“serves nobody’s interests.. apart from the interests of the crazies”

The BBC briefly reports the restrictions on this year’s 12 July parade as it returns past the Ardoyne shops (I haven’t located the actual ruling yet Parades Commission determination here) and adds:

“In the past, there have been disturbances in the area surrounding contentious parades.”

Hmm.. the Irish Times’ Gerry Moriarty’s eye-witness account of those disturbances last year are worth recalling: “What happened at Ardoyne was as bitter, ugly and raw as you can imagine”

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  • harpo


    What you have to remember is that certain ‘nationalists’ want violence reported in one way and one way only. Thus to these people the only violence that should be remembered from 2005 is the loyalist violence on the Springfield Road. How bad it was and how much it cost are the usual angles taken when bringing it up as the ONLY violence worth remembering.

    This ongoing violence by nationalists at the Ardoyne shops is to be ignored in the opinion of these same people. Even though it was indeed as bitter, ugly and raw as you can imagine. Blast bombs and every other sort of missile were used. But it is all excused by these nationalists if mentioned at all. On the basis that the violence was supposedly provoked by the parade passing by ‘their area’.

    It’s the same old same old story – loyalist violence is bad and is to be highlighted, nationalist violence is to be ignored, or if the subject is raised, it is to be excused.

  • slug

    Gerry Moriarty’s eye witness account is scary.

  • harpo

    ‘Gerry Moriarty’s eye witness account is scary.’


    It may be but you won’t find certain nationalists wanting to discuss it. The only violence that happened last year (according to such folks) was by loyalists in relation to that Springfield Road parade.

  • slug


    You could be onto something there. I remember reading Moriarty’s account last year. But had completely forgotten about it. Yet I remembered the Springfoeld violence. Perhaps it was because the latter came afterwards and wiped out my memory of the former. Anyhow I hope the 12th goes well this year without the violence of last year.

  • páid

    “What happened at Ardoyne was as bitter, ugly and raw as you can imagine”

    Bet it was no worse than a standard Slugger O’Toole thread on Orange parades.

  • slug

    Its difficult to understand the level of hatred these people must feel, isn’t it?

    I think Moriarty was ont something with “pathological”

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    I was on my yearly August sabbatical at the time, so I missed it completely. Excellent piece of writing. He makes an important point about what in international relations would be known as soft power, ie without the backup of ‘force’.

    It’s about people employing potentially creative energy towards hating each other, and that won’t be healed in the short term, or by a reformed Assembly – although a political deal would have some impact on the streets.

    What happened at Ardoyne was as bitter, ugly and raw as you can imagine. We are told the IRA statement won’t involve a commitment to policing; that is for another long, draining period of negotiation. But who then will police difficult nationalist areas if, as was evident on Tuesday night in Ardoyne, head honcho republicans couldn’t control a deeply disaffected, nihilistic group of young people?

    It’s also worth noting that the two Gerrys put themselves directly in the firing line (in the case of Kelly, for the second year in a row).

  • Pete Baker

    “Excellent piece of writing.”

    That’s why I noted it at the time, Mick.

    But, arguably, the two Gerry’s had their own reasons for attempting to control the violence.

    The PIRA statement had still to be issued at that point, after all.

    And if we’re noting the two Gerry’s activities, then we should also point to this:

    Adams and Kelly said the police were too precipitate in reacting, adding that their dousing only served to provoke the crowd. From where we stood, as the rioters showered the police lines for almost three sustained hours, this crowd, some of them shockingly young, didn’t need any such provocation.

  • greg

    Also worth noting that the day after the riot, assistant chief constable, Duncan McCausland, told reporters, “What we saw throughout the day, from early in the morning until late in the evening, was key Sinn Fein people trying to exercise their influence as much as they possibly could to calm the situation down.”

  • Pete Baker


    Thank you.. but so far, we’ve managaed with eye-witness reports on the day itself – not what the PSNI have stated afterwards.

  • joeCanuck

    C’mon guys.

    If people insist on marching through an area where there is a high likelihood of violence, i’m afraid i can’t draw too big a distinction between them and young hooligans,
    Why don’t they just march where they are welcome?
    And don’t give me any Queen’s Highway crap.

  • Brian Boru

    These marches are more trouble than they’re worth, but people annoyed by them should try to ignore them – they are intended to provoke. Don’t be provoked. Show you’re better than them. 🙂

  • grif

    Hardly surprising that there was trouble at the parade when the orange order ranks are swelled by senior UDA figures like, John ‘Bonzer’ Borland and his terrorist followers.

  • Rory

    We have not necessarily relied on eye witness reports prior to Greg’s contribution, have we Pete? But certainly “we’ve managaed” (sic) to rely on that very absence have we not?

    Mr Moriarity’s account is certainly colourful and he has been a good boy and dutifully read his Hemingway in class, in whose style he writes at least dutifully. But he quotes no witness, no testimony, but his own. And in any case he writes for the Irish Times which along with The Times expects no journalist to succumb to any imaginary vested interest of either its management or editor. Who could but believe him?

    Hemingway would be proud of his disciple (and the Toronto Star no doubt relieved and justified).

  • Prince Eoghan

    It would be interesting to know if someone has figures for just how many young people are hemmed into a small area like the Ardoyne. I believe that due to the need to keep certain partially empty areas of North Belfast Unionist only. There is over-crowding in places like Ardoyne.

    What young fella’s anywhere don’t react to a gang of thugs encroaching on their territory? Especially when they are over subscribed. I too though it was a strange retort from Pete to Greg’s comment.

  • fair_deal


    Those claims refer to the previous year and the nationalist violence that ensued. Excuses for violence are bad enough but inconsistency makes them look even more vacuous.

  • Yokel

    More success for the Orange Order. They still get to march…what was wanted by nationalists was there to be no parade and it looks like the Shinners who once were a leading hand in this situation have abandoned their campaign in effect.

  • Nevin

    [i]assistant chief constable, Duncan McCausland, told reporters, “What we saw throughout the day, from early in the morning until late in the evening, was key Sinn Fein people trying to exercise their influence as much as they possibly could to calm the situation down.”[/i]

    Greg and Pete, I think McCausland’s intervention is also worth exploring. Some unionists might claim that he was just brown-nosing SF to try to get SF to join the Policing Board but it could also be argued that he was trying to ratchet down strong feelings on opposing sides as well as making life a bit safer for the local community and his own officers.

    The so called Athboy strategy had helped place the ‘monsters’ in our respective tribes in the driving seat; it fostered a culture of lawlessness. Turning on the tap has proved to be much easier than turning it off. Gerry Kelly suddenly found himself driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

    You might wonder why this past year or so has seen a dramatic cooling down of the temperature associated with parades eg Ballymena last August.

  • Pete Baker

    Blame the lateness of the hour for the strangeness of my earlier retort to greg – it was more a response to the isolated quote.

    As for the two Gerry’s activities, well, as Nevin suggests, my own view is that there is little praise to be garnered when, having called people onto the streets to protest, they found themselves unable to properly marshal that protest.

    On Gerry Moriarty’s article. Whether you like the writing or not, it’s an evocative piece that accurately captured what took place – there was plenty of footage of those events too.

  • Nevin

    [i]Mr. O’Brien said that a crucial part of Mr. Adams’s speech read: “Ask any activist in the North did Drumcree happen by accident, and they will tell you ‘no’ ….. three years of work on the Lower Ormeau Road, Portadown, and parts of Fermanagh and Newry, Armagh and Bellaghy, and up in Derry”.

    “Three years’ work went into creating that situation, and fair play to those people who put the work in”. According to Mr. O’Brien, the Sinn Fein president concluded: “And they are the type of scene changes that we have to focus in on, and develop, and exploit.”[/i]

    The Athboy strategy proved vulnerable to short notice pre-publicity of likely Sinner tactics; it divested the Emperors of their clothes.

    Ballycastle this July 12 has potential for problems. The OO appears unable to control the bands who have loyalist paramilitary godfathers as role models and some of the North Antrim Sinner parapoliticians seem keen to make a name for themselves in the movement. Hopefully, behind the scenes pressure will rein-in the hard men and women on both sides and Ballycastle will be spared the Ardoyne/Whiterock experience.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Great community work by Sinn Fein, organising the locals to effectively stand up to the bully-boy orangemen.
    Isn’t it great when you elect someone, and they actually do what they are elected to do. Nevin, you wouldn’t be trying to blame the victims for having the audacity to stand up for themselves?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Seems like the many Catholic business people in Ballycastle have been intimdated into closing on the 12th by the republican bully boys – therefore losing their best trading day since the last time the OO were there. These closings may well cost them a lot of support in future as unionists take their trade elsewhere.

    Maybe this is how repulicans see the world, totalitarian control by intimidation whether open or couvert. If their own people can’t be free what chance Unionists.

    I would like to see mainstream Sinn Fein publically condeming these activities, that is if they aren’t behind them – like Philip McGuigan in Dunloy last year who had to be overruled by Martin McGuiness.

  • Stephen Copeland


    You and your ‘Athboy strategy’ … you’ve been banging on about it for years now, firstly in your UTC persona on Debate Central, and now here. Is it all really based on one ambiguous second-hand quote?

    Next thing you’ll be trying to bring your other favourite – the TUAS – into every thread. That’ll kill the discussion almost as quickly as the ‘Athboy strategy’ gambit usually does!

  • andy

    What is the problem with Athboy – why shouldn’t SF help organise/support protests against these orange parades?

    The only problem would be if the communities they actually represent are in favour of these marches (or at least indifferent).

    any evidence for that anyone?

  • Kathy_C

    Hi all,

    it doesn’t matter if the orange order fans get to see it or not….the orange order is being legally allowed to participate in their own version of gang banging…they just use a drum…but it’s still a gang bang and the tone is basically…croppies lie down and be quite about it….it’s the orange order’s right to bang in your neighborhood….

  • Prince Eoghan


    Gangbanging means something altogether different here. I’m sure the Orangies wouldn’t go for it, far too uptight. Republicans on the other hand are a wee bit more liberal about that kind of thing;¬)

  • Nevin

    Stephen, the Athboy strategy isn’t mine and I don’t know who dreamt it up but Adams congratulated those who played a part in it. You may have political reasons for generating a smokescreen but the consequences of the strategy have been visible for at least ten years.

  • Stephen Copeland


    Far be it for me to ‘create a smokescreen’ – I would prefer complete clarity. You have been going on about the so-called ‘Athboy strategy’ for years, so I think it is fair to ask you to fill in the details. Such as:

    – Your source? Is it just one person’s memory of an internal SF meeting? If so, who is this person? If not, who else can corroborate it?
    – Are there any other independent reports of such a ‘strategy’? Given the amount of infiltration that SF supposedly had, then we should be reading about it all over the place!

    And of course, the biggie: . So if SF set out to exploit the real anger of communities, then what is the problem? If that anger was there, it would have come out anyway, and the SDLP and APNI were not giving it voice. If the anger was not there, well then how could SF have generated it? You cannot force someone to be angry, except by goading them. SF didn’t goad the communities (or they would have been angry at SF, the way some Protestant communities are) – but obviously the OO did.

    All in all, I think your ‘Athboy strategy’ thing is a load of cobblers, but you keep repeating it to make people think that you have some kind of secret info on SF. As I said previously, you’ll probably fire off your other barrel too soon – your fantasy about the ‘TUAS’. I await it with stoic patience.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Hmm, html problems. Something disappeared in the middle of that rant.

    It should read:

    And of course, the biggie: So What etc.

  • Nevin

    Stephen, I’d a few problems with HTML earlier.

    Here is the Athboy reference in the earlier link: “The Prime Time reporter, Justin O’Brien, said that the programme had a transcript of a speech made by Mr. Adams in Athboy.”. O’Brien then quoted from the transcript.

    [i]So if SF set out to exploit the real anger of communities, then what is the problem?[/i]

    Er, IMO the Sinner movement set out to stir up anger and to force confrontation with the Loyal Orders; one objective was to goad the latter. This is hardly consistent with a supposed peace process or a form of reaching out to unionists that would generate a neighbourly response.

    Sadly, the Irish government, in the form of Dick Spring, initially assisted the process. They wised up later. BTW, if you want to uncover some of these ‘secrets’ perhaps you should chat to London and Dublin officials who’ve been involved in the parades dispute debacle 😉

  • Nevin

    OOPs the HTML mistake was mine!!

  • Nevin

    TUAS? Would that be your application of the Tactical Use of the Aul’ Smokescreen, Stephen?

    PS I’d like to reveal some more ‘secrets’ but I feel an obligation to protect my sources!!

  • Stephen Copeland


    I know about the Primetime story, but it is not verifiable. If O’Brien had a transcript, why has it entirely failed to ever see the light of day? And how can we really know it it was what GA said? It is all very shallow.

    The issue of whether SF wanted to goad the OO is a bit irrelevant. The point is that SF were tapping into pre-existing anger, not creating it. It simply isn’t possible to get people angry about somethig that doesn’t bother them – trying to imply that SF somehow did this, is simply trying to pretend that the communities had no pre-existing anger. But they did – the fact that unionists in general, and the OO in particular, ignore it says a lot about their attitude towards Catholic communities.

  • Nevin

    Stephen, the Athboy strategy and the Spring briefing mesh very neatly. ‘Tapping into’ in a co-ordinated manner to me for the purpose of goading is, er, an acceptance that there was such an anti-peace strategy in place. As I’ve already pointed out I don’t know who devised the strategy or who dragged Spring into the quagmire.

    Meanwhile, up in Ballycastle, it appears that the Sinner leadership has put the Athboy strategy in reverse gear. AFAIK no objections have been raised by Sinner HQ to the Parades Commission ruling.

  • Nevin

    Stephn, do you think it would have been better if the BBC had stood by Enright’s questioning of Dick Spring in that briefing I posted rather than reinforce the ‘myth’ that the decisions on the 1996 Drumcree parades were taken by the RUC Chief Constable?

  • Nevin

    Polic Ombudsman’s investigation into complaints made against 2004 parade. Two years seems a long time?

    [i]The Parades Commission’s determination is that the following conditions are placed on the organiser and participants in the parade by the Earl of Erne LOL 647 on Wednesday, 12 July 2006.

    A.On the return evening parade, no music other than a single drum beat played on a single side drum, is to be played from the junction of Woodvale Road and Woodvale Parade and until all participants in the parade have passed the junction of the Crumlin Road and Hesketh Road.

    B.Supporters will not accompany the parade on foot between the junction of Woodvale Road and Woodvale Parade and the junction of the Crumlin Road and Hesketh Road. Supporters may instead proceed along that section of the route by bus, immediately preceding the main parade.

    C.On the evening return parade, the Earl of Erne LOL 647 shall join together with Crystal Spring Temperance LOL 903, Ballysillan LOL 1891 and Ligoniel True Blues LOL 1932. The four Lodges shall then proceed together along Woodvale Road and Crumlin Road before each proceeds to its notified dispersal point.

    D.Those taking part in the parade shall pass the Crumlin Road and Hesketh Road no later than 8.30 pm.

    E.The parade shall disperse no later than 9.00 pm.[/i]

  • Pete Baker

    Thanks, Nevin. I’ve added the Parades Commission link to the original post.