Parades Commission & Andytown News give British Army their approval

The Parades Commission has approved the British military parade in Belfast on 2nd November, including last minute changes to their application moving the parade back to 11.45 and an additional band. They also restricted the SF counter-protest. The éirígí protest is unaffected as they did not apply for approval. The Andersonstown News has also backed the parade comparing protestors to Ian Paisley and those that opposed civil rights demands. [will they retract that next week? – Ed]

Update: Parades Commission determination on SF protest

  • Driftwood

    Just a point of clarity. And no political view.
    1 RIR was always the Royal Irish Rangers. All personnel below NCO are called such. It was never associated with the home service RIR or the UDR. While it served briefly in Fermanagh in the 1990’s, it never had any connection of note with the Ulster Defence Regiment, despite the 1992 merger. It has more in common with the Irish Guards (why are they not parading?) and the RN and RAF (who will be parading). 2 RIR is a TA unit mostly consisting of specialist personnel, Medics etc. who have civvie jobs here. This is for friends and families of the soldiers. I detect a lack of enthusiasm for protest among the higher echelons of SF, McGuinness included.

  • Brian Walker

    Without prejudice to the disbanded ex-UDR battalions Driftwood is of course correct about the distinction between the battalions and every nationalist over a certain age knows it. Congratulations to the Andytown News on a mature editorial. Many will spare a thought for Ranger Best, the young Derry solider home on leave murdered in May 1972 in his own streets by the Official IRA, against whose murder Bogside women fiercely protested and helped to wrap up that campaign. They understood very well that the Royal Irish Rangers had no part in the Army’s local role and that to kill a member of their own community was an abomination.

  • slug

    Mark you seem to have picked up some of Pete Baker’s style!

  • Mark McGregor

    Slug,

    Out, out damned spot.

    There’s a bit of Turgon ;0)

  • Ranger1640

    Just a question for the posters here if I read the Parades commission determination right:

    The Sinn Fein/IRA counter demonstration will leave Bank Square no later than 1130hrs and march 300m to approximately Queens Arcade (40m form Donegall Square North, Donegall Place junction) were it will become a static protest.

    The Royal Irish Regiment Parade will start at RBAI at 1145hrs.

    So the Sinn Fein/IRA protesters will be in place as the Royal Irish Regiment parade is just starting.

    If supporters of the Royal Irish Regiment Parade form North and West Belfast wish to get to the parade focal point at the City Hall and they travel by bus or on foot via Royal Avenue they will then walk strait into the Sinn Fein/IRA protest demonstration!

    Just wondering if the parades commission took this into their determination, that supporters of the Royal Irish Regiment form North and West areas of Belfast will be going through the Sinn Fein/IRA lines?

    Or do the families and friends of the Royal Irish Regiment form North and West Belfast not get any consideration form the parades commission?

    Pisst; can someone please tell the PSNI just in case they haven’t work this out yet?

  • Mark McGregor

    Ranger,

    I’d also thought about this. The timings and assembly point mean the éirígí demonstrators could easily enter the city centre as it can’t be sealed due to the ‘legal’ SF protest. Also those demonstrators are unlikely to face a ‘ring of steel’ due to the need to allow supporters in.

    I intend to photoblog the days events as best I can.

  • Pete Baker

    slug

    What works, works. ;o)

  • Driftwood

    I assume Hugh Orde can call on military back up here to prevent civil unrest. The reinstatement of operational duties for the Army garrison here should present SF with no difficulties since Defence is not a devolved matter. I look forward to Gerry Adams congratulating 2 Rifles and the Grenadier Guards for their handling of this ‘peaceful’ and ‘dignified’ protest by the Irish Special Brew Brigade (West Belfast Battalion).

  • ciaran

    ranger you did read part of it wrong, It is a sinn fein protest, the ira did not apply for any kind of a parade.
    Driftwood, The last time the army were called in to put down civil unrest here all hell broke out for the next thirty years. Please , no more repeat of that.

  • spiritof07

    So the Commission allows the paraders to parade and the protestors to protest. All within reason and without anybody getting their human rights trampled on. A reasonable outcome?

  • LURIG

    The problem will not really be about the 2 ‘official’ Parades. Sinn Fein will marshall it’s own supporters as will the RIR. The Shinners have been reluctantly drawn into this to take the heat off some possible dissident trouble at their march. It’s those not affliliated to both the Sinn Fein/RIR events who could cause problems. I think Unionists should give this a bit of thought before they throw brickbats at Sinn Fein. You will have Loyalists coming from the Shore Road and Shankill direction who will converge with other elements from the New Lodge and Ardoyne areas. Then you will have those from East Belfast possibly clashing with Short Strand/Markets areas. The cops will need a ring of steel in the city centre that day and as our experiences show, you can’t police EVERY area. Remember the Combat 18/UDA thugs who attacked the bars in Castle Street/King Street recently? I can see Nationalists in these areas preparing themselves this time. All round it doesn’t look good. I would fear for any innocent caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s a disaster waiting to happen and I think there are some politicians, especially within Unionism, who wouldn’t be too unhappy at this.

  • Pete Baker

    “The Shinners have been reluctantly drawn into this to take the heat off some possible dissident trouble at their march.”

    An interesting argument, LURIG.

    Spoiled somewhat by Sinn Féin’s legitimising of any protest against the Royal Irish Regiment parade by organising a protest of their own.

    Or is only the Sinn Féin organised protest authorised?

    Not to mention the fact that the éirígí protest had already been announced before Sinn Féin stepped into the breach, dear friends..

  • Driftwood

    LURIG
    I actually agree with you that some headcases will be looking forward to this. As for some Unionist politicians…I dunno. Dissident republicans defo. Big headache for PSNI, but I see no reason not to use the Army garrison here to help out. Might even be useful to see the British Army defending SF hierarchy. After all they do pay them.

  • LURIG

    Well then Pete I will say to you, is protest against the Wars OK so long as Irish people don’t take part? The most potent anti-Iraq and Afghanistan War marches have taken place in mainland Britain, especially London, so is legitimate protest here to be disallowed only because it’s Republicans and Nationalists who want to voice their disapproval of the illegal Wars too? Surely those Unionists who shout loudest about ‘British Democracy’ will know that Britain has a tradition of legitimate ‘Democratic Protest’. Don’t you want to see this in the North also? You can’t have it both ways. Those within Unionism now getting worked up about the Sinn Fein march knew exactly that there would be protests given the reputation of the RIR/UDR within the Catholic community. The North is not the same as Finchley despite what Margaret Thatcher said. Those organising the RIR parade also knew there would be a Nationalist response and, I would say, are quite happy at the furore. Some Unionists expected the Parades Commission to fall in behind the RIR march and also ban the treasonous Rebel Fenians. It hasn’t happened but I would say we haven’t heard the last of this. I can see the PSNI stepping in and banning the Sinn Fein and eirigi parades on ‘Security’ and ‘Public Order’ grounds OR lashing out at the protestors if trouble kicks off. It’s the usual form. I also predict a response from the Loyalist Uncle Andy’s and Big Mervyn’s who will now wade in and can see both sides now urging as many supporters as possible to turn up. Petrol, oil and a burning fire. It has ALL the recipes for serious disorder. Welcome to OUR world as Jim Reeves might have sang.

  • LURIG

    Recipes??? I meant ‘Ingredients’. I must read that Nigella book more often.

  • runciter

    So the Commission allows the paraders to parade and the protestors to protest. All within reason and without anybody getting their human rights trampled on. A reasonable outcome?

    A recipe for civil disorder.

    The parades commission should not have allowed this situation to arise.

  • latcheeco

    Did the Andytown news really say it was ok for the British Army to march on Irish streets or did I misread something? If the Andytown News are really journalists with their finger on the pulse from Andytown why was it a surprise to them that Irish people wanted to protest against the British Army?Are they saying that the British Army are now acceptable and their parades must be tolerated in the interests of fairness to the British people in Ireland? Mentalism! Teach Basil is now in early 1980s Irish News territory or worse.If Gerry (sorry the A/Town News) really thought counterprotesting was counterproductive he/they could have warned a lot of people a lot earlier, (say the ’70s and 80s). It would have saved a few cracked skulls around the place.
    Driftwood,
    Most of the headcases will be out marching in funny hats and funny suits and thinking how swell they look as they celebrate their contribution to two monumental defeats by shoeless tribesmen.

  • picador

    What’s the name of that song by the Kaiser Chiefs?

  • the future’s bright the future’s orange

    Decent piece by the any news with a good compromise suggested at the end.

  • All this marching and counter marching.
    Whatever about academic selection the next generation in NI need to cultivate hobbies that cuts down on the marching aspect.

  • bollix

    well done to the andytown news for a very mature editorial.
    they obviously still object to the idea of this being a “homecoming for heroes” parade and view the RIR as brutal occupiers of foreign lands. however, there main point, and it is a good one, is that nothing will be served by organising a counter-protest on the same day.
    if we want an anti-war protest, have one on another day, and reduce the risk of community tensions.
    Or, if i could paraphrase – “stop trying to f*ck things up”.

    Joining the “brits” may not be palatable for lots of nationalists, but lots of nationalists have done it. I don’t perceive iraq as a noble cause. i don’t perceive the british soliders as innocent and honourable in their individual actions there. but i also recognise that they too have had a crap time out there and are glad to be back home in one piece.

  • meh

    It seems that people were being told this was going to be a homecoming for an ” Expected Number of Supporters of 280 ” family members (http://www.paradescommission.org/parades/?parade=25327 ) Now? it’s being described by the newsletter today as ” Thousands of supporters are expected to gather in Belfast on Sunday, November 2 ” ( http://www.newsletter.co.uk/editorial/Our-troops-must-not-get.4621670.jp )

    I hope adequate provision is being made…

  • pacman

    Not that I give a fiddlers either way frankly (not happening in my backyard) but if I was a member of éirígí, I would extremely concerned at the following highly dangerous libel posted in the Newsletter article:

    “These are the same dissidents who have been trying their utmost to murder police officers and civilians all over Ulster.”

    Particularly in view of the fact that UDA leaders have calling for large numbers of people (presumably the beneficiaries of “the peoples guns”, which have yet to be decommissioned) to take to the streets.

  • iluvni

    Havent walked through the city centre for a week or two. Are there any improvement works on the streets at the minute? Hate to think the ‘protesters’ would have access to a ready supply of ammo as they did on OConnell St.

  • Driftwood

    Given the political ‘vacuum’ and rising tensions, this could go either way, peaceful all round, or descent in to violence, with the possibility of someone being seriously injured or even killed. Cue predictable hand washing and blame game. Hard to see the Executive surviving that. But maybe that’s the plan.

  • Congal Claen

    The Army are supposedly involved in Afghanistan to secure democracy for the Afghans. Would it not be ironic if the shinners were banned from protesting as would be allowed in any democracy?

    The parades commission have got this right. Now, lets just hope the same mature approach is taken to the Garvaghy Road – parade and counter demo without burning the country.

  • picador

    Just ‘cos the unionists on Belfast City Council invited the British Army to march it doesn’t mean that they have to march. The army should realise the shit that this is going to bring down and then cancel the march. If they can’t figure it out for themselves the Secretary of State should tell them. Have the homecoming in Lisburn, Castlereagh, Newtonabbey but not in Belfast – the idea is sheer lunacy!

  • Driftwood

    Congael
    There is the problem of the eirigi illegal protest. The police in Bangor are showing the way on this:
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/mamba-mia-police-halt-elephants-illegal-parade-14010092.html

  • Driftwood

    Picador
    Belfast City centre is the natural venue for the homecoming. The MoD are the organisers so it’s up to the Defence secretary. For the Army to call off the march would be a pathetic surrender to mob rule. SF’s attempts to link Afghanistan,the UDR (which has no linkage to 1 RIR or 2 RIR) and whatever they can imagine, is cover for plain old troublemaking.

  • picador

    Driftwood

    Belfast City centre is the natural venue for the homecoming.

    I would say that it is one of the stupidest places to have a homecoming. And apparently I’m not alone.

    Mobs are being assembled on both sides of the divide. MoD – call it off now!

  • Driftwood

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7689634.stm

    The people Mark McGregor and Colin Duffy are protesting against.

    Sad.

  • latcheeco

    Bollix,
    Are you suggesting that everything that went before was immature now that you are a grown up constitutional nationalist? I don’t mean to be awkward (I really do buy the ” remember Bik making toast for the screws” leadership line)and would hate to screw the six counties thing up for anybody, but maybe it’s not so much an anti-war protest. Maybe it’s an anti-brit protest and its not foreign occupation they are protesting 🙂
    Driftwood,
    Sounds like you’re excited about the prospects

  • circles

    Driftwood – sadder still that over 90 years after vacating the main part of the country the british army maintain that they still have the right to parade their troops through the gerrymandered statelet that they hoped to hold on to in perpetuity.
    And worse yet – the whole thing is to celebrate the return of a volunteer army who went off to fight a senseless war to secure america’s access to oil, killing up to a million civilians in the process.
    They are not heroes. They were not defending their country or families. They were at best completely misguided doing a filthy job – a job for which they volunteered. I am glad their families got to see them get home safely, but I dont see why what they did, or indeed what they are, should be celebrated through the centre of Belfast.

  • frank

    I noticed loyalists erecting RIR flags in East Belfast this morning. The paramilitary shop on the Newtownards Road seem to be selling them alongside thier uvf/uff/owc merchandise.

  • Driftwood

    Circles
    The British Army havent vacated NI, they maintain a garrison here, which SF signed up to support at St Andrews. Whatever YOUR view of them, their families are entitled to this.
    Latcheeco, No i’m not excited, I think the prospects for trouble are real, and will help no-ones cause.
    frank
    That really is pathetic, the shop I mean. Unfortunately what should have been a low key homecoming parade has turned in to a tribal bunfight with everyone jumping on the bandwagon.
    Are SF now adding the Taleban to FARC etc as their worldwide solidarity group of friends?

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Are SF now adding the Taleban to FARC etc as their worldwide solidarity group of friends?’

    No, the Afghan people. Pathetic Drift, but what would one expect from someone so in tune to the machinations of British Crown Forces.

  • Driftwood

    RS, the alternative for the Afghan people to the military intervention is the Taleban. The medical aid provided by the RIR (and all of 16 Air Assault Brigade)is very real.
    This SF anti- war stance is very hollow when Martin McGuinness was brown nosing George W Bush here a few months ago.
    This is an IRISH Regiment of the army. My only query is why the Irish Guards are not involved.
    ps RS, Are SF still supporting the Colombian druglords? Or has that been quietly dropped now FARC campaigner Ruane is Education minister?

  • RepublicanStones

    Drift me ‘aul flower the alternative to the Taliban isn’t much to shout about…

    http://www.asadismi.ws/joya.html

    British demands for democracy and peace in certain areas round the world ring very hollow, as they have always done.

    It seems your not only fully aware of british army tactics here and in other colonial conflicts, now you have all the facts surrounding the Shinners foreign escapades too. My how you get around.

  • Driftwood

    RS
    My political philosopy is as follows

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=p86BPM1GV8M

    But I do come from a unionist working class background in a ‘mixed’ estate, meadowlands, in Downpatrick, now completely ‘nationalist’.
    Yes I have relatives in the armed forces and a background there when leaving school. So I admit to a bias towards “crown forces” as you term them. Most of them are working class kids from deprived areas who have little interest in world politics. Their Officer class are well versed in such things, and their political masters well aware of their potential as ‘cannon fodder’. Now these kids have families and parents who are just so glad to see their sons (and some daughters) back alive. What harm is a homecoming parade to proud parents going to cause? It was going to be relatively low key and offend no-one save those looking for a bandwagon to offload other issues, not least the political stalemate here. SF and the Unionist parties should never have got involved here. This stinks of an outlet for political frustration elsewhere and ANY excuse to offload those frustrations would do.
    I have no problem with your political outlook or philosophy. I hope, like me, you want this parade to go peacefully on all sides, and conflict is avoided.

  • lee

    ‘It was going to be relatively low key’

    It would be hard not to notice the British bomber and jet flypast?

    Low key?

  • Driftwood

    lee
    RAF fighters and bombers routinely fly over Co. Antrim and Co. Down, including some Tornados last week. If it’s a problem to you write to your MP.

  • RepublicanStones

    Drift feel free to live on a dot all you want. As regards this parade, considering british army activity here in Ireland down through not just decades, but centuries, I think people are entirely justified in protesting this parade not just because of history here, but also because of the mayhem they have wrought further afield at the behest of the neo-cons in the USA. It seems you wish to portray the endeavour in Afghanistan as being one to improve the lot of the average Afghani. Frankly thats complete bollocks. Whats more I think you know that. They are merely their to help Bush catch those he deems responsible for 9/11. If Britain actually cared about freeing the Afghan populace from Taliban rule, they would have went in in the late 90s. So this line you seem to peddle of them being there helping to improving the lives of the Afgahnis is both bullshit and tiresome.

  • harpo

    “The Shinners have been reluctantly drawn into this to take the heat off some possible dissident trouble at their march.”

    LURIG

    I don’t see how the Provos have done anything reluctantly. Their presence can only add to the mix of potential sources of trouble. Far from taking the heat off they will turn up the pressure cooker.

    If eirigi was the only/main group protesting then numbers would have been limited, given that they have next to no support. They could have been easily policed. The Provos have waded in and add another element of potential trouble. No doubt that ‘youth’ wing of theirs (Ogra Shinn Fein) will be there, making all sorts of militaristic style statements before the event. And no doubt trying to outdo the eirigi lot in terms of selective anti-war, pretend socialist rhetoric and action.

    If restraint is what is called for, the Provos adding to the mix won’t help. Their presence as the mainstream of what ‘republicanism’ has become (even though it isn’t republicanism any longer) will only ensure that a pissing match will develop to see who can be (or pretend to be) the most republican/socialist/anti-war on the day.

    The increased numbers of the whole thing will only provide more cover for whatever non-aligned republican scumsters decide to make this a replay of the attempted Love Ulster parade in Dublin. If trouble starts you can be sure it will end in an ‘us v them’ scrap, with republicans of various sorts (including the Provo pretend kind) taking on whatever security forces are in place.

    Afterwards all sorts of claims will be made, just as they were in Dublin. Some will be proud that they stuck it to the man, some will say that the security forces were too heavy handed etc etc. In other words the usual excuses. Some non-aligned republican scumsters will start some bother, others will be drawn in on a tribal basis and afterwards everyone will say what they always say.

    I’m off now to see what Ogra are saying – I’ll bet they are trying to out-rebel eirigi already. They will be ‘organizing billets’ and ‘mobilising’ as they like to say, along with all the rest of their faux-military jargon.

  • harpo

    “Are they saying that the British Army are now acceptable and their parades must be tolerated in the interests of fairness to the British people in Ireland?”

    latcheeco:

    Why shouldn’t they say this? If they believe in the Belfast Agreement and the wider peace process then they no doubt accept the central point that unionism and nationalism are equally legitimate political aspirations and that unionists and nationalists are free to express themselves so long as such expression is reasonable.

    Maybe the AN style nationalists get this point even if many other nationalists don’t. Many other nationalists still have a ‘we’re right, you’re wrong’ attitude and we see it in the complaints about this parade. Thus you hear all the blubbering about ‘no British feet on Irish streets’ nonsense.

    The simple fact is that NI is still part of the UK until a majority of NI people decide otherwise. At the moment there is a pro-British majority in NI and while NI remains in the UK under this current agreement, those British folks are going to be expressing their Britishness, not matter what eirigi, or the Provos, or any other bunch of nationalists think.

    There are republican parades all over NI all of the time. Unionists see that and more often than not ignore those parades. There are OO and other parades that appeal to members of the unionist community, and nationalists are going to have to get used to that. This parade will no doubt not appeal to nationalists and nationalists are free to either stay away or turn up and protest.

    But the parade should not be banned because of the organization that is marching, no matter how much trouble there might be because of nationalist protestors. NI is British at present and so British feet can, and will, march on what are British streets

  • harpo

    “Have the homecoming in Lisburn, Castlereagh, Newtonabbey but not in Belfast – the idea is sheer lunacy!”

    picador:

    I thought the issue here was either 1 of 2 things (or even both for some people) –
    1. That the British Army will be marching on Irish streets and that it’s a terrible thing that these agents of the British oppressor will be marching anywhere on the island of Ireland,
    2. That the parade will give protestors an opportunity to protest about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    If those things are really what the objections arise from, then what difference does it make if the parade is in Lisburn or Castleregh, versus Belfast? Is Lisburn less Irish than Belfast to republicans? Would the RIR stop being a part of the war machine of the evil British oppressor if it marched in Castlereagh? Will eirigi suddenly change their minds about this parade if they have to bus their members to Lisburn or Newtownabbey to oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    What you post is nonsense. If the protestors really mean it they would turn up anywhere in NI to oppose a march by the RIR.

    Are you saying that Belfast is somehow special and that the protestors wouldn’t bother if the parade was held elsewhere? If so then the protestors don’t really believe in what they claim to believe in, and it’s actually all about Belfast.

  • harpo

    “I think people are entirely justified in protesting this parade”

    RepStones:

    And I say the best of British luck to them. They are going to be allowed to protest. In the best British traditions.

    So what’s the problem? Those who want to pay tribute to the troops can attend the parade, and those who want to protest can also do so.

    I just hope that the protestors do so peacefully.

    It would be awfully strange if these supposed anti-war protestors decided to use violence, wouldn’t it? The thing that I worry about is that some of these protestors aren’t ‘anti’ all war/violence. Their opposition to violence and war is selective.

    But I’m sure that on this occasion they will contain themselves. But if they don’t I’m sure they already have their excuses ready. The old ‘we were forced to be violent by themmuns’ angle to things.

  • picador

    Harpo,

    I am being pragmatic not dogmatic. The reality is that parades of this nature would face little opposition from the citizens of Lisburn, Castlereagh, etc. Not so Belfast.

  • latcheeco

    Harpo,
    “so long as such expression is reasonable.” That’s the fly in the buttermilk here. Triumphalist marches by the British army through an Irish town (or even a 50% nationalist town if you will) do not appear to many nationalists to be that reasonable or even in the spirit of the GFA (else the boys of the old brigade would also be receiving civic honors at the City Hall).The point of the GFA was surely not to set the clock back to pre-1969 N.Ireland but this time with happier and slightly more mollified taigs. In fact clearly to many nationalists this parade is sheer lunacy on many levels. It is more likely, as other posters have suggested, that the ATN editorial was concerned about the growth of Eirigi and where that might go and not the expression of some live and let live moment with Unionists.I doubt they ever expressed any concern about Nationalist protests of British parades in Ireland before (ask any Orangeman)and IMHO rightly so. That is also why SF were forced/embarrassed into scrambling a bigger (we have more support than you) protest. Strategically they would rather have let this one slide in the interests of the nouvelle entente.As a unionist (I am presuming you are from your posts;humble apologies if you are not) the ATN’s implied support for the British army to quietly parade by Nationalist areas and denunciation of protesters like Eirigi is no doubt gratifying for you.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘NI is British at present and so British feet can, and will, march on what are British streets’

    Afraid not harpo me ‘aul flower. Not to be a pedant, but the north isn’t actually british and the fact that Thatcher had to refer to it being just like Finchley is indicative of this. The north is Irish. People are free to identify themselves as british, but just because a foreign legislature enacts a politcal union does not magically turn a land into something which it is not. Britain is an island, Ireland is one too. No doubt you think because China governs Tibet, that Lhasa’s streets are chinese. Obviously you may retort with the grossly outdated ‘British Isles’, in that case I’ll book you a ticket to Siam or Ceylon.

    ‘Their opposition to violence and war is selective.’

    Agreed, just like some peoples opposition to and definition of terrorism.

  • runciter

    If they believe in the Belfast Agreement and the wider peace process then they no doubt accept the central point that unionism and nationalism are equally legitimate political aspirations and that unionists and nationalists are free to express themselves so long as such expression is reasonable.

    If the Irish army were also allowed to march in NI, then it might be an equality issue.

    There is nothing egalitarian about allowing the British army to parade through Belfast.

    It is even less egalitarian to suggest that those who support it should be allowed to express their view publically, but not those who oppose it.

  • dessalines

    latcheeco has it right. unionism is so blinded by its own sectarianism that it cannot see things clearly. regardless of the wishes of families of returning troops, with which i can sympathize _to some extent_, the rir ‘parade’ was itself pushed forward by the uu and dup as a sectarian provocation. brian walker suggests, somewhere in one of the early posts on this topic, that the ability to hold an unimpeded march through belfast would be a sign of the ‘maturity’ of this society. i would suggest the exact opposite: the dup are pushing this triumphalist parade through in belfast, and are being supported by MOD in doing so, in part because there is nowhere else in the uk they could get away with it absent a massive counterprotest from the antiwar movement. it is being forced upon us precisely because of our immaturity, and the unique willingness of unionism to bow down for, send off their young as cannon fodder for, empire. mod is quite obviously playing with fire, though, because they are very much aware that a substantial section of the community view the charade as a calculated affront. they are deeply implicated in whatever results.

    on the nationalist/republican side, sf is playing catch-up here: eirigi called the march, and much as many posters out here want to put them down as ‘blue-baggers’ etc., the real problem for sf and the establishment here generally is that eirigi are not stupid. they are not ‘dissidents’ in the sense that the general public has been made to understand that epithet. and it is telling that the news letter, in particular, has felt compelled to resort to such flagrant distortion anytime they discuss them.

    spot the difference, for example:

    ‘Unionism needs to get real – it is the British army and their supporters who will be bringing the weapons of war into Belfast city centre on November 2, not Irish republicans.’
    eirigi, 22 0ctober

    ‘last night the dissident republican group organising the demonstration, Eirigi, broke its public silence on the matter to insist that it would be peaceful and they would not be bringing weapons into the city.’
    belfast news letter, 23 October

    clearly the unionist press are doing the bidding of the dup in trying to stir up sectarian tensions from all this. predictably, liberals who have long reconciled themselves to the status quo here are turning their venom against anti-rir protestors and letting the bigots off the hook. the at news and o’millionaire position is a bit shocking, but his evolution has been clear for a long time ,and i’m told that his newly purchased ‘irish echo’ has endorsed john mccain in the usa: clearly a newspaper that has made its peace with imperialism.

    i am disappointed that eirigi have not yet made more of an effort to cut through all the rubbish that has emanated from the unionist press over the past week, and to appeal directly to working-class protestants, because in my view they have more to offer ordinary protestants than the dup, which is prepared to see pensioners in the village dying of fuel poverty while hosting million-pound junkets for american corporate executives.

    eirigi poses a political threat to the establishment here, not a military one, and that’s far more dangerous. its easy enough to write off opposition to the gfa when it comes from militarists being run or heavily penetrated by state security. but there is massive disaffection with the assembly and the sectarian circus all around, and especially in working class areas n both communities. that will get worse as the economy goes into nosedive. to date, only the sectarian right have made any gains from this disaffection. things may take a different turn though, as they have in the south.

  • harpo

    “I am being pragmatic not dogmatic. The reality is that parades of this nature would face little opposition from the citizens of Lisburn, Castlereagh, etc. Not so Belfast.”

    picador:

    You are not being pragmatic. You are being silly.

    It is not only local citizens who are going to be protesting at this parade. If you haven’t noticed the eirigi propaganda, they are bussing people in from various points on the island. They are a smallish ‘movement’ and thus need to bus in their supoporters from all over the place.

    And as I said before their dogma would lead them to protest here – assuming that they are telling the truth – no matter where in NI the parade was. They claim they oppose this war and the history of the British military on the island of Ireland. Does that view change if said parade takes placves in Ballymena or Lisburn?

    This isn’t about Belfast according to them. It’s about the presence of British troops on what they see as Irish streets.

  • harpo

    “That is also why SF were forced/embarrassed into scrambling a bigger (we have more support than you) protest.”

    latcheeco:

    So as I said above this isn’t about dampening the potential threat of a violent action by eirigi, and it IS all about being seen to be out-greening eirigi. In other words it is the post-republican Provos engaging in a pissing match with eirigi to try to show that they are still true republicans and that they are more republican than eirigi.

    Do the Provos fear eirigi that much?

    Surely the mature thing to do would have been to let eirigi protest and let everyone see how little support they had.

    Is the point of this to show that the Provos still have their finger on the pulse of republicanism (both the true sort and the self-described republicanism of Provo supporters) and that the Provos speak for the ‘republican family’? Is this all about not wanting to be seen sitting at home while a small outfit like eirigi get off their arses and oppose the Brits?

    The Provos are in a sad state if they think they have to engage in kneejerk reactions to what minor IR groups do. Do they think that the support that they get is that fickle, and would move to one of the true IR groups if the Provos don’t play along and keep pretending that they are still true IRs?

  • harpo

    “Not to be a pedant, but the north isn’t actually british”

    RepStones:

    Actually it is.

    Your opinion that it is Irish is just that – an opinion.

    If a majority of the people of NI decide to make it Irish then it will become Irish.

    You can play with names all you want, it doesn’t change the fact that NI is part of the UK and is thus British. Isn’t that what you folks are struggling against – that fact that it is British?

    If it already is Irish then what are you struggling about?

  • harpo

    “It is even less egalitarian to suggest that those who support it should be allowed to express their view publically, but not those who oppose it.”

    runciter:

    And who is proposing that?

    What I see are nationalists whining about the parade itself and asking various bodies to call the parade off.

    As a unionist I see no problem with nationalists protesting at the parade if they want, so long as they are not violent.

  • Simon Cowell

    I see Eoghan Quigg from Dungiven is participating in a fundraising drive for the Brit Occupation Forces, on X Factor!
    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/campaigns/our_boys/article1781291.ece

    A new front for the protesters opens, no doubt.

  • harpo

    “the dup are pushing this triumphalist parade through in belfast”

    dessa:

    How is it triumphalist? It is about troops returning from Afghanistan, where there hasn’t been any triumph yet. These troops are returing from a current war that is still in progress.

    Or is your point that it is really a parade to celebrate the triumph of HM Forces over Irish Republican terrorists in the conflict that was more or less ended by the Provos giving up?

    If you accept that this was a triumph by HM Forces over the Provos then maybe you do have a point. The Provos certainly didn’t achieve what they called their ‘war aims’.

    Is this really all about the hurt feelings of supporters of the Provos, who see HM Forces celebrating their victory over the Provo terrorists?

  • runciter

    And who is proposing that?

    You were endorsing the Andytown News proposal that there should be no protest (pg2 post 19).

    You also implied that such a position would be consistent with equality – which is demonstrably not correct.

    I’ll grant that you have not been very consistent, and that you may have taken a contrary position elsewhere.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘If a majority of the people of NI decide to make it Irish then it will become Irish’

    LMAO, Im sorry but that is just pure sh**e. The north of Ireland not being Irish??? As you alluded to the UK, perhaps you may call out the full name of the United Kingdom for those at the back of the class.
    While your at it remember Britain is an island. Going by your logic the Green Zone in Iraq is American soil. Utter nonsense.

    ‘Isn’t that what you folks are struggling against – that fact that it is British?’

    Eh no, merely that it is occuppied by the british govt. Again you seem to think that because a foreign power rules over a piece of land, it magically turns into something it is not. Tibet is Chinese and Iraq is american eh?

    Give me that one again about the north of IRELAND not being Irish. Perhaps you should stay in Freedonia.

  • latcheeco

    Harpo,
    I wouldn’t say “fear” exactly and I didn’t mention the “provos.” But I was talking about SF, who I would imagine are at least a little nervous of their exposed flank while they’re in power with a party who not so long ago wanted to issue Catholics with id cards so they could be allowed to leave the ghetto. SF know the history of Irish Republicanism as well as anybody. They have often been a micro group themselves and being the establishment is uncomfortable for any subversive.
    The point about the march is not that people do not have sympathy for individual soldiers and their families but that having a loud unionist fanfare about the British Army marching through Beal Feirste central is buck stupid and deliberately provocative (and even counter productive if they really had wanted a dignified parade) and as much as having their team march in lock step through a shopping precinct helps one community’s need to feel secure that their Britishness is appreciated and understood, it is a coat trailing exercise to the other community and any moron could see it would be viewed as such. It is reminiscent of how poppies are used by some as much as a badge to assert identity as to commemorate brave and honorable sacrifice.How does having military parades by one side through a divided city help anybody that is really interested in fostering a new disposition? Driftwood’s and others’ nonsensical implications about the RIR being good Brits as opposed to the UDR being bad Brits are blatantly disingenuous given the regiment’s strongly Orange culture and the history of the regular British army in Ireland.

  • frank

    Reading in the press today that loyalist paramilitaries are saying they will be in attendence next week, in support of the RIR parade.

    It ties in with the RIR flags being erected by loyalists over the weekend.

    Seems that the paramilitaries are planning an active role in next weeks crowd organisation/manipulation.

  • latcheeco

    Harpo,
    The Eirigi question for Sinn Fein is that someone is apparantly trying (whether you agree with them or not or whether they are having success or not) to give Gerry the alternative he was asking/taunting for at all those family meetings and if it wasn’t causing ripples they would have: 1. Ignored the whole thing as normal unionist stupidity that suits nobody.
    2.Taken the high road rather than get involved in something that from their point of view could descend into disaster for everybody.

    That the ATN thought it necessary to get involved by calling protesting against the Brits wrong and silly was stunningly blind in its potential to be brought up by unionists at a later date to justify and allow their marching shenanigans and an incredible thing for any Irish nationalist to write. Whether the question is specious or not the ATN will be left trying to explain why if there’s no sweat about the British Army marching through Beal Feirste why is there a problem with British people marching down the Garvaghy Road.

  • Driftwood

    McGuinness had no complaints with GWB visiting here a few months ago, and neither did the Tooting Popular Front/Eirigi. It looks like a bunfight mext Sunday with, once again, the police and the Army in the middle, trying to separate the two ‘gangs’. Same old same old….

  • RepublicanStones

    Well Drift, as he said he raised the issue of Iraq with Bush, what would you prefer? Him to do a Paisley http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=-gdREMz_w9I and make an utter fool of himself?

  • Driftwood

    RS
    I despise Paisley. BUT, why doesn’t McGuinness quietly raise his concerns about our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan with John Hutton, our Defence Secretary, in the House of Commons? Or even with our leader, at Prime ministers question time? Surely, our UK Parliament is the place for our MP’s to be airing their views? Isn’t that why they were elected?

  • latcheeco

    Driftwood,
    Whether you dream otherwise or not, half the population in the North and most if not all of the population in the rest of Ireland thinks your government are foreigners interfering in their country, your army are murderers and that their parliament is Dail Eireann. The honest broker crap has long since been debunked by anybody serious because your noble army chaps were running one of the gangs. Pretend your army was neutral and noble if you want but most nationalists who lived under their occupation believe otherwise and resent them marching through Irish towns as if its now all good and they’re over it.

  • truth will out

    There’s a lot of anger here being vented at unionist posters who are just doing what they do: applauding the fact that ‘Northern Ireland’ is as British now as it has ever been, as will be evidenced when the Brit army tramps around Belfast.
    Te proper direction of this anger should be the Provos / SF, who settled for absolutely no change in the constitutional status of the six counties in return for…well, apart from their own cosy jobs, nothing that I can see. Not even an Irish Language Act! And the arms which so many died and suffered for to bring here and free our country were surrendered for this? And now they want to ‘protest’?
    Look forward to seeing them standing down on this one to ‘take the moral high ground’. It’s a con. They’re administering British rule in exactly the same way as any official on a GB country council.

  • RepublicanStones

    Drift that was so facetious it bordered on childish. You know full well the Shinners position regarding taking thier seats in that foreign legislature. That said, you never know, they may one day out stoop the stoops.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘applauding the fact that ‘Northern Ireland’ is as British now as it has ever been’

    Not at all, in other words.

    Also i thought this parade was about welcoming home troops, not aplauding the fact the north is still under British occupation? I do hope this view is not indicative of the wider unionist community, because then the accusations of triumphalism may indeed find some purchase.

  • truth will out

    You can hardly blame unionists for being triumphalist when the Provos surrendered in the war without any of their stated war aims being achieved and the union copper fastened, ie: handed them a triumph.
    At least the ‘dissident’ protesters know the score.

  • Driftwood

    RS
    What foreign legislature? The one SF stand for election to? SF signed up at St Andrews for the defence of NI being a matter for the MoD- The British Army -currently garrisoned here at considerable strength. Though the average squaddie probably earns less from the MoD than most of the SF leadership, who are also on the payroll.
    MI5 will have told Gerry and Marty to stay away from next weeks SF hate fest, best leave it to Colin Duffy, Latcheeco and co. Maybe they can get a chance to ‘ice’ a few cops like in Lurgan, not so long ago. I really want CNN to be there to watch the SF/Taliban/FARC movement off the leash.

  • dessalines

    some sophistication there driftwood. brigadier quality, no doubt. back to your video games now.

  • Driftwood
  • RepublicanStones

    ‘…when the Provos surrendered in the war without any of their stated war aims being achieved and the union copper fastened’

    Hang on Unionists tell us it wasn’t a war.
    Copper fastened with Dublin input….and dodgy demographics….sure.

    At least you admit its triumphalist, thanks for that.

    Drift….Soldiers pay now? And Sinn Fein is paid by the Ministry of Defence? Once again your knowledge of the machinations of the british crown forces is truly astounding.

  • Davey Crockett

    “I really want CNN to be there to watch the SF/Taliban/FARC movement off the leash.”

    That’s the real obvious hazard for SF. American networks won’t be there, but sites and blogs will be bombarded by youtubes of Shinners spitting hate at the US Army’s main ally in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    There will no doubt be a fair number of Palestinian flags to ram the point home.

  • Davey Crockett

    “Sinn Fein is paid by the Ministry of Defence? Once again your knowledge of the machinations of the british crown forces is truly astounding.”

    No, the British Exchequer. Or do you Irish surrender monkeys deny even that fact? 😉

  • latcheeco

    Drift,
    Name calling and felon setting usually mean you’re stung but you’ve got no argument. Your assertion that I support dissidents is as puerile as your asumption that Eirigi are physical force republicans (which they are not and that’s why they are so threatening to you) is ill-informed and ignorant. I know where you’re coming from though. You’ve been brainwashed into believing that any Irish person who disagrees with your opinion must belong to the “terrorwist community.” There’s not a lot of room in your mind for those who don’t fit your stereotype.It might short circuit your wiring. Cheers for the promotion though. You’ve got me feeling all William Wallace now that I’ve rattled your cage. Come on, a big brave soldier like you should toughen up. Don’t take it all so personal. It’s just an argument.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘No, the British Exchequer.’

    Davy I suggest you re-read a few posts, because maybe then you’ll see who had the idea that the Shinners were paid by the British MoD, instead of just barking first.

    Surrender monkeys?

  • Driftwood

    Eirigi are physical force republicans ???
    Latcheeco, Eirigi/Wolfie Smith might have such ambitions. Take off your Duffycoat and get some sleep. What dreams may come….
    Off to bed
    I have to work tomorrow Latcheeco, never did fancy the benefits lifestyle, but have a good lie in. You and RS both. ‘night all.

  • Davey Crockett

    “Surrender monkeys?”
    Sorry, which of the PIRA self-proclaimed war aims were achieved before they surrendered their weapons? Do let us know, old chap.

  • RepublicanStones

    I will have a lie in tomorrow Drift, as it is a bank holiday in the south.
    I await more snide asides from you at a later date. Oíche maith !

  • LURIG

    The North/Wee Six is NOT as British as Finchley, despite what Thatcher said. When Unionists first proposed the RIR march they knew fine rightly that there would be a reaction from within Republicanism/Nationalism so their mock outrage fools no one. Having said that, if we ARE to live together, the RIR should have their parade AND Sinn Fein should be allowed a protest. If Unionists truly believed in ‘British Democracy’ they would be aware that Britain has always had a tradition of free speech and protest (mainland Britain anyway). The most vehement anti-War protests have been in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow etc. This RIR parade was originally proposed by Unionist politicians and was done so NOT as a show of solidarity to that regiment BUT to rub the noses of Catholics into the ground and wind them up as much as possible. The fact that the Parades Commission has rained on this Unionist love in has thrown the DUP & UUP into a tizzy. They were counting on the PC handing over Belfast City Centre to them for a big Union flag waving frenzy. So we now see the usual Unionist/Loyalist agenda. Having been denied their way they are now stoking & stirring this up as much as possible and calling for 1000’s of Protestants to descend on Belfast next week. The Uncle Andy/Big Mervyn/Red Hand Luke types of the UDA & UVF are also being dangled menacingly by mainstream Unionists as a veiled threat. Like Drumcree and the Orange Order Whiterock/Springfield Road march Unionists are now threatening all sorts of anarchy and revolt if they don’t get their way in the hope that Hugh Orde & the PSNI keep the rebellious Republicans/ Taigs and War dissenters in their place. We have seen this tactic over the last 40 years. Many Loyal Sons still believe that Unionist MIGHT IS RIGHT and cuts across EVERYTHING. There should NOW be an agreement. The RIR should have their parade and dinner dance, Sinn Fein and the anti-War protestors should have their protest and everyone else should go for a walk, take the dog out or take the family for their lunch somewhere.

  • Westie

    Driftwood,

    You say éirígí had no issue with GWB visiting here recently.

    Are you serious?

    Surely you checked before you said that?

    FYI éirígí protested the presence of the war mongerers Bush and Brown.