Missed opportunity in Downpatrick…

JUST listening to Talkback, where it was revealed that St Patrick’s Orange Lodge will NOT march in this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Downpatrick. The lodge’s reason for turning down the invite seemed to be over a lack of assurances that they’d be able to display or wear the regalia of their choice. There had also been concerns for the safety of the marchers, but either way, it’s all a bit of a let-down for what could have been a positive move for community relations.

  • willowfield

    Very disappointing.

    It would have been an extremely positive event if the lodge had taken part.

    The lodge’s reason for turning down the invite seemed to be over a lack of assurances that they’d be able to display or wear the regalia of their choice.

    I’m very curious as to exactly what “regalia” they wanted to wear and what “regalia” was presumed to have been unacceptable to the organisers.

  • Mo

    Bit of a shame that. Suppose there would be abit of a concern about safety from people at the parade drinking. Not slagging off the Downpatrick parade as it seems to be a very family occasion but inevitably some will stumble out of pubs etc.

    I think the excellent Kilcluney Flute Band (Markethill) marched in a St Patricks parade several years ago way down south and went down very well with the locals.

  • Kloot

    I think the excellent Kilcluney Flute Band (Markethill) marched in a St Patricks parade several years ago way down south and went down very well with the locals.

    The Matt Boyd Memorial Pipe Band, from Pomeroy, played in the New Ross festival last year and got a great reception

  • Mark McGregor

    No other participant gets that assurance, hence you won’t see a solitary Tricolour on display.

  • red branch

    Lets be honest everyone knows what regalia an orange lodge wears, a sash or collarette – orange, blue or purple. Some wear bowler hats – why no one is really sure but anyway they do. They carry a banner with either a historical, religious, political or local scene or portrait and they carry flags including the union jack the Northern Ireland flag and i have seen the Scottish flag and the Canadian one too.
    Incidentally it is a combination of these items not necessarily all of these that would be regarded as core to being an orange lodge in public. An orange lodge without sashes is just a group of men out for a walk!

    So identify which of these elements may be unacceptable to Nationalists and decide whether they are core to being an orange lodge in public. If they are core then the lodge is right if they are not core then the lodge is wrong.

    We’ll have to see!

  • belfastpete

    Why would an orange lodge want to march somewhere that accepts them, sure they pride themselves in controversary and causing sectarian clashes, if they were told they could not march they would argue they have every right to ‘walk the queens highway’ and start a campaign to get through the town, no matter what assurances the lodge will be given they will not march unless someone tells them they cant.

  • Mo

    “The Matt Boyd Memorial Pipe Band, from Pomeroy, played in the New Ross festival last year and got a great reception”

    Yep I know quite a few pipe bands who more typically parade on the 12th have paraded in recent years at St Patricks Days parades.

    However I think it was a particularly brave step for the organisers to invite a very upfront loyalist band like Kilcluney to parade at their local event. And fair play to Kilcluney for accepting the invite.

    “So identify which of these elements may be unacceptable to Nationalists and decide whether they are core to being an orange lodge in public. If they are core then the lodge is right if they are not core then the lodge is wrong.”

    Total guess but I suspect the organisers were happy enough with the banner and sashes (would be pointless parading without them) but more reluctant for Union Flag, NI flag etc to be flown. Don’t they ban the tricolour at the Downpatrick parade and encourage the St Patricks flag?

  • Oiliféar

    Red Branch, I too would suspect that the Union Jack the Ulster Banner were at issue. No-one would invite an Orange Lodge and expect a bunch of sashless pedestrians to show to have a bit of a wander about in their jeans and T-shrit.

  • cut the bull

    Is this the kilcluney volunteers flute band ?

    Does the colour party in that band carry UVF and YCV flags?

    If the band does caryy those particular flags, would it be expecting to carry those flags at the St Patricks day parade?

  • Lorraine

    it’s a pity the orange order can’t review this decision. somewhere along the line we have to become tolerant and accepting of each other’s cultural identities, which are no longer mutually exclusive. i believe the orange order taking part in this parade could be a small catalyst to improving understanding and toleration of each other’s identities.

    true, the possibility of trouble exists but that would come from “the blue bag brigade”, tanked up on alcohol, who thuggishly attack anybody to prove their “manhood”.

    i don’t believe republicans would orchestrate any trouble and would in fact welcome their participation.

  • red branch

    red branch: Some wear bowler hats – why no one is really sure but anyway they do.
    I once heard that shipyard workers would buy a bowler when promoted to foreman. If you spent your day shouting up scaffolding at shirking rivetters, you would wear a hard hat too. And the foreman’s hat became part of the Sunday Best outfit. In the country, might it be copycat? Or maybe stable grooms were proud of their status too?

  • joeCanuck

    It is a pity.
    I thought from reading the MSM that the bigger concern was safety from the inevitable drunken louts.
    It would be silly to invite them to come without their regalia. As someone else said, it would then just be a bunch of people having a walk.
    The good (great) news is that this is being contemplated.

  • Mo

    “Is this the kilcluney volunteers flute band ?

    Does the colour party in that band carry UVF and YCV flags?

    If the band does caryy those particular flags, would it be expecting to carry those flags at the St Patricks day parade?”

    They are indeed. No idea about what exact flags they carry. Whenever I’ve seen them in the past I haven’t noticed such flags.

    Think their band parade each June attracts massive crowds and close to 100 bands.

    I remember at the time they said they paraded with all their normal regalia.

    There’s a youtube Kilcluney video there. You can study it and plenty others linked to it til yer suitably offended.

  • nmc

    Depends on which definition of Republican you use. The 1916 version or United Ireland supporting smicks, pished up on a day which is rapidy descending into a copy of the 12th. My money’s on trouble.

    Lol Pete Belfast.

  • belfastpete

    ‘Some wear bowler hats – why no one is really sure but anyway they do’
    Seen this on the CAIN website ‘bowler hat is seen as the symbol of the British gentleman, and it has been suggested that it represents a symbol of authority as it was worn by the foreman on building sites or at the famous Belfast shipyards.’

  • joeCanuck

    Just out of curiosity, are individual lodges associated with particular branches of Christianity?
    And are members of the COI called Anglicans?

  • cut the bull

    Mo calm yourself I was simply asking a question whether this band carries UVF and YCV flags and your jumping to the conclusion that Iam looking to be offended.

    If I choose to be offended or unoffended dont worry I will let you know, but at least allow me to make that choice.

  • – the real – Red branch

    yep, i can see where people are coming from regarding the Union Flag and the Northern Ireland Flag (thuough as a unionist I coould start the flag of the country arguement but not now) – I would even support the Cross of St patrick idea.

    The question is are the Union Flag and the Northern Ireland Flag core to the identity of an Orange Lodge in public? As far as I can recollect most orange lodges don’t carry flags at the head of a lodge, just at the head of the parade – the district colour party.

    Personally I don’t think that the mention flags are core to an Orange lodge identity in public. So if thats the problem then the Lodge should rethink, if that’s not the issue then???

  • Mo

    “Mo calm yourself I was simply asking a question whether this band carries UVF and YCV flags and your jumping to the conclusion that Iam looking to be offended.

    If I choose to be offended or unoffended dont worry I will let you know, but at least allow me to make that choice.”

    Perfectly calm thanks! Although I happily admit I assumed from your original post that you were eager to jump on the offended bus.

    From what I’ve seen Kilcluney aren’t one of the bands who embrace the whole UVK/YCV 1912 thing which I think is a wise move. However while I enjoy the flute bands I’m no expert about them so I’m open to correction.

  • red branch

    joec

    as far as i know lodges are denominationally mixed, some may be historically linked to a local church etc and therefore may draw the majority of their membership from that church but that won’t be exclusively the case.

  • cut the bull

    Thats sound enough Mo, but I must admit I do have problems with UVF and YCV flags and the type of bands that carry those flags and flags in general if they are used and abused.

    Red Branch I’m not sure that flags have a particular relevence to the Orange Order as the Grand Lodge of Ireland and the lodges based in the tewnty six counties dont seem to carry the tri colour.

    The above is not a tongue in cheek comment but what i think is an honest observation.

  • Prince Eoghan

    I’m sure the OO were just testing the water here.

    Perhaps when their obvious attitudes to all things Irish soften, then they will be able to appreciate just how big a gesture it was by the organisers to invite a well known triumphalist hate group. Sometimes things like this have to be done to drag the Neanderthals where they are clearly not willing to go. So fair play to Downpatrick.

    Politics was at play here, and the OO showed yet again that they are shite at it, even when the involuntary opponents(organisers) are not even playing. Symbols and flags indeed! Perhaps a positive in all of this is that any modernisers in the OO will have their hand strenghthened.

  • lib2016

    Surely there are plenty of bands about. Would it not be possible for another band to take their place?

    BTW we seem to have reached the usual question. Just what is the connection between the band and the Lodge? Does anyone know?

    Sometimes we are told that the band and it’s regalia has nothing to do with the OO. This time we are being told that the regalia is a core element of what the Lodge is all about.

  • willowfield

    If the lodge is insisting on carrying the Union Flag I think they are being petty. Why don’t they take part but carry the St Patrick’s Cross?

  • Mo

    lib2016

    This is an Orange Lodge we’re talking about parading in Downpatrick, not a band.

    Bands are not part of the Orange Order organisation. An Orange lodge asks a band to lead it on the 12th for example. Many bands have been specifically formed to lead a lodge however not in all cases. Most bands and their lodges have been marching together for decades.

    Some bands will only parade at Orange parades while for others the Orange parades are only a small minority of their parades.

  • james orr

    When the full story emerges I think we might all find that this is cack-handed PR on the part of some local councillors – maybe well motivated but they’ve made a mess of this by letting it hit the front page of the papers before anything had actually been agreed.

    The plan these councillors had – to parachute a non-local lodge into the St Patricks Day parade just because they’ve got “St Patrick” in the lodge name, rather than invite a genuinely local lodge whose membership are local people – looks like a stunt on the part of Down District Council.

    Hopefully the lodge concerned will issue a press statement later on. My understanding is the lodge has been approached a few times by St Patricks Day event organisers both in NI and ROI over recent years. The media circus that’s happened today has probably killed the potential off – for this year at least.

  • hopeful

    I have to say I hope that its not a flags issue here – I know plenty of lodges which don’t parade with flags and the flags which are carried are just with the accompanying band. Anyway – the St Patrick’s flag is flown at Schomberg House so there clearly shouldn’t be a problem with flying that flag.

    Its a step forward and hopefully it will happen. Obviously people will want to feel secure in what they’re doing and hopefully this one didnt happen because unreasonable demands were being made by either side.

    Unfortunately it would appear that the flags thing could be the only issue – as mentioned time and time again, an Orange Sash or collarette is central to actually showing that you’re walking as a lodge – all banners show King William on one side and a religious/historical scene on the other so I’d be very surprised if the banner was the problem here. There are no other Orange symbols or regalia which could be any issue so it must come down to flags.

    Again, I actually believe a Lodge should be able to walk without a flag on this occasion. It might be different was there not a strict policy which is enforced ensuring that the St Patricks flag is the only one flown.

    Disappointing, but its probably inevitable that a lodge will participate in a parade somewhere eventually. And that will be good news.

  • Mike

    I’ve always viewed the Downpatrick parade as an good example of how to celebrate St Patrick’s day inclusively (unlike the Belfast events). The Orange Order should have been prepared to go along with the spirit of the occasion, St Patrick’s flag being the symbol.

  • Dec

    The Orange Order should have been prepared to go along with the spirit of the occasion, St Patrick’s flag being the symbol.

    Mike

    So your compromise is to parade under a constituent part of the Union Jack? Here’s the invitation the OO received:

    Invitations are extended to voluntary, community, statutory and commercial organisations to take part in the cross-community parade by:

    · Entering an entertaining float, vehicle or attraction in the parade.
    · Walking in the parade in fancy dress, traditional costume or club kit, carrying a colourful banner with their organisation’s name on it.

    ‘Heroes & Icons’ is the theme for the parade.

    Here’s my suiggested compromise: leave your political flags at home, everybody else manages to.

  • cut the bull

    I have been told that bands which march with lodges do so under a contract, between the band and the lodge and are usually paid by the lodge.

  • Ed E.Ray

    Maybe they turned the invite down because Downpatrick is a boring shit-hole?

  • cut the bull

    There may have been a fear that a section of the parade was going to be re-routed into the Quoile or the this Lodge just could’nt go that bit further and be seen as the Orangemen who broke the mould.

  • Rory

    My earliest sharp memory is of awakening confused on an evening in 1949 when an Orange Lodge attempted a triumphalist parade through Downpatrick to celebrate the electoral victory of one Brian Faulkner over the Nationalist Party candidate, EK “Ned” McGrady, uncle of the present EK “Eddie” McGrady. The consequent rioting went on for days and through a child’s eyes I watched as women and men were carried or stumbled bleeding into our little house which somehow had become a temporary first-aid way station, my mother tearing up sheets for bandages and the water basins turning pink and then deeper red.

    Downpatrick is the town that I love more than any other. My dear loved ones are buried there and it was at Inch Abbey or St Patrick’s Grave that I shared those first sweet kisses of teenage love. So you can only imagine the regret, the loss I feel that the Orange Lodge will not be participating in this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade. We were so looking forward to that little touch of élan, that joie de vivre, that sense of inclusive spontaneous gaiety that they are so renowned for bringing to any ocasion which they grace with their presence.

    They will be sorely missed. We shall not see their like again.

  • Harry Flashman

    *the lodges based in the tewnty six counties dont seem to carry the tri colour.*

    Don’t they? That’s a bit petty given that one of the colours on the Irish flag just happens to be their own (which is more than you can say for the British, Scottish, Northern Ireland, Canadian or Ghanaian flags).