Silly season sees surprise outbreak of cross-border sympathy…

THE Irish government’s Department of Foreign Affairs has saved the Apprentice Boys’ Maiden City Festival with a £27,000 donation. Meanwhile, DUP MP Nigel Dodds has urged the British government not to ‘bully and harass’ the Irish people for voting against the Lisbon Treaty.

  • Rory

    Aahh! Nice isn’t it?

  • heck

    really nice

    next the african union will be funding a KKK march in the alabama festival

    followed by the state of isreal funding a neo nazi march in berlin

    all for good community relations don’t you know

  • Dave

    To an outsider, it looks like the Orange Order and the Apprentice Boys are making a greater effort to show that being pro-protestant culture doesn’t mean being anti-Catholic culture. Most people would agree that is a good thing and would encourage more of it. I’m not sure about Irish taxpayers being asked to fund it, but that another issue. At any rate, the Irish government wouldn’t confine its support to those citizens within that territory who pledged allegiance to the Irish nation and to hell with those who didn’t. That’s just asking for trouble – objectivity and neutrality is particularly important when the Irish government has a legal basis for its ‘interference’ in Northern Ireland post-GFA that predicates it on “rigorous impartiality”. So, insisting that the Irish government became involved was always going to be a double-edged sword.

  • circles

    One second Dave. The Orange Order is anti-catholic. I mean being anti-catholic is the very stuff of its creation.
    What you’re saying is like claiming Ford is now anti-motor car. The OO exists in the negative space created by catholicism – without the anti-catholic jive there just simply is not an orange order.
    At the same time (and thankfully) the orange order and the apprentice boys is a peculiarly Irish cultural institition and deserves relatively as much funding as any other Irish cultural activity. So splash the cash Dublin!!

    I just hope this encourages the Apprentice Boys to start throwing gladioli à la Dame Edna from Derry’s walls rather than pennies.

  • Harry Flashman

    “I just hope this encourages the Apprentice Boys to start throwing gladioli à la Dame Edna from Derry’s walls rather than pennies.”

    Any evidence that this Derry penny throwing ever happened?

    I only ask as everyone tells me that was the reason the people of Derry attacked a perfectly peaceful parade in August 1969, thus sparking off three decades of inter communal violence.

  • circles

    Actually Harry it would be more than a bit facetious to presume that one incident where pennies where thrown from the top of a wall could spark of 30 years of intercommunal violence.
    I think there may have been a bit more to it than that.

  • Dave

    I agree that that the OO is/was anti-catholic, but the Pope isn’t too keen on Protestants, either – and I’ve yet to meet a rabbi who wants his daughter to marry a Muslim. My point is that they are trying to put more of an emphasis on being pro-whattheyare rather than being anti-whatthey’renot, and that is a welcome development which should be encouraged. Sectarianism only enters the equation if one group practices discrimination, hatred or in some other way harms another group, so being pro a particular religious group isn’t sectarianism even if it is frequently a basis for it.

  • Harry Flashman

    I agree circles but given that the unprovoked attack on the Apprentice Boys has usually been justified as pay back for the penny throwing incident, which no one I’ve ever met actually saw, I was wondering whether you could back up your assertion with, you know, evidence?

  • (Rory) Seem’s like it’s not another cunning plot!!. Hugs & Kiss’s anyone?.

  • DC

    “£27,000 donation” Just a few billion short until North and South could get into bed together.

    Hugs and kisses it is until then.

  • Dorothy Parker

    You can lead a horticulture but you cannot make her think.

  • POL

    Well the parade in Derry has been peaceful of late.And if a few euro helps keep them on their best behaviour then so be it.( Bending the knee to Dublin,I just love it )
    However the 3 grand to be given out to certain bonfire sites by local councils really needs to be revised and funding denied in certain instances.But i wont hold my breath on that one.

  • circles

    Ahhhhh Harry, now have you just backed down from asking me to provide proof of the cause for thirty years of intercommunal violence to asking me to provide proof for the cause of a riot at a march 30 years ago?

    Whether it actualy happened or not is secondary to the point I was making by the way – which was more generally that perhaps this will in some way close the traditional gap between the APs and everything Irish.

  • “surprise outbreak of cross-border sympathy”

    Don’t be silly, BG. It’s just a carrot from the carrot and stick approach to Irish unity.

  • “the traditional gap between the APs and everything Irish.”

    Everything Irish????

  • darth rumsfeld

    Hmmmm
    Firstly there are about ten Apprentice Boys clubs based in the Republic of Ireland, an their members are perfectly entitled to see their taxes spent on their cultural expression.

    If the event getting funding happens to be in another country-so what? After all the Irish olympic team is presumably getting some state funding to compete in China- and Team Ireland(sic) has also some British subjects in it, like wossisname the rower from Coleraine, or that swimmer named after a piece of cheese.

    Of course the real problem here is that our own DCAL Minister and ..er Apprentice Boy hisself- Gregory Campbell can’t find enough cash for this event from his budget, while HMG write a cheque for £6 millions for the Irish Language- and that’s in spite of voting for 42 days detention to help out Broon. Some negotiating skill there. Should’ve given Junior a longer shopping list at St Andrews.

    As well as showing up the ineptitude of the DUP, it throws a baleful light on the City Council. The parade is widely regarded as a model for resolving disputes ( personally I preferred it when youths kept trying to knock of my bowler hat with bricks as I paraded the walls a few years ago- reestablishing the motif and all that). And yet- no serious wedge from the Council; no symbolic opening of the Mayor’s parlour for the ABOD hi heid yins; not even to my knowledge any attendance at any of the functions planned by the Mayor- unless he’s reverting to an earlier life and joining the Drifters on stage in the Mem.

    It’s a little known fact, but the first Apprentice Boys Club that met in Dublin 2 centuries ago made the Mayor and Member of parliament for the city members ex officio. OK Durkan and Diver in the noble crimson is a sight too far, but wouldn’t it be nice if one or both attended the thanksgiving service in the Cathedral on 9th August?

    Or perhaps Bish Hegarty could hide in the Mem for the week from those pesky anti-republican violence petition signers who have been so irritating him recently? Perhaps he could meet up there with the Paisley family, who mysteriously ( and thankfully) no longer make an appearance on parade. He could give Ian senior some tips on how to improve his execrable News Letter column, but here’s a suggestion for that week’s column ” Lundy- a misunderstood hero”

    I’ll get me sash

  • RepublicanStones

    Dave post 3, sound argument.

  • Harry Flashman

    Sorry you misunderstood me circles but my point remains the same, it was you after all who first mentioned the old nonsense about Apprentice Boys throwing pennies from the Walls so I simply ask again have you any actual evidence that this occurred and if you haven’t wouldn’t it be the courteous thing to retract the allegation?

  • comfortably numb

    Nigel, must be learning his tricks from other departments within Northern Ireland.
    It is alleged that certain civil servants accused CMal of “bullying” Mr O Driscoll, when he wanted to change the terms of the lease that Drd had negotiated on his behalf One of which, was the failure to provide the performance bon required within the tender specification!!

  • This material looks eerily familiar, CN. Do you believe in ferry stories? 🙂

    Conor Murphy and Peter Robinson would appear to have major questions to answer about the tendering process for the new Rathlin Ferry contract. I hope officials and consultants have not been used to ‘bully and harass’ those who ‘obstructed’ the ministerial paths.

    It was very brave of Nigel Dodds to let the process continue following the Northern Ireland Audit Office intervention.

    Judging by the amount of correspondence coming my way there seems to be little ‘cross-border sympathy’ for Ciaran O’Driscoll aka CO’D.

  • circles

    What do you want me to say Harry? I know a guy who was there? I know people who seen it? Should I produce one of the actual pennies? What would be conclusive proof nearly 40 years after the fact?

    In any case I made no allegation to retract – merely an allusion to an event that may or may not simply be one of those troubles myths.

    And just to continue splitting hairs what I actually wrote was “I just hope this encourages the Apprentice Boys to start throwing gladioli à la Dame Edna from Derry’s walls rather than pennies.” Which means exactly what it says – if the APs were to start thowing things from the walls I’d rather it be flowers than coins.

  • comfortably numb

    Nevin,
    I have been following your blog with interest.
    I am given to understand that the ahem new passenger only vessel is pretty much “clapped out”. I wonder what the islanders will make of it?

    The majority of the passenger seating looks like it is outside (which I believe was exactly the criticism levelled at the Canna)

    In fairness The Ossain Of Staffa is a very well maintained boat, but I further understand that it is only a short term solution to what appears to be an ecer increasing shambles!!

  • comfortably numb

    Nevin,
    I read with interest that a lot of the documents you refer to are “missing in action”.
    Funny, DRD website no longer appears to have any “strategies”.Perhaps this is also a strategy?

    So glad that my hard earned taxes are funding this department

  • runciter

    Sectarianism only enters the equation if one group practices discrimination, hatred or in some other way harms another group

    The Orange Order is a political body whose goal is to establish a sectarian political environment. Given that they were originally set up to oppose the anti-sectarian United Irishmen, it is not surprising that bigotry prevails.

    The Orange Order exists to oppose Catholicism and Irish Nationalism. As such it is difficult to see how they could ever be anything other than a divisive foce.

  • runciter

    Ahem. foce = force.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Call me naive but wouldn’t this be an opportunity for all to remember an important occasion in the city’s life, without recourse to triumphalism?

    Have a re-enactment and a festival, but why the Orange parade on the walls and the need to visit the cenotaph?

  • Harry Flashman

    No problem circles, so you concede my point; the famous Apprentice Boys throwing pennies from the Walls story is a myth.

    You wouldn’t believe how many people in Derry swear it’s true, their granny knew someone whose friend told her that she had heard from a neighbour that a colleague at work met a cousin who was absolutely certain that his sister saw it happen with her own eyes.

    The way you confidently mentioned it earlier made me assume that I had finally come across someone who had hard facts about this infamous incident.

    Disappointingly it appears not, oh well maybe in another thirty years from now someone can explain why a peaceful parade by Derrymen on a summer’s afternoon was so viciously attacked in 1969.

  • circles

    No Harry I did not concede it was a myth – what I said as it may or may not be a myth. Just like it may or may not be a myth that Gerry Adams was a member of the IRA. Isn’t the burden of proof a terrible thing?

    But Harry, as you didn’t answer the question regarding what would constitute for you proof of the event actually happening it would be hard for anyone to provide you with it.
    To be honest it is off little relevance to most people today if it happened or not – the fact that it did is in one sides narrative and the fact that it didn’t is in the other, and these perceptions will beat any real truth hands down.

    If its another one of those lovely 6 county “you lot started it” “no you lot did” intelligent discussions you’re looking for maybe someone else will oblige.

  • jone

    Darth,

    Perhaps Gregory could reallocate some of the £12m given to the Ulster Scots Academy Implementation Group, given that they’ve only managed to spend about a £1m of it and seem to be doing precious little implementing

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7505447.stm

  • Harry Flashman

    No circles my friend, you rehashed a 40 year old myth and I asked you could you back it up (an actual eye witness would suffice) but you couldn’t, and no one I have ever met can, so can we agree now that no such penny throwing incident took place?

    Be honest, you casually tossed in a sectarian, tribalist slur, a lie in effect, and now you’re a wee bit peeved when I pulled you up on it.

  • Mike

    heck

    Could you give some sort of justification for your equation of the Apprentice Boys of Derry with neo-Nazis or the KKK?

  • circles

    Harry – the fact is you seized the occassion to trot out a hobby horse of yours in response to an allusion to an event that may or may not have happened.
    Now whether it happened or not neither you nor I know for sure – but it doesn’t stop you definitively stating that it didn’t (whereas I did give the benefit of the doubt that it either did or didn’t) – makes you look a bit arrogant really considering your flinging accusations around that I lied, when in fact your the only asserting “facts”.
    Tribalist decribes your reaction to the very mentioning of the possibility that perhaps, yes perhaps, the apprentice boys aren’t always actually innocent young men. Tribalist is also your enthusiasm in pinning the blame on “them ‘uns” with no proof.
    A thing which I didn’t do.

    Its ok – apology accepted 😉

  • circles

    Harry – the fact is you seized the occassion to trot out a hobby horse of yours in response to an allusion to an event that may or may not have happened.
    Now whether it happened or not neither you nor I know for sure – but it doesn’t stop you definitively stating that it didn’t (whereas I did give the benefit of the doubt that it either did or didn’t) – makes you look a bit arrogant really considering your flinging accusations around that I lied, when in fact your the only one asserting “facts”.
    Tribalist decribes your reaction to the very mentioning of the possibility that perhaps, yes perhaps, the apprentice boys aren’t always actually innocent young men. Tribalist is also your enthusiasm in pinning the blame on “them ‘uns” with no proof.
    A thing which I didn’t do.

    Its ok – apology accepted 😉

  • Triumphalism seems to be an important pan-Nationalist buzz word, Eoghan. Does it stem from an inferiority complex?

  • Briso

    “As well as showing up the ineptitude of the DUP, it throws a baleful light on the City Council. The parade is widely regarded as a model for resolving disputes ( personally I preferred it when youths kept trying to knock of my bowler hat with bricks as I paraded the walls a few years ago- reestablishing the motif and all that). And yet- no serious wedge from the Council; no symbolic opening of the Mayor’s parlour for the ABOD hi heid yins; not even to my knowledge any attendance at any of the functions planned by the Mayor- unless he’s reverting to an earlier life and joining the Drifters on stage in the Mem.”

    Is that the actual opinion of the ABOD on the funding problems associated with festival? That it’s the council’s fault? Because that’s not what I hear. Of course, I’m probably not as well connected as you.

    By the way, I’ve just finished Gebler’s acount of the siege. Doubts the Lundy as traitor version. Reckons he was weak, feardy and incompetent, but not Jacobite. What account would an Apprentice Boy recommend ?

  • ulsterfan

    £27,000 is a mere pittance.
    Surely the Irish Government awash with huge funds from the Celtic Tiger could be more generous.
    The Apprentice Boy celebration take the form of street theatre and we all know the cost of productions.
    With the help of Irish Government and a massive investment we could rival the Notting hill or imitate the Edinburgh festival which seems to run for a couple of months. Wouldn’t that be great

  • “I wonder what the islanders will make of it?”

    We’ve had a nice little puff from the Rathlin Community and Development Association but this view may not be typical.

    The shambles surrounding the MV True Light, the vessel that failed its MCA stability test, and the promotional flyer make me wonder why the Government chose not to continue with the previous reliable operator. Perhaps Ministers and officials didn’t take the trouble to look at the background of the new operator.

  • “DRD website no longer appears to have any “strategies””

    Here’s the official explanation

    The Department for Regional Development’s website has been experiencing technical difficulties over the past few weeks and we are currently only able to provide a limited service whilst we continue to resolve all of our difficulties.

    Never mind. Those who want to read some of the details from the second tender documents as well as the questionable scoring process can do so here. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the budget figures for the Rathlin ferry are, er, missing from the DRD’s corporate and business plans.

    I wonder if officials have discovered the source of the leak of Schedules A, B and C. They could have come from the DRD, DFP or the Tender Evaluation Panel.

  • Rory

    “£27,000 is a mere pittance.”

    It is in fact something more than that, as the News Letter reports:

    “THE Republic’s government is to fund over half the cost of this year’s Maiden City Festival in Londonderry.”

    “With the help of Irish Government and a massive investment we could rival the Notting hill or imitate the Edinburgh festival which seems to run for a couple of months. Wouldn’t that be great “

    I’m sure it would be wonderful, as wonderful in fact as it would be if an evening’s viewing of home videos of me and Herself paddling in the briny at Brighton might, with an injection of Dáil dosh, rival the Cannes Film Festival.

    p.s. The Notting Hill Carnival spans two days each August. You are probably confusing it with the month of August itself which, along with September, does…er, “run for a couple of months”.

  • Briso

    Posted by heck on Jul 19, 2008 @ 02:09 AM
    “really nice

    next the african union will be funding a KKK march in the alabama festival

    followed by the state of isreal funding a neo nazi march in berlin

    all for good community relations don’t you know”

    From the ABOD site:
    Apprentice Boys are involved in hundreds of parades every year. Is this not unnecessary, excessive and could this not be reduced?
    Apart from attending their local Church service Apprentice Boys Branch Clubs are required to inform the Governing body of all parades anywhere in Northern Ireland. The number of parades notified in any year is barely more than a couple of dozen. These are mostly small parades that take place before Branch Clubs leave in transport to the main celebrations in Londonderry on the two celebration days, and occasionally there may be a small Church Parade. Local parades draw the attention of local communities to the larger parades in Londonderry and serve as the local Club’s means of keeping alive the memory of the events of 1688-89 outside Londonderry, as required by the rules of the Association. Most of these local parades are no more than half an hour in duration.

    It appears to be convenient for some people with ulterior motives to lump the responsibility of all activities within the community of 1,000,000 Protestants unto the shoulders of the Apprentice Boys. We are an organisation representing up to 10,000 members and their families. We have no control over other groups with whom we have no links. We are not a political party and have steadfastly remained outside party politics in Northern Ireland. We have no affiliation with other groups such as the Orange Order.

  • “It is alleged that certain civil servants accused CMal of “bullying” Mr O Driscoll, when he wanted to change the terms of the lease that Drd had negotiated on his behalf One of which, was the failure to provide the performance bon required within the tender specification!!”

    I’m told that CMAL, a Scottish government owned company, didn’t sign the lease for the MV Canna until about 5pm on the evening before the new operator was scheduled to take over the service.

    O’Driscoll’s performance bond is ticked in Schedule A so it seems most peculiar that it should have been an issue in the lead up to the signing of the lease. If this box or any other should not have been ticked then O’Driscoll would have been automatically excluded from the scoring process.

    Presumably the NIAO will check each of the ticked boxes against the documents provided by each tenderer. Any discrepancies could have serious consequences for the Ministers and officials involved as well as for the Tender Evaluation Panel.

    The Safety of Operations box is ticked in Schedule A. One of the tenderers confirmed that his company supplied a Safety Management Plan (SMP) with the tender yet Conor Murphy made the following claim in a recent written answer to John Dallat:

    Mr Dallat asked the Minister for Regional Development if the successful tender for the Rathlin-Ballycastle Ferry Service included a safety management plan.

    (AQW 8195/08)

    Mr C Murphy: No. It was not a requirement prior to the award of the contract although all bidders were required to state that they would meet all necessary safety requirements prior to the service being commenced.

    How could such a vague commitment be scored? Why did both other tenderers AFAIK supply SMPs if they were not required?

  • Peat Blog

    “With the help of Irish Government and a massive investment we could rival the Notting hill or imitate the Edinburgh festival which seems to run for a couple of months. Wouldn’t that be great”

    Ulsterfan,

    I presume the Bogside residents would organise the alternative festival (as in Edinburgh)?

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>Eoghan. Does it stem from an inferiority complex?<

  • triumphalism: an attitude or feeling of victory or superiority: as a: the attitude that one religious creed is superior to all others b: smug or boastful pride in the success or dominance of one’s nation or ideology over others”

    Eoghan, surely it’s up to those who make the charge to defend the claim. As an outsider, I’d say that the OO is a modest organisation with a leadership of very modest ability. The ‘smug and boastful’ epithet could more accurately be applied to the Nolan Show 😉

    If you look at my Rathlin ferry posts you’ll see that I’m one of the little guys combining with other little guys and gals to rattle the ‘big boayz’ cage. Sadly, it appears that most of the Folks on the Hill are either incompetent or indifferent. Where are the ‘professional’ investigative journalists when you need them?

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>Eoghan, surely it’s up to those who make the charge to defend the claim.< >I’d say that the OO is a modest organisation with a leadership of very modest ability.<

  • I’d have thought my ‘modest’ statement was, er, ‘self-evident’, Eoghan. When I look at the OO buildings in this district, they’re not pretentious; the membership is smallish; and when I look at the OO leadership, I see folks of pretty modest ability.

    Pride in the organisation and a certain feeling of superiority is probably little different for similar religio/political/cultural/social organisations. Hence the use of the term ‘triumphalist’ smacks of self-indulgent inferiority.

  • Mike

    Eoghan

    You do realise that your reference to an “Orange parade” at the top of this page is inaccurate?

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Oh God Nevin, I hate it when the fantasist comes out in you now and then. Don’t tell me……….I know where this is going……………er, wan side is as bad as the other………..right?

    Mike

    No. Hence my perhaps naive earlier statements. What a great opportunity for Derry to have a festival without any kind of tribalism thrown in, well at least flouted.

  • I’m a realist, Eoghan. I’ll leave the supernatural and the fantasy to the, er, naive 😉

    BTW, limiting yourself to ‘one or the other’ misses out on the insights available through a more nuanced approach.