When tradition doesn’t fit purpose…..

The troubled village of Stoneyford, Co. Antrim, will be the scene of an eleventh night bonfire parade again this year. We are often told the value placed on ‘traditional routes’ by loyalist orders and marching bands. Yet in Stoneyford, controversy has erupted following the application by the Pride of the Village Flute Band to parade into new housing developments for the second year in a row. Local residents believe the reason for this bizarre application is quite simple: the marching loyalists are annoyed that the new developments contain a sizeable number of catholic families. So what better way to put them in their place then to march through narrow residential streets, complete with loyalist regalia and with a band membership containing prominent loyalists? Nationalists will note how quickly tradition was jettisoned, for a greater cause…

The parade ‘traditionally’ past along the Stoneyford Road to the bonfire site. However, for the past number of years, the flute band has attempted to march into the two housing developments, The Beeches and Stonebridge Meadows. Two years ago, the band marched into the Beeches development, with members wearing t-shirts with ‘Orange Volunteers‘ emblazoned across their chest, in reference to the loyalist paramilitary grouping which has its core membership in the village environs.

Last year, an application to march into the yet-to-be completed Stonebridge Meadows (i.e. past diggers and down streets yet fully paved) was eventually withdrawn after residents and Lisburn Sinn Fein councillor, Paul Butler, brought the matter into the public realm. Two weeks later, catholic families in the newly-built development had their homes and vehicles attacked by loyalists. These attacks continued into the new year, when a catholic family in the development survived an arson attack on their home. The previous year, catholic residents of The Beeches development were forced from their homes in the aftermath of attacks from loyalists only weeks after the parade.

  • elfinto

    I wonder what Jeffrey Donaldson will make of it all? maybe he could ask his local election worker on the spot, Mr Harbinson, conduct some research into the issue. I hope Jeffrey O’Donnell will raise it in the House of Commons [removed – play the ball please].

  • Garibaldy

    If Chris is right, disgraceful attempts to mark out sectarian terrority. Should not be permitted as clearly an attempt to intimidate and stir up hatred.

  • aquifer

    Band parades morph into the back street boys?

    The increased percentage of loyalist paramilitaries in the Orange Order, and the arson of catholic homes, should result in the parades commission restricting parades in such residential areas.

    Lets hope the Whiterock determination does not mean the commission’s backbone is softening. Its purpose is to made determinations that do not reward the threat or practice of violence. That was the defect in the previous legislation the commission was supposed to remedy.

    The local arson of orange halls should also be considered in this light. i.e. A local attack on an Orange hall should make it more likely that the commission would approve a parade.

  • Jacko

    The Catholic people and, to a far lesser extent many Protestants, have been tortured for years in Stoneyford by the clown behind this latest attempt to stir up trouble – and we all know who he is.
    And it hasn’t been low level stuff, there have been some very serious attacks on Catholic homes.
    You really do have to ask what the police in Lisburn are doing to try and protect these ordinary decent people from this scumbag and his hangers-on.

  • pith

    Cats and piss come to mind

  • Nevin

    Has there been a growth in the number of loyalist and republican paramilitary bands post-1994?

    Have the police been given ‘political directions’ to maintain a very low profile during the course of what appear to be paramilitary parades?

    Should the Parades Commission give permission for such parades eg loyalist in Mosside or republican in Ballycastle?

  • Yokel

    There is a greater cause dont start putting yer concerned residents committees up because we’ll make your life a misery.

    Sounds perfectly fair to me.

  • willis

    One thing that is missing from this is pictures. Surely the sight of a layalist band picking its way through an unfinished road would look great on front of the DI. The Tele might even get interested. Abit more mockery and a bit less confrontation might make it harder for Jeffrey to stand back.

  • elfinto
  • fair_deal

    “Local residents believe the reason for this bizarre application is quite simple”

    Why is the village band wanting to parade around the village it is from “bizarre”?

  • willis

    Can you actually parade “around” Stoneyford or just “through” it?

    I must agree that it is not bizarre, just mind-numbingly predictable.

  • Bemused

    Wondered how long it would take Fair Deal to come on and start trying to defend the indefensible………

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The term ‘the village band’ suggests that it has some formal role in representing the village of Stoneyford. It is a band from the village, a village that has seen more than it’s fair share of sectarian incidents. The incidents carried out exclusively by unionists against nationalists. To those being attacked the ‘village band’ is a public demonstration of the sectarianism visited upon them. Also, given the fact that Stoneyford Orange Hall was the scene of a major collusion incident also lends credence to the concerns of those residents who do not want a band parade past their homes.

  • duffy

    Yes, another opportunity for SF to exploit. Well done Pride of Nowhere.

    “Village band” – it’s hardly a village band in the sense that that term in understood anywhere outside the land of the tattered flags, is it?

  • fair_deal

    Also as I understand it (and I am open to correction on it) the new housing developments are not majority nationalist. If so nationalists seem to be moving the goalposts ie no ornage feet on Catholic roads to no orange feet where some of us are.

    bemused

    Any chance of an answer to why is the village band wanting to parade around the village it is from “bizarre”?

  • Bemused

    Fair Deal.

    “Two years ago, the band marched into the Beeches development, with members wearing t-shirts with ‘Orange Volunteers‘ emblazoned across their chest, in reference to the loyalist paramilitary grouping which has its core membership in the village environs.”

    “Last year, an application to march into the yet-to-be completed Stonebridge Meadows (i.e. past diggers and down streets yet fully paved) was eventually withdrawn…..Two weeks later, catholic families in the newly-built development had their homes and vehicles attacked by loyalists. These attacks continued into the new year, when a catholic family in the development survived an arson attack on their home. The previous year, catholic residents of The Beeches development were forced from their homes in the aftermath of attacks from loyalists only weeks after the parade.”

    The proposed parade has no tradition or precedent, is plainly being orchestrated by that outrageous bigot, terrorist and all round nasty piece of work Mark Harbinson and is indefensible in every way.

    Still though I suppose it’s themmuns fault for living in Stoneyford in the first place. Or maybe you can’t comment on the parade unless you’ve actually seen it. Or maybe you don’t believed that Mark Harbinson is a cunt because you’ve never met him. Or maybe the ‘Orange Volunteers’ t-shirts referred to the phone company. Or blah, blah, waffle, waffle etc. ad nauseum.

  • Fair Deal: No sane person wants your coat trailing excuse for a culture. The solution, unfortunately, is to face these riff raff down, just like at Drumcree where the self styled Church of Ireland played such a disreputable role. The forces of law and order should take a much more robust approach to these people and the groups that give them succour.

    To the more civilized: today is the anniversary of the hanging in 1877 of ten members of the Molly Maguires, a fine upstanding group of Irish exiles who carried on the fine traidion of liberty, equlity and fraternity that stands at the core of Irish beliefs. I thought the movie with Sean Connery was good but it never took off. The GAA match and the Mass scene were my favourites.

  • willis

    Fair Deal

    It was Chris who posted “bizarre”.

    You are trying very hard, but I don’t think you have a mission on this one. I mean would you want the Orange Volunteers marching past your house.

    Here’s a question. Is there a single Unionist MP who has a parade past their front door?

  • pith

    Taigs,

    You are all mixed up. The GAA match is in Michael Collins the movie and the mass scene is in the Godfather. I’ve done that myself. I remember one time I got really confused between an episode of Pigly and JFK.

  • elfinto

    Did I mention Mark Harbinson’s phone call to talkback in which he said he had been doing election work for the DUP? The local MP is the very lovely Jeffrey Donaldson who is in no way smug. Jeffrey is also a fine upstanding Christian.

  • andy

    Pith
    I think it is you who are incorrect.
    There is both a GAA match(albeit not identified as such)and a mass scene in the Molly Maguires.

    I personally preferred the end scene in Connery’s condemned cell. He talks to Harris about how “no punishment in hell will save him” etc will save him from his treachery. You have to see it rather than read my typing for the full effect…

    Interestingly Malachy Mccourt (brother of Frank Mccourt of Angela’s Ashes fame) was the non-speaking barman in the film. Which puts another angle on the Harris/ McCourt feud over the accuracy of Angela’s ashes in the late 90s. Maybe.

    in short, an excellent film. I think it was released last year on DVD.

  • andy

    pith
    sorry I guees you may have been joking….

  • willis

    Ho Ho

    Get this from Wikipedia

    “The Mollies radicalised the Irish political scene with sectarian violence and intimidation up until the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and were largely responsible for the ultimate partition of Ireland.”

    Another planet!

  • willis

    Elfinto

    I fear you have also omitted references to MH’s protected status re. Special Branch.

    Ah the Securocrat Octopus spreading it’s testicles across the city!

  • reality check

    So the fine upstanding citizen that is mark harbinson has done election work for the dup?sure the likes of gary blair(convicted sectarian killer)and bobby mckee(self confessed former uvf commander and current larne dup councillor)have apparently shed their dark past.well the dup likes to think so

  • pith

    Andy,

    Indeed, although not very well I accept. Curious about that film now. Might track it down.

  • martin

    I note the reference to Mr Harbinson and a few other cronies,it is interesting that scumbags , like Mr Harbinson only operate in areas where they feel they can dominate and intimidate, the new housing around Stoneyford is being bought up I believe mostly by young people trying to start out in life,and in typical bullie fashion the said waster is trying to make their lives impossible, if it is true that yer man is a tout and Ican well believe it ,sure cowards always need to be protected,then maybe the bould Jeffery should have a word with his bosses, cut adrift the fucker wouldnt be so smug, failing that why does,nt the wee band try prading through andy/town I am sure Mark and his mates would find out what its like to be shit-upon-from a great height

  • darth rumsfeld

    “The increased percentage of loyalist paramilitaries in the Orange Order”

    facts please for this assertion aquifer. What is the percentage now? What was it then (whenever you regard then as being)?

    “So the fine upstanding citizen that is mark harbinson has done election work for the dup?sure the likes of gary blair(convicted sectarian killer)and bobby mckee(self confessed former uvf commander and current larne dup councillor)have apparently shed their dark past.well the dup likes to think so ”

    I suspect these three persons are not or were not at one time in their lives particularly pleasant- though I’ve never met any of them. Reality check rightly points out that paramilitaries past and present shouldn’t be allowed in political parties, thus revealing himself to be a closet DUP supporter, as obviously the barring of paramilitaires from polical parties would immediately result in the closing down of Sinn Fein, and an executive without Marty and the boys. Or have I missed your point, that you are you just being a selective sectarian point scorer?

    “Taigs”, many thanks for reminding us of this important anniversary. Would that the Stormont regime had been half as diligent in protecting its citizens as our American cousins. I mean one execution in fifty years of misrule-what kind of oppression is that?

  • darth rumsfeld

    ..oh, and wasn’t the same Mr Harbinson on Talkback a few months ago complaining that..er, the DUP wouldn’t let him join?

  • fair_deal

    Bemused

    “Still though I suppose it’s themmuns fault for blah blah blah”

    It may help the debate if you allowed me to speak for myself not to witter on about what you imagine I think.

    1. The thread is based on the perception of some residents being fact ie they believe it is about X therefore it must be about X. Claiming the ability to read what is or isn’t going through a person’s or people’s mind(s) is a line of argument that can neither be proved or disproved.
    2. This thread is Chris continuing to convey a narrative of parades = sectarian attacks. However again the pattern of disgraceful attacks seem to have a life of their own independent of any parade e.g. “These attacks continued into the new year”. Furthermore, the simple truth is that people who are violently opposed to sharing space with another section of society will do so regardless of a parade or not e.g. there are plenty of racist attacks going on without any “anti-Chinese/Eastern European etc” parades
    3. If the claims about the band wearing OV t-shirts are true then a complaint should be made to the PSNI. If the PSNI fail to investigate or act then a complaint should be made to the Ombudsman’s office. The polticial representatives should be raised the policing of the village at the DPP and the Policing Board. In addition they can send their evidence to the parade commission for it to take account in any determination it makes.

    “The proposed parade has no tradition or precedent”

    1. Nationalists rejected traditional routes as irrelevant to the debate about parades. Thus they cannot reject it in one breath and then demand in the next.
    2. The above article and thread refers to it being traditional so it seems to have a precedent and be a tradition in the village. The village has grown and the route has changed accordingly.

    willis

    “Here’s a question. Is there a single Unionist MP who has a parade past their front door?”

    I don’t know. I can say I parade past mine.

  • Chris Donnelly

    The village has grown and the route has changed accordingly.

    FD

    Funny how the parade has never before veered from the main road into any of the other longer established housing developments. Indeed, it still doesn’t, though many of the band members- including the most prominent- reside in these other developments.

    Any comment?

    btw It is the loyal orders- and their accompanying loyalist bands- who make such an issue about tradition. This example illustrates for nationalists that tradition refers more to the tradition of insulting nationalists than to a particular route.

  • fair_deal

    “Any comment?”

    Perhaps to include the new areas in a village tradition? So if they change the route to include all housing developments will it be all right then?

    “btw It is the loyal orders- and their accompanying loyalist bands- who make such an issue about tradition. This example illustrates for nationalists that tradition refers more to the tradition of insulting nationalists than to a particular route”

    BTW it was bemused invoked the traditional/unprecendented argument as did the introduction and a linked article on this thread not the OO or bands. My point was not who invokes such an argument but the fact nationalists reject the notion now they are demanding it!?! You cannot reject the idea of traditional routes in dozens of other places then demand a parade follow a traditional route in one place.

    What this example illustrates that nationalists think the world revolves around them and if anyone does anything it must be to get at them and they will jump from whatever argument they need stop a traditional route/keep to a traditional route as long as they don’t have to see or hear a non-nationalist.

    Also no other nationalist took up my earlier comment/question perhaps you are in a position to answer:

    “Also as I understand it (and I am open to correction on it) the new housing developments are not majority nationalist. If so nationalists seem to be moving the goalposts ie no orange feet on “our” roads to no orange feet where some of us are.”

  • Chris Donnelly

    “Also as I understand it (and I am open to correction on it) the new housing developments are not majority nationalist. If so nationalists seem to be moving the goalposts ie no orange feet on “our” roads to no orange feet where some of us are.”

    Both housing developments would be substantially mixed- though less so, since catholics were intimidated from the village during last year’s marching season. But that is beside the point.

    What you are really trying to do is sidestep the question of motive. Why would a loyalist band seek to march through these housing developments, or for that matter any housing developments after years of parading down a main street?

    The reason you are avoiding answering the question is because you simply can’t accept that many Orange Order and other loyalist band parades are motivated primarily by a desire to annoy/ intimidate/ ‘get at’ the catholics.

    That you can not even condemn, but instead seek to justify, this most blatant example of loyalist bigotry is quite revealing.

  • idunnomeself

    It looks to me like Paul Butler made a tactical error in objecting to a parade in a traditionally protestant village with a parading radition. The message he sent was ‘we’re moving in so you have to do what we want now’.

    Bound to get people’s backs up, certian to play into the hands of the hard men.

    I moved onto a loyalist estate, so I didn’t complain when the lodge walked past. I have also moved into a flat that Republican commorations walk past, I didn’t complain about that either. In principle I don’t think you can complain if you move into an area when you know what it is like.

    Obviously there are local issues here, like the individual named and the stupid attacks, but the principle is so obvious I would have thought that Paul Butler should have had enough sense to keep his nose out

  • gg

    It amazes me continuously why people in NI still see everything in purely sectarian terms. I think posters in this thread have ignored the extremely relevant class issue.

    When people invest large amounts of money in a house, who wants their private development trampeled by the sectarian uneducated or by members of the lower classes or by terrorist thugs? This kind of marching belongs to centuries past. But while they play catchup, let them march in the sink estates where they can do no harm.

    I should say that I recognise there are decent Orangemen, but you lose decency by claiming territory through shows of strength.

  • fair_deal

    “Both housing developments would be substantially mixed- though less so, since catholics were intimidated from the village during last year’s marching season. But that is beside the point.”

    No it is central to my point that this is a case of nationalists moving the goalposts. The argument has shifted

    One this is a band parade not an OO parade. OO parades tend to by and large follow traditional routes. Band routes change more.

    “you simply can’t accept that many Orange Order and other loyalist band parades are motivated primarily by a desire to annoy/ intimidate/ ‘get at’ the catholics.”

    This is self-obsession “It must always be about us”. It isn’t. It is Ulster Prod thing feck all to do with the other communities. It’s not to get at you it’s what we do.

    “The message he sent was ‘we’re moving in so you have to do what we want now’. ”

    Also on IDM’s point part of the issue around this parade seem to be people used to living in a predominately nationalist area moving into a community area that is mixed/predominate of the Unionist community but they want to keep the ‘norms’ of living in a nationalist community ie they are unwilling to change to what living in a mixed community means. If I bought a home on the Falls I would not be expecting the PC to ban the Easter Commemoration marches.

  • duffy

    Why does everywhere else get a summer and we get a marching season?

    Fair Deal,

    Do you have any sympathy for people – nationalist and unionist – who simply do not want an orange band playng outside their houses?

  • idunnomeself

    gg

    I actually composed a para on the class aspect and deleted it to keep things simple!

    Middle class people move into a working class rural village and there are rows as their ways of life clash. Happens everywhere. A local example would be when the middle class arrived in Conlig and complained about kerbstones being painted. Prods and prods, so a class row and I suspect something simliar is active in Stoneyford.

  • fair_deal

    Duffy

    Do you have any sympathy for people – nationalist and unionist – who simply do not want an orange band playng outside their houses?

    I can understand someone not liking something but doesn’t mean I agree with banning what they dislike.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fair_Deal: “I can understand someone not liking something but doesn’t mean I agree with banning what they dislike. ”

    Why not just let it go where its presence is desired, rather than forcing it upon those who dislike it?

  • fair_deal

    DC

    “Why not just let it go where its presence is desired, rather than forcing it upon those who dislike it?”

    A pat phrase but unworkable.

    Where do you measure it – the village as a whole, each street or every single house?
    How and who measures the desire and dislike?
    How much dislike has to exist for it not to proceed?
    Can larger or stronger desire among one section over-rule smaller or less strong dislike among another?
    What precedent does such an approach set?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    I’d say let good sense be the guide, but given the antics of the bonfire brigades and the like, I’d say that’s an undue risk.

    The fact of the matter is that these parades are part of an effort to intimidate, as much as you try to pass these “thud and blunder” groups off as cultural activities. As evidenced on another thread, its not even tradition for tradition’s sake, given the re-routing of a parade to encompass a new development with a Catholic population.

  • fair_deal

    DC

    “The fact of the matter is that these parades”

    The entire point of this thread is the debatability of that supposed fact.

    “cultural activities”

    It is a band playing music parading to light a traditional bonfire as part of the celebrations of a community to mark a key historical date.

    “its not even tradition for tradition’s sake”

    As I said previously nationalism can’t reject the argument of traditionality on routes then demand a strict adherence elsewhere.

    “to encompass a new development with a Catholic population.”

    1. The village has always had a Catholic population.
    2. As CD accepts new developments are mixed.

  • duffy

    Fair Deal,

    You know it is not as simple as that. This isn’t Under the Greenwood Tree. It isn’t a folksy little village band. It has nothing to do with tradition.

    The last time I dared make the trip to central Belfast for the 12th, there was a drunk women lying in the street wearing a F**k Celtic T-shirt and not much else. “How quaint, how traditional,” I thought and went home. However, anyone who wanted to hear the bands in central Belfast had chosen to go there.

  • fair_deal

    duffy

    “It isn’t a folksy little village band.”

    This is the band from that village parading around it.

    The action of a drunk in Belfast relates to Stoneyford how?

    What are you trying to say if you see someone pissed at an event it ceases to have any cultural value or significance. So if someone gets pissed on St Pat’s day/Christmas/Easter Sunday everyone else has to stay at home?

    DC

    “And should the local want to march, that’s fine. But the Loyalist bands from elsewhere, may be not so much.”

    From your 4:53 message in our discussion about parades in Kilrea.
    http://www.sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/sinn_fein_reject_tolerance_findings/P25/

    If you thought it was fine for the local band to march through a majority nationalist village why is it unacceptable fot the local band to walk through Stoneyford?

  • gg

    idunnomeself

    “Middle class people move into a working class rural village and there are rows as their ways of life clash. Happens everywhere.”

    I think that is part of it. But I’m sure that is not limited to people who move there. The ‘original’ inhabitants can be upwardly mobile as well.

    duffy

    “You know it is not as simple as that. This isn’t Under the Greenwood Tree. It isn’t a folksy little village band. It has nothing to do with tradition.”

    Exactly. It makes me wonder how culturally inept some must be if they look upon some vile terrorist/criminal as their muse and his activities as the finest piece of art in the gallery.

  • m

    A bit off topic, but if there’s even a slight chance of getting that charmed, troublemaker Harbison in trouble it’s worth it.

    Harbison’s band managed to get over £10k from the Lottery. Did they hold the agreed event? Did the whole community come together as agreed under their application? Did they distribute the DVD?

  • elfinto

    Yet again offialdom cosies up to paramiltaries. Sickening!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Hey, if its just a local band, what the heck. I’d hesitate to call it a “parade,” if all it is is one band and its supporting cast of Loyalist thugs in their Orange t-shirts. You say “parade” and I think of something a little bigger — guess I’m just a little too big city. If all this “parade” is the locals, let them walk, assuming they comply with the details of holding a “parade.” They screw up, they get to live with fall-out. If, however, there are invited groups to this parade, keep them out of the developments. Tourists have a way of screwing things up.

    Now, that said, given that which has gone before, the loyalist attacks on the estates, the firebombing, etc., what good end is achieved by thie re-routing of the parade? To what end is it done, if not as an act of intimidation, given that which has gone before?

    BTW, is it a “well managed” bonfire site in your book, or do the chavs need to be reminded “fire = hot?”

  • fair_deal

    DC

    I don’t know whether the bonfire site is well managed or not.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Hey, Fair Deal:

    Given that which has gone before, the loyalist attacks on the estates, the firebombing, etc., what good end is achieved by thie re-routing of the parade? To what end is it done, if not as an act of intimidation, given that which has gone before? If, as you seem to imply, that intimidation is not the Loyalists’ motive, what other motivation, given the other facts in evidence, does changing the route of this parade fufill?

  • m

    They want to take time making sure they pass every Catholic house so they all know they are off to burn this. (the typical outworking of the parade)

    The points made by the Loyalists of Stoneyford aren’t subtle. I’m surprised FD can’t spot the problems.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    m: “The points made by the Loyalists of Stoneyford aren’t subtle. I’m surprised FD can’t spot the problems. ”

    Oh, I suspect he can spot them… admit them to others, perhaps, no, but spot them he can.

    I’m just suprised he hasn’t come up with some bland euphemism to obfuscate the issue, like his use of “poorly managed bonfire site” for those sectarian displays what include tires and the like, or riots as issues of “parade management.”

    Would that make firebombings “housewarmings?”

  • darth rumsfeld

    Hi Dread- just drove through Dungiven yesterday, and saw the clubhouse of Kevin Lynch’s GAA club, complete with Black Flag and Starry Plough flying over the door- in memory of the eponymous terrorist and hunger striker. Now I’ve looked closely at your posts on this thread, and elsewhere, and you seem the type of chap who is horrified by public displays of support for paramilitarism, even where there is actually a majority community in a village that- however misguidedly- lack the moral fibre you and I have in denouncing such gangsterism.

    My esteemed colleague fair-deal has at least on the face of it caught you out in a little bit of double standards vis-a-vis KIlrea and Stoneyford, which I am sure you will want to remedy by criticising the GAA people of Dungiven for so foolishly mixing sport and terrorism>. Don’t let me down, now!

  • fair_deal

    DC

    Your premise is that the two are linked yet the pattern of attacks have a life independent of any parade and as I said earlier

    “the simple truth is that people who are violently opposed to sharing space with another section of society will do so regardless of a parade or not e.g. there are plenty of racist attacks going on without any “anti-Chinese/Eastern European etc” parades”

    “To what end is it done”

    A local band parading the village it is from to a traditional bonfire celebration to mark a key date.

    “riots as issues of “parade management.”

    Please provide the thread/quote where I refer to riots as bad parade management.