Disarray about dialogue

Republicans seem to have gotten themselves in a state of disarray about parades dialogue in North Belfast.The Shankill Mirror carries a report outlining the confused position of Ardoyne republicans towards parades dialogue. Last year, extensive talks took place between Unionists and a group called the Ardoyne Parades Dialogue Group. This resulted in an agreement how to manage the Tour of the North parade in June. This agreement fell apart when republican youths attacked parade participants and residents going home to Ballysillan. Dialogue ceased and Unionists asked who could negotiate and deliver for Ardoyne?

In August 2005, local Sinn Fein councillor Margaret McClenaghan gave a partial answer in a Radio Ulster interview when she said the Ardoyne Parades Dialogue Group did not speak on behalf of the Ardoyne community despite this group including a number of prominent community activists and republicans.

In September 2005, the Parades Commission asked the local Apprentice Boys Club would they re-commence dialogue about Crumlin Road parades? They said yes if Sinn Fein and the Dialogue Group would clarify who speaks for Ardoyne. A statement was promised but nothing happened.

With this backdrop, the Parades Commission allowed an Apprentice Boys Easter parade on the Crumlin Road this Monday. Yet Gerry Kelly claimed no effort had been made to talk to residents. The meetings in the previous years and the fresh offer of dialogue must have slipped his mind. This is not the first time Sinn Fein have got themselves in a twist about dialogue. Alex Maskey said no Orangemen had been involved in dialogue about the Whiterock parade only for BBC Newsline to reveal that the local District Master had attended the meetings.

The confusion reached its zenith last week when the Parades Commission told the North and West Belfast Parades Forum it wanted to see dialogue re-commencing and nominated to represent Ardoyne were the ‘unrepresentative’ Ardoyne Parades Dialogue Group. Huh!?!

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all, I agree sinn fein is totally confused. Back in 97 they used to say the the orange order marches were hate marches. Sinn Fein said for the orange men to march into Catholic neighborhoods it was like the KKK marching in harlem…morally wrong. Now we have some in sinn fein stating the orange order marches are marches of heritage but then don’t want them to go into Catholic neighborhoods. It’s time that Gerry Kelly, Alex Maskey and all in Sinn Fein get their act together and speak with one voice…and answer the question….are the orange order marches HATE marches or are the expressions of heritage. If they are hate marches (which I believe they are) then they should work to have ALL orange order marches banned once and for all in the north of Ireland. If they believe that the orange order marches are moral and part of the heritage…then step aside and let them march in ALL neighborhoods.Sinn Fein is sitting on the fence regarding marches. They are either right or they are wrong. I say they are wrong…we’ll see what Sinn Fein says.

  • JD

    Kathy_C

    These marches are part of unionist/orange culture, so they claim, I do not understand it, as I thought culture was more to do with language literature and song but there you are. As a republican, I do not think they are ‘hate marches’ and over 2000 of them pass off each year without incident. However marches through nationalist areas were always demonstrations of dominance and sectarianism. That is why they are opposed and why I feel SF’s position is consistant.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,
    JD, Nazi’s would march in their own neighborhoods as a cultural expression of their heritage. ALso, the Nazi’s would stomp through other neighborhoods as well…Jewish ones with the same sense of dominance and sectarianism. I see the marches of the orange order as Hateful just like the Nazi’s marches as hateful…it doesn’t matter to me what neighborhood their feet stomp down….it is wrong.

  • Joe

    Kathy C:
    I’m afraid I have to agree with JD here.
    There is certainly no wrong in marching to demonstate your protestantism.
    The sad fact, however, is that in interface areas, there is a deliberate attempt by some orangemen (or, at least, their camp followers) to offer insult to local people of a different persuasion. Sadly, also, there are some of those same residents who are only to happy to take offence and we end up with intercommunal violence.
    So, in the absence of common sense, we do need something like the Parades Commission to try to reduce the marching season violence.
    Rights are not absolute; they can only be exercised with due attention to Responsibilities.

  • Dave

    JD states:
    “However marches through nationalist areas were always demonstrations of dominance and sectarianism. That is why they are opposed and why I feel SF’s position is consistant.”

    NO JD, Oranges parades which have Republican/nationalists residents on route are not a demonstration of dominance and sectarianism this is what IRA/SF tell people. It is propaganda and spin and it seems that you are either part of it or have been taken in by it which is it then?.

    I remember the days when republicans and nationalists came out to see the parades and where a large percentage of stalls at the (field) were manned and run by the nuns.

    Orange parades are part of the unionist culture and heritage which was at one time enjoyed by both communities. Next thing you will be telling people is that IRA/SF is a democratic political party who have not murdered a person that didn’t need to be murdered.

    I love the slugger site as it brings a stark reminder of who and what the unioists community are up against. so keep up the good work in demonising the unionists community and their culture but don’t be in the least bit surprised if unionists choose not to invite others to the party.

    FAO Kathy C:

    IRA/SF will tell you what ever you want to hear. Why don’t you do a little research on the orange Order in new york? You can tell us all what you have learnt.

    While you are at it you could also do a little background research on Martin and Gerry who haven’t worked a day in the terrorists life.

  • GAK

    Never mind what Sinn Fein say,their days of speaking for Republician areas are over.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Kathy_C – do you protest at the Orange processions in the USA and Canada? Do you think that Boys Bridage parades are hate marches? You demonstrate time and again that you have no clue what you are talking about.

  • willis

    ok right

    If the loyal orders could get their members to act in a disciplined fashion they could nail SF’s ass.
    Easy really

  • Brian Boru

    “Orange parades are part of the unionist culture and heritage which was at one time enjoyed by both communities. Next thing you will be telling people is that IRA/SF is a democratic political party who have not murdered a person that didn’t need to be murdered. ”

    Then explain why this British general said:

    “I proposed some time ago that the Orangemen might be armed and added to some of the loyal corps as supplementary yeomen … They are bigots and will resist Catholic emancipation.” General John Knox 1797

  • Joe

    Dave:

    I think you overstate your case. I grew up in a small mainly catholic town, and back in the 50’s and early 60’s, quite a few catholics did indeed go out to watch the occasional orange march. The bands were appreciated. I used to go to the “field” too, until the day when I was around 14 or so, and heard my co-religionists described from the platform as being the evil handmaidens of the devil.
    I never did see any nuns there. I also attended quite a few catholic marches/functions until I reached the age of reason and abandoned christianity, because, in Northern Ireland at least, it did not in any way seem to follow the teachings of Christ. I didn’t see any nuns at serving booths at those either. Funny that!
    Finally, I don’t think there is any valid reason to compare the actions of Orangemen in an enlightened inclusive country like the USA with the descendants of the founders of the order in a totally dysfunctional part of Ireland/UK (take your pick).

    Regards

  • JD

    Dave,

    In what decade are you living? The rose tinted glasses or was it beer goggles of the unionist utopia are long gone. Irrespective of your one sided memories those days are gone and if orangemen want to express their ‘culture’, they should do it where they are wanted.

  • kensei

    “NO JD, Oranges parades which have Republican/nationalists residents on route are not a demonstration of dominance and sectarianism this is what IRA/SF tell people. It is propaganda and spin and it seems that you are either part of it or have been taken in by it which is it then?.”

    Bollocks. The Orange Order is an anti-Catholic Organisation. A member can be expelled for attending a Catholic service, or a cross denominational one. And believe it or not, Sinn Fein doesn’t control the Nationalist community by some iron grip or mystic mind control ray. They follow up on what annoys their electorate, and that’s why they are successful. And believe me, the behaviour of the OO annoys the shit out of us.

    “I remember the days when republicans and nationalists came out to see the parades and where a large percentage of stalls at the (field) were manned and run by the nuns.”

    Yeah, and this was a great wee place before the IRA messed it up. It’s amazing how much of my family has never been to one, then. I have no doubt a small number of Nationalists attended but the idea that it was any more than that is laughable.

    “Orange parades are part of the unionist culture and heritage which was at one time enjoyed by both communities. Next thing you will be telling people is that IRA/SF is a democratic political party who have not murdered a person that didn’t need to be murdered.”

    Sinn Fein is a democratic political party. They are the largest Nationalist party. Deal with it.

    “I love the slugger site as it brings a stark reminder of who and what the unioists community are up against. so keep up the good work in demonising the unionists community and their culture but don’t be in the least bit surprised if unionists choose not to invite others to the party. ”

    I will continue to demonise an organisation that is fundamentally anti Catholic (note: different thing from pro-Protestant) and onr that continues to disrepsect people by attempting to force marches past their homes without discussion. Maybe when they start treating people on an equal basis they can start earning my respect.

    If your culture depends on riding roughshod over another community the it deserves to be demonised. And don’t say “No, it isn’t” without somekind of proof to back it up – Orangemen reaching out to the other community. I think you’ll have a somewhat hard time at that.

  • kensei

    “Kathy_C – do you protest at the Orange processions in the USA and Canada? Do you think that Boys Bridage parades are hate marches? You demonstrate time and again that you have no clue what you are talking about.”

    I find the Orange Order objectionable here, in Canada, in the US, anywhere you bloody like.

    And I very, *very* much doubt that the OO in Canada gets on like the one here. How many times has it insisted on marching where it’s not wanted there, then?

  • PaddyReilly

    Orange marches depending on the time and place they occur in, have a variety of uses and meanings. The original Orange Order, in the 18th Century was quite sanguinary, even genocidal, but by the 50s of this century many such parades had degenerated into a traditional outing, not intended to be offensive, and not perceived as such by bystanders.

    Authors such as Ruth Dudley Edwards report many Orangemen recollecting how Catholics used to take part in the celebrations, and attributing present day antipathy to intimidation from Sinn Féin. This ignores the effect of the intervening troubles in driving people apart. Some Orange Marches through Catholic areas were used by participants for the purpose of gloating over how many Catholics had been killed during the past year.

    On the other hand, an Orange Lodge in, I think, Dunmurry voluntarily rerouted itself because its traditional route had turned into a Catholic area and they didnt want to give offense. However, the controversial marches tend to be the more popular.

    So all in all an Orange March is like a hammer: it can be an offensive weapon, it can be a murder weapon, or it can be a simple tool used for legitimate purposes. Orange marches are difficult to classify, and Orangemen exploit this confusion for their own purposes. At times they are merely church parades, at others invading armies. Generally if they accept rerouting without complaint and are not accompanied by offensive behaviour and breaches of the peace, one would give them the benefit of the doubt.

    There is, after all, something in the Bible about if a man compels you to go with him one mile, you should go with him twain. One does not wish to outlaw the practise of religion, but it is a strange kind of religion that needs to parade down the same street every year and riots if thwarted by even 100 yards.

    The problem is that the Orange Lodge has discriminatory membership rules, which exclude all Catholics, but not, it has been pointed out, the murderers of Catholics. This very fact is what divides the whole province and creates a fence which one is obliged to position oneself on one side of or the other.

  • Miichael Shilliday

    How many times has it insisted on marching where it’s not wanted there, then?

    I suppose the Institution in Canada is lucky it doesn’t have to deal with a political party that needs to sirt up tention over parades to prolong a victim mentality in its electorate.

  • kensei

    “How many times has it insisted on marching where it’s not wanted there, then?

    I suppose the Institution in Canada is lucky it doesn’t have to deal with a political party that needs to sirt up tention over parades to prolong a victim mentality in its electorate. ”

    Ah right. I see. It’s actually all those Catholics fault for complaining. How dare they be offended be an anti-Catholic march outside their doorstep.

    Just, really, fuck off with that. It has fuck all to do with victim mentality and everything to do with years of these being forced down against our will, often to enforce who is top dog. The point is we’re tired of being victims. If you can’t respect us, then piss off. Sinn Fein isn’t suiccessful because it’s promoting victim mentality, it’s successful because it’s saying we don’t have to take this shit any more.

    Nice to attitudes circa 1955 coming out here. All those taigs should get off the dole, too. And for the record, on topic, Ardoyne should sort out who speaks for them, and talks should be done face to face. Any deviation from either side should result in the parade decision immediately going against them. It is a simple matter of respect to talk to someone, and costs nothing.

  • joe

    totally agree kensei.
    Talk is, literally, cheap.
    I’m sure that in most cases, a quiet , non-offensive, parade could be accomodated with an equally inoffensive , quiet, back to the parade demonstration showing that “You are not wanted here; you can no longer oppress us. Go away please”.

  • heck

    “Authors such as Ruth Dudley Edwards report many Orangemen recollecting how Catholics used to take part in the celebrations”

    yea and racists in the US remember how blacks in the south were content with their place and were only wound up by outsiders. The joined in the the celebrations of the confederacy with their white neighbors .

    This is a load of nonsense and the OO is the irish equivalent of racist organisations in the south eastern US.

  • Paul

    Dave, the “rose-tinted glasses” comments are correct. I was born in the 50s and brought up in a predominately Protestant town with “good community relations”, i.e. the Catholics kept their head down. Even there, the only Catholics at Orange marches would have been children, too young to know better. If Ruth Dudley Edwards wants to believe this myth that is up to her but it is total BS.The story about nuns having stalls in the field is ridiculous. The OO is unashamedly anti the Catholic Church , the defence of the Protestant faith is their raison d’etre. The suggestion that they would accommodate a Catholic fifth column selling minerals and buns in the field is utter nonsense.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all, There was a man who like some on this board would question everything I would say and add I don’t know what I was taking about…this man was Donaldson…the who worked for the british. Now it seems to me, if I or any one else speaks out against anything british…especially the orange order…than we are branded as not knowing what we’re talking about. I don’t have to live in the north to recoginize the orange order as a hate group…I don’t have to be black and live in Mississippi to know the KKK is a hate group and I don’t have to be Jewish to know the nazi’s are a hate group.
    There are many on this board who are promoting the Donaldson approach….which as we now know was so very pro-british monarchy….just like the orange order.

  • ingram

    Kathy C.

    Your last post was a rational argument.

    I would ban all marches using bands and /or regalia, I would also insist any groups of more than 15 wanting to march a particular route of the Queens highway first notify the police.The marching season is a self inflicted dose of biggotry.It has to stop.

    I am well aware both sides have engaged in this activity BUT what I would say is the Unionist community have done untold harm in the eyes of the world by being dogmatic and insisting they have a culteral right to intimidate others. You do not.

    The sight of men in Bowler hats, carrying a black umbrella and regaled in a orange sash winds me up to feck. so god knows what it does to a Nationalist living peacefully in their own area.

    It has to STOP.

    Marty

  • “The sight of men in Bowler hats, carrying a black umbrella and regaled in a orange sash winds me up to feck.”

    I think that sentence says more about your own intolerance than that of the Orange Order. What on earth have you got against hats and umbrellas?

  • SpiceGirls

    The orange order needs to be totally overhauled and brought into the 21st century! Freedom of speach facilitated the expression of ones culture and beliefs – however they must be in no way inflamatory – the OO steps very/too close to the line.
    OO participants usually know how to conduct themselves in a respectful manner, particualry in rural areas, but they MUST demonstrate responsibility for accompanying bands AND so called supporters.
    For a start:
    – all parimilitary slogans etc must be banned from all parades, and the OO take responibility.
    – the OO should at least attempt a no drinking polivy for supporters along the routes of parades.
    – bands with parimilitary links should/must be banned from any OO parade.

    I have been to may parades in rural areas and I must say they are a genuine expression if heritage and culture. On the other hand a couple of years ago i watched the 12th come down the lisburn rd in belfast and was absolutely shocked. as i prod I was ashamed to watching as youngsters followed the parade with cans of beer in their hands and chanting sectarian slogans!!

    The OO has a place in our society, but onky if they can erradicate the scumbags that use to to promote their own sectarian hatred!!!

  • fair_deal

    Spice Girls

    The legal framework makes your suggestions impossible I am afraid.

    No parade organiser OO or otherwise has ANY authority over anyone watching a parade. A marshal has no powers to act, all they can do is ask someone to stop a particular form of behaviour. If they touch the person they are liable to be charged with assualt.

    Even with parade participants their powers to act during a parade are subject to the same legal limitations ie if a participant made a gesture, a marshal could ask the person to leave but they can’t physically remove them.

  • Jacko

    “I would also insist any groups of more than 15 wanting to march a particular route of the Queens highway first notify the police …”

    You seem to have lost touch with NI. ANY parade of ANY type must fill in a form and apply for permission from the police and/or the Parades Commission.

  • joinedupthinking

    Trouble over parades in n Belfast – where’s Sammy Duddy when you need him?

  • fair_deal

    LMAO

  • kensei

    “The legal framework makes your suggestions impossible I am afraid.

    No parade organiser OO or otherwise has ANY authority over anyone watching a parade. A marshal has no powers to act, all they can do is ask someone to stop a particular form of behaviour. If they touch the person they are liable to be charged with assualt. ”

    No, they have ultimate authority. If the parade has crossed a line, then they cancel the parade. Do it enough, and people get the message.

    But that belies the fact that the organisation itself is anti-Catholic and sectarian. It needs much deeper reform than just sorting the parades out.

  • ingram

    Jacko,

    quote”You seem to have lost touch with NI. ANY parade of ANY type must fill in a form and apply for permission from the police and/or the Parades Commission

    I was making the point in the context of the discussion not individual aspects of it, sorry if you could not follow my argument.

    Quote”I think that sentence says more about your own intolerance than that of the Orange Order. What on earth have you got against hats and umbrellas?

    LOL you do not want me to answer that one.

  • fair_deal

    kensei

    How does hypothethicals about the restrictions any parade marshal is under because of criminal law and human right constraints prove anti-Catholicism and sectarianism?

    So any event of thousands gets stopped because of one moron? It would also encourage people to go along to parades to specifically cause disruption even more.

  • kensei

    “How does hypothethicals about the restrictions any parade marshal is under because of criminal law and human right constraints prove anti-Catholicism and sectarianism?”

    It doesn’t. The history of the Orange Order up to this point proves it.

    Still current:

    Anti-Catholic rules.
    Trimuphalism.
    Refusal to respect people by talking to them.
    Association with loyalists, and refusla to condemn them.
    0 attempt to engage with the other community, in any significant way.

    I’m sure that other Nationalists would a different, but equally bad opinion of it. Some of those are not all Orange men, or lodges, but the rules in particular are common. And if it is all just in Nationalism’s head, it’s up to the OO to prove it.

    And just to be clear – I’m not saying the OO should be destroyed. I’m not saying that there isnb’t room for pro-Protestant organisations, particularly with charitable aims. I am saying all of the above are intolerable, and the OO has a lot of reform to do to remove them. And it needs to take extreme action to get that across. So, yes, with the history, one moron stopping the parade would be a potent reflection of change. It would send a signal to Nationalism that they are changing, and a signal to Unionism that they are not going to do those things anymnore.

    Seriously, give it up, you are trying to defend the indenfensible.

  • Ballysillan

    Fro your information, as basic facts tend not to be included in these news articles, the Crumlin Rd passes six home in the “controversial” area.

    Even then these are 4 RC 2 Protestant.

    These few homes are back from the road on the mountainview side. NO homes from Ardoyne come anywhere near the parade, none can even see the parade!!

    The mistruths being spread about this parade are totally ridiculous.

    I live in the area and walk down the Crumin Rd every day to work.

  • Benn

    In an ideal world people can think about all or nothing, but in Ireland (and many other places) that would seem to suggest genocide. So let’s assume that’s not on anyone in here’s agenda. Short of that, some sort of compromise seems called for. Suggesting that there be NO parades seems unrealistic, and the days of unfettered coat-trailing seem to be easing by as well. Hell, Ian Paisley doesn’t bother with Derry anymore, and he’ll hardly be able to walk the Garvaghy Road even if the local residents are all in Lanzarotte on holiday. Seems like there is a need for tweaking, a situation in which nobody is completely happy. The Apprentice Boys seem able to talk to the Bogside crew in Derry, if there’s an appropriate representation for other areas, perhaps that’s a step in the right direction. The OO seems to be playing hard-ass for now, but their backs are up against the wall. A blend of a little time, a little progress, and less EXTREMISM, even if it’s just wishful thinking out loud, might help. By the way, neither Canada (where they have parading issues, but with Caribbean/brown people) nor the Nazis are appropriate comparators. How’s the temp seem for this year’s marching season so far? Cheers, Benn