Geese, ganders and Orange fest

Belfast City Council The Department of Social Development has just announced a major funding inititiave for Orange Fest.

Miss Fitz noted just last week that Féile was facing a funding cut of £100,000, so I am sure that some awkward questions will be asked about the parity of funding. I am well aware that there are 2 funding bodies involved here, but perhaps there is room to question what appears to be a fairly generous contribution to an event that has little chance of becoming a shared identity occasion.

On the other hand, I support any initiative that promotes Belfast and makes an attempt at cleaning up the act on and around the 12th of July. I remain convinced that we have a long way to go before this becomes an inclusive event, or indeed whether that is even a possibility.

  • pith

    Excellent. Where do I apply? Will it be a one-way ticket or can I come back when it is all over?

  • GurnyGub

    I see major tv coverage here, fun for all the families, the over-sized comedy costumes, Stuart Hall hysterically laughing….’Jeux avec de frontiere’.

  • Miss Fitz,

    an event that has little chance of becoming a shared identity occasion

    I support any initiative that promotes Belfast and makes an attempt at cleaning up the act on and around the 12th of July.

    I’m confused, what other initiatives have been put forward “that promotes Belfast and makes an attempt at cleaning up the act on and around the 12th of July

  • Rory

    The cities of Paris, Rome, Rio, Praque, Havana and Venice will be deserted as the cultural tourists flee for the infinite variety of arts, science and culture that will await them in sunny Belfast by the sea.

  • Yokel

    Well its taken them forever but the Orange Order seem to understand how to play the system now.

    Just like any funding for a group or event that clearly represents one side of the divide, it will forever be associated with one side no matter how much cash ya throw at it.

    On the plus side, 100 grand should pay for a few roadsweepers.

    Miss Fitz, yer post refers to yourself in 3rd person terms, thats a bad sign….of detachment from reality. Say ‘me’ instead..its much less psychopathic sounding.

  • seabhac siulach

    Would there not be a case for taking the funding control for these ‘cultural’ events out of the hands of the council…and put it in the hands of, say, a non-biased ‘arts’ committee made up of a large cross-section of the community? Funding for different events should not depend on who ‘controls’ the council, but should be decided on merit, history and size of the event…and spread equally to where it is needed…
    Or would that be too sensible.

  • Pete Baker

    Miss Fitz

    According to the report it seems the funding is coming from the NIO.. not Belfast City Council.

    They should, of course, fund their own development officer.

    Worth noting though, if the comparison to Féile is to be made, that “The money, to be paid over three years, will fund a development officer who will promote the day as a festival.” – which works out at around £34,000 a year, this year Féile is receiving funding of £45,000.

  • Miss Fitz

    That would imply that Miss Fitz is NOT psychopathic, and she tries to be truthful at all times………

  • Carson’s Cat

    Couldn’t agree with Yokel more – there’s always something slightly deranged about someone who refers to themselves in the third person.

    As for the event, its unlikely that the participation will become much more cross-community. However, what is wrong with people from other cultures coming to watch the parades?

  • fair_deal


    A correction is needed the funding package is from DSD not Belfast City Council.

    The West Belfast Festival is receiving £45,000 in funding for its summer programme from DCAL. This funding is a 3 year package so it works our at approx £34k p.a. So there is no great inequality between the two.

    Also recent hotel occupancy figures show the growth in tourism in the summer months so it seems sensible to build on this progress

  • andy town rebel

    “this year Féile is receiving funding of £45,000.” plus the profits of last year total fund available £150,000,put your begging bowl away and get on with it, 12th July Orange parade is free,free,free no admission,no ticket touts,no corporate junkets, Féile should take a leaf from the oo book,

  • Miss Fitz

    cheers, fd, got the wrong impression from the broadcast this morning. my fault there.

  • Pete Baker

    “cheers, fd”??

    *harrumph* 😉

  • Miss Fitz

    Yes Pete, but you like me, and I am trying to ingratiate myself with FD. I think of you guys in terms of the 7 Dwarfs, and he is definitely Grumpy.

    You of course are Doc.

    Gonzo is Sleepy.

    Chris is Happy.

    Mick is Bashful.

    Not saying who is Dopey or Sneezy.

    And I remain Snow White.

  • fair_deal



    I am afraid you said it was the NIO when it was DSD. Also I went the extra mile and provided the relevant weblink. 😛


    “I am trying to ingratiate myself with FD”

    I am afraid it didn’t work. As a Ulsterman I hold deep suspicions about anyone who says nice things. Now if you had called me a bastard I’d carry a grudge about it for the rest of my life but recognise your honesty. 😉

  • Miss Fitz,
    I didn’t really need to ask you “what other initiatives have been put forward” a suggestion I made yesterday @ would entertain even the Sluggershites on here;-)
    Cybez 🙂

  • SpellingBee

    Fair Deal,

    Surely you mean “an Ulsterman”???????

  • fair_deal

    Buzz off!

  • Rory

    When Miss Fitz referred to “Miss Fitz” above she was clearly referring to the title of her blog not to herself. Further on she refers to herself as “I” when speaking in the first person.

    To draw inferences of paranoia from such perfectly correct usage might point to an element of paranoia in he who draws the inference. A case of “Beware to point your finger for when you do four fingers point back at yourself”.

  • spice girl

    hmm difficult one, one th eone hand, money is being dished out to an organistation that 1 half the community finds deeply offencive, however, if nothing is done, then nothing will change and the divisions will increase. The OO is a part of ulster’s heritage, end of story. It does need drastic reform, and perhaps with the right kind of influence this may be able to happen. What we may need to do is try to encourage more cross community sharing of eachothers cultures – so far example maybe have a music festival were we have Irish dancers and musicians alongside lambeg drums and pipe bands, then maybe 1 day in the land of pie in the sky we may have a parade with both the OO and the AOH!

  • don

    Step 1

    Ditch the large number of paramilitary bands who take part in parades & stop commemorating the ‘Shankill Butchers’ murder gang.

  • nmc

    Coucil says no to St. Paddy’s day parade, because it’s not “cross-community”.

    Feile funding slashed for the same reason.

    OO parades get funding to make them more cross community?

    Ridiculous, OO parades can never be cross community. And the talk of bringing tourists in for the festivities and their cash into the economy is crap, Feile events were always full of tourists, from Americans and Canadians, to the slightly more politicised Basques and Palestinians. I would hazard a guess that St. Patrick’s day would be the same if we had a proper celebration, but we can’t do that. If you want to celebrate being Irish on St. Patrick’s day, you’d be better off in London or New York or Edinburgh. Anywhere but bitter Belfast.

  • Teflon Don


    “Ditch the large number of paramilitary bands who take part in parades & stop commemorating the ‘Shankill Butchers’ murder gang. ”

    – like it or not these are members of one section of our community, while you might not agree with them, they have every right to celebrate their soldiers, think of it the same way every year Sinn Fein remembers the Endentubber provos who killed themselves with their own bomb for example. Now if Sinn Fein were denied money (such as the 1/2 mil they get every year from the house of commons)for commerating their murder gangs, do you not think there would be cries of discrimination. open your mind and you shall see.

  • nmc

    think of it the same way every year Sinn Fein remembers the Endentubber provos who killed themselves with their own bomb for example.

    Yes exactly the same. Apart from the fact that the whole province has to shut down, that it costs millions, the bonfires scar the landscape for almost the whole year, and regularly it costs millions more for additional security, when Loyalists don’t get their own way (a la Drumcree/Whiterock). No, sorry scratch that, it’s nothing like it. At all. Really.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Every 12th of July 40,000 approx Orangemen parade, with a similar number of bandsmen. They are watched by at least 100,000 people in approximately 20 venues, and have the largest viewing figures for a locally produced TV programme every year. Even if not one single tourist ever came , that’s approximately one thenth of the entire population of NI participating in an event-and nothing else in NI is ever going to get figure near that.

    Some people say it’s culture- some say it isn’t. But there’s certainly a cultural aspect to it, and if that can be increased who’s the loser?

    And before we forget, 100k over three years is about the same as the bill for toilet paper in the assembly-small potatoes

  • nmc

    100k, over three years, plus MILLIONS to pay for security and the damage caused by the trouble, which happens every year.

    If the powers that be want to provide the orangemen with money for the 12th, that’s great, but pay for the rest of it yourselves, instead of ripping off every taxpayer in the uk, the vast majority of whom don’t give a damn about the twelfth.

  • fair_deal


    “pay for security and the damage caused by the trouble, which happens every year.”

    Tolerate the parades then no need for security.

    Is nationalism planning to return the millions spent on irish language, GAA, nationalists festivals etc? Doubt if the “Uk taxpayer” has a particular interest in those either

  • lib2016

    Given what photographs of Orange marches have proven about the links between the various political and religious groups supporting the Orange state this is money well spent.

    Nationalists have accused unionists of links with Orange terrorists for years and those same links have been denied by Orange spokesmen for years. Hard to argue with a good photograph. If it walks with it and it talks like it……!

  • bob

    “Tolerate the parades then no need for security.”

    Why should we be forced to tolerate sectarianism.

    Why should we be forced to tolerate loyalist paramilitary murderers parading through our towns and cities.

    The parades should be made to march round in circles at the Maze, many of the participants in these hatefests should feel very at home their.

  • NedKelly

    I WAS going to rattle on on this topic but this article pretty well sums up my opinion although in a rather more sedate fashion:

    Because it’s traditional it doesn’t make it right

    (Brian Feeney, Irish News)

    Let’s get a few points clear. The Orange Order has been the cause of civil disorder in Ireland since its foundation.

    In 1813 Orangemen caused the first sectarian riot in Belfast. Repeatedly in the 19th century Orangemen forcing their way through Catholic districts resulted in scores of people killed, countless injuries and damage to property, mostly Catholic.

    The only reason these consequences of Orange violence didn’t occur continually in the 19th century is that the British government banned Orange marches by the Party Processions Act between 1832 and 1844 and 1850 and1872.

    A British government commission in 1857 concluded that Orange festivals led to ‘violence, outrage, religious animosities, hatred between classes and, too often, bloodshed and loss of life’.

    That’s the Orange tradition.

    This tradition was maintained and improved upon in the 20th century when the north became an Orange state in 1921.

    Orangemen instigated violent clashes in every decade – Belfast, Derry, Dungiven, Coalisland, Annalong, Portadown and so on, endlessly.

    It’s important to make this point because Orangemen and their NIO sympathisers have succeeded in peddling the lie that opposition to Orange marches began with Sinn Féin conspiracies in the 1990s.

    Rubbish. There were disturbances in Derry and Belfast and Portadown in the 1970s.

    There were huge confrontations in the 1970s on the Springfield Road at Ainsworth Avenue, literally a stone’s throw from where the Parades Commission forced the Orangemen into the Catholic district last Saturday.

    The Public Order Order (sic) was brought in in 1987 as a result of stand-offs in Portadown when Orangemen refused to abandon their traditional route through the Catholic Tunnel to march along the Garvaghy Road.

    Yes folks, 20 years ago Orangemen were REFUSING to march along the Garvaghy Road. They thought there were more Catholics to intimidate in the Tunnel.

    Given all this, it’s truly sickening to hear Peter Hain say he hoped “people can exercise their traditional and cultural rights”.

    The logic of that nonsense is that he would support cannibals boiling someone alive in a pot or have widows in India burnt alive along with their husband’s body.

    Well, it was traditional wasn’t it? Doesn’t make it right but suttee was their culture.

    This balderdash from our proconsul may show he disconnects his brain from his mouth when he’s talking about this place. It also shows how successful Orange apologists have been in portraying their antics as ‘cultural’.

    The reality is anything but. They are the Ku Klux Klan marching through Harlem, the National Front marching along Brick Lane in London, or perhaps our proconsul would be more familiar with the concept of the Broederbond marching through Soweto?

    Would he support that?

    Then again, he has performed so many somersaults in his diverse political career that he might.

    How could you predict which way he’ll jump next?

    He went so far as to regurgitate the NIO fodder he’d been fed that if ‘both sides’ were displeased, then the Parades Commission decision was probably right.

    Wrong. It’s not a matter of conflicting rights, as the British administration have sought to portray Orange marches.

    Buried in the Good Friday Agreement is a little sentence guaranteeing ‘the right to freedom from sectarian harassment’.

    If sectarian harassment doesn’t describe an Orange march in a Catholic district, what does?

    Here’s where the Parades Commission, now devoid of any credibility thanks to our proconsul’s manipulation, confirms the cowardice of its decisions.

    They begin with the presumption of the right of Orangemen to march, not the right of Catholics to live in peace and quiet, free from men marching past their homes who revere loyalist killers.

    The Parades Commission’s aim, as the NIO gameplan said in 1997, is to get ‘Orange feet’ on a Catholic street, in other words to keep the Orange Order happy.

    Tradition doesn’t enter into it.

    The Parades Commission is now licensing marches in parts of Stoneyford where there have never been marches so that Orangemen can disturb the peace of Catholics who have never seen an Orange march and moved out to Stoneyford to get away from Belfast.

    You can get away from Belfast, but thanks to the craven Parades Commission you can’t get away from Orange intimidation.

    June 29, 2006

  • SlugFest

    As a Belfast ‘tourist’, I have to admit I’ve always wanted to see an OO parade, though it’s more of a voyeuristic thing than open-minded curiousity.

    I was in Belfast — staying right over the Albert Bridge — during the September ’05 riots. While i didn’t get to see the actual parade that started all the nonsense, i saw more than enough of the madness that followed.

    For the OO to credibly compare the OO parades with the WB Feile, they really need to step up to the plate and not only change the perception of the parades but the actual core meaning of them … either let go of the hardcore loyalist attachments to the parade or go it alone with no government funding.

  • pith

    Please let’s not undermine the quality of debate by bringing Mr Feeney’s views into it. He uses “Yes, folks,” for goodness sake. Writing by spitting.

  • Rapunsel

    “We are a Protestant fraternity with members throughout the world. Autonomous Grand Lodges are found in Scotland, England, the United States of America, West Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    Our name comes from William III, Prince of Orange, and is kept because his victory over despotic power laid the foundation for the evolution of Constitutional Democracy in the British Isles.

    When the inappropriately named Defenders attacked Protestant weavers and farmers in Armagh in 1795 the Orange Order which opposes tyranny and despotism in Church and State was re-organised. It is relevant today in a world beset by conflicting systems. In Northern Ireland it faces descendants of the misnamed defenders, Sinn Fein/I.R.A.

    May these pages help you to understand our position better. May we all discover the Truth which sets us free”

    Where would you start? The Orange Order is a religious and political institution and the 12 of July parades and other events are political events and not cultural events per se. I do not see that it is the business of the state to use public funds to facilitate the promotion of a particular religious and political viewpoint.

    Where large scale public events are taking place it makes sense that those organising them are required to liaise with the relevant authorities, businesses and so on. I don’t see why the Orange Order needs public funds to do this — are they not a membership organisation and can their own members not make a personal contribution to this initiative?

    Given that public funds are involved for this project which is to resource a new development post, It’ll be interesting to see how the Orange Order meets relevant employment legislation in respect of recruitment. What are the odds that an Orange man will get the job? Interpretation of equality guidelines would surely mean that the Order will not be able to advertise a post that is only open to Orange men or even to those with a knowledge and sympathy for the orange culture. Maybe I’ll even apply myself.

    What is really going on here is part of a wider initiative to rehabilitate the Orange Order within the protestant community ( the idea that they can become more widely accepted on a cross community basis is a non starter– tolerated perhaps might be the best that can be hoped for) — whilst I understand the number of parades to be increasing — thank god that the membership of the Order and it’s influence on wider society is decreasing. I’m puzzled as to why the government want to see such a sectarian, conservative and backward institution rehabilitated. Are we expecting the Orange Order to come out in support of any new institutions here and a devolved executive in the future?

    PS In terms of public disorder and costs to the public purse for security , cleaning etc at any major event. Should those organising not be required to have an insurance policy in place to meet these costs and also to be required to lodge an appropriate sum with the authorities to be forfeited in the event of disorder or non compliance with whatever restrictions are laid down?

  • Pete Baker

    Miss Fitz

    Doc, heh..

    As for the other options.. it could have been much worse 😉

  • Miss Fitz

    Peter dear
    It was meant as a compliment

  • Pete Baker

    And it was received as such, Miss Fitz

    Please excuse my sense of humour.. it’s an acquired taste admittedly. :o)

  • Cuculain

    Its my party and I cry if I want to, cry if I want to……blah, blah blah.

    Like children fighting over a piece of cake and being selfish. My first thought was that how could a body which many believe is sectarian be promoted by Government? Well, some bright sparks said lets disguise it so that nobody notice the significance. For many bloody years these parades have not only been hideous but contra to any commercial or community benefits or without doubt antagonistic. How many see this initiative in terms of any peace agreement and path to devolution, parallel or diverging?

    What are Orange Order obligations and is it true British ness? Is it still valid ““be ever ready to resist all attempts to weaken British influence, or dismember the British Empire; that I will be true and faithful to every brother Orangeman in all just actions.”

  • Miss Fitz

    I dont see where your confusion lies here. I said I support any intitiative that will clean up and promote Belfast on and around the 12th. That means I would in principle support Orange Fest, but I also was trying to make the point that funding should be even handed.

    I hope thats clearer for you?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Fair_deal: “Tolerate the parades then no need for security. ”

    And what of the damage caused by, oh, what was your euphemism… ah, yes… “poorly managed bonfire sites” and “issues of parade management?”

    To lay the expense off on one side simply ignores saliant issues.

  • Miss Fitz,
    I’d agree with equal funding for events around the 17th March and 12th July, though I’m sure there are a lot of things to take into consideration in relation to funding that haven’t been mentioned here.I don’t have the details of what funding has been awarded recently though if someone has the time to look up it’d be interesting to see which community is winning in the overall funding competition.