Orangemen looking for just and lasting solution

Interesting reaction for Portadown Orangemen to the Parades Commission’s decision to ban the Garvaghy Road march for another year. Portadown Orangeman, and formerly a hardliner David Jones, “We are looking towards developing trust to achieve a just and lasting solution, not a quick fix. We`ve been disappointed before.”

  • Perhaps it’s time for the residents to invite (and I stress invite) a token delegation of local orangemen to walk the route in the interests of cooperation and trust building?

  • Pete Baker
  • Concerned Loyalist

    Pope BuckfastXVI,
    Can you not understand the viewpoint of Orangemen and why they and their supporters feel aggrieved when they need an “invite” to walk down a stretch of road their fathers walked, and their fathers before them did, and so on and so forth?

    Going off subject a little but it’s to demonstrate a point. I would like to think that if I were alive in the mid 1970s I would have been forward-thinking enough to support the UDA, and progressive men like Andy Tyrie and Glen Barr, when they were seen as extremely radical in advocating a form of power-sharing with nationalists at a time when the rest of the UUUC, incorporating men like Paisley and Harry West, refused to consider anything other than Unionist Majority Rule.

    However, the point I am making is that I am not a bigot or a Protestant/Loyalist supremacist and I know I am only young but I don’t think I could ever see myself “mellowing” to such an extent in my lifetime to ever change my opinion on this matter. To walk the Queen’s Highway is a civil right, a civil liberty…not a luxury.

  • CL,

    I get where you’re coming from, but at the same time, your right to swing your face ends where my face begins. In the end of the day would it not be better to have your party with the local neighbours on board, and not feeling threatened, which they would if you continued with the attitude of (to quote cartman) “it’s mah hot body, I’ll do what Ah waunt”? On another thread (on derry) you were agreeing with me on a number of points, including OO marches in Nationalist areas… I don’t know how young you are but I know a few years ago I would have been thinking “good feck em, delighted with the result”, but those attitudes get us nowhere, it’s 2006 man!

    As an aside it’s dangerous to think that tradition, and “my fathers father did so” infers rights, if that was the case it would be the “right” of the grandchildren of republicans to pursue the armed conflict. It would be the “right” of americans to own slaves. It would be the “right” of men to keep their women at home chained to the kitchen sink.

  • oops! typo…

    should have read
    your right to swing your fist ends where my face begins

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I do respect you, despite the fact that you are a republican and I am somewhere between a “dove” and a “hawkish” loyalist.

    However, owning slaves and prosecuting a sectarian war cannot be used as comparisons to walking down a stretch of road my friend!

    P.S. In answer to your musings regarding my age…I’ll be the ripe old age of 21 before the end of the month.

  • Markkus

    > To walk the Queen’s Highway is a civil right, a civil liberty…not a luxury.

    Well actually, no such right exists. Do you think a Nationalist march would be allowed in Downing Street? Or Whitehall? The powers that be act as they see fit in these matters and the determining factor is usually how much trouble they think will result. Orangemen shouldn’t take it personally.

    Anyway, CL, it’s good to read a coherent Loyalist view on these things, so tell me – why is it that the OO always make the biggest fuss about marching where they’re not wanted? It seems that it’s no fun if they’re not annoying someone. Just an observation.

  • CL,

    Happy birthday and congrats, hope you have a swell night wiht lots of booze and hot ladies involved 😉

    I wasn’t equating I was just pointing out examples of the logical fallacy of tradition as justification for a “right”.

    The attitude of “My daddy did it” just doesn’t fly with me, I actually think portadown orangemen are trying to be accommodating, and I look forward to the day when they reach an agreement. I’ll put it this way, I couldn’t organize a big march down any road in Galway blocking traffic etc. without consulting the Gardaí and local residents, and if there enough objections from residents I wouldn’t be allowed, simple as that.

    I hope one day you will see issues like this aren’t black and white, and that accommodation and cooperation are much better than simplistic monochrome outlooks.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I realise that we are living in a world that is becoming increasingly smaller due to the advances in technology. Gradually this will cause Ulster to become a more cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse part of the United Kingdom, the seeds of which have already begun to grow if you walk around Coleraine, where you will see the promulgation of Asian and in particular Eastern European people, compared to three or four years ago even.
    This will challenge the “us” and “them” mindset-Protestant and Roman Catholic- and might give a different perspective to, or influence the ancient “Ulster” question…

  • Yes it can only bode well for the future… anyway I don’t expect you to agree with me right now or anything, just hope I’ve given you something to think about, and shown you that not all taigs are out to get ya!

  • Conor

    why oh why do protestants insist on calling roads here the f’ing ‘queens highway’. how petty can you get? what a silly immature thing to insist on doing. piss off and just call it what you have always called it. ‘a road’. its not like in general conversation you go ‘im just popping down the queens highway to get a pint of milk’. idiots.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Drumcree is a dead issue for nationalists and there is no wish to revisit it. It has in effect been decommissioned.

  • Brian Boru

    Concerned Loyalist, I wonder if you felt this way about the Republicans using the ‘Queens Highway’ in Ballymena? Sauce for the goose ‘n’ all that…

    Rights come with responsibilities and the OO have not always fulfilled the conditions given for them going through Drumcree in the past. In particular the playing of music having agreed not to play it, and the promise of no triumphalism and the denial in 1995 that an agreement had been made with Nationalists to go down Garvaghy when in fact their had. This helped sow the seeds of the resistance to the parade in 1996. They have demonstrated a lack of honesty by breaking their word as to the absence of triumphalism in previous marches. In particular, the stopping outside Catholic churches during Mass to play Kick the Pope or The Sash amounts to a deliberate provocation and makes subsequent demands to march through Catholic areas all the more brass neck.

    CL and his ilk must realise there are 2 national allegiances in the North and that a complicated society like NI has to make allowances for both. With 94% of the 3,500 Loyalist marches going through without re-routements, and only 0.5% of them being banned outright, it seems reasonable to argue that the OO should be satisfied with its lot. Unless that is they are prepared to allow 3,500 Republican/Nationalist marches through there areas. Parity of esteem after all.

    Oh and CL, this is far more than a mere “walk”. It is a walk with bands, the Union Flag and Loyalist regalia. These are contentious (as are Republican regalia and the Irish Tricolor) in NI to the point of sparking violence for decades since partition, so it would be responsible of you to accept your lot and stop trying to provoke your Catholic neighbours. Unionism needs to stop whinging all the time. Tired of their whingin…

  • Conor,

    It’s a quasi legal term. The right to use the Queen’s highway so long as one keeps the Queen’s peace refers to a fundamental human right within Common Law. It flows from the first written rights charter, the Magna Carta, and as a principle it has been co-opted into Irish, American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand law – and possibly many others too.

    It does not refer to a road, but the rights of common people to use a public road. In any case all the roads in Northern Ireland do still belong to her!

  • Seano

    Concerned Loyalist

    “Can you not understand the viewpoint of Orangemen and why they and their supporters feel aggrieved when they need an “invite” to walk down a stretch of road their fathers walked, and their fathers before them did, and so on and so forth?”

    Can you not understand that, your fore fathers and theirs didn’t respect Catholics (not that many Orange men do today) at all, and were confused, as they are today, about what constitutes a “given right?”

    Also, what you’ve seen for the past decade is, years of built up anger from republicans and nationalists, passed down from their fore fathers, being correctly transfered into a respectful approach towards the bigoted Orange Order.

    You need to understand, CL, that this is just the beginning of unionists realising that they no longer have the upper hand on anything in NI.

  • Pat,

    Are you saying what I think you’re saying?

  • James St John Smythe

    From a reasonably well-placed source, I have information that the Portadown Lodge will be permitted to march on the Garvaghy Road before the end of the year. If it proves true, it’s clearly part of a Government attempt to build confidence within the unionist community prior to a return to a power-sharing executive.

  • bill

    Perhaps if the orange order stopped supporting loyalist paramilitaries they might be taken at face value.

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    i’m being as ambiguous as possible.

  • Joe


    I hvae just re-read the Magna Carta; nowhere does it refer to the right to walking down roads!
    Are you bull-shitting?

  • heman

    Pat is absolutely spot on, though I fear the Brits -through their proxy Parades Commission- have other ideas.

    This latest judgement will pave the way for a parade green light in the Summer. However, I would be very surprised if the parade actually took place.

    Remember: the PSNI conceded the principle last Autumn that they would not force people off roads anymore following loyalist blockades across Belfast city.

    Consequently, unless the PSNI would like to return to Drumcree of old, force the SDLP off the Police Board and burn half of Derry in the process (never mind ensure Orange parades normally non-contentious become suddenly targets for spontaneous attakcs from enraged nationalists- as happened in ’97/98) I suggest the Parades Commission takes a longer, harder look than is being expected by most thinking observers.

  • Yoda

    In any case all the roads in Northern Ireland do still belong to her!


  • Brian Boru

    What’s this about Magna Carta? It’s nearly 800 yrs old and predates Parliament so is irrelevant in modern times.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    A few thoughts…

    Firstly, is the ‘right’ to walk down any public highway not a ‘right’ of the individual, not an organisation. People have ‘rights’. Groups may also, but are these not different?

    I think the O’men will eventually walk the Garvaghy Road. The residents coalition there did not meet the Commission. If all the O’men have to do is fulfil criteria that the residents do not, then a march becomes increasingly likely.

    I think James St John Smythe might have hit the nail on the head. Those who prove themselves open to change are generally rewarded in this process with an opportunity to prove they are genuine.

    In such circumstances, it would be churlish for republicans to provoke a hostile reaction, no? Everyone benefits – the O’men learn to respect their Catholic neighbours, and nationalists are not disadvantaged in any way whatsoever.

    There doesn’t appear to be ANYTHING to gain on either side for violence at Drumcree to continue. I think a practical solution is within reach, if there’s compromise all round. No-one need lose face, and the world will applaud.

    A little generosity on both sides would go a long way. In fact, it might go all the way from Drumcree church to Carlton Street, via Garvaghy Road.

    Respectfully, of course.

  • Dualta

    Hume said it when the first objections were heard to marches in Derry from the Bogside Residents’ Committee. He said “Let them march.”

    Hume knew back then how much damage the various campaigns would do to the fledgling peace process and he was right. They became a central issue for many Unionists and was used, to good effect, by anti-Agreement Unionists to undermine the GFA.

    The Loyal Orders are institutions rooted in this conflict. They were formed to play a role in it. Only when we deal with the fundamental issues around the conflict will the perceived need for them diminish.

    It is the very same argument used to expose the decommissioning argument. Remove the will, and the weapon is rendered pointless.

    Let them march. In fact, make them welcome. If they don’t fear us, they won’t feel defensive.

  • “We also acknowledge the past engagement with the commission of the Garvaghy Road Residents’ Coalition and we are disappointed that they did not respond positively to an invitation to meet the commission on this occasion. We hope this will change in the very near future.”

    The main criticism levelled at the Orange Order( and one that I’d agree with) has been their past refusal top meet head to head with residents groups in the various flashpoint areas.

    Negotiations through a third party are obviously a second best option to this, but at least it’s a start.

    The refusal of the Residents group to meet up with the Parade’s Commission (on the face of it anyway) seems to show the same intransigent attitude that they’re forever accusing the other side of.

  • I thought it might be funny to hang banners over OO marches in catholic areas such as “Ardoyne welcomes NI Swingers Pride” or “Speedwalking Championships – Finish Line” or “Historical Hat Brigade – Annual Parade”. I think it’d make for some funny pictures and would possibly make the parades as much fun for catholics as they are for protestants

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    It should be pointed out that the resident’s group are not meeting the present Parades Commission because they have sought a judicial review over the make up of the body, which they perceive is heavily weighted towards unionists.

    They are refusing to meet the commission until after the outcome of the review. To talk of intransigence is therefore erroneous.

  • Jo

    The Queens Highway was given a new meaning by last years Gay Pride parade. Thats the only context in which it can be used accurately and without offence 🙂

  • DK


    Now that the parades commission has banned the one parade that the Garvachy Residents group were interested in then presumably they will drop their smoke-screen of “unionist bias” and communicate with it. Or is there a policy to keep the conflict going – sure it’s a great headline grabber.

  • PaddyReilly

    The salient point about the Magna Carta is that every single line of it has been repealed, and is no longer the Law of England, or anywhere else. With Law, it is better to start with recent statutes, which are still in force.

    The point about the Queen’s Highway is that everyone has the right to use it for the purpose it was intended for, which is driving along it at a reasonable speed. What the Orangemen want to do is obstruct it by marching along it in formation, and that is not a right at all, and can only be done by arrangement with the appropriate authorities, subject to the wishes of the residents. Which in the instant case, are negative.

  • PR,

    That’s true. But historically it remains an important document. And the principle still holds good in the common law.

    There are many civil liberties groups around the world who would defend it (indeed have defended it) to the death.

    I’m not sure your interpretation is quite so universally transferable.

  • Conor

    still an unneccesary term to use i think.