Paisley and parades…

THE Parades Commission has permitted (with restrictions) a contentious Orange parade past the Ardoyne shaps in north Belfast, the scene of previous violent clashes involving nationalists, loyalists and the police. With rioters’ pictures appearing in the news and Sean Kelly’s arrest, perhaps the PSNI were preparing for events in advance this year. Who knows. But it’s not all doom and gloom, if you glance north-west for a moment, where there’s been an interesting disagreement happening on the unionist side…

The Sunday Times had an article at the weekend suggesting that Ian Paisley had attempted to stop Orange Grand Master Robert Saulters issuing a statement strongly criticising those who had taken part in talks involving nationalists in Derry. Paisley’s thoughts seem to be shared by another minister who also used to preach in Ballymena, Rev Joe Fell, where I think Saulters has links as well. But their attention is focused on the north-west right now, not north Antrim.

Is there a divergence of opinion on how to go forward between Orangemen like Saulters and others like Fell and Paisley, who isn’t a member of the Orange Institution? The talks that brokered agreement in Derry were chaired by the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. Is there an emerging practicality, that simply sought a solution while not breaching the letter of the Orange policy forbidding talking directly to residents’ groups? Saulters believes that participation in talks chaired by a third party breaches the spirit of the policy, certainly.

This is the crux. For many years (in some cases), the DUP has participated in councils, TV debates, an Assembly, proxy negotiations, various committees and junkets with Sinn Fein. Just as long as they didn’t have to address them directly – basically not talking to someone who – as the DUP see it – supports the use of terrorism. For a hardline unionist, to speak to republicans was tantamount to making small-talk with the enemy, serving only to legitimise and sanitise their slaughter of loyal Ulster Protestants.

Paisley actually slipped up in the Agriculture Committee once and – probably without thinking – addressed a Sinn Fein member (if you can be bothered searching the Hansard). The mask has slipped elsewhere, although it would be unfair to say who. But all in all, both sides were generally content enough to talk through the chair or speaker or whatever. Progress, of a sort – arms-length enough for the DUP to keep its word about “not talking to terrorists” and thus keep its constituency happy, but with the practicality of a line of communication when obliged to fight their political corner in the company of republicans.

It’s been a far from perfect arrangement, but they muddled through, often badly, occasionally surprisingly. Almost imperceptibly slowly, as the IRA threat has quietened, there has been a softening of the DUP position. When there’s a Sinn Fein interviewee, DUP MPs don’t appear on Hearts & Minds as disembodied heads on a TV screen behind Noel Thompson’s bap any more – they’re now in the same studio, “confronting republicans”, as they say.

Of course, Noel – as chairman and referee – has to be there, so the DUP can maintain the pretense (or if you’re a DUP supporter, “the reality”) of not talking to Sinn Fein.

Baby steps.

But now Saulters seems to be challenging all of that, despite the fact that, according to the News Letter, it “will mean some 3,000 Orangemen from outside Londonderry joining the local lodge in parading through the city centre above the Bogside for the first time in 13 years on July 12”.

For some Orangemen, the prize of a parade on Derry’s walls for the first time in over a decade will have meant the talks were worth it. Others may see it as abandoning a principle. But the growing weariness with those annual disputes that end up with no parade or violence, coupled with the potential of a peaceful march (albeit probably restricted), may prove an incentive elsewhere.

It wasn’t a problem for Robert Saulters to sign Paisley’s election nomination papers on the basis that the DUP had been involved in indirect talks with republicans for years. He knew what he was signing up to. Following the Grand Lodge split from the UUP, the DUP and the Orange Order are cosier than ever, but now that Orangemen are using the DUP’s form of proxy-talking to resolve parade disputes, it would seem somewhat late in the day for Saulters to condemn such talks. By politically endorsing the DUP, had the Grand Master not effectively given a green light to how the party dealt with republicanism? Should he then be surprised when his own organisation does too?

It will be interesting to see what kind of leadership prevails, and where, this summer.

Oh, and Drumcree was banned again. Maybe they should start talking.

  • Dessertspoon

    The only good thing about the 12th July is that I get a day off work. Problem is I can’t go anywhere or do anything because all the roads are closed!!

  • fair_deal

    “because all the roads are closed!!”

    Methinks dessertspoon exaggerates

  • Gonzo

    Any comment on the entry, fair deal?

  • aquifer

    Did you know that in Northern Ireland there was no real expectation of arrests once a riot has broken out? Maybe the riot squad were not great at paperwork, or more likely had their hands full.

    The tactics of the Scottish police in Edinburgh were interesting, with threats of arrest for the masked, and recital of name and address to a video camera for demonstrators. Scotsman

    Here the drill for offenders is often to give false names and addresses. End of story.

    The recent efforts by the RUC to identify and arrest rioters, and the increased use of TV cameras, may indicate a change of tack.

    Any politician making excuses for intransigence and disorder may increasingly find their protegees staring back at them from the dock after a few days?

    Would not play well in the palace of Westminster?

  • Young Fogey

    Methinks dessertspoon exaggerates

    Not by much. I hate Belfast on the 12th.

  • reality check

    i wonder if Fair Deal would have been registering his disgust if the parade had been banned?I bet its sitting at home content.What about a fair deal for the residents of Ardoyne?

  • reality check

    i wonder if Fair Deal would have been registering his disgust if the parade had been banned?I bet he’s sitting at home content.What about a fair deal for the residents of Ardoyne?

  • fair_deal

    Reality check

    1. On a personal level, I have a general dislike of bans per se.
    2. What is a fair deal? A democratic society where communities can express their respective individual and collective identities in the manner they choose. If they choose to do so on a public road then the responsibility they have is to do so peacefully. If another community finds itself incapable of accepting another community expressing itself or have a particular issue with an organisation then they can show their objections by holding a protest. The responsibility they have is the same as those who organise the orignal procession, that they will be peaceful. Same rights, same responsibilities = fair deal.
    3. Republicans are slowly but surely adopting the attitudes that caused post-WW2 Unionism to screw up. It tried to stop the irish/nationalist/catholic community from being what it was, why do republicans think that trying the same policy in reverse will produce any different a result?

  • bertie

    I feel moved to comment on the tone of the article and the reluctance of “hard line” unionists to talk to Sinn Fein/IRA directly. If I was a politician I would find it very difficult to be in the same line-up as someone in Sinn Fein/IRA but I would reluctantly do it because you have to take the opportunity to state your case. I would not want to engage directly, not just because I would find it personnally distastful, but because I would indeed feel that this would “legitimise and sanitise their slaughter of” people “not just “loyal Ulster Protestants.” I feel the same about the UFF, UVF etc.

    Maybe when the cameras are off and there is no audience, some of the DUP politicians are cuddling up to Sinn Fein/IRA like Bertie Kerr and Sylvia Herman apparantly do. I am still glad that it is still considered shameful.

  • Minesapint

    DS and YF demonstrate some of what is wrong in our society. They ‘hate’ it when someone demonstrates the love of their culture – for one day out of 365, and ‘put them out’! Do they also hate St Patrick’s day, Gay Pride and the many carnivals we now have. The problem semms to be that the culture being demonstrated is very obvious as it is that of the majority.

  • bill

    “the love of their culture”

    Ye, nothing like a rendition of the sash played by a kick the pope paramilitary linked band to celebrate your culture !!

  • Gonzo

    “for one day out of 365”

    So the marching “season” is now only 24 hours long?

  • kk

    Young Fogey go to portadown i hear there is a beer tent

  • Justy

    If their quarrel is religious why can’t they go to Rome and have a big massive G8-sized orangefest there ? Or get their bigoted behinds down to the Boyne where they can play as loud as they like and will bother no-one and give the rest of us a break ?

    Pretty please ?

  • karla

    Justy

    “Or get their bigoted behinds down to the Boyne where they can play as loud as they like and will bother no-one and give the rest of us a break ? “

    Who’s being the bigot now…
    Accept difference. I am an asian nurse and go to both the 12th of july parade in belfast and many other cultural events. At a recents event in Sandy Row orange hall an asian cultural group put on a musical display. There is now a strong sense of understanding in the area. Why can’t Roman Catholics show the same understanding.

    accomodation not segregation…

  • reality check

    With all due respect you are not from this sectarian country and don’t understand the sectarian ethos of the orange order

  • lib2016

    Maybe, just maybe, karla is showing us that we should give the orders credit where credit is due? As in recent negotiations in Derry, for example?

  • reality check

    As an immigrant she isn’t aware of the order’s relationship with loyalist paramilitaries

  • reality check

    Attending events in an orange hall in sandy row karla is obviously going to have loyalists propensites.Perhaps she wants to remain in the area,not forced out

  • karla

    reality check,

    Despite your desire to see racial hatred between ethnic groups and the indigenous population this has all but came to an end. There was at one time a racist element on the sandy row but this seems to have gone away completly. A work collegue of mine is currently living with me until she finds another house. This is because she was continually threaten aswell as her 4 year old daughter by republicans in the New Lodge.

    This Sinn Fein idea that its is only in loyalist parts of belfast that racism exist is nonsense. They are themselves offcourse the biggest racists on this island.

  • lib2016

    A-a-a-h! Over-egged the pudding there, Karla! And I really wanted to give your earlier post the benefit of the doubt.

  • fair_deal

    On Monday evening Sandy Row district held its mini-twelfth. Among the spectators there was a reasonable representation of people from minority ethnic groups enjoying it – black, sub-continental asian, muslims and chinese. The sight which warmed my heart the most was as my lodge walked over Tates Avenue bridge an indian family who lives in the apartments were standing at their the balcony and their young child was smiling broadly bouncing in his father’s arms clapping to the band music. Someone not from the same tradition enjoying something for what it was.

    The four Polish lads who live at the end of my terrace row had a great time and afterwards joined a barbecue in a neighbour’s garden and got properly introduced to all their neighbours for the first time. The Latvians round the corner enjoyed it too.

    Now I have said all that, let the demonisation commence.

    Realitycheck

    Maybe you can’t cope with karla coming here and reaching his/her own conclusions rather than automatically assuming the prejudices you want? Open minds can be a dangerous things for those who wish to impose orthodoxy.

  • lib2016

    I really would like to be wrong about this. If you can find a neutral report on the net I’d be more than pleased to grovel. 😉

  • bertie

    fairdeal
    thanks for that you and Karla have made my day. It’s what it should be like. I love orange parades except for the sometimes loutish element which attach themselves and even an odd what would appear to be a UVF/UDA lodge/band. Fortunatly this does not seem to be a problem in Fermanagh. Any ideas on how we can rid ourselves of this element (from the orange parades as a start but if you’ve any idea how we can get rid of them from the scene entirely it would be a bonus)?

  • antonio81roma@hotmail.com

    Do you work in mental Health Carla?.

  • fair_deal

    Bertie

    Orangeism in urban (belfast in particular) and rural areas are different creatures. There are difficulties with the behaviour of bands, followers and regrettably Orange members in Belfast. However, these are slowly but surely being addressed. On my distirct paradet there was a group of about 30 young people who followed one band who people were concerned about but the worst of their behaviour was public dirnking and a lack of courtesy (although as I knew most of them to see this is not unusual behaviour on their part simply different geography). This will be raised at a District meeting and the band asked to address the issue and if they don’t the lodge will be asked to hire someone else.

    The likes of the Ulster Bands Association has been encouraging more positive behaviour among bands – there has been some development in the presentation and demeanour of a number of the bands.

    Organising districts have been developing complementary festivals (following the lead of the Apprentice Boys of Derry) and events in the field to encourage family participation.

    On paramilitary flags, the first research showed 90% paramilitary flags in some loyalist areas of Belfast, CRC supported research a few years later had it at 30%. This year the proportion in Belfast is down again where I live there are now six (still six too many) but progress none the less.

    (Now of course Irish nationalism’s reaction is the usual – move the goalposts – it turns out it isn’t paramilitary flags it’s any british or ulster symbols must to be removed. Does anyone else remember when nationalism demanded the removal of the Flags and Emblems Act as banning flags was completely unacceptable and counter-productive?)

  • lib2016

    fairdeal & karla

    Given the surprising nature of your claims about the change in attitude of the Sandy Row/Village community I think it’s fair to ask for some verification. Surely at least one public representative has publically celebrated these exciting new developments?

    How was the change initiated and by whom? What techniques did they use? Racism is a worldwide problem and you owe an explanation to the world if you have discovered some way to defeat it so quickly and completely and even more surprisingly without a word leaking out to the press or public.

  • fair_deal

    lib2016

    I did not claim racism has been solved simply that minority ethnic residents enjoyed the recent Orange parade. The comparison was to show how people from other cultural traditions can enjoy Orange parades.

    On racism in the area.
    1. For independent verification the police statistics show there has been a marked drop in racist attacks in the Village area.
    2. The stupidity and unacceptability of the behaviour has been communicated very strongly by the local community.
    3. The issues the racists fed off in the area were housing and neglect. There have been a number of positive developments in this regard with an affordable housing scheme in the planning stage and the NIHE consulting about partial redevelopment and refurbishment in the area. A civil service team has conducted work in the Sandy Row and Village areas to examine need in the area. The resentments that the racists twisted and mis-directed at minority ethnic groups have received attention.
    4. A roundtable on racism of key groups and stats has been working in the south Belfast area, it may have borne some fruit.
    5. Some anti-racism work has been going on in the area too, it may have borne some fruit.
    6. Why has no local representative said anything? Don’t know, ask them. Would it even be carried? We have a crisis/conflict obsessed media. This is the ‘marching season’ and if you listened solely to the media you would think both communities are sitting fully primed to take society to hell in a hand cart at the drop of a foot on a particular road. Hard to fit in a good news story that does fit with that. How quick would it take someone to say….whatabout if a rep issued such a statement devaluing the whole point of releasing it in the first place ie to say something positive.
    7. In the Village the pattern changed too it was more eastern european migrants have moved in, it is only now that the other minority ethnic groups are begining to settle in the Village again.
    8. The PSNI has also introduced a team targeting the people traffickers who were using properties across south Belfast for illegal immigration addressing another issue the racists fed off.

  • lib2016

    fair_deal

    Thankyou for your courtesy in replying so promptly. Racism and prejudice are problems far beyond our little local difficulties and I objected to karla’s fairly obvious kite-flying.

    I used to have friends living in the Sandy Row area with whom I have lost touch so it would be good to hear something pleasant about the way things are going there. When you get some specific evidence to verify a change in attitudes it would be a public service to post it here. We could all do with something to cheer us up.

  • Dessertspoon

    Yes OK it was a slight exaggeration on my part to say that “all” of the roads are closed. Of course they are not and my flippant comment was certainly not meant as a swipe at those enjoying or demonstrating their love for their culture. As far as the Orange Order and the Protestant Culture is concerned they can demonstrate their love all they want. I do however object to the rioting, violence and the heavy police and military presence it brings in certain areas and I realise that this is not always caused by the OO and it’s followers. For the record I also object the overt way in which St Patricks days is often hijacked by republicans and nationalists and fully understand why many unionists don’t feel it’s a celebration they can be involved in. I have NO PROBLEMS with those who want to celebrate, mark or commemerate these days and moments in history which are significant to them but we need to stop using them as excuses to hurt people or impose our “cultures” whatever they are on them.

  • Dessertspoon

    DOH! I meant “commemorate”. Terrible spelling. I blame my mother she never bought me a Speak and Spell for Christmas 🙁

  • reality check

    Bertie,have you heard of the south fermanagh loyalist flute band?They are affiliated to the uvf.Rural or urban both are infested with paramilitaries.Karla you speak of The New Lodge being racist.How come these “attacks”haven’t been publicised?because it’s a loyalist fabrication being perpetuated by people like you.Remember the sectarian bile in the air when Catholics were living in Whittehall square?Thought not.You were told they were the enemy.Don’t dare insult the intelligence of someone who’s been exposes to this sectarian state all of his life.Fair Deal-I’m greatly perturbed by your nonsensical ramblings.

  • fair_deal

    Reality check

    The attacks on poles in the nationalist Garvaghy Road area? (Reported on the TV channels) The attacks on a house of Latvians in Beechmount? (Reported in the Irish News – Sorry thats right Tom Hartley explained it wasn’t racism just anti-social behaviour). The filipino family who had their house wrecked in the Falls area? (Reported on TV channels). Have these been fabricated?

    Also as minority ethnic groups in republican areas have been told NOT to go to the police about incidents (e.g. West Belfast ARN pack) it is easier to hide a problem and live in denial.

    “Fair Deal-I’m greatly perturbed by your nonsensical ramblings”

    Good grief a response from reality check, pity you don’t seem to have cottoned on that the purpose of this site is for debate. If you would care to have the balls to point out what exactly perturbs you, demonstrate how they have no sense I will be happy to show you there is a universe beyond planet provo.

  • reality check

    you and your anti catholic attitudes.take them elsewhere you narrow minded virulent individual

  • fair_deal

    Reality check

    I am tempted to ask for a ruling on whether that last comment was man or ball but in the hope this could turn into something productive I will perservere.

    “take them elsewhere”

    Yep you certainly don’t seem to have gotten the idea that this site is for debate.

    Any response on the racist attacks in nationalist areas? No
    Any examples given of what is perturbing in what I said? No
    Any examples of my comments being nonsensical? No

    Now I am anti-Catholic – care to show how any of my comments above were anti-Catholic?

    You disagree with karla – your response karla is basically an ignorant immigrant. You disagree with me I am a narrow minded bigot. The only intolerance show on this thread to other views has been by yourself.

  • fair_deal

    Reality check

    I am tempted to ask for a ruling on whether that last comment was man or ball but in the hope this could turn into something productive I will perservere.

    “take them elsewhere”

    Yep you certainly don’t seem to have gotten the idea that this site is for debate.

    Any response on the racist attacks in nationalist areas? No
    Any examples given of what is perturbing in what I said? No
    Any examples of my comments being nonsensical? No

    Now I am anti-Catholic – care to show how any of my comments above were anti-Catholic?

    You disagree with karla – your response karla is basically an ignorant immigrant. You disagree with me I am a narrow minded bigot. The only intolerance show on this thread to other views has been by yourself.

  • bertie

    reality check

    I haven’t heard of the south fermanagh loyalist flute band with terrorist connections. I will endeavour to find out. Does it take part in Orange parades in Fermangh?

  • reality check

    Much regards bertie for replying.They have a website which showcases their links to the uvf.They do parade in fermanagh

  • reality check

    Fair Deal

    I’ve read your comments on other topics before and i’ve made a fair and justified assessment on you.I stand by it

  • bertie

    reality check

    can you let me know the website please?

  • fair_deal

    Reality check

    1. Still no response on your false claims about no racism in nationalist areas.
    2. You have failed to provide a single example from this thread backing up anything you have previously claimed about my posts – peturbing, nonsensical, anti-catholic, narrow-minded etc
    3. Now you say it is what you have read on other threads, I ask again (in increasingly vain hope) that you provide examples from other threads to substantiate your claims.
    4. As for other threads we have never previously debated so I somewhat doubt your now claimed thorough knowledge of my views, unless you are a regular contibutor who has decided to switch identity to try and get away with daft claims they cannot back up.

  • karla

    Reality Check,

    Actually, they have been published and Alban Maggennis actually condemned the attacks. They got about 15 seconds at the end of BBC Newsline (Dec 28) but not at all on UTV.

  • reality check

    Fair Deal-your blind to any sense of loyalist wrong doing.Karla-you’ve decided to continue debating with me.I condemn the attacks but it’s a rarity in republican area.Bertie-try searching goggle

  • bertie

    sorry to hijack this thread folks but I am having trouble with the “Can unionism evolve”. I have tried to post on it but get error messages. On the list it says there are 34 comments but when I go into it, it only goes up to 29. I suspect that the extra 5 posts are my repeats. Can anyone shed any light please?

  • reality check

    Bertie-Are you aware of any paramilitary flags on lamposts anywhere in fermanagh or any orange bands carrying them apart from the one i previously mentioned?

  • bertie

    reality check

    I have found a site but the only reference I could see about to the UVF was in a history book recommendation, i.e. it was recommending the book not the UVF.

    Although the site is very visually “busy” and I found it hard to read.

  • fair_deal

    Reality check

    Thank you for adding the charge of “blind to loyalist wrongdoing” to your evergoing lists of allegations.

    Now for I think the fifth time could you please provide an example to back up any of them?

    Bertie

    Your problems seem to have been occuring on the site since last saturday. The only answer I am afraid is patience, I tend to find after about 5-10 minutes it all appears ok.

  • Enniskillen DUP

    Reality Check,

    I am not aware of any paramilitary flags being flown in Housing Areas of Fermanagh. Where flags are traditionally flown I have only see the union flag, ulster, scotland ,england etc…

    There are only about a dozen bands in fermanagh that carry flags. In past years i have seen the above mentioned band carrying a flag which they called an historic UVF standard.

  • bertie

    reality check

    I would have to say that in Fermanagh I rarely do (I do not live there anymore but I am often home). That doesn’t mean to say that they aren’t there.

    When you say “paramilitary” I presume you mean don’t mean Union Jacks or NI flags but the UVF/UFF ones.

    (one of my personal crusades is to end the use of the term “paramilitary” it is euphemistic, I prefer to use “terrorist”)

    The trouble is I don’t really know what the UVF etc flags look like. Unless they actually have the initials on them. Then again there seem to be so many strange groupings I could find myslf scowling a UFU standard only to realise later it was just advertising an Ulster Farmers Union jamboree!

    Again I am not aware of such bands in Fermanagh parades. It has always seemed to me to be more of a problem in other parts of NI.

  • bertie

    reality check

    I would have to say that in Fermanagh I rarely do (I do not live there anymore but I am often home). That doesn’t mean to say that they aren’t there.

    When you say “paramilitary” I presume you mean don’t mean Union Jacks or NI flags but the UVF/UFF ones.

    (one of my personal crusades is to end the use of the term “paramilitary” it is euphemistic, I prefer to use “terrorist”)

    The trouble is I don’t really know what the UVF etc flags look like. Unless they actually have the initials on them. Then again there seem to be so many strange groupings I could find myslf scowling a UFU standard only to realise later it was just advertising an Ulster Farmers Union jamboree!

    Again I am not aware of such bands in Fermanagh parades. It has always seemed to me to be more of a problem in other parts of NI.

  • bertie

    reality check

    I would have to say that in Fermanagh I rarely do (I do not live there anymore but I am often home). That doesn’t mean to say that they aren’t there.

    When you say “paramilitary” I presume you mean don’t mean Union Jacks or NI flags but the UVF/UFF ones.

    (one of my personal crusades is to end the use of the term “paramilitary” it is euphemistic, I prefer to use “terrorist”)

    The trouble is I don’t really know what the UVF etc flags look like. Unless they actually have the initials on them. Then again there seem to be so many strange groupings I could find myslf scowling a UFU standard only to realise later it was just advertising an Ulster Farmers Union jamboree!

    Again I am not aware of such bands in Fermanagh parades. It has always seemed to me to be more of a problem in other parts of NI.

  • reality check

    Enniskillen Dup-Could you define historic uvf standard.Is the reference to the 36th ulster division clearly seen?Does it resemble a modern day uvf flag?Am i right in saying its only used on the battle of the somme commerations?

  • reality check

    Bertie-i’m challenging the myth that rural areas like fermanagh and tyrone that orange institutions do not have paramilitary links.Any tyrone or fermanagh loyalists feel free to liaise wih me

  • fair_deal

    Reality check

    Now for I think the sixth time could you please provide an example to back up your various claims about me?

    Is the reference to the 36th ulster division clearly seen?

    The answer to that is yes and it specifically refers to the battalion raised from the fermanagh area. From the band website

    “In 1998 we were presented with a memorial bannerette, dedicated to both the 36th Ulster Division and the 11th Battn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers ( Donegal & Fermanagh Volunteers ).”

    Another false claim from reality check.

  • Enniskillen DUP

    R C,

    For your information I actually saw the band you have mentioned and enquired re: the 36th Ulster Division Flag. on that occasion the had three flags; ulster, union and scotland.

    I have been informed that the flag is quite old and has stopped being used for that reason. Come to Ballinamallard on Tuesday and see for yourself…

  • Wichser

    Do some of you folks come close to realizing just how plain weird this flag fetish is perceived by people of sense ?!