Ballymena a cold house for Catholics..?

MAEVE Connolly reports on Ballymena, “a troubled town”, and its attempts to build a new future as the staunchly Protestant town struggles to come to terms with its growing Catholic population.

  • Seems the young Taig recently killed brought it on himself. And the Orangies restrain themselves even as they bully old ladies going to Mass. I look forward to listening very carefully to how the Orangies explain this.

  • Donnacha

    The usual way, I would imagine, Taigs. Through obfuscation and whataboutery. When I lived in Ballymena (briefly) in the early 90s it was indeed a cold house. I lived with a Presbyterian family who were as good as gold to me, but could not bring me into some pubs because my accent would have had me out in the car park getting a hiding in short order. By the same token, there were pubs that my mate could not enter without me. A sad and desperate place it was then and signs are it hasn’t changed much.

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s a really interesting and well researched piece. If you cannot find anything substantial in it to reference Taigs, I suggest you refrain from the sectarian bull baiting.

  • Mick: My post consisted of three sentences.

    Sentence 1 referred to this :
    The DUP leader offered his sympathies to the Catholic family and prayed aloud down the phone line.
    But commentators have said this compassion was not evident in the comments he made to the media.
    On the same evening as he contacted the family Mr Paisley linked the sectarian attack on Michael to the flying of tricolours in Ballymena, claiming republicans had broken their promise to Harryville loyalists.
    “There’s problems in Ballymena when people don’t keep their word,” Mr Paisley added.
    “If people are going to enter an agreement and that’s carried out by one side and then the other side flaunt it… they are causing trouble.”
    SDLP councillor Declan O’Loan said his comments were “disgusting and scurrilous” and supported the notion that the DUP was “at the core of community relations’ problems in Ballymena”.

    Sentence 2 referred to this : Mr Wilkinson said the much-quoted fear that Protestantism is ‘under threat’ was true in the environs of Ballymena. “Our culture is being attacked,” he said. Mr Wilkinson said Protestant people in Ballymena had shown “remarkable restraint” in the face of provocation.

    Sentence 3 remains current. :

    So, two sentences, a reference each, and a third one looking forward to further information. Frankly, I don’t think any further comment is needed but then I am not defending the sectarian set up in Ballymena or singing the old “Orangies under attack tune”

  • Anonymous Councillor

    “Council rules allow for a new councillor belonging to the party of the deceased to be co-opted.”

    What actually happens is that a name can be proposed as a co-option to replace the deceased. If there is not unanimity on the council, and if even 1 out of 20 objects, by law there has to be a by election, unless the vacancy occurs after 1 January on an election year.

    The problem in a multi seat electoral area under PR voting, is that a by election for 1 seat basically turns into a first past the post contest, which in this case would have mitigated against the SDLP. Petty mindedness and a lack of civic leadership on behalf of the DUP, without thought to the ensuing negative PR for the borough.

    “Catholics are despondent about a council which they believe puts the interests of Protestant constituents ahead of everyone else.”
    That is a sweeping statement and IMO lazy journalism. What particular Council functions are being carried out in favour of one particular religious sect in Ballymena? Bin collections, street sweeping, location of play parks, dog fouling by laws???? If she had said the rhetoric of the majority party on Council, then that is perhaps a different story…but then again remember the lack of power which district councils have ‘wielded’ since 1973.

  • and Ballymena in the news today
    DISORDER PLEA FROM TOP COP
    BALLYMENA should not be used as a local ‘base’ by criminal elements reacting to disorder in other parts of Northern Ireland, the area’s top police chief has said.

  • seabhac siulach

    Well said, Taigs…I concur (as they say).
    The bigoted sectarian nature of certain Unionist areas/groups must be, at least, recognised if the problem is to ever be dealt with. It is not correct to say ‘both sides are as bad as each other’, as any fair/objective study (even a quick search on Google) will quickly show that not to be the case. In no Nationalist town where Unionists are the minority do we hear of similar attacks/intimidation, etc. Is this issue of sectarianism a blind spot for ‘reasonable’ Unionists?

  • seabhac siulach

    That word crossed out is b-i-g-o-t-e-d

  • Nevin

    [i]However, while co-opting is common practice elsewhere, the DUP would not permit the move and instead forced a by-election. It was clear that in a head-to-head contest, the SDLP could not hold the seat it had captured in the local government election.

    In protest the SDLP did not put forward a candidate and so the DUP’s William Wilkinson – its youngest councillor at 29 – was elected.[/i]

    Had the reporter done a little more research she’d have discovered that the, er, SDLP had taken a seat from the DUP in Moyle’s Ballycastle ward in 2003 following a DUP resignation. The SDLP ‘opportunism’ was short lived; SF gained this seat in 2005.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if reporters carried out more independent analysis and relied less on the regurgitation of party propaganda?

  • nmc

    A few recent gems perpertrated by the DUP, some mentioned in the article some not.

    Voting down a motion to tackle sectarianism in the aftermath of the McIlveen murder, because it was tabled by Monica Digney.

    Saying publicly that Michael McIlveen wouldn’t get into heaven.

    Saying publicly that hurricane Katrina was punishment from God for all of the homosexuality and other evils that are a result of the mardi gras.

    I originally come from Ballymena, and from the people I know in the town, I feel that the behaviour and sentiments of the DUP in Ballymena do not represent the majority of Unionists in the town. I believe that many of the people who voted for the DUP will be disgusted at these statements/actions.

    They refuse to work with Monica Digney simply because she is a republican, so in effect they don’t respect the voters in the town, and will do as they please. If they don’t like what the other councillors do, they will take they’re ball and piss off home.

  • G

    Not on here to condone any sectarian behaviour that goes on in Ballymena, that has to stop if progess is to be made across NI.

    But to hear lines such as “In no Nationalist town where Unionists are the minority do we hear of similar attacks/intimidation, etc.” is just ignoring the truth.

    This is almost as stupid as the line often peddled that the republicans are/were not bigoted!

    We don’t hear it anymore because that job has been done years ago by sf/ira, the prod population has had to move away. You could look to a number of places for examples of this, take a look at Newry for 1.

  • seabhac siulach

    G:
    “We don’t hear it anymore because that job has been done years ago by sf/ira, the prod population has had to move away. You could look to a number of places for examples of this, take a look at Newry for 1.”

    This IS condoning Unionist violence by dressing it up in whayaboutery…but it doesn’t wash…
    Mentioning Newry, we could equally also talk about all the places where the catholic population had to move away. In fact, we could easily quote examples from both sides from history where each sides population felt compelled to move, but so what? We are talking about the present day here, not some events that happened 20 years ago when things were ‘hotter’ and rioting, bombings, shootings etc. were much more common. And besides it is not the size of the ‘minority’ in each town/village that matters, but how that minority is treated by the majority. In this Newry is far ahead of Ballymena, let us say.

    At the moment, and the media coverage bears this out, the main source of intimidation and sectarianism is coming from the Unionist side.
    Where was the equivalent on the Nationalist side of the shameful acts in Ahoghill last summer? Where the equivalent of the sectarian murder of McIlveen?
    We could ask, where on the Unionist side is the evidence for a new beginning, of showing tolerance we should expect after the GFA and the peace process?
    By the way, ~10% of Newry’s population are Protestant…why then do we not hear weekly/monthly reports of outrages being carried out against them? A media reluctant to go after Nationalists/Republicans? Hardly…
    It is because they ARE NOT HAPPENING!

    Less of this rose-tinted view of Unionist society, where every problem is based on the IRA bogeyman, and a more balanced grown-up assessment of the deep problems of sectarianism in Unionist society would be welcome.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Anecdotal I know seabhac, but a friend of mine moved out of Newry last year, due to a campaign of low-level intimidation from local Republican ‘elements.’
    He had had the temerity to fly the United Kingdom flag on a part of the United Kingdom, ie his house, in the run-up to the 12th.
    The balanced and tolerant reaction of local thugs was to throw bricks through his windows, pour green paint over his car and on one occasion, spit at him in the street.
    I was reminded of a trip to Donegal in the early 90s. We called at a small isolated B&B guesthouse early in the season and the landlady asked us to take a seat in the living room while the room was made up. I mistakenly went into the wrong room, to find her husband frantically taking down a large portrait of the Queen. When we walked in his expression could only be described as one of abject terror. Tolerance of the minority community anyone?
    I’m not trying to excuse the current goings-on in Ballymena, but can we have a bit less of this idea that Nationalists/Republicans are non-sectarian, non-criminal, non-rascist models of tolerance.
    And while you’re at it seab, can you provide us with a few examples of ‘nationalist areas’ which have become ‘unionist areas’ in the last say 20 years? I’m not expecting a comprehensive list — let’s say half a dozen examples? Cheers.

  • gg

    To say that Ballymena is a cold house solely for Catholics is a bit facile. I agree totally that the DUP in Ballymena are a disgrace and embrassment to the town, yet to blame the council for everything which happens there shows a lack of understanding of politics, and also of basic reality.

    It is also important to note that it is not just Unionists in the town who are doing the intimidating. Dunclug was once mixed, a very pleasant place to live by all accounts, but the process of sectarian ghettoisation has been forced by low-class republican elements. If the appearance of those tricolours is not intimidation and territorial demarcation, then, pray, what is it? Why did they suddenly appear after 30 years in an area which saw harmonius coexistance? Who is cranking the segregation ratchet in that case? What is to gain except more sectarian strife? It is just as bad as the Orange encroachment into the new estates in Stoneyford, which I equally condemn. And the unspeakable scenes in Harryville too.

  • Ranier

    anonymous Councillor, you said
    ‘What particular Council functions are being carried out in favour of one particular religious sect in Ballymena?’

    If this is the case, then why not elect a Sinn Fein or SDLP councillor to the mayor position? It would be a token gesture that would show support and willingness on behalf of the DUP to move forward for an inclusive and egalitarian society, regardless of creed.

    It would be welcome good press for Ballymena after the stories of recent months.

  • “It is because they ARE NOT HAPPENING!”

    That’s blatant lies. 5 minutes hunting on Google and you can uncover some of them. The Pat Finucane Centre alone has an attack on an Orange Hall and a Protestant family being forced from their home.

    However interesting all this may be, it doesn’t really get to the bottom of sectarian problems in Ballymena (nor, obviously, excuse them).

  • reality check

    taigs-dont forget the venomous outbursts by davy tweed(he claimed young michael mcilveen wasnt brought up right and that relatives of his had been involved in forcing protestants from the top end of the town)all very credible stuff from a man convicted of assault and proved what he a big man he is by harrassing mass goers at harryville chapel.and of course arch bigot roy gillespie who stated michael wouldn’t go to heaven because of his catholic faith.i suppose they go to hel roy

  • Let’s not also forget Roy Gillespie is the same nutcase who warned parents that Harry Potter was a dangerous “cult”. It would seem the problems in Ballymena extend beyond sectarianism.

  • seabhac siulach

    Gerry Lvs Castro

    “I’m not trying to excuse the current goings-on in Ballymena, but can we have a bit less of this idea that Nationalists/Republicans are non-sectarian, non-criminal, non-rascist models of tolerance. ”

    Okay so there is some violence coming from the ‘Catholic’ side in Newry. I suppose I should not have so casually said ‘it is not happening’. There are always exceptions. However, while acknowledging that it does happen, it must be admitted that there is a difference in scale between the incidents originating from both communities. Very little of this low level intimidation/violence makes it into the mainstream media…so we must conclude that the level of these incidents coming from the Protestant community is far greater in order for it to even make it onto the media’s ‘radar’. While your comments on Newry are relevant, my point is that there has NEVER been a Harryville type event in Newry (or other similar Nationalist towns), nor a situation like in Ahoghill, nor an equivalent sectarian murder like McIlveens (i.e., by a gang of thugs hunting for a random victim).
    You must ask yourself, why that is? Obviously, individual incidents occur, but the patten in Nationalist areas is different. This must be recognised.

    “And while you’re at it seab, can you provide us with a few examples of ‘nationalist areas’ which have become ‘unionist areas’ in the last say 20 years? I’m not expecting a comprehensive list—let’s say half a dozen examples? Cheers.”

    We all know that ‘Unionist’ areas have been created in areas of North Belfast, etc. We could mention villages in Antrim, etc. I do not have time to make a list out…
    There is a slow incremental movement of protestants from the outlying areas of the 6 counties to the Eastern most counties…due to the fact that these areas have become increasingly nationalist (and so less attractive for some reason for protestants). This is not to say that they are being pushed out by intimidation, but merely choosing to live in areas where their ‘kind’ are in the majority. The movement of these protestants into areas of the East of the six counties is having the effect of increasing the number of protestants in villages/towns in the East (Coleraine, Ballymena, Belfast etc.), relative to the number of catholics.

  • nmc

    If the appearance of those tricolours is not intimidation and territorial demarcation, then, pray, what is it?

    The same could be said of the vast number of unionist flags, and the murals in Ballymena. The main reason (IMHO) for the recent intensification of sectarianism, is the fact that more and more catholics are prepared to express their political views.

    When I was growing up there, I was told to make my own mind up about the situation in Northern Ireland, and to keep it to myself, as being republican can be risky in a largely Loyalist town. In recent years this has changed, and people are proud of their politics and their views, and are no longer afraid to make them heard.

    So a large number of catholics in Ballymena start voting SF and there’s a nationalist on Ballymena Borough Council, and it’s at this point that the Unionist majority start to feel threatened. There are now nationalist demonstrations, marches and flags where they would once have never been.

    Leading me back to your comment on the dozen or so tricolours along the Cushendall Road and the big one in Fisherwick. These flags, (of the hundreds upon hundreds used during marching season and all year round), these few insignificant flags, erected in nationalist areas, are intimidating to you? Just imagine how a catholic living amongst the cacophony of red white and blue must feel every year.

  • nmc

    Let’s not also forget Roy Gillespie is the same nutcase who warned parents that Harry Potter was a dangerous “cult”. It would seem the problems in Ballymena extend beyond sectarianism.

    And the same council that banned the Electric Light Orchestra because of their devil’s music and the whole sex, drugs and rock and roll attitude.

  • mnob

    SS I sincerely ask you to read what you have written.

    If I could summarise :

    There is an acceptable level of intimidation below which Nationalist intimidation falls, but above which is Unionist intimidation.

    Unionists choose to move to areas where there are ‘more of the same’ whereas Nationalists are intimidated out of Unionist areas.

    Hello?

    As a unionist I agree the situation in Ballymena is unaceptable, but rather than ratchet up the ‘themmuns ussuns, themmuns ussuns’ argument I would rather discuss what can be done about it.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”it must be admitted that there is a difference in scale between the incidents originating from both communities. Very little of this low level intimidation/violence makes it into the mainstream media.”

    Agreed Seab — the incident I mentioned didn’t even make the local rag. Incidents such as this are more insidious, in that they involve only a few individuals, relatively low level intimidation and are often spread out over a period of weeks or months.
    Many of the Ballymena examples are much more in-your-face, and from the perpetrators viewpoint, hugely counterproductive. Perhaps the insidious approach is the correct one?
    Either way, NI is more segregated now than at any time in it’s history.

    ”these areas have become increasingly nationalist (and so less attractive for some reason for protestants).”

    You only need to drive through places such as Dungiven, Toome or Dunloy to see some of the reasons you are so puzzled about above. Tricolours, hunger strike murals and giant SF posters which stay up long after election time all serve to ghettoise the place. I’m not saying all nationalist areas are like this, but it’s every bit as provocative as union jacks and orange marches.

  • gg

    nmc

    You have successfully misjudged the point of my post and interpreted it in the old them/us way. You seemed to have missed my condemnation of the Stoneyford incident, and of Harryville. Flag flying and territorial claiming is wrong whoever does it. If Republicans think it is wrong, then why do they do it if not to be provocative back and feed the viscious spiral? That others do it is no excuse. I detest territorial marking through flags and murals. I’d be quite happy to see flag flying restricted to public buildings on flag days.

    “people are proud of their politics and their views, and are no longer afraid to make them heard.”

    I respect my views more than to express them by sticking a tatty old flag up a lampost. I also feel no imperialistic need for territorial gain to express what I think. Nationalism as a perfectly honourable ideal is worthy of a level of expression above this cheap and tribal display.

    “erected in nationalist area”

    No, a mixed area – Dunclug was mixed. The private housing around there was also mixed! No more ghettos – Republican nor Loyalist – are needed in Ballymena.

  • seanniee

    We all seem to agree for once.Unionists are a bit thick.Her Majesty(the great white queen) should not invite them to anymore Buck house garden party’s.

  • Anonymous Councillor

    Ranier Says…

    “If this is the case, then why not elect a Sinn Fein or SDLP councillor to the mayor position? It would be a token gesture that would show support and willingness on behalf of the DUP to move forward for an inclusive and egalitarian society, regardless of creed.

    It would be welcome good press for Ballymena after the stories of recent months.”

    Fair points, and one that has been noted not a million miles from Cow Town, but I’m not DUP and not on B’Mena BC.

  • Stephen Copeland

    gg,

    … I’d be quite happy to see flag flying restricted to public buildings on flag days.

    I presume you mean for both national flags to be flown from these public buildings?

    Otherwise you might be (unwittingly) guilty of exactly the sort of territorial pissing that your post appears to condemn.

  • nmc

    I have not missed your condemnation of Stoneyford and Harryville, I would expect that most people would condemn this kind of behaviour, and as such didn’t remark on it.

    Flag waving may be wrong, or indeed right, that is not the point. If you’re saying that the use of tricolours in Ballymena is incitement, I say the use of the union jack and uvf flags are the same. However in an ideal society, both national flags, and celebrations of national identity should be accepted by both sides of the community.

    You, I and everyone else, should be allowed to express our political views in whatever form we please, while acting within the law, obviously. So if you don’t want to put up a flag, don’t, however I think it is a bit rich to say that the 2 or 3 percent of flags in ballymena that are tricolours are intimidating, or indeed wrong.

    As for Dunclug being mixed, I wouldn’t suggest that anywhere in Ballymena is 100% caholic or protestant. When I was at school, (St. Mary’s P.S. in Harryville), there were a number of catholic students living in Ballykeel, however Ballykeel was then and is now a protestant estate. Dunclug when I was growing up, was most definitely a catholic estate.

    In summation, for the most part we are in agreement, and I do agree with the point that the current upsurge in sectarianism is the result of events perpetrated by both sides of the community, but to describe the few tricolours in Ballymena as intimidating to a loyalist, is having a laugh.

  • Reader

    Stephen Copeland: I presume you mean for both national flags to be flown from these public buildings?
    There are British public buildings, maintained by the UK taxpayer, and there is Maryfield, a part of which is/was jointly funded. But are there any public buildings here sponsored by the Irish Government? But any time the Irish Government offers to pick up part of the tab for the subvention, try your proposal again…

  • Stephen Copeland

    Reader,

    You cannot create any kind of balance, or mutual respect, if your starting point is that the symbols of only one side may be displayed. While you cannot speak for gg (and it was him or her that I was addressing), your approach appears to be the sort of cultural domination that got us into the mess we’re in, in the first place. Its called triumphalism, but it is mis-named, because it creates its own resistance and ultimately its own defeat.

  • gg

    Stephen Copeland

    As a fan of heraldry I think councils should use their own banners of arms, and the already PSNI have their own flag – perhaps we need a nice new inclusive flag for such purposes for governmental buildings. What do you think? We could even have a design competition. Let’s find a shared symbol. Instead of flying two flags, we could save cloth and use one.

    nmc

    “describe the few tricolours in Ballymena as intimidating to a loyalist”

    I’m not too bothered whether it is intimidating to loyalists – live by the sword and all that…

    If you really need to fly flags, its best to do it inside estates where they cause no uproar, but not on the main roads. It is not pleasant for those of us who would prefer to move on from sectarianism and recognise that spaces should be shared. The Antrim Road is, for example, equally unsavoury.

  • ulick magee

    As a matter of principle can we all aplaud the loyalist protestent communities for supporting:

    1. The economies of Vietnam, Philippines and China by purchasing large quanties of flags of them each year. Let’s keep them in emplyoment.

    2. For managing to remove every piece of shitty rubbish for their bonfires and poluting the atmosphere and contaminating the ground for years to come.

    3. For showing to the world that nazi’s and Klan’s men arent the only people to march up down, carrying flags in areas their not welcome.

    4. By reminding every ethnic and religious tradition in the country that they are indeed the chosen people so everyone else can go fup off.

    5. By wasting taxpayers money and council money cleaning up after their waste. Using and abusing the valiant emergency services of this country.

    6. To show to all that orange is a popular colour even though few except Dutch people wear it.

    7. By encouraging large numbers of northern Irish people to flee abroad thus supporting foreign economies through the 12th week.

    8. By showing that Oranges aren’t the only fruit ….oh yea Paul Berry has left the DUP

    9. By allowing the BBC to clearly waste time and effort filming farmers with long nose hairs and interviewing men who whistle when they talk.

    10. Finally for holding back a nation so eager to embrace the 21st century but stiffled by moron politicians from all sides

    Thanks

  • nmc

    its best to do it inside estates where they cause no uproar

    Explain Fisherwick then? Uproar there most certainly was, and the flag is erected on a flagpole in the middle of the estate.

  • gg

    nmc

    ‘Explain Fisherwick then? Uproar there most certainly was, and the flag is erected on a flagpole in the middle of the estate.’

    I did say that I thought that loyalists had no right to complain about flying flags. Some of those people who decided to leave a certain factory to remove it need to grow up. Thankfully there are many people in the town who have more sense.

  • Reader

    Stephen Copeland: You cannot create any kind of balance, or mutual respect, if your starting point is that the symbols of only one side may be displayed.
    But I didn’t say that. I suggested that the union Flag was the only flag appropriate for British Government buildings. My commitment to equality lies in the corresponding assertion that the Tricolour is equally appropriate for Irish Government buildings.
    What does your version of equality look like?

  • frustrated democrat

    There are sectarian problems in Ballymena, however many of them are caused on the republican side by people who are ‘bussed’ into Ballymena from Antrim and Dunloy to create ‘events’. Many Catholic residents in Dunclug are being intimidated by these republican thugs to keep quiet and keep their heads down, I personally know several who want nothing to do with the type of activities that ruin their estate.

    The same type of thing happens in Ballykeel and Lettercreeve on the loyalist side
    except it is ‘loyalist thugs’ who are actually residents who are the problem.

    It is not the young people and children in Ballymena who are carrying out the acts that are the main problem it is the ‘godfathers’, with political and criminal agendas, behind them who prompt them to engage in such activities that are the problem.

    And yes the DUP are a mess and Digney, the Belfast resident, and O’Loan are little better in the coat trailing stakes.

    Maybe we get the politicians we deserve when we vote, there are few in Ballymena who deserve to be in office – PJ McAvoy & James Currie are certainly exceptions as are one or two more ‘younger’ members.

  • Reader: So you support Ballymena being as cold a house for Catholics as the grave is for young Michael McIlveen?

  • Michael

    A number of people here have stated that the DUP don’t represent the majority of unionist/protestant people of Ballymena. Why then do they keep getting elected?

    When you hear the blatantly anti-catholic comments from morons like Gillespie, Tweed and Wilkinson, you can see why a lot of people from outside NI joke about it being 100 years behind the times.

    If you don’t live in Ballymena, it’s easy to laugh at these fools embarrassing themselves. However, if you are unfortunate enough to be a catholic living there, it’s very dangerous.

    When you hear them referring to the “alleged” murder of young Michael McIlveen and stating that he won’t get into heaven because he’s a catholic, you realise just how deep their hatred of Catholics goes.

    With elected representatives like these, how could Ballymena be anything but a cold house for Catholics?

  • gg

    The Irish News said: ‘The south of Ballymena or ‘the bottom of the town’ is predominantly Protestant while the north is mixed with a higher percentage of Catholic residents.’ And about Dunclug: ‘Unofficial statistics put the religious breakdown as 49% Catholic, 46% Protestant and five per cent ‘other’ or ‘unknown’.’

    As I said above, despite perceptions Dunclug remains a mixed area. In light of that, do people still think displaying the flags of one tradition is justified? Is it a helpful action for community relations in an area which is still almost perfectly balanced?

  • Reader

    Taigs: Reader: So you support Ballymena being as cold a house for Catholics as the grave is for young Michael McIlveen?
    No. But I am in interested in your reasoning. Can you reason your way from noting my opposition to SC’s suggestion that the Tricolour should be flown from British government buildings; to thinking that I believe that anywhere should be a cold house for anyone?
    And can I blame the IRA bombing of my home town on the Tricolours on the Falls? Or would that be equally pathetic reasoning?

  • Stephen Copeland

    Reader,

    … SC’s suggestion that the Tricolour should be flown from British government buildings …

    I think you misunderstand me.

    The issue is one of respect and recognition for the two traditions that exist in Northern Ireland. Any flag-flying protocol that strictly limits flags to that of only one tradition is unbalanced. There are a number of ways to achieve balance, and the one that you are ascribing to me (which, incidentally, I never suggested) is perhaps the silliest.

    For example, here are a few other possibilities:

    1. No flags at all. Through an outright ban, or through an increasing maturity of the population.
    2. The adoption of a neutral flag, as gg suggested. One that has no negative connotations for either tradition. Maybe each DC could fly its own flag, as long as it is ‘neutral’.
    3. Fly the union-jack only from the HQ of the British administration in NI (Stormont Castle, Hillsborough Castle?). It is not necessary on local authority buildings.
    4. If union jacks must fly, be mature enough to accept the equivalent flying of Irish tricolours elsewhere, as a balancing measure, without having a hissy fit.

    There are probably a hundred other ideas, but unfortunately most of them would require some measure of personal and political maturity and tolerance. Hence they’ll never see the light of day.

  • fair_deal

    SS

    “so we must conclude that the level of these incidents coming from the Protestant community is far greater in order for it to even make it onto the media’s ‘radar’.”

    An assumption not a conclusion

    “there has NEVER been a Harryville type event in Newry (or other similar Nationalist towns)”

    No there wasn’t a exact equivalent instead republicans went into a Mission Hall and machine-gunned worshippers in nearby Darkley, murdered ten mill workers at the side of a road and massacred 5 at an Orange Lodge meeting in Tullyvallen. Then there was the ‘accident’ in Enniskillen on remembrance day and on the same day the attempted “accident” in nearby Pettigo were the intended victims were those front-line soldiers, the Boys Brigade.

    “nor a situation like in Ahoghill”

    New Barnsley? The West Bank of Londonderry?

    “nor an equivalent sectarian murder like McIlveens (i.e., by a gang of thugs hunting for a random victim).”

    Trevor Kells murdered in North Belfast for a bet between Provos and INLA members?
    McKenzie, Thomas 11 July 1976 (45) Protestant
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
    Found stabbed to death, on waste ground, Divis Flats, Belfast?
    The IPLO spray job on a pub in Roden Street, they shouted Orange bastards as they murdered two?
    Also from what is in the public realm about the McIlveen murder there was deliberate targetting of him after a dispute at a nearby cinema.

    Also the manifestations of sectarianism don’t have to be carbon copies to have a similar degree of motivation and impact.

    “This is not to say that they are being pushed out by intimidation, but merely choosing to live in areas where their ‘kind’ are in the majority.”

    The statistics would show BOTH communities have opted for single identity communities not just Protestants.

  • gg

    “The statistics would show BOTH communities have opted for single identity communities not just Protestants.”

    Except, highly ironically, in Ballymena, which the statistics above show!

  • reality check

    can any unionist state that their ever has been republican versions of holy cross,harryville abd carnmoney?

  • fair_deal

    Also the manifestations of sectarianism don’t have to be carbon copies to have a similar degree of motivation and impact.

  • SpellingBee

    F_D said

    ““so we must conclude that the level of these incidents coming from the Protestant community is far greater in order for it to even make it onto the media’s ‘radar’.”

    An assumption not a conclusion

    “there has NEVER been a Harryville type event in Newry (or other similar Nationalist towns)”

    No there wasn’t a exact equivalent instead republicans went into a Mission Hall and machine-gunned worshippers in nearby Darkley, murdered ten mill workers at the side of a road and massacred 5 at an Orange Lodge meeting in Tullyvallen. Then there was the ‘accident’ in Enniskillen on remembrance day and on the same day the attempted “accident” in nearby Pettigo were the intended victims were those front-line soldiers, the Boys Brigade.

    “nor a situation like in Ahoghill”

    New Barnsley? The West Bank of Londonderry?

    “nor an equivalent sectarian murder like McIlveens (i.e., by a gang of thugs hunting for a random victim).”

    Trevor Kells murdered in North Belfast for a bet between Provos and INLA members?
    McKenzie, Thomas 11 July 1976 (45) Protestant
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
    Found stabbed to death, on waste ground, Divis Flats, Belfast?
    The IPLO spray job on a pub in Roden Street, they shouted Orange bastards as they murdered two?
    Also from what is in the public realm about the McIlveen murder there was deliberate targetting of him after a dispute at a nearby cinema.

    Also the manifestations of sectarianism don’t have to be carbon copies to have a similar degree of motivation and impact.

    “This is not to say that they are being pushed out by intimidation, but merely choosing to live in areas where their ‘kind’ are in the majority.”

    The statistics would show BOTH communities have opted for single identity communities not just Protestants. ”

    Any more recent evidence?

  • gg

    “can any unionist state that their ever has been republican versions of holy cross,harryville abd carnmoney?”

    Tu quoque does not interest me. Bad is done on both sides. Not bothered specifically who does it. Unerudite people in society, please join the enlightenment and stop causing sectarian strife, whoever you are.

  • fair_deal

    spelling bee

    From August 2005

    28th August
    Pro-IRA and anti-Protestant graffiti painted on property in Erinvale area of south Belfast

    27th August
    Petrol and Paint bomb attacks on the Fountain area of Londonderry
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4192350.stm
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=64311

    27th August
    Attack on a Royal Black Perceptory parade by GAA fans in Castlederg
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4192258.stm
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=64305

    27th August
    Hoax bomb planted on Royal Black Perceptory parade route in Armagh
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=64297

    27th August
    Protestant homes in Alliance Close and Gardens attacked.
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=64303

    25th August
    Protestant homes in Glenbryn and Twadell stoned.
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=64191

    24th August
    Attacks on Protestant homes continued as did rioting in north belfast.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4185060.stm

    23rd August
    Protestant homes attacked at Glenbryn area, Belfast
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4178746.stm

    21st/22nd August
    Three Orange halls targeted in sectarian attacks in Magherafelt area
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4178206.stm

    21st August
    Sectarian attacks on Protestant homes on Ardoyne Road and later that night at Twadell Avenue followed by serious rioting
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4174522.stm

    20th August
    Sectarian attacks on Cluan place lead to a night of rioting.
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=64041

    17th August
    Attack on homes and cars of two Protestant families in Rathfriland
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=657347

    15th August
    Petrol bomb attack on Fountain estate, Londonderry
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4150784.stm

    13th August
    Nationalist demonstrators attack spectators at the Apprentice Boys parade in Londonderry.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4149030.stm

    13th August
    Petrol bomb attack at start of Apprentice Boys Parade in Londonderry
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4147488.stm

    11th August
    A number of sectarian attacks on Protestants in Carnlough is reported to Larne DPP. This included an attack on the local Manse house.
    http://www.mortonnewspapers.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Newspaper/Article&pid=1103301679673&cid=1123664119662
    http://www.sluggerotoole.com/archives/2005/08/could_dup_bette.php

    3rd August
    Pertrol bombs thrown at Fountain area, Londonderry
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4740807.stm

  • fair_deal

    From July 2005

    26th July
    Arson attack on Orange Hall in Newry.
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=63075

    17th July
    Protestant homes stoned in Donegall Pass, south Belfast and Glenbryn, north Belfast
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4692103.stm

    16th July
    The homes of Protestants in Suffolk area of west Belfast attacked
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4689081.stm
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=62665

    14th July
    Bottles at stone thrown at Protestant homes in Cluan Place, east Belfast
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4683047.stm
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=62617

    12th July
    A Tiger’s Bay flute band and family members attacked by republicans at Brougham Street.
    Shankill Mirror news report

    12th July
    Republican demonstrators throw stones, bottles and golf balls at an Orange order parade on the Crumlin Road. These attacks are followed by serious rioting with petrol bombs and blast bombs thrown at the PSNI
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4676933.stm

    12th July A Protestant family’s home attacked in Alliance Close, north Belfast
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4677767.stm
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=62554

    12th July
    A busload of pensioners attacked at Greysteel in mistaken belief it was a bus returning from an Orange Order parade.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4677835.stm

    12th July
    Illegal protest blocks a morning Orange parade in Dunloy
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4675515.stm
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=62529

    11th July
    Orange arch destroyed and Orange Hall damaged in Newcastle.
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=62509

    11th July
    Petrol bomb attacks on Protestant homes in Ainsworth Avenue Belfast
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4673933.stm

    1st July
    Two children injured when the cars of Protestant families returning from a parade were stoned at the Markets, south Belfast.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4643223.stm
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=62134

  • Ranier

    How about we have an ‘Archive of hate’, whereby each and every incident of sectarianism, from the small and twatty to the extremes of murder are recorded and numbered statistically between both sides.

    Whichever side has the least scores wins the ‘we aren’t as sectarian as you’ accolade, thus ending this f*cking head wrecking debate.

  • Prince Eoghan

    20th August
    Sectarian attacks on Cluan place lead to a night of rioting.
    http://www.u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=64041

    Misleading headline;

    21st August
    Sectarian attacks on Protestant homes on Ardoyne Road and later that night at Twadell Avenue followed by serious rioting
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4174522.stm

    And another;

    23rd August
    Protestant homes attacked at Glenbryn area, Belfast
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4178746.stm

    Incomplete headline, Catholics attacked also.

    To be honest few of your links go anywhere. Sure unfortunate Protestants are attacked by thugs, is this news? Do they even compare in number the opposite way? I doubt it. As far as attacking a supremacist OO march, no sympathy at all. And the fountain, it is obvious to me reading reports over the years that at best it is eachy peachy.

  • fair_deal

    “To be honest few of your links go anywhere”

    “Sure unfortunate Protestants are attacked by thugs, is this news?”

    Yes because some try to deny that nationalist communities do these things.

    “Do they even compare in number the opposite way?”

    There is no central statistical resource. The PSNI centrally monitor the total number. Hugh Orde says both sides are engaging in it. The local DCU’s can produce breakdowns but only do so when asked.

    In Ballymena the last released figures 57% on Catholics and 43% on Protestants. The last reported figures in Larne I know of, there were six incidents 4 against Protestants and 2 against Catholics.

    “As far as attacking a supremacist OO march, no sympathy at all.”

    Nice commitment to non-violence.

    “Incomplete headline, Catholics attacked also.”

    Oh sorry that makes it alright then.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Just seen the rest FD. Again some terrible attacks. However The Claun place stories are very opportunistic. The Nationalist short strand has borne the brunt of many attacks from there, also your report tells of a Scottish orange band having a party there. Wonder what kind of party songs they were singing, just to serenade the local fenians of course.

    Many of your threads concern attacks on orange halls/arches. Are these comparable to holy cross etc….

    BTW, do you have a collection of attacks on Nationalists at your disposal?

  • Prince Eoghan

    FD.

    I suppose that I believe your whole point was to paint an innacurate picture using the tools available. Buffing up with double links and inadvertantly including parts that did not suit.

    ““As far as attacking a supremacist OO march, no sympathy at all.”

    Nice commitment to non-violence.”

    Ah now, Jesus was good at turning the other cheek. Human beings when confronted with such provocation as a sectarian march, designed to intimidate. Are usually not so accomodating. Or is your experience different?

    ““Incomplete headline, Catholics attacked also.”

    Oh sorry that makes it alright then.”

    Was there a reason for the innacurate headline?

  • fair_deal

    PE

    “Many of your threads concern attacks on orange halls/arches. Are these comparable to holy cross etc…. ”

    As I said previously “the manifestations of sectarianism don’t have to be carbon copies to have a similar degree of motivation and impact.”

    I did the above research for about 6 hours on a boring week-end after reading Sinn Fein’s report on sectarian attacks on Catholics and any activity by loyalist parmilitaries to see about comparable levels over June-August 2005. SF’s stuff had just over 100 incidents, my brief research had just under incidents (33 sectarian in 10 places, 22 examples of republican activity in seven places and 3 examples of racist/homophobic attacks).

    SF’s was better researched than mine as they used a wider range of media outlets I had to rely on two news websites. For example my figures don’t include the 11 anti-Protestant attacks recorded by the PSNI in Ballymena over the same time but SF’s dossier does include some of them. Also the SF caveat of the under-reporting applies to mine as well.

    Here’s their list
    http://www.sinnfein.ie/news/campaign/36

  • Prince Eoghan

    Thanks FD.

    How many were attacks on Prod/Unionist outwith the usual fountain/claun/Ardoyne flashpoints. Not meaning to score points, just point out the obvious.

  • fair_deal

    PE

    “I suppose that I believe your whole point was to paint an innacurate picture using the tools available. Buffing up with double links and inadvertantly including parts that did not suit.”

    An understandable suspicion but Slugger has taught me it is wise to have something to back up a statement. If I said there are attacks on protestants someone would go prove it and wouldn’t take my word for “I saw it the belfast tele last week”. Also the dual sourcing is because usually there is added detail in two reports over one.

    Also SF had done half the research so it was up to someone else to fill in the rest of the picture.

    “Was there a reason for the innacurate headline?”

    No the research wasn’t to document attacks on catholics SF’s report had already done that.

    “Human beings when confronted with such provocation as a sectarian march”

    Someone looking for a provocation will find it.

    “Are usually not so accomodating. Or is your experience different?”

    My experience is that if people want to live together they have to tolerate things the don’t necessarily like and learn to share space.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Great sentiments FD, if only.

    Would the kind of scenario not provoke normal people of any hue? I suggest it would.

  • fair_deal

    Beyond Belfast and Londonderry I found reported attacks/incidents in Armagh, Ballymena, Castlederg, Kilrea, Dunloy, Magherafelt, Rathfriland, Carnlough, Newcastle and Newry.

  • fair_deal

    “Great sentiments FD, if only.”

    Act out the change you want

  • Prince Eoghan

    Ok now disregard trouble resulting from OO marches.

  • Fair Deal

    Thanks for the Sinn Fein link. The Protestant quotes were interesting and illuminating: exterminate all Taigs, incinerate priests etc. And Paisley kicking off with the same tactics his hero John Nixon used from 1920-1922.

    I didn’t read the Sinn Fein list no need to. Or your list either. This should be a matter for the police and publicly accountable officials. But that is a hard thing to have in places like Ballymena where young Taigs like McIlveen bring their own deaths upon themselves if the local MP, “Rev” “Dr” Paisley is to be believed.

  • is that so ?

    seabhac sick

    “In no Nationalist town where Unionists are the minority do we hear of similar attacks/intimidation”

    Take a look at what happend In Newry (what about 95% nationalist town)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/4071664.stm

  • Reader

    Prince Eoghan: Ok now disregard trouble resulting from OO marches.
    You haven’t made it clear if your request is because you think violence is a legitimate response to marches, or just that marches ramp up community tensions and encourage violence on both sides.
    I suppose here’s one way to find out – do you want march related violence filtered from just FD’s list, or from FD’s list *and* from SF’s list?

  • Reader

    Stephen Copeland: The issue is one of respect and recognition for the two traditions that exist in Northern Ireland. Any flag-flying protocol that strictly limits flags to that of only one tradition is unbalanced
    Firstly, I had not commented on the flying of flags on private property, or on the highway – just on government buildings. So it wasn’t all that ‘strictly limit’ing.
    But now you have offered a number of suggestions for flags displayed on public buildings. To narrow down the field a bit, why not limit yourself to proposals that would equally show ‘respect and recognition for the two traditions’ that would exist in a United Ireland. And none of the usual guff about the orange stripe in the Tricolour, please

  • Prince Eoghan

    Reader.

    Let’s have Republican’s no not Republican’s, let some anti-Prod group of scumbags march in any Loyalist area. We could all watch the place explode. Now just how many attacks would that foister?

    Get a grip, talking shite is still talking shite.

  • gg

    As a matter of fairness I think we should mention last August’s events in Ballymena – after all, this thread is about the town. What was the attempt by dissent republicans to march through mixed (as the Irish News article shows) north Ballymena? I totally agree that OO parades are intimidating. I would prefer that the loyalist band parades in the town would stay away from the chapel. Some of the actions by these bands in the past have been disgraceful. And by heavens, as a Protestant I find the inherent show of strength message somewhat intimidating. But then, why feed the viscious spiral and do it too if it is not plainly to cause division and intimidation in a mixed area?

    It pains me that so many people who post on this site cannot see guilt within their own traditions. Just because the other sort do something is no excuse. It is pathetic.

  • fair_deal

    PE

    “let some anti-Prod group of scumbags march in any Loyalist area”

    1. The OO is not anti-Catholics group.
    2. The AOH holds parades in predominately Protestant villages without a problem.
    3. If I don’t dictate to the Irish nationalists how to express themselves I expect the same in return.
    4. Thank you for the kind implication that my membership of the OO makes me a scumbag.
    5. If a nationalist group applies for the use of a public road then it is up to Unionists to practice what they preach.

  • Reader

    Prince Eoghan: Let’s have Republican’s no not Republican’s, let some anti-Prod group of scumbags march in any Loyalist area.
    No need to dither – use the Provos (Kingsmills, LaMon, Enniskillen…). Obviously not a fair comparison with the OO, but I don’t think that’s what you wanted anyway.
    Prince Eoghan: Now just how many attacks would that foister?
    Goodness knows – now, how many attacks would you choose to ignore in that case? Because, in three pages of comments, that’s the issue that distinguishes your arguments from everyone else’s.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Reader.

    Still havering. Read again.

    FD.

    Back to that which you do best, fan-dancing.