I still think it’s unfair to tar everyone with the same brush.

    That said, I agree that there is something rotten in the current system of public appointments as applies more broadly than to the subject of this post.

  • Nevin

    “they are partners in government”

    They’re hobbled together as in a three-legged race but usually trying to move in different, even opposite directions.

  • Brendan Heading

    There are a number of flaws in this plan, not least that it assumes that the DUP are interested in understanding equality, never mind implementing it.

  • Brendan Heading

    This is true. Given the DUP’s public bitter hostility to designated days, it can hardly be argued that the vice-chair is some sort of hardliner who belongs in their camp.

  • Nevin

    “at least five of the seven members appointed by party leaders.”

    Just three of these seven are from unionist parties so changes that lean in a unionist or a nationalist direction are likely to get blocked.

  • Nevin

    “they have changed the tone of their tune completely engaging with Unionists to one of cooperation and patience”

    Declan, both SF and DUP have been playing the ‘reaching out’ game; IMO it’s designed to eat into the SDLP and UUP vote respectively; there’s not a drop of sincerity in any of it and the politically aware know the score.

  • Nevin

    Brendan, equality is qualified when the London and Dublin disagree on that issue:

    4. All decisions will be by agreement between both Governments. The Governments will make determined efforts to resolve disagreements between them. There will be no derogation from the sovereignty of either Government.

    In other words, London has the final say whilst NI remains within the UK and, following constitutional change, Dublin would have the final say, if not the only say.

  • Granni Trixie

    Not vice chair but joint chair – at least unlike Victims Commission where when they could not agree they appointed four people! It is depressing that they could not show confidence in one person to tackle the job fairly,

  • Granni Trixie

    A bit like Michele Obama’s strategy, “the lower they go the higher we go”?

  • Granni Trixie

    Sod the sincerity test. I would settle for even ACTIng civilly towards one another this time round on grounds it could rub off and new relationships emerge.

    I remember hearing during the last administration that DUP people would not mix socially with SF – even to the point where they would not get into a lift if a SF person was already there. I would like to think this sort of deliberate disrespect is now gone, but I doubt it.
    Nowadays it seems they do have a tacit agreement to look the other way on each other’s ‘misdemeanours’ as it suits them.
    Ofcourse it will be all change when elections come into view.

  • Declan Doyle

    Abd time will tell….give them enough rope etc.

  • oval

    Ah well another 15 non jobs created at the taxpayers expense. Are there no lengths that our political overlords will not go to, to ensure full employment for their mates.

    And 15 ….how likely is it that 15 people can find consensus?

  • Nevin

    “He also draws on years of documenting parades every July.”

    Perhaps I should send Dominic this curious apology that I received some weeks ago from the Office of the Parades Commission:

    Apologies for my initial response of ******, which was incorrect with respect to the placing of the notification on the PC website. My detailed response of ******, sets out the correct position.

    I say curious in the sense that the initial response was correct whereas the detailed response was, ahem, not!

  • Brendan Heading

    I was echoing Declan’s words back to him.

    I don’t agree with Declan’s perspective; the idea that SF are in a position to lecture others about equality is a bit rich to start with; and the idea that the DUP don’t know what equality is is kind of daft. The problem is not that they don’t know what it is, but that they don’t subscribe to it in the same terms as those of us who take a more liberal perspective.

    But the funniest part is that some of SF’s more naive supporters think that facilitating the DUP’s opposition to equality, as they did for example when they sat back and did nothing after the Finance Minister’s proposed marriage equality bill was shot down by the DUP in the Executive, is some kind of strategy to bring about more equality. They obviously aren’t familiar with the work of G Orwell ..

  • AntrimGael

    Fionnuala O’Connor has been saying and writing about this for a long time now. She has been calling out Sinn Fein’s submissive, subserviance to the DUP and asking what exactly are Republicans and Nationalists getting out of this entire Stormont set up? It is of course a rhetorical question because she, most Nationalists and a growing number of Republicans, even within the Sinn Fein camp, know that the DUP are totally running the show. To their credit the SDLP raised concerns at the make up of this new Parades and Identity Commission while Sinn Fein embarrassingly and meekly denied it was one sided whenever everyone knew that it was.
    The entire narrative of politics at Stormont, and within the media, is totally Unionist driven and there is no acceptance or tolerance for an Irish Nationalist dimension or recognition of that identity. We see the Irish language and cultural heritage being ridiculed and insulted on a daily basis by DUP members and one only has to look at the ‘Titanic’ quarter and the millions being pumped into projects like Titanic Belfast, HMS Caroline, SS Nomadic etc WITHOUT any mention of the anti-Catholic sectarian pogroms within the shipyard to see this one dimensional narrative; there is simply no place for those with an Irish Nationalist identity. It is issues like this that are turning the Catholic community away from politics; Nationalists don’t mind Unionism and it’s historical events being recognised BUT Irish Nationalism is not only being ignored but it is being treated with total contempt.
    It is therefore no coincidence that there the Nationalist vote is dropping away alarmingly because there is simply no confidence that normal politics will EVER work here. The DUP are as bigoted, sectarian and hardline as they always have been, in fact more so under their new leader and this, combined with Brexit, has created a deep unease and dark negativity within the Nationalist community.
    Sinn Fein have become totally detached from their core constituency and taken them for granted. The Shinners have concentrated on courting the DUP and Unionism and chasing the Southern vote AND believe that Northern Nationalists will vote for them irrespective BUT that is changing as Gerry Carroll’s vote in West Belfast shows.
    Martin McGuinness grinning broadly and having his photo taken beside the new portrait of the Queen sums up where Sinn Fein are at. They are increasingly demonstrating that they are not only totally subserviant to the DUP but that they are very much part of the British Establishment now. The Nationalist/Republican base has taken note.

  • babyface finlayson

    I see it more as rope-a-dope.
    The shinners are leaning back on the ropes absorbing all the nasty stuff that Unionism can throw at them,in the hope they can hang on til the last few rounds and hit them with the old 50% + 1 haymaker. Game over.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Wow. Sinn Fein not nationalist enough for you. Sheesh.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Brilliant tactic that. Only ever really worked for Ali – and it cost him his long term health. Really though I’m not sure SF has what the great man had. Both did a good line in trash talking but crucially Ali rarely underestimated his opponents.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think that’s reasonable enough on the DUP’s part. The worst thing to do with those kind of parties is to normalise them. I see the process starting already with Trump; soon we’ll have forgotten all the sh** he’s said and done. Pragmatism I suppose, you have to deal with these people if they’re elected, but it does no harm to remember who you’re dealing with, be professional and fair but keep them at arm’s length.

  • AntrimGael

    We live is an ‘US and THEMMUNS’ society. Arlene and the DUP are representing the colonial, supremacist, bigoted, sectarian, racist, xenophobic, fundamentalist, insular Unionist ideology wonderfully. well. Sinn Fein represent a small, elitist, Provisional elite. They most certainly DON’T represent the Republican/Nationalist community. Just ask the parents of Catholic schoolchildren in North Belfast who attend secondary schools. The former Sinn Fein education minister John O’Dowd gave the edict to amalgamate St. Patrick’s Boys and Little Flower Girls into one school denying Catholics the choice to send their children to single sex Catholic secondary schools in North Belfast. Meanwhile Protestant families have the choice to send their children to either Boys Model or Girls Model schools in North Belfast; Sinn Fein are also a hypocritical joke and not a funny one at that.

  • Hugh Davison

    They’ve had 96 years and still don’t understand the meaning of ‘equality’. Slow learners, or what?

  • Jollyraj

    Hmm….SF run more along the lines of Naseem Hamed – if any boxer could be really used as a comparison. Mouthy, flashy, obnoxious, and look good on the small stages. Brutally exposed as lacking in the fundamentals when they step up to a higher level.

  • mickfealty

    Faoi dheireadh…

  • Granni Trixie

    I disagree. Many had expectations of “reconciliation” coming into play after the fresh start of the GFA, part of which was that political relationships would be different. Impolite behaviour is also not conducive to getting on with business.

    Behaving professionally towards SF doesn’t mean overlooking their paramilitary past. And depending on ones analysis of the troubles it’s certainly a bit rich to see the DUP to try to adopt the moral high ground.

  • Declan Doyle

    ….go leor

  • Declan Doyle

    Having a supremicist attitude towards another group of people who are elected by the people hasnt worked in the past, and in the long term it will not work for tge DUP either.

  • Declan Doyle

    You can patronise all you like if that is what rocks your boat but the truth of the matter where equality is concerned that simikar to FF/FG of old, that party cannot understand the true meaning of equality until religious fundamentaism is plucked out of the centre of their ideology. There is no point in the Shinners who – have proved beyond all and any reasonable doubt that they are a party wedded to social justice and equality – forcing humiliation onto a DUP who are singularly incapable of progressive thinking. It would indeed be a battle a day, when there is so much more at stake.

  • DOUG

    37 fights / 36 wins / 31 Knock Outs and a Multiple World Champion.
    He wasn’t lacking in fundamentals, he was a lazy sod.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    And I hope better reconciliation develops. In the meantime we have the unrepentant Republican Movement to deal with. Their presence make things very hard for everybody. How do you work with people like that, actual killers and people who justify atrocities? Yet we have to and it is right to hold our noses and get on with it. Just cut people some slack over that – I’m not sure I could stomach it personally so whatever it takes, while maintaining basic civility, is fine by me.

    I get that the DUP has dodgy aspects to its past too but it’s frankly not on anything like the same scale. It’s like comparing John Peel with Jimmy Savile.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    It’s not supremacist, it’s an issue of how to deal with parties that have been so hand in glove with terrorism and still refuse to renounce their past atrocities. It’s less than obvious that pretending their views are normal and all is forgiven is the best way of handling the situation. Their refusal to disavow the PIRA and their continuing links with the Army Council create a headache for other elected politicians, and society at large.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    He’s fat as a fool now!

  • DOUG

    Me too.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    You get what you vote for !

  • babyface finlayson

    Also, in light of Jennifer McCann’s recent move, they are clearly, like Ali, capable of a pointless shuffle.

  • Granni Trixie

    No one could ever convince me that the physical force campaign was justified. Like you I am repelled at the thought of having to interact with anyone into that especially as
    you hear terrible stories leeching out from out past, including stories of how the state on occassion crossed the line of what is lawful.

    But after the GFA I decided it was my duty to do my little bit in peace building in whatever way I can. This includes ACTING being respectful and polite should I be in the company of anyone from a paramilitary background. THis has happened from time to time and I have found it is the way the get beyond stereotypes to the humanity of the person, I’m sure on their side there are similar processes going on (yes,believe it or not APNI has to negotiate perceptions it is “other” too).
    If I were a professional – say an MLA or Councillor – I would know it was definately the right thing professionally and even morally to act in a mannerly way to everybody – certainly not disrespectfully.
    I know getting beyond ones emotional responses isn’t easy but I think that everyone has a duty to try,

    BTW, i don’t go much for the line “the DUP were not as bad as the IRA” – it leads to much more broadly based discussion of what went on here.

    Ps An unfortunate comparison of JP and J S too.

  • Declan Doyle

    No headache for the DUP it seems who are up to their necks in violent loyalism

  • MainlandUlsterman

    On the DUP / SF comparison – it’s an inconvenient truth really that they are not comparable. Because they both happen to have emerged as the biggest parties for the time being, it seems to lead to the conclusion that they must be mirror images of each other. They aren’t.

    The DUP aren’t my cup of tea at all but it worries me that in the quest for balance and fairness, which is laudable, many fellow liberal people commenting on NI politics seem to descend quickly into Kundera-esque amnesia over what certain parties did in the Troubles. We are asked to believe that those at the controls of the terror machine bear no more guilt for what happened than those who, outraged by the terrorism, lost the rag verbally in response to it. They are on different planets, morally, for me. It is surely possible to come to fair evaluations of both, and be understanding of other perspectives in a nuanced and liberal way, without having to conclude there is moral equivalence between terrorist and non-terrorist parties?

    I don’t expect an answer to that one. Just to flag that centrists are weakened if we go along with extemists’ gameplan of encouraging public forgetting of their crimes and the normalisation of their murderous views. Maintaining democratic values for me requires that we police the boundary of what is healthy and acceptable. The DUP will fall foul of that sometimes, but it seems to me there’s a Trump effect with SF – what they did and still justify was so unbelievably far off on the wrong side that people stop commenting on it. It becomes the new normal to think that was OK. I do not accept the new normal, not because I’m some unreconstructed backwoodsman who loved Paisley, but because I’m a centrist liberal.

    I often refer to Paddy Ashdown’s evocation decades back of a “muscular liberalism” and that’s what I believe in. Sometimes that means being prepared to be straight with the horror shows sat next to you. It goes against my personality and upbringing to be anything less than accommodating to other people I come into contact with. But I just think sometimes in life it’s OK to go with your conscience, and not let social etiquette gloss over everything. We wouldn’t do it with far right politicians and we shouldn’t do it with the former paramilitaries. As ever, Stewart Lee puts it much more funnily – loved this column: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/20/no-more-schmoozing-with-the-enemy-on-tv-shows-stewart-lee-alt-right-ukip

    What’s more, in my very limited experience of talking to ex paramilitaries, the ones worth talking to get that they are hard for people to deal with. It’s OK to be awkward with them. We really shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Loved Peel but he did marry a 15 year old in the US in the 1960s. But no one’s saying he’s Jimmy Savile. I thought it was quite a good analogy 🙂

  • Katyusha

    It shouldn’t be a surprise.

    SF moved onto the moderate nationalist ground previously occupied by the SDLP, so naturally this left behind a natural republican constituency – SF deserve credit for bringing as many people along as they did. This is why SF still front ex-IRA candidates in traditionally republican constituencies like North and West Belfast, in contrast to the rest of the country, north and south. However, its a sop to cover them yielding to the DUP on issues like the Irish language, and SF’s indulgence of the DUP and failure to advance nationalist interests have turned off nationalist voters. It’s only natural that this will drive people to look for alternatives.

    Sinn Fein is hamstrung by the fact that they actually want to keep Stormont running and the DUP know that, but even the DUP must be able to see how lucky they are to have a compliant partner in government. However they seem wholly uninterested in compromise and prefer to play to the fundamentalist gallery. That is the natural outworking of our present eternal stalemate.

  • Oggins

    The reason why there would be no appointments from the GAA or Irish language bodies, is ‘we’ really dont care about flags and marching. When did you last hear the GAA marching by a loyalist stronghold, or an irish language group stick upto a series of flags to celebrate their culture.

    These organisations really dont give a hoot about marching and flags, and get own with their own culture and not trying to trail their views over themuns.

  • Katyusha

    To me, one of the main puropses of SF in government is to be a watchdog over the DUP. They aren’t partners in a traditional voluntary coalition, rather they have been spliced together so one can’t act without the other. The entire point is to prevent the other side from acting unilaterally and abusing their power. One of SF’s primary roles is as a gatekeeper.

  • Ciaran74

    Unionism has been on a victory parade since 1690 (or made it up in 1800’s to facilitate their loyalty after the Union) so we’re not in for much movement, are we?

    Holding their noses is just another faux play act at integrity, as per ML’s usual diatribe of purity.

  • Jollyraj

    Nope, he was lacking in fundamentals. He relied on his seemingly supernatural reflexes (even among boxers) to keep him out of trouble. As he got older he learned to throw crushingly powerful (even for boxers, of his weight) punches. These two things made him look unbeatable against boxers at a national level.
    He eschewed the boxing fundamentals of building behind the jab, counter-punching and economical footwork.
    When he stepped up, in his last few fights he started to get exposed. In his second last fight, against the inly world class fighter he ever fought, he was comprehensively taken apart.
    In his last fight, against a journeyman, he fell back on what fundamentals he did have – and was embarassed. He won, but was booed out of the arena.
    But we digress 😉

  • Granni Trixie

    A mistake does not invalidate my view that the Commission is fortunate to have someone heading it who has demonstratably studied the field.
    Not that I necessarily accept at face value all that comes from academics but I do think that the application of academic theories to evidence from observation in this case is a definate asset/resource.

  • Nevin

    Can you elaborate on what you mean by mistake, Granni? I can see no mistake.

  • Granni Trixie

    TBH Nevin I didn’t altogether understand your complaint about the website but though The experience did not impress you, it doesn’t alter my view,

  • DOUG

    I think you’re comparing Hameds skill/footwork etc to that of a “textbook” fighter. They’re trained in a particular way. Hamed’s ” fundamentals ” were different To say he lacked them does Ingles a massive dis-service. Did Herol Graham, Junior Witter, and Naseem all just walk in with incredible reflexes and thats what got them as far as they did? It’s no coincidence that all three of them ( as well as most of Ingle’s fighters ) were hard to hit.
    Naseem was very skilled to say he had zero fundamentals fails to understand the Ingle technique/methods. I think. They’re not training them in a “normal” fundemental way. You cannot compare Naseem or any of them to that of a normal textbook fighter because they were never meant to be. Hamed was very skilled and his footwork was very good
    To say that when he stepped up he was exposed is just wrong. He won every single fight apart from against Barrerra. ( and he fought a fair few current or former champions en route to that fight ) who, let’s be honest, is a living legend. Not too many would have beaten him. Even then, a ridiculously out of shape Hamed went the distance. I don’t like Hamed, met him once, little prick. No need to denigrate his abilities though.
    But we can agree to disagree.

  • john millar

    “wedded to social justice and equality ”
    Hmm— How can that be fitted in with celebration of murderimg trades men (Tebane) or blowing up children who had the temerity to sit beside a parent in a car ?

  • john millar

    I suspect we all worked with people we would shun outside work Our free choice (i would not get into the same lift as SF or DUP)

  • Kevin Breslin

    McCausland and Beattie should not be on the committee as MLAs.

  • Declan Doyle

    You are about thirty years behind.

  • Nevin

    Oggins, it’s a ‘Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition’ so that does include the GAA and Irish language bodies.

  • Nevin

    Granni, I doubt if many people would be impressed if a government minister or a government-appointed QUANGO put out a new version of events that they new to be untrue. My ‘complaint’ refers to the Parades Commission website; AFAIK the Office of the Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition doesn’t have one. Might you be confusing these two bodies?

  • Nevin

    “May I also say that since the mid 90s I have listened to Dr Bryan .. he definitely helped you get a handle on what is going on.” .. GT

    Granni, I take your point ‘Not that I necessarily accept at face value all that comes from academics’ and I’d go further to suggest that we are all fallible and that we should also beware of the stories others tell us.

    Dr Bryan appears not to have been familiar with the 1996 Dick Spring briefing when he [Bryan] said: “On 6 July 1996 Hugh Annesley, the then Chief Constable, made the decision to re-route the Orange Order parade from the Garvaghy Road in Portadown.”

    He also missed the significance further down his analysis of his John Bruton quote “I believe that once a government makes a decision in a democracy under the rule of law that it is going to hold a particular line, it must hold that line.” Bruton clearly knew that neither decision was taken by the then Chief Constable and I realised that something was fishy when the BBC dropped the Spring briefing like a hot brick.

  • Granni Trixie

    Quite possibly. But I stand by the opinion I expressed.

  • Jollyraj

    Never met Hamed myself, though he does seem a prick – and I’ve come across a few obnoxious gents from that part of the UK 😉 but for the most part, like most Brits, I enjoy them.

    Agree to disagree is fair enough, and I’ll grant you that
    “Hamed’s ” fundamentals ” were different”

    Well, his toolkit was different. I’d say he lacked the textbook ‘fundamentals’ – I box myself, and I’m of the old school 🙂 – but I accept your definition of fundamentals is different and certainly as valid as mine. Indeed, being broader, perhaps better than mine.

    “To say he lacked them does Ingles a massive dis-service.”

    Most assuredly not my intention. A gifted teacher, though his style is not to my taste.

    “Did Herol Graham, Junior Witter, and Naseem all just walk in with incredible reflexes and thats what got them as far as they did?”

    I’d say a combination of each lad’s unique physical gifts, sheer hard work, and the distinctive Ingle ‘flavour’. Lacking any one of these 3, we’d never have heard of them.

  • Oggins

    My point is that the gaa or irish language groups do not allow themselves to get caught up in these scenarios where the other is antagonise.

  • john millar

    Ah the dead have risen the infrastructure damage has repaired itself and Shergar is favourite for the Derby

    Pity really it was all justified and is to be celebrated
    (Must nip out again and vandalise again those annoying symbols of British/Unionist hegemony at Tebane and Kingmill)

  • Declan Doyle

    Will if vandalism is your thing go ahead but hopefully you will get caught, forced to pay for the damage and then locked up for a spell.

  • john millar
  • Declan Doyle

    Nope, vandalism has just one result abd its not good, i would advise u to stir clear of it.