Hate Crime on Display?

The front page of today’s Irish News has a photograph of the ‘Union Jack Souvenir Shop’ on Belfast’s Newtownards Road yesterday. For sale in the shop is the Irish Tricolour for £5, obviously for burning at Belfast City Council-sponsored bonfires and other less ‘well-maintained’ gatherings throughout loyalist Belfast and beyond on the 11th Night. But the label attached to the flags by the helpful proprietor kind of sums up just why the ridiculous efforts to brand the 11th/12th as potentially an all inclusive celebration and gathering are doomed to failure: “FENIAN FLAGS TO BURN £5.”

Of course, as I’ve stated before at considerable length, there is nothing wrong with the 11th/12th remaining a celebration primarily/ exclusively celebrated by unionists/ protestants. But there should be no place for wilful displays of incitement to hatred in the form of flag burning, which clearly only reinforces crude sectarian mindsets like those responsible for this sign.

  • Maude
  • Ever since the peace process all this North stuff seems so petty and frankly irrevelent. Every principle of whatever color was for nought.



    Your reply was enlightening in it’s honesty and for what it’s worth here’s my take on it.
    I went out of my way to go into Belfast City centre to witness the Twelfth as much out of curiousity as anything else, in the same way two dogs sniff each other when the meet. I totally accept that alcohol takes over many public events and I despise the chavs who ruin St. Patrick’s Day as much as I abhor the drunks who take over Royal Avenue on July 12. I know that many people who attend these events see it as purely a cultural or religious festival especially the rural lodges which have to exist in areas where they are a minority. There are some very good bands who can knock out a good tune, even some of the ones that carry paramilitary symbols. HOWEVER that is the crux, despite what many Unionists and Orangemen might say about the Twelfth the fact is that Nationalists just see the UDA/UFF/UVF symbolism and worshipping that takes over the entire event. If it was just about the Orange Order parading, as much as I disagree with their Biblical views and religious intolerance, I could maybe accept it and say nothing if they want to dander up the road BUT it’s NOT. When Catholic communities witness Loyalist killer gangs marshalling and escorting Orange/Black/Purple Lodges they get angry and rightly so. When they see the Order refuse to condemn violence they caused in places like the Springfield Road and Drumcree they get angry. When they hear the Orange Order refuse to talk to residents or certain political parties WHILE their parades are stuffed full of Loyalist terrorists, bands display UDA/UVF flags & Orangemen carry banners named after dead Loyalists they get angry. It’s your choice, are you a religious Protestant organisation full of harmless old men going to church or are you a violent quasi paramilitary force in hock with some of the vilest killers this island has ever seen? It’s your choice!


    Today I am more convinced than ever that Orangeism and July 12 as most people knew it is dying on it’s arse. Coming home from work it was obvious that many people had taken off out of this place, particularly middle class AND much of working class Unionism. The tension that was there seems to have been lifted and only the diehards, benefit brigade and farmers seem to remain. In years past North Belfast at this time would have been a siren filled, dangerous place. It is very quiet. In addition economics has taken over. The retailers and big business have had their say and it’s obvious that the Orange Order cannot and will not be allowed to set the agenda EVER AGAIN. Many wise heads predicted this years ago and so it has come to pass.

  • Dan Diamond

    Come on the pope’s man!
    318 and 0!