Parades Commission: Inside Dealing To Secure Drumcree Stitch-Up?

The composition of the new Parades Commission has been the source of much discussion, with much alarm expressed at the appointment of numerous Portadown unionists/ Orangemen. The public admission by a Commission member that he is fighting the Orange cause “from inside the fence” is bound to heighten nationalist fears that the new commission may be wearing orange-tinted glasses when it comes to making crucial decisions in the coming months. The fact that the Commissioner concerned made his comments to Portadown orangemen may be an ominous indicator for what lies ahead this Summer.

  • Jacko

    “Earlier, Commissioner Don McKay, who is also an Orangeman, called for the Loyal Orders to not give in, saying he was fighting their cause “from inside the fence”.
    “From a unionist perspective, we have got to have faith in what we believe in and take the battle forward,” he said.”

    Yeah, certainly looks like nationalists have something to get upset about.
    This guy should be bounced off forthwith.
    He should already have been given his marching orders for the reference debacle anyway.

  • heck

    Did anyone expect anything else?

    These bodies are set up by the government to arrive at a decision the government wants to see. And they can then claim it had nothing to do with them.

    Independent inquiries anyone? Widgery was selected to clear the paras and give the appearance of openness–Huton came back with conclusions that flew in the face of the facts.

    Let us not forget the ridiculously named “independent” monitoring commission. The government stacked it the way they wanted and we are surprised that it arrives at a different decision than the international decommissioning body!!

    When the government want the parades commission to make one decisions they pack the membership one way–when they want a different decision they pack it another.

  • Pete Baker

    That would be Don McKay.. whose controversial appointment to the Parades Commission has been highlighted on Slugger previously.

  • Reader

    Chris Donnelly: numerous Portadown unionists/ Orangemen
    I didn’t know “numerous” meant “2”? But be fair, there are also oodles of Nationalist politicians too (“oodles” = 1). And it’s hardly as though the Orangemen have a voting majority on the commission. Or maybe they will swing the views of the other commissioners with their eloquence and the strength of their case? Or maybe Orangemen should be banned from any role in public life?

  • D’Oracle

    Reader,
    Ah no -ye have to allow these Unionist laddies some sort of outlet ; it ‘d be too much to have them banned from any role in public life let alone, of course, to have them floggged publicly twice daily by women wearing no clothes at all(at all! ) for apparently claiming to believe in the things that they claim to believe in.

    Oh No, –much better to allow them to continue to exist provided -and this is the scientific bit, there is equal representation given to persons of an equally fervent but opposing view. If this condition does not apply I predict here and now -and admittedly, somewhat depressingly, that we looking at a Loonies 1 v Civilisation -Nil outcome.

  • Brian Boru

    This year we will have 1 march to commemorate 1916, whereas the Unionists have 3,500 loyal order marches. I don’t understand why the Unionists are so obsessed with marching so much over battles from the 1600’s. 1916 was fundamental to the setting up of what is now the Republic of Ireland, but we haven’t had a big march on that for 33 years. These parades are ok through Unionist areas but are understandibly seen as provocative in Nationalist areas of the North.

  • Paul

    Is it just me or are people bored titless by friggin’ Drumcree and the “parades issue”? Can anyone seriously think that there would be anything triumphal about a march down the Garvaghey Road at this stage. It would just look like people had took pity on the poor bastards.

  • missfitz

    Brian
    Keep the facts straight, (although that does seem to be optional for most people)
    There are about 180 contentious parades out of a total of about 2500 “loyalist” parades.

    Not trying to be pedantic, but I hate when the parade figures get bandied about inaccurately. As to your main point, this is just a fact of the differences between the celebration of culture between these 2 groups. We cant ask people to stop parading cos we dont do it or dont like it!

    We need to make the accomodation now. Time has moved on, areas have become less contentious and there is more room than ever to make progress.

    I think also that the comments attributed above are being taken out of context, and there is an element of bandwagon-jumping going on.

    The main thrust of the new commission is engagement and dialogue. It needs to be given a chance to work for the sake of the communities at the receiving ends of the summer madness

  • Shore Road Resident

    Time to realise what’s really going on here folks.
    The dire Drumcree situation might finally be approaching a resolution, thanks to some clumsy quango footwork by the NIO and a belated realisation of its own stupidity by the Orange Order. And that, of course, is THE LAST THING THE SHINNERS WANT.
    Hence this thread by a Chris Donnolly talking the whole thing up as an evil conspiracy. Aye right. This is just another typical peace process conspiracy of the type we’ve had four a month of for the past ten years. Only difference is, this time it’s addressed at knocking some sense into the Prods – which doesn’t suit the republican tension-raising agenda one iota.

    I leave you with the expression “Numerous West Belfast republicans/provos” – just to show what this sort of language sounds like from the opposite direction.

  • RmcC

    Missfitz

    “There are about 180 contentious parades out of a total of about 2500 “loyalist” parades.”

    Gosh, we stand corrected. ONLY about 180 contentious parades and ONLY about 2500 “loyalist” parades. It shows how idiotic a place NI is when grown-up people cannot see how absurd these high numbers are. Or don’t wish to see.

    “We cant ask people to stop parading cos we dont do it or dont like it!”

    Yes, we can. By the same token, if my neighbour’s dog is barking and I don’t like it, I’m quite entitled to ask him to stop the animal from barking.

    On the other hand, if my neighbour is barking…

  • pacman

    You know it’s an old concept on these pages but if the Marching Orders were required to stump up the cost of policing their respective parades the numbers wouldn’t be long in falling.

  • Corcaigh

    I’ve just read this stuff and while I’m just a thick Corkman, I can’t see what the problem is – the guy’s a orange man and says so at a public meeting. What’s the problem? Was he supposed to say something else?

  • missfitz

    RmcC
    Glad to see you accepted the correction.

    Absurdly high numbers? Possibly, but as I tried to explain, thats what these folk like to do at the weekends. The large majority of parades are in their own communities and bother very few people. Again, a large majority of the parades are band parades which is a completely legitimate cultural expression.

    As to the contentious parades? Again, there are a few genuinely serious contentious parades, but as I said the remit now is for dialogue and communication.
    We need to accept parades as a valid and integral part of the identity of the people and find ways of making paradint work.

    People parade all over the world and for all sorts of reasons. I think the worst thing for us to do is to further restrict and ghettoise the system.

    I might have been surprised by the figures and context of this issue when I first moved here, but I have a greater understanding of it now. Do you?

  • Millie

    Corcaigh

    No you’re right there’s nothing controversial in what he said. However if this was a business meeting Mr McKay would have to declare a conflict of interest, but surely every contentious parade would be a conflict of interest for him?

  • RmcC

    Missfitz

    “I might have been surprised by the figures and context of this issue when I first moved here, but I have a greater understanding of it now. Do you?”

    Yes. My understanding is that there are an awful lot of people here in sore need of a life.

  • headmelter

    SRR,
    “The dire Drumcree situation might finally be approaching a resolution”

    Just wondering what you might think the ‘resolution’
    to the Drumcree situation is.

  • corcaigh

    Millie: “if this was a business meeting Mr McKay would have to declare a conflict of interest, but surely every contentious parade would be a conflict of interest for him?”

    Fair enough point Millie, but surely that ship has sailed? The guy was appointed, along with the other moustache guy, in full knowledge of what they were – orange men. There’s no point anyone complaining now when they remind people who they are I think.

    Anyway – doesn’t the orange order apply for Drumcree every week? There’s been no sign of it going anywhere yet.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    I personally feel the fault lies with Sinn Fein…if the orange order marches down Drumcree. Back in 97 Sinn Fein were strong stating what those parades were…just like the KKK marching in harlem….but over the years Sinn Fein has gotten soft….and haven’t stood up to the orange order…. Sinn Fein state the parades are fine as long as they don’t go into some “contenetious” areas.
    Well, my question to Sinn Fein….are the orange order marches like the KKK as SF said in 97 or are the orange marches an expression of heritage and they are fine except down one or two streets? It’s decision time Sinn Fein.

  • Dr Strangelove

    missfitz – “As to the contentious parades? Again, there are a few genuinely serious contentious parades, but as I said the remit now is for dialogue and communication.”

    Dialogue has never been a problem for the residents but it has been for the Loyal Orders, except interestingly in Derry. One of the problems is that the Order peddle the myth that the residents are a front for Sinn Fein and thus are unwilling to talk to them. What they need to realise is that their organisation is very offensive to catholics and residents are, by and large, just that.

    missfitz – “People parade all over the world and for all sorts of reasons. I think the worst thing for us to do is to further restrict and ghettoise the system.”

    Again, look at the constitution of the Orange Order, it is a sectarian organisation which additionally in the eyes of catholics has some overt links to loyalist paramilitaries. Their marches are not some sort of New Orlean’s carnival but promote one faith over another. I have no problem with this due to the origins of the organisation. For an analogy though I would understand if the muslims of Slough or the Seikhs of Southall objected to a Hindu march through those respective areas.

    If the AOH want to march in an area where they are not wanted, such as parts of kilkeel, then do not let them march.

    I think for the Order, it is not parading per se which is their celebration of culture but it is the ability to parade where they want to. Hence the mayhem that can ensue when they do not get their perferred route.

    As for Druncree, what is the problem with the Order marching back from the church the way they came. As the Druncree parade is a religious one surely they should have turned the cheek from day one ?

  • RmcC

    “Anyway – doesn’t the orange order apply for Drumcree every week?”

    Great scott, is this true??!!

    The situation is even more idiotic than I thought. I refer you to my earlier comment: “My understanding is that there are an awful lot of people here in sore need of a life.”

  • Bemused

    Slightly off the point I know, but – anyone else witness the various ‘parades’ in the Ormeau this evening?

    Jesus Fucking Christ – as a non-catholic reasonably neutral observer I was utterly astounded by the carry-on. Gangs of the roughest looking ferals slugging on alco-pops while their lard-bellied elders stood about hammering Lambegs and pissing on the street. Needless to say the cops stood by utterly impassive as ever. The whole ‘event’ had the most astonishingly menacing atmosphere. Numerous ‘fuck the pope’ t-shirts and UDA/UFF polo shirts in evidence and the racket created was quite unbelievable. I live on the Cregagh Road – the noise was so loud that I ended up wandering about in the car trying to identify it’s source until I ended up over at the Ormeau.

    Seriously, Fair Deal, Shore Road Resident and others – how the fuck can you genuinely and honestly defend this sort of embarassing tripe and seek to portray it as anything other than a grotesque social nuisance? The sooner we confront these neanderthals and start calling a spade a spade the better for everyone in Northern Ireland.

  • RmcC

    That’s the part of the problem, Bemused, spades are not called spades. It’s incredible that this whole pathetic circus (sorry, expression of culture) is beginning yet again with no sign in sight of any sane person calling a halt to it.

    Dr Strangelove is correct. If these guys really were what they claim to be they’d be emulating the Lord they claim to follow and cheeks would be turned.

    Anyone with half a brain can see that it’s all one big lie. It’s all about annoying the neighbours, and always was. I’m still trying to get my head around 2500 parades! It would make a cat laugh.

  • missfitz

    Right then, what are the issues?

    RmcC, you want none of it, think there are too many parades, and the whole thing should just stop. Well, that aint going to happen. No matter what you or I think, these parades, both Loyal Orders and band parades are an essential component of the protestant identity in Northern Ireland. Its a fact, we need to live with it. I might wish to express my culture in a different way, but I do not have the right to impose my values on other groups. As a nationalist/catholic, I will need to see these parades in an inclusive light.

    Dr Strangelove, your points are in a similar vein, but ignore the historical perspective. With the establishment of the NI state, there was a limitation on parades, with a bias toward protestant ones. For this reason, resentment grew in the catholic communities and the protestant parades were seen as domineering, superior, call it what you will.

    Then we had civil rights marches, parity of esteem being etablished and a fear from the protestant side that not only were they being limited in their right to march, that right was being eroded completely.

    Next comes Drumcree, Ormeau and others. I can remember coming home from France and listening on the radio to the church service being held on the Garvaghy Road in 1994 and crying at the thought of it. I wondered what in the hell I had moved to.

    But lads, that was 11 years ago. We’ve had progress in so many areas, we have a GFA, we talk, we sit beside each other. For goodness sake, I watched Nelson McCausland have a reasonable and good natured discussion with Conor Maskey at Queens last weekend, looking for dialogue and a shared outcome.

    We need to move on and leave the pissing on the pavement to the dogs. There are still some areas where its not appropriate to want to march without agreement, but it amazes me how simple the real issues surrounding these are.

    I’ve seen this issue from both sides, and there are angels and devils on each front. I’ve seen the Union flag ripped from a church hall and defecated upon while the lodge was at prayer. That does not make me feel proud to be a catholic.

    I’ve seen brave protesant youths pissed as farts at half 7 in the morning, puking up and rinsing our with WKD.

    Let no side take the high moral ground on this issue, there are no winners or losers. The only way forward is through a genuine revision of what is wanted, not just taking up of ancient positions.

    One more time, we need tolerance, dialouge and a big dose of honesty

  • Benn

    So while Derry takes a step forward on parades, as it were, Garvaghy does indeed reflect stagnation. An application is filed to parade every week, and refused each time, and the tinder there remains ready to burst into flame. What I wonder about is the wankers who see parades as an opportunity to incite, you see them in the parades, around the parades, after the parades…, but some of them are doing it for sport, not ideology. It’s tough to separate out conviction from bigotry, and values from boredom. Still, it’s not as bad as it was, or is it?

  • missfitz

    Benn
    I agree with that point for sure, and perhaps thats thepoint I should have been trying to make. The parades in and of themselves are not the issue, its what swirls around them that has the potential for strife.

  • RmcC

    “RmcC, you want none of it,”

    I didn’t say that.

    ” think there are too many parades, and the whole thing should just stop.”

    Half right. 2500 is OTT.

    ” Well, that aint going to happen. No matter what you or I think, these parades, both Loyal Orders and band parades are an essential component of the protestant identity in Northern Ireland.”

    Essential part? JS Bach is an essential part of MY culture. But I don’t listen to him 8 or 9 times more often now than I used to, nor do I annoy my neighbours with him. And I don’t use his music as provocation.

    Stop making excuses for intolerant and antisocial behaviour.

  • missfitz

    I think you are being deliberately obtuse, and its really hard to make cogent points with you RmcC. If you cant accept elements of visual cultural expression and identity as valid, that makes you intolerant, and there is nothing that can be said to help you understand how important an issue this is

  • RmcC

    There’s your problem right there, missfitz. You believe that 2500 parades is somehow normal.

    Let me assure you that thinking people all across the world regard it as insanity. And they regard NI as a basket case.

    You people here need to get out more. Maybe then you’d understand how ridiculous you appear.

    So I’M obtuse and intolerant am I? Don’t confuse the messenger with the enemy. Intolerance is refusing to even speak to your neighbours when they don’t like your annoying them and deliberately going out of your way to insult them.

    Sound familiar? Yes, it’s your “Christian” brethren I’m talking about: you know, the guys who follow Jesus, and love their neighbour, turn the other cheek, etc.

    The cat is still laughing.

  • Benn

    RmcC, if it’s any consolation, there are basket cases all over the world. Screwy that those in NI would choose the Israelis and Palestinians as identifiers I must say (particularly for the Protestants since the Israelis threw the Brits out, and particularly for the Catholics, since the Palestinians, masters of the bloody method, have a civil war well before they have a state to fight over). Anyway, the point is that parades happen in a context… shift the context, and the parades take on a different (less?) meaning. In the meanwhile, if people making noise in the neighborhood is the issue, let’s ban drink all together and I’ll get better sleep right here in the U.S.Ain’t my fault (democracy has its flaws.) There’s a middle ground, yeah missfitz? Cheers, Benn

  • Dr Srangelove

    Missfitz – “Dr Strangelove, your points are in a similar vein, but ignore the historical perspective. With the establishment of the NI state, there was a limitation on parades, with a bias toward protestant ones. For this reason, resentment grew in the catholic communities and the protestant parades were seen as domineering, superior, call it what you will.”

    Missfitz, as I said previously, I have no problem with the Loyal Orders marching but I can fully appreciate the distaste of residents of certain areas to having those organisations march through their neighbourhoods.

    Your argument above is couched in somewhat euphemistic terms. There is no doubt that as the catholic population became more educated and confident it was not prepared to tolerate Orange marches without their viewpoint being heard.

    Although you accuse me of ignoring the historical perspective, as I said previously, the Order was founded to protect / support the Protestant way of life. We are all aware of how intertwined Orangeism was within the fabric of Stormont government in particular and the Protestant popoulation in general. I do not doubt that since the late 60s the role of the Loyal Orders has been thrown into sharper focus, especially recently. However, I doubt it has even been held in anything less than contempt by the majority of Catholics, since its formation.

    I must reiterate though, if the Loyal Ordres want to march where they will not cause offence then let them march. That logic must surely apply to any organisation. The fact that they have always marched in a particular area is redundant if the demographics of that area now mean that they are not welcome.

    You do state missfitz that tolerance is needed, so what is you take on the Orange Order forbidding talks with both the Parade’s commision and residents’ associations ? The Order do like to fulminate against those who deprive them of their civil and religious liberty, yet they appear unwilling to extend those same rights to others, of an opposing view.

    I do not think that rioting in oppostion to a march going ahead or not going ahead is lunacy.

  • Dr Strangelove

    That should read that I think the rioting is lunacy !!

    Let those that riot pay for clearing up the mess, I think that would concentrate a few minds.

  • missfitz

    I’ll start with the polite one…. Dr Strangelove, I take all your points on board, and I guess we are singing from reasonably similar hymnsheets.

    My take on the OO’s refusal to talk with the PC is one of bemusement. When Tony Holland stood down last year, he publicly acknowledged that the OO had been working behind the scenes with the PC. Now we have at least 2 Orange folk on the commission. My take is that it has been happening for some time, but the public admission has been a lot slower to come.

    I also probably agree with you that we need to look at routes really carefully in terms of the redundancy of established ways. There is a difficulty of course when a route is a way home, as in the Ballysillan/Ardoyne situation. Thats a bit harder to manage, but you have to wonder, could a negotiated and agreed settlement be reached? I acknowledge the on-going work and effors in that area and trust that in time agreement will be possible.

    Now, as to that other chap, RmcC, I think you are playing the woman and not the ball. I am not from the Orange Order, indeed nothing could be further from the truth. I grew up in New York, so dont tell me about tolerance and talking to your neighbours! My feelings have nothing to do with my background or heritage, more to do with an academic acknowledgement that expression of culture must be permitted and cultivated to permit a local tolerance of unique identities within a shared context.

  • RmcC

    Missfitz, I think if you scroll back you’ll find that it waa YOU doing the name calling, not me.

    YOU called ME intolerant and obtuse. In fact, this is how the OO behaves: they accuse others of their own sins.

  • missfitz

    Okay, I’ll come clean. I’m a member of the Orange Order. I am really a man, in my fifties and I wear a bowler hat. I sing the sash to my geraniums and praise King Billy every night.

    Grow up RmcC

  • RmcC

    Missfitz, this may come as a shock but I don’t give a tinker’s fart who you are, where you come from, what you eat for lunch, what your goldfish is called, who your demons are.

    This thread is about the Orange Order and the Parades Commission, and that is what I was commenting on. What YOU comment on is your affair.

  • missfitz

    ‘Yes, it’s your “Christian” brethren I’m talking about: you know, the guys who follow Jesus, and love their neighbour, turn the other cheek, etc.’

    ‘You people here need to get out more. Maybe then you’d understand how ridiculous you appear.’

    rmmc, I am doing little more than answering your direct comments, as is the norm on this site. You directly intimated that I had particular brethren, indeed you said as above that I needed to get out more.

    I was trying to point out that I dont have that heritage, I come from a republican perspective that has been radically modified through education and experience.

    Perhaps you could try either.

  • RmcC

    Missfitz, neither of those comments you quote is mine.

    I’ll say it again: you accused me of obtuseness and intolerance.

    And again, neither your background nor education is of the remotest interest to me. Why do think it they should be?

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    anyone have any ideas what will happen if the OO march down Garvahy?

  • missfitz

    Rmmc, just be clear, the 2 quotes I posted were from your comments at 8.20pm.
    You may wish to retire gracefully from this discussion now…..

  • RmcC

    “Rmmc, just be clear, the 2 quotes I posted were from your comments at 8.20pm.”

    Missfitz, just to be clearer, yes, I posted those. Unfortunately between Slugger and my email client your punctuation got lost. (For some reason the Slugger engine converts dumb quotes to smart quotes, which confuses things.) This is how they arrived in my inbox:

    ‘Yes, its your Christian brethren Im talking about: you know, the guys who follow Jesus, and love their neighbour, turn the other cheek, etc.’

    ‘You people here need to get out more. Maybe then youd understand how ridiculous you appear.’

    I don’t like being misquoted, even if it’s only a matter of a dropped apostrophe or quotation mark. Call me anal retentive but I don’t like looking less than literate.

    However…

    “You may wish to retire gracefully from this discussion now…..”

    And you may wish to gracefully apologize now for accusing me of obtuseness and intolerance, and of playing the man not the ball.

  • Yokel

    I’ve heard the term ‘expression of protestant culture whether considered legitmate or otherwise on several occasions in this topic.

    Most Prods don’t bother their arse going out to watch or participate in any of it, Twelth and all as they don’t really see it as a way of defining themselves. The reality is many look on it as a bit of old bollocks or indeed with some hostility. What they won’t necessarily accept however is someone twisting parades for political ends and they will have some sympathy for the OO on that score. They know that anti parades groups are rarely just about parades, if it was, support for the Orange Order amongst the protestant/unionist community would be a lot less.

  • Yokel

    Well Kathy (are you from here or are you an American by the way?)

    Believe it or not this could well have Sinn Fein in a tricky position should there be a Parades Commission ruling allowing the outward leg of said parade.

    Do they?

    a) Go for passive protest or
    b) Bring the mob out

    The parade will go ahead at some point but the reality is that it will be about 100 people at 8am on a Sunday morning with no music just the sound of shoes on the road. Total time in area of conflict, less than 10 minutes. Having driven through said route of conflict early on Sunday morning theres no one really about. Now of course people will point out that its the principle of the matter but screw that, lets look at the practicalities, thank god Michael Collins, Irish hero did once as well.

  • lib2016

    It would happen a lot quicker if the Orange Order would start talking to the residents. As it is the Orders are losing support in their own communities by their intransigence.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “No matter what you or I think, these parades, both Loyal Orders and band parades are an essential component of the protestant identity in Northern Ireland. Its a fact, we need to live with it. I might wish to express my culture in a different way, but I do not have the right to impose my values on other groups. As a nationalist/catholic, I will need to see these parades in an inclusive light. ”

    PLEASE tell me that last sentence was ironic, since these “loyal orders,” by their rhetoric, actions and by-laws are, generally, not inclusive in nature and are, in fact and deed, vitriolically sectarian, ala the Orange Order?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “If you cant accept elements of visual cultural expression and identity as valid, that makes you intolerant, and there is nothing that can be said to help you understand how important an issue this is”

    Again, I hope this was meant as irony, seeing as Nationalist symbols were outlawed in the mid-fifties by these “culturally minded and tolerant” folks…

  • RmcC

    Cthulhu, this was what I was getting at too in earlier posts, but missfitz took it on herself to accuse little ol’ MOI of being the intolerant one.

    Will the Orangemen get down Garvaghy Road before she apologizes I wonder 🙂

  • missfitz

    Hi Dread
    I can see where you are coming from and how my sentiments must seem out of order. Sadly, i was not being ironic, more neo-conic!

    In a Fuykymama sense, we’ve been there, done that and have the sash to prove it. The war is over, history is done.

    We can sit and chat and worry about what happened in the 50’s and how we were treated in 1690 and not really get too far.

    Or, shock horror, we can say, right thats it. Its done, we fought the good fight now we need to move on. We have our icons and symbols and you have yours.

    The Orange Order is sectarian in the way that the catholic church has its arms of sectarianism also, Opus Dei, probably the AOH.

    Look, I’ve seen some of the most difficult and troublesome riot situations in NI in the past 7 years, and I have seen the change in the litmus here also. Where will exists in a community to avoid trouble, then trouble can and is avoided.

    I suppose Dread, you might call me post-ironic really. I really do appreciate how concerned and concentrated people can become on issues that concern them , indeed issues that consume them. What is required is the leadership to take that passion and direct it in other less destructive and consuming manners.

  • missfitz

    rmmc
    play the ball, not the woman, then we can talk

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “The Orange Order is sectarian in the way that the catholic church has its arms of sectarianism also, Opus Dei, probably the AOH. ”

    Really… When was the last time Opus Dei marched through a Protestant neighborhood, over the voiciferous objections of the local residents? As for the AOH, they are far more social than sectarian, have provisions for non-Catholic “associate” members (a fella from a local band, a Jewish drummer, is an associate member) and, again, don’t have the vitriolic sectarian attitudes and the alleged political clout of the OO in NI. Neither group has any real political niche. In fact, IME, the AOH usually goes out of their way to avoid politics, no embrace them. You’re comparing apples to doorknobs.

    Missfitz: “I suppose Dread, you might call me post-ironic really. I really do appreciate how concerned and concentrated people can become on issues that concern them , indeed issues that consume them. What is required is the leadership to take that passion and direct it in other less destructive and consuming manners.”

    Fair enough, at least on the face of matters. The trouble is the Orange Order is unwilling or unable to adapt to changes in the facts “on the ground.” Of course, this inability or unwillingness to change has its roots in the “siege mentality” of the Protestant community, a holdover from the days when they were a favored minority in English-controlled Ireland. It takes two to tango and, frankly, seeing no particular flexibility in the Protestant / Unionist / Loyalist / Orange community, why give an inch where there is no benefit or profit? I mean, hey — look at all the good giving up the gun did. All that happened was the goal-posts were moved. Relenting on these marches will not build any “goodwill” between the communities — their nature guarantees that the opposite will happen. We are still at the stage of quid pro quo and, frankly, I see no quid for the pro quo soughtand giving something for nothing will look like appeasement to both the Protestants, who will increase their demands, and to the Nationalists who live in the effected areas, who will see it as a surrender. Besides, there is no percentage in tolerating the intolerant. That said, I would prefer that the Catholics simply let them march and, as the silly gits approach, turn their backs to them, or some other symbolic rejection.

  • missfitz

    Well of course, am now totally pissed off because of the North Down thread and the female catholics not being invited…….

    One step forward, 3 miles back.

    No matter how hard you try to work with people here, the old prejudices just keep re-surfacing. I may lose my balanced demeanour yet!

  • RmcC

    Missfitz:

    Yep, I figured there’d be no apology.

    That’s what comes of living in NI for too long.

    Dread Cthulhu:

    “I would prefer that the Catholics simply let them march and, as the silly gits approach, turn their backs to them, or some other symbolic rejection.”

    Spot on. No good ever came of anyone standing on his principles. Look at unfortunate Harold Gracey, camping out of Drumcree Hill. Poor guy didn’t know what life was all about. Hopefully he does now.

    Life is pitifully short. If the Orangemen want to waste theirs on idiocy then so be it. Why should their nationalist “victims” follow their lead? From the inception of the GFA the nationalists have led in NI and are continuing to lead. It’s tough, but the OO has to move on or be left fossilized in its own stubbornness.

    Orange Glossary: Stubbornness = “principle”

  • missfitz

    This is getting silly now, rmcc.

    I cannot apologise for eating your apostrophes, because your email server did it.

    I cannot apologise for my arguments, because they were brilliant, concise and intuitive.

    I cannot apologise for any of it, beacuse I meant it, I stand by what I said, and I am never wrong.

    I am only sorry you cannot debate on an informed level.

  • RmcC

    Fair enough, missfitz, if you can ignore the main issue (hint, nothing to do with apostrophes) then you’ll understand why I’m going to ignore YOU, and simply post around you.

    Over and out.

  • missfitz

    Ach, rmcc, dont be like that……

    Everyone else posts around me, and I was getting fond of you.

    Seriously though, I think we are coming from 2 different viewpoints, and I really would be sorry if we couldnt agree to disagree.

    I try to be as fair and balanced as possible, and its not an easy job sometimes. I really think the only way forward is by inclusive dialogue and burying the past.

    Sometimes though, I dont think thats enough, but we can but try

  • RmcC

    Missfitz

    “I think we are coming from 2 different viewpoints, and I really would be sorry if we couldnt agree to disagree.”

    Hehe, very clever. But yes, I cracked the code and found the hidden message:

    [I think we are coming from 2 different viewpoints, and] I REALLY [would be] SORRY [if we couldnt agree to disagree.]

    Apology accepted, but for Christ’s sake don’t tell the others 🙂

    Now, where were we? Oh, yes. Drumcree [Pauses for a huge yawn, brought on not entirely by the lateness of the hour]. I meant what I said earlier. I think the residents should take the high ground on this. If they do, they’ll win kudos right the way around the world.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “No matter how hard you try to work with people here, the old prejudices just keep re-surfacing. I may lose my balanced demeanour yet! ”

    What was that saying…

    “Extermism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue” -Barry Goldwater

    Sometimes being the moderate only puts you in the middle… and being in the middle only puts you in the crossfire.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “Everyone else posts around me, and I was getting fond of you”

    *AHEM*

    addressed the damned thing to you and everything. Damn — you go the trouble of hanging them with new rope and still they complain…

    😉

    Missfitz: “I try to be as fair and balanced as possible, and its not an easy job sometimes. I really think the only way forward is by inclusive dialogue and burying the past. ”

    Ironic, insofar as the parades in question are sectarian and triumphalistic commemorations of battles hunderds of years in the past. I am supposed to forgive and forget what happened in my lifetime so some yahoo in an apron and a bowler can remember a battle fought some 350 plus years ago to determine which royalist autocrat got to be in charge. Can’t have it both ways. Both sides should have to let go and “get over it” or both sides shouldn’t. To expect the Nationalists to forgive, forget and let the Protestants to have their little costume balls down the local streets just doesn’t add up.

    Put it this way — at a rate of one a day, it would take about half a year to clear the “handful” of controversial parades.

  • missfitz

    Hello Dread
    Was only joshing there with my good pal rmcc!

    I know exactly what you are saying, and I feel your frustration. In many ways, the kinds of impasse we have are the easy way out. Its easier to fall into these high moral ground positions, and refuse to give way.

    One side insists on marching, the other on protesting. The realities seem to get left behind.

    What does worry me though is the validation that this stance gives to the extremes. I watch the set pieces at parades during the summer, the collection of rocks and bottles, the drawing together to protest, the escalation of hatred and intolerance for no recent or cogent reason.

    What if we all totally refused to forget ancient wrongs? (self answernig question…how silly of me) Okay, well, We end up trapped as we are in this non ending and cyclical pattern of hatred and violence.

    I agree with rmcc too, the residents should take the high moral ground and let the march happen. I think that they should retain the right to legally protest, much as they did 2 years ago on the Springfield Road. Yes, its the principle, yes the OO should talk and recognise the residents, but wouldnt it be a great show of maturity to lend out your road for 10 minutes once a year for a display of ancient ritual?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “I agree with rmcc too, the residents should take the high moral ground and let the march happen. I think that they should retain the right to legally protest, much as they did 2 years ago on the Springfield Road. Yes, its the principle, yes the OO should talk and recognise the residents, but wouldnt it be a great show of maturity to lend out your road for 10 minutes once a year for a display of ancient ritual?”

    Even if that ritual is immature, sectarian and wildly divisive to the community? There is no profit, long or short term, in “rolling over and thinking of England” on this issue. Give them five, they’ll demand ten; Give them ten, they’ll ask for twenty. It takes two to have a mature compromise and, frankly, the OO isn’t there.

    The reason there are protests now is that there are the means and the opportunity to legally and civilly present objections, as opposed to where the latest iteration started. Regardless of how frustrated you may feel, this is a grand leap forward in my lifetime. Yes, as I stated before, I would prefer a more nuanced rejection of the march, but, again, that would require an audience able to appreciate it.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I would prefer a more nuanced rejection of the march, but, again, that would require an audience able to appreciate it.”

    Interesting point. Surely the audience is not the participants but the general public, and if the rejection didn’t involve -for instance Sean Kelly, or half the contents of the clothing section of the Celtic Superstore then it might be harder for those few- and I do believe it is a few- who seek to provoke. Indeed, if noone at all turned out then those Orangistes who seek to goad might not be too bothered about going to a church that they may not otherwise attend too frequently.

    Take the church parade by the Orangemen of Carnlough, which has about twenty participants watched by a bored dog and two goths glugging at a litre of Strongbow on a wet Sunday afternoon and tell me that’s coat-trailing-‘cos it’s spectacularly unsucessful if that’s the intention.
    And if you’re right that giving them an inch means they’ll take a mile why don’t the Carnlough Huns try it on every Sunday, having gotten away with it once?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    My argument is not about rejecting provocation as its about civil society. The Unionists complain that Nationists aren’t playing fair, dredging up history to use as a bludgeon, then put on an orange sash and a bowler and give a hurrah for William’s grand victory. Short form is that forgive and forget has to be a two way street.

    Now, as for provocations, while it take two to tango, it only takes one yob to make a mess of things… and there are too many yobs on both sides.

    As for your example, I’m talking macro and you’re talking micro. Anything gained cheaply is not valued — make them work for it and they will see what they earned as reward enough. Give away something and they’ll ask / demand more… its the human condition.

  • Benn

    These days there are the “contentious” parades, the obnoxious parades, and then some that aren’t much noticed. Which direction is the whole phenomenon moving, in general? They do seem to be talking things over in Derry by now, for what that’s worth. Any coincidence that Ian Paisley can’t be bothered to turn up for an Apprentice Boys Parade in Derry as big unionist politicians of the past once did? Glad the thread has moved back to the topical!

  • RmcC

    Dread Cthulhu, I was out earning a crust so forgive the lateness.

    “Put it this way—at a rate of one a day, it would take about half a year to clear the “handful” of controversial parades.”

    Indeed. And if I’ve done my sums correctly, 2500 parades is the equivalent of one for every 600 spectators.

    Some pub bands I know play to bigger rooms.

  • missfitz

    You cant let go of that 2500 parades can you?

    It bugs you, doesnt it??

  • RmcC

    Yes.

  • David Michael

    I thought you two had kissed and made up.

  • missfitz

    We had, I was hoping he would come to some of the parades with me this summer, I get lonely

  • páid

    God we’re late starting on Drumcree this year, 5th April! Only 3 months to go!!

  • David Michael

    missfitz

    You’re giving the guy a hard time, but more fun you two slugging it out than boring old Drumcree again. Sheesh, is there no end to it??!!