Commission must put residents first

Sticking with the parades issue for a while, Jim Gibney has an interesting piece in yesterday’s Irish News. It’s uncompromising in calling for a ban on marches in Catholic areas, pending “meaningful dialogue”, rather than “low level contact”.

For Poole the “shared future” is allowing unwanted Orange parades to march through Catholic and nationalist areas. In what can only be described as a bout of wishful thinking to bolster his decision Poole described low-level contact between both sides as “courageous, real and meaningful” dialogue. Meaningful dialogue is what is needed. Low-level contact should not be exaggerated to fit into the commission’s agenda.

He goes on suggest that the Orange should be judged on their intentions:

And their intentions are to cause offence to people in places like the Springfield Road. On that basis Orange parades which apply to go through areas where they are not wanted should be banned. The Orange Order is a secret, oath-bound, sectarian, anti-Catholic organisation. It forfeits any rights it has when it seeks to march through Catholic areas where it is not welcome.

He makes an interesting point about the balancing of rights, something which creates difficulties for any body charged with adjudicating on such apparently intractable disputes:

No-one should try to balance out the rights residents have to live free from sectarian intimidation and those of Orangemen. There is no equivalence. Residents should be protected by the state against the Orange Order which is the aggressor


Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • darth rumsfeld

    This obviously some new definition of the word “interesting” that even Davy Dictionary hasn’t seen before. In reality Mick, this is the same clapped out whinge from someone supposed to be one of the Shinners’ brainboxes-trotting out the “Catholic areas” canard. As for addressing the balancing of rights argument it boils down to “see themmuns- they shouldn’t have any rights,, they’re themmuns”. The only fresh angle is the idea that the state should be the battering ram against the Orange (to give the IRA a wee break?). Very very poor piece.

  • fair_deal

    “pending “meaningful dialogue”, rather than “low level contact”.”

    First the cry is you must have dialogue with us. People go and engage in dialogue. The nationalist response err that isn’t really dialogue. Hmmmm.

    For two years in a row there has been dialogue about the parade. How is that low level?
    The representatives from the Unionist community had the full authroity to talk about the parade, last year this included the District Master. How is that low level?
    All aspects of the parade were discussed. How is that not meaningful?
    A series of meetings have taken place under the chairmanship of Duncan Morrow. How is that not meaningful?
    As I understand it agreement was reached on a range of issues. How is that not meaningful?

    “It forfeits any rights ”

    Hmm as a member of the OO and someone who has read a range of human rights documents even judicial rulings perhaps he could refer to the document or ruling which says my membership meant I forfeited my rights when I joined?

  • Mick Fealty

    I know this is a very very sensitive area for nationalists, not least for what happened here in the traumatic 69-71 period. But if you look at the video, there is a protestant church on this stretch of disputed road, which must cast some doubt on whether this can be described as anything other than interface?

  • fair_deal

    That particular church also has a strong track record of cross-community work. I have particpated in a few of their discussions/seminars over the years but apparently I am ok when I do that but once I put a collarette on I am not allowed to walk by it.

    Further up the road is a state school and off the road is what is supposed to be a cross-community educational campus.

  • Mike

    For the Parades Commission to ‘ban all Orange parades from Catholic areas’ as Mr Gibney suggests, the Commission will have to start going round making determination of which pieces of territory are “Catholic areas”.


  • GrassyNoel

    Those of you who are familiar with my posts on other threads will know I’m a Southern Nationalist and I know Northern Nationalist won’t like me repeating this point of view but I think the nationalist community really should try accomodating the OO for a couple of years anyway even if only to see wopuld it help ease tensions. I think that a lot of people down here would feel similarly. After all even if a so-called’victory’ is achieved by getting a parade banned, it’s only nationalists in another part of the city/town (as well as the rest of the community) who will end up suffering because of the ensuing civil disorder. (I’m not trying to have a dig at Unionists by saying that; just being realistic – no-one wants to see a repeat of last year’s riots). And it’s about time people began to realise that even if there were a UI tomorrow morning, Unioinists are not going to give up their traditions, and that obviously will include marches. So everyone may as well get used to the fact that these are going to be contentious every year unless Nationalists can demonstrate that it doesn’t really bother them anymore. That’s the only real ‘victory’ they can hope to achieve in all this.

  • GrassyNoel

    Ugh…sorry about all the spelling mistakes in that

  • Rory Padraig Dunne

    As far as contentious marches go, anyone with a modicum of inteligence will know that they would be banned in any other country/province/district/canton in the world. They are to be honest and fair racial and sectarien in the extrenme. Thats not propaganda, thats fact.
    If I feel insulted by you, or anyone else, thats legit. Dont encroach, dont impinge, dont insult and most importantly, dont march through my hood with your banners flying.
    As long as this type of yob mentality is given any oficial credance whatsoever, well then as far as Im concerned the powesr that allow such disgusting and insulting behavior to continue deserve nothing but censure.
    Its not even worth discusing.
    As if the bloody Ku Klux Klan had the unaliable right to march through Harlem. Get real.

  • elfinto


    As far as I’m concerned, if there’s a united Ireland the Orange Order can march wherever to hell they like, no problem. But until that occurs the whole lot of them can f**k off if they think they can ram their sectarian, imperialist shite down my neck. It’s not about victory. It’s about self-dignity and avoiding humiliation.

  • Prince Eoghan


    If there was an “it” then you don’t.

    It’s not about getting a victory. It’s about common decency and the lack of it coming from ingrates.

    You try living in fear while knuckledraggers, who hate you and yours gleefully march by spewing bile and hatred like sweeties.

    Try it man! not just as a curious visitor. If you don’t get “it” then, then you never will, they hate us, not kid on, real hate.

  • John East Belfast

    What I dont understand in all this is why nationalists appear to fear/give credence to the Orange order as illustrated on this thread.

    I thought nationalism was full of self confidence, croppies will no longer lie down type of mentality ?

    If that were true then the OO would be nothing more than a curiosity or figure of fun for some ?

    If the AOH wanted to walk past my East Belfast home I wouldnt bat an eye lid because I would neither see them as a threat nor would I give a damn what beliefs they had towards Protestantism.

    What exactly in the 21st Century is nationalism’s problem ?

  • lib2016


    You feel that the KKK and the Broederbond are also ‘figures of fun?’

  • John East Belfast


    Only a numbskull would compare the OO with the KKK

  • James Campbell

    Just because a section of a society claims a cultural right does not mean that a civilised society has to grant that right.
    There are sections of african societies which claim female circumcision as a cultural right. However as a civilised society we are not obliged to grant them the right to practice this barbaric ‘cultural right’.
    The KKK and the neo-nazis claim the ‘cultural right’ to parade through jewish neighbourhoods. However no civilised society grants then this ‘cultural right’.
    Similarly just because the OO claim the ‘cultural right’to dress up in bowler hats and march through catholic areas behind loyalist paramilitary colour parties does not mean that a civilised society should grant them the ‘right’.
    Lat year I put forward a sensible suggestion that the OO march EVERY saturday up and down the Shankill Road. They could start at the Woodvale Park early morning and march up and down all day until it gets dark. I suspect the reason it wouldn’t be acceptable to the OO is that it wouldn’t ‘rub the taigs noses in it” – which is their ONLY reason for marching.

  • PJ

    James Campbell is absolutely right. Neither the OO (nor anyone else) has a right to parade through areas where they will cause grave offence to the vast majority of the population. No-one is banning the OO from marching in absolute terms – only from marching through those areas where the above is true. There are over 1000 parades every year in NI. Approximately only 5 – 6% of them are viewed as contentious.

    While I accept there are decent people in the OO, it is a fact that there are also convicted “Loyalist” terrorists in those ranks along with many anti-Catholic bigots who are followed by bands celebrating “Loyalist” atrocities. Not to mention the drunken hangers-on in Rangers tops who can’t wait to cause trouble.

    The fact that the OO is obsessed with trying to force through the small number of parades that go through predominantly Catholic areas is quite revealing. Rather than enjoy the vast majority of parades in predominantly Protestant areas where they are welcome, they are more concerned with parading their anti-Catholic “culture” through a few nationalist areas.

    The idea of making the 12th a “community event” acceptable to Catholics is laughable. How can you make an organisation whose whole “raison d’ etre” is anti-Catholic acceptable to Catholics? It’s like trying to make a KKK cookout acceptable to black people.

    The OO needs to realise that the times when it could march where it pleased are over. They would be better occupied organising parades where they are welcome and leave the rest of us in peace.