A wee walk?

I’m intending, if possible, to try and take in all of tomorrow’s parade and protests with a walk starting at the éirígí demo, heading towards the SF one via the military assembly point at Inst then walking along the parade route finishing up with the demo at the Markets (might try to fit in the WSM demo at Primark).

I’ve asked a Unionist to join me on the dander and blog their view of the same experience but that may not work out. If anyone else is game for a day of differing views and then blogging them after please drop me a line and we can arrange to meet up in the morning. (mark@markmcgregor.info)

ADDS: Sorry it wasn’t clear but this is not only open to people willing to blog but anyone wanting to try and take in both sides and blog, feed into a blog or not.

  • Brian Walker

    Sounds a very relaxed and ecumenical approach, Mark. Let’s hope everybody follows your example and you don’t have to run for it. It would be interesting to read a blog-on-the-run… Wish I was there!!

  • pith

    Is there a Primark in Afghanistan now?

  • Gregory Carlin

    It sounds so complex, like 1916, who is covering the GPO? I don’t think the time is right,

    but I don’t want not to be there,

    afterwards, and there always is, when, people are arrested for treason, or DORA violations, I’m still going to be opposing the complexity of the thing, that happened, or took place.

    Mark me down as a spectator ( who use to play cricket) to whatever is happening.


  • Dave

    Just a word of caution about meeting strangers via the Internet: if one turns up with UVF tattooed on three fingers and the fourth finger missing, leg it.

    I sounds like a good idea. Dont forget to upload the pics in real time.

  • Rory

    A generous and thoughtful offer, Mark and, if you can find a good political alter ego as it were it should prove to be very interesting. But, please don’t take Dave’s warning too lightly, you don’t want to find yourself in the company of an alter id while travelling through the seventh circle.

    Bon chance and that, mate.

  • Keith

    have you contacted the parades commission about this “march”?

  • GavBelfast

    Mark McGregor’s ‘approach’ just makes this all seem like a bit of a game – serial protesting, recreational rioting, etc.

    How about getting a life and contributing productively to society?

  • Keith

    come on gav, have you missed the point of blogging?

  • stephen

    Just want to re-iterate what others have said.

    It’s anoble idea and I hope itworks out for you but meeting unknowns from an internet invite on a situation such as this is not something that I would do or let those that I care about do either.

    good luck now

  • slug

    I agree with others Mark, please be careful. There are all kinds of nasty people out there.

  • Mark McGregor

    Folks, this isn’t about putting people in dangerous situations – I’ll call it a day if that seems likely. We have two takers so far and its just about seeing both sides from the ground and comparing/contrasting what goes on, then feeding back what we see/think.

  • picador (not bert)

    My name is Bert and i will see you at the bottom of the Shankill tomorrow at about 11. I will be wearing a red flower in my lapel and I will be standing with a group of neanderthals carrying baseball bats. Please wear something green so I can identify you. Peace out.

    P.S. Did you come up the Lagan in a bubble?

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s called radical trust guys. It’s never let me down. Slugger readers are steadier than you might sometimes think.

    Good idea Mark. More power to your elbow!

  • Mark, I agree it’s a great idea, and frankly, the odds of a psycho trying to knife you in the middle of town in broad daylight, even tomorrow, are remote. Besides, despite having only met you relatively briefly, I think you can use your own judgement as to who might be dangerous.

    Besides, I doubt it will be someone completely unknown.

    Should be some great blogging.



    “the odds of a psycho trying to knife you in the middle of town in broad daylight, even tommorow, are remote” . Try telling that to people in King St. and Castle St. who were recently attacked by a large Combat 18/Linfield rabble. Most of the PSNI’s resources tomorrow will no doubt be used on Republicans while the Uncle Andys and Big Mervyns of Loyalism will be allowed to strut around the City Centre looking for innocent Catholics, as usual. THIS is where any trouble will come from, rabid sectarian Loyalists out on a Fenian bloodlust. It will be the Twelfth of July all over again with UDA/UVF gangsters parading with their drunken hangers on. It will be ignored by the media of course who will de baying and hoping that eirigi and their supportters will kick off against the PSNI.

  • Gregory Carlin

    “but meeting unknowns from an internet invite on a situation such as this is not something that I would do or let those that I care about do either.”

    One could try to avoid Stormont for the same reasons.

    I think so long as you are not a 14 year old schoolgirl or looking for an assisted suicide kit, I don’t think the internet is that lethal.

    The duty of citizens is to join in the efforts to achieve greater change, more jobs, better housing safer communities and fewer military parades.

    That’s the way forward, I know that, because, well where I live you don’t really have much of a choice. Don’t stay at home!

    Be there or behave.


  • Dewi

    Ban all parades for twenty years. You know it makes sense.

  • slug

    Meantime the Ballymena homecoming parade went off yesterday evening with considerable local support:

    RIR Homecoming Parade Ballymena Times COverage

  • Gregory Carlin

    “the odds of a psycho trying to knife you in the middle of town in broad daylight, even tommorow, are remote” .

    Depends on the psycho.

    If this was my blog, I’d have cast a squeaking door type personality.

    They’re great for media. Yellow tape, flashing lights, CSI stuff, and then a troubled blog-owner shock jock, speaking to camera

    as they load up an ambulance.


  • slug

    Admittedly a complete digression here, but when reading the Ballymena Times for the above Homecoming Parade story, I see another story that Ballymena Academy, which is not one of those on the 30 breakaway schools in Ken Bloomfield’s AQE plan, has now announced it will use its own separate aptitude test to select students. I don’t quite understand why they don’t want to go with AQE — in setting their own tests they are following the approach of the three breakaway Catholic Grammars.

    Thus, there is now another grammar school breaking away from Caitriona Ruane’s plans.

    See story here:

    Ballymena Academy transfer test announcement

  • Gregory Carlin

    “Ban all parades for twenty years. You know it makes sense.”

    Well if the RIR appear in Gay Pride 09, I’m trying to get a Gay Pride formula (for Sinn Fein) that will helpfully self-detonate.


  • Driftwood

    A bit down after Glentoran were outplayed in the Setanta International Cup by a team from Southern Ireland. But looking forward to watching tomorrows homecoming parade. Just hope supporters don’t fall in to the trap of behaving like the PIRA/Taliban mob gathering at Fisherwick place. Don’t forget they want home for the Celtic match at 2pm. By the time that finishes, they’ll be on their 10th can of Special Brew and in an ugly mood if Hearts win. That’s where an Apache gunship would come in handy.

  • cynic

    “Most of the PSNI’s resources tomorrow will no doubt be used on Republicans while the Uncle Andys and Big Mervyns of Loyalism will be allowed to strut around the City Centre looking for innocent Catholics, as usual. ”

    Just goes to show that you just cant trust all them Caterlick peelers not to be biased against Catholics. It’s the way they were brought up don’t you know.

  • ggn

    “Most of the PSNI’s resources tomorrow will no doubt be used on Republicans while the Uncle Andys and Big Mervyns of Loyalism”

    The SDLP have advised nationalists to stay away from the city centre and I understand Sinn Fein are marshalling their supporters very heavily.

    I doubt many nationalists will be ignoring this advice.

  • Mark McGregor

    Can we stop with the pretend scary stuff, please.

    I’m off to bed and will give my email a check before heading out tomorrow – if you want to join us you’d be best to send me a mobile number.

  • William

    Mark McGregor’s idea might well be a great one….it even earns the approval of a retired MSM journo, Mr. Walker [tomorrow Mark and his mates hope to be Mr. Walkers !!! he he]

    Unfortunately, it is very unlikely to happen, as I would imagine that folk won’t be able to saunter along the streets viewing the parade and the numskulls of republican allsorts seeking confrontation. The Police with their 33% Caterlick membership and 77% others [whatever faith that is] will have barriers stopping a flow of people drifting from one area to another. If they didn’t how would they keep the scumbags from interfering with the only legitimate parade taking place tomorrow.

    By the way Mark, if you get to saunter up to Inst….please make sure your Union flag is correctly displayed

  • William

    Goodnight Mark….remember to say your prayers and pray that your Provo mates and their 2nd and 3rd teams, don’t wreck the city they hope to control at the next election.

    “The first item on the agenda of any IRA meeting is “the split’‘. – Brendan Behan


  • Gregory Carlin

    “Can we stop with the pretend scary stuff, please.”

    Halloween ‘The Wee Walk’. Don’t answer the phone!




    Reading your bigoted guff about Apache gunships it’s obvious it is you who is on their 10th can of Special Brew, as usual. I suppose you celebrate every January when the Bloody Sunday Anniversary comes around seeing as you have a liking for peaceful protestors being gunned down by the British State? You are typical of the many armchair generals that post on here. Surely there are more extremist blogs for your nasty bile? Go away and stay on the sites for horrible trolls.

  • KieranJ

    If folks are killed at this farce tomorrow, just make goddamn sure that the blame is placed squarely where it belongs.

    And that would be in two places; 10 Downing Street and the Parliament. It would be a shame is someone unhappy with the events in Belfast was to toss a bomb into one or both of these residences.

  • Plastic Paddy

    Wish I could make it, but I’ll be the voyeur across the ocean in Chicago once again. Pictures are appreciated. Good luck and stay safe.

  • Across the sea

    While I do not agree with the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, I hope many people come out on to the streets to welcome the Royal Irish home.

    Soldiers are sent where they are told, they do not have any say in that decision, that is the whole idea of having a profesional armed forces.

    To protest tommorrow shows a great misunderstanding of where responsability for these wars lies, and I would question the true motives of those that do so.

    I hope the day passes peacfully for all our sakes, and that the women and men of the Royal Irish receive the welcome home they deseve. They have been to hell on the back of political decisions, and gone through something those who make these decisions will never know.

  • Driftwood

    Never tasted Special brew, or tennents Super. BUT, you should settle down petal. And sense when someone is regarding this event with a commonsense POV. I loathed what happened on Bloody sunday, despise the Jackie McDonalds of this province and think you maybe overreact sometime? So Do I . My remark about Apache gunships is in Jeremy Clarkson mode. Now, boy do you have resentments. Lets hope it all goes peacefully tomorrow. I do not regard your post at midnight as typical of you. I Hope. Good Night and I hope we post again in more modest terms.

  • Plastic Paddy

    As a point of comparison, I’m a reservist Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. I’ve completed 2 tours of duty in Iraq with my Chicago-based reserve unit. On each of our homecomings, we had a celebration at a suburban indoor sporting arena. The celebrations were primarily for family members and well-wishers, and they were open to the news media.

    We never paraded through the city.


    Fair enough Driftwood I take that at face value and give you credit for clarifying your views. I believe that most of the bloggers and contributors on Slugger are genuine people wherever or whatever background they come from. I might not agree with what they say but the fact that anyone can take the time to write something is confirmation that they can think and I would rather debate and argue with them on here than throw stones at them. Sometimes we are ALL guilty of blogging a load of old (bigoted) nonsense on here, myself included, with a few jars on us too at times. I hope today passes off peacefully I really do. I think the RIR are entitled to march as are peaceful protestors entitled to their say. That is democracy. I have my views but will stay away from Belfast City Centre for the greater good. I hope others with sinister intentions wise up and do likewise.



    By the way I watched the Glentoran/Cork game and thought the Glens held their own for most of the match. Fitness and full time professionalism on Cork’s part showed out in the end as the Glens tired a bit. Gary Hamilton is a cracking player but I thought Glentoran showed them far too much respect at times. That was a great fans turn out by Glentoran. It would be a serious pity if the Setanta Cup faded away. I am a big Reds man you might be surprised to hear (NOT). I don’t know what’s wrong with us this year as we are a pale shadow from last. Anyway good luck, the Glens look like serious title contenders.

  • Tazia Doll

    “Wish I could make it, but I’ll be the voyeur across the ocean in Chicago once again. Pictures are appreciated. Good luck and stay safe.”

    Bubbly Creek is scarier than the paras, isn’t it still like 80 percent blood enzyme?

    I was mde to lie in a puddle by paras in Turf Lodge, they were also shooting dogs and stuff.

    I’d a new coat, my Mom got it, one guy, took pity on me and he was blitzed out of his tree on stuff that didn’t smell of alcohol.

    It was a different era, the RIR folks, were they even born? I don’t know.

    I’m going there to make sure SF are not handing out condoms, for safer protesting or whatever.

    Those SFers have also changed, if you ever need to borrow a heap of cash, ask a Shinner, they loaded.

    They’re building a Casino in West Belfast, because we’re Indians.


  • Danny O’Connor

    Good luck with your wee walk,don’t forget that there are headers out there with an alternative agenda.
    If reconcilliation and respect are to be more than just words that begin with the letter R,we need to try and step out of our own little comfort zone .

  • Tazia Doll

    “We never paraded through the city.”

    You sure? what about when you capture them, almost intact or whatever? And, this is the difficult question,

    do some of the Marines support the cubs, because.. You know what they say about them don’t you.

    Don’t you marines do that jog you see on TV? That’s darn something, a dance, a parade, it don’t need a choreographer, it looks like a finished routine to me

    Also the IDF, the Israelis, they can’t parade have you seen them?

  • wisethefuckup

    I read slugger some days, but rarely watch local news because it’s become so irrelevant, and so I imagine a lot of people are not aware of tomorrow’s “controversy”. Is it just me or is this a completely contrived face-off with no purpose other than to give local political types / self absorbed, self important morons something to feel artificially offended about – on both sides?

    Nobody wants this controversy, it is stupid.

    Dear god why won’t these bastards we elect get to work on something that really matters to real people! Insipid ya-boo politics at its worst. MOVE ON FFS!

  • KieranJ

    Nothing like a few explosions in Liverpool, Birmingham and London to wake up the British people to the bastards exploiting their good name under the Unionist label in the six counties.

    You can bet the situation will change then.

  • Harry Flashman

    “I think so long as you are not a 14 year old schoolgirl or looking for an assisted suicide kit, I don’t think the internet is that lethal.”

    There are no 14 year old schoolgirls on the internet any more, they’re all balding overweight peelers from the porn squad these days. Trust me I know.

    Seriously though, what are the chances of aggro this afternoon? I’ve always found that in the context of Northern Ireland the things that are hyped up for weeks usually turn out to be damp squibs, it’s the things that come out of a clear blue sky that are the corkers.

    Keep us posted anyway, liveblogging would be good and lots of photos and handphone videos.

    YouTube will be worth logging on to later tonight I expect.

  • slug

    There are all kinds of thugs and perverts out there Mark so please be careful who you make arrangements to meet and where you meet etc. Bring a friend or two.

  • cynic

    Actually I think Uncle Andy will be more likely to be watching from the comfort of the Kneebreakers. It’s warmer and, after so many Twelfths, his knees aren’t quite up to all that walking these days.

    Perhaps the biggest risk comes from being seen to move between the various factions on the Republican side and being possibly seen as ‘one of themuns’ {and I don’t mean the Prods}.

    Anyway, although I often disagree bitterly with you Mark, have a good and peaceful day. Lets hope its a good parade and a dignified set of protests that allows everyone to exercise their rights safely.

  • 6countyprod

    Sounds like KeiranJ knows something that we don’t know.

    Parade being broadcast live on BBC News 24 at 11.45am

  • Suilven

    KieranJ is the very definition of the term “internet hardman”.

  • Comrade Stalin

    KieranJ is the very definition of the term “internet hardman”.

    I was thinking more “American armchair wannabe chuckie” promoting terrorism abroad.

    I’m hoping all goes quietly today; I’m very much in the “stay the hell out of there” camp. I’m looking forward to reading eyewitness blogs.

  • fed up
  • slug

    Hope that Mark is safe.

  • Just back home from the protest there which was entirely dignified with relatives of those killed by the British Army holding photographs of their loved ones.
    There were a considerable number of loyalists gathered across the street, many of whom had scaled scaffolding and threw cans, bottles and fireworks whilst singing ‘Rule Britannia’, etc.
    Listening to the radio on the way home the BBC described a ‘fracas’ between the protest and the supporters and did not talk in any way about the masked loyalists who were abusing both protestors and the police. Disgraceful reporting by the BBC and the question many people at the protest are asking is why this hasnt been shown on the news thusfar?

  • dear daithi

    i think the clue might be in the BBC’s name..the british bit lol

  • Ri Na Deise

    Wouldnt say we’ll hear a word about it. Where as if it were republican violence, it would be headline front page news…

  • GavBelfast

    I saw and heard about the hoodies on the scaffolding …. from watching BBC TV news.

    Selective eye-sight, selective hearing, starting protests, hiking tension, not wanting to take responsibility, etc, etc.

    Welcome to the new Northern Ireland, blah, blah, blah.

    It seems to have gone as well as if not better than expected, move on.

  • Harry Flashman

    After all the hype as I suspected it was a damp squib. Maybe we are all finally growing up a bit.

  • Ulster Native

    The loyalist violence made front page news at UTV’s website only to be taken down rather quickly and replaced with news ‘only’ about the Army parade.

    BBC on their own website and TV, haven’t reported ANYTHING about the violence from the Loyalists, who obviously couldn’t care less about the parade(as they didn’t take part) , they were only interested in the Sinn Fein protesters.

  • Mark McGregor


    Thanks for your concern, I’m perfectly fine. Am working on the blog and photos now, it’ll take a while. Myself and companion were able to observe almost every aspect close up.

  • slug

    Mark – that’s a relief.

    I look forward to your blog it will be very interesting and a very good idea.

  • 1912

    “Sinn Féin said it was inappropriate to mark the homecoming because British troops were responsible for the deaths of Catholic civilians during the Troubles”

    Sinn Fein had already said their protest was about illegal wars – this statement proves it was all about bigotry and sectarianism, SF/IRA have shown their true colours yet again – how many innocent deaths are SF/IRA responsible for ?

    Unity ? on republican terms ? NEVER

  • GavBelfast

    1912, I wouldn’r worry about “unity on republican terms” because such a thing is unachievable.

    Rather like the terror campaign iself, continuing republican agitation mitigates against unity (and alientates the mainstream South). Ironic, isn’t it?

  • Comrade Stalin

    The BBC and UTV did report on loyalist violence a couple of years ago, when the sons of Ulster underscored their loyalty and support for the troops by firing crossbow bolts and live rounds at them following the rerouting of the Whiterock parade. I guess, though, that “partiality” requires that they stay out of it until the petrol bombs come out.

  • Fireworks were also thrown in Royal Avenue and York Street and stones were thrown by youths at the bottom of Divis Street, close to the Falls Road.

    Loyalists involved there too?

  • 1912

    Nothing like a few explosions in Liverpool, Birmingham and London to wake up the British people to the bastards exploiting their good name under the Unionist label in the six counties.

    You can bet the situation will change then.


    If you have so much Irish feelings why do you still live in USA, when you move to Ireland then comment on what actually affects you – until then SHUT THE FUCK UP and stop shit stirring

  • weespot

    The fireworks/sorry squibs bangers in royal avenue & yorkstreet were being let off by teenagers as a bit of fun,annoyed the hell out of me right enough but there was no malice involved & they were not aimed at anyone or anyside.I walked from royal avenue onto the shore road & there was quite a few let off no doubt about it,but again before conspiracy theories abound it was teenagers doing what teenagers do.

  • 1912

    There will be riots in Belfast tonight, and everyone who has posted on this forum knows it, at the end of the day if so called American Irishmen had stopped providing cash and weapons to SF/IRA the “troubles” would never have lasted.

  • the futrures bright, the future’s orange

    any idea how many attended the parade? Looked like a hefty crowd on the tele.

    Unfortunately, the local scumbags will grab many of the headlines again. NO surprise.

  • William

    I was at the Junction of Gt. Victoria Street, beside the Opera House and saw a few stupid loyalists [perhaps two dozen at the most] on the Spires building scaffolding.

    My main concerns were why the Provos were allowed to come to the very bottom of the Grosvenor Road and why Spike Murray, a member of the Parades Review Body had a prominent role, radio in hand. I recall the House of Lords decision a few months back that David Burrows, a former member of the Orange Order was not suitable to be a member of the Parades Commission – how then can Murray be a member of the Review Body? I’ll be checking with the NIO tomorrow.

    The Provos and the mirror images, the Dissidents didn’t achieve what they hoped, namely to get a riot going.

    Thank you to the brave soldiers of the RIR and other regiments.


  • William

    Police estimates are that the crowd was in the region of 50,000

  • William

    Msg to Mark…..want a couple of pics uploaded of Murray directing the Provos and the OC Storey with his megaphone?

  • Paul McMahon

    “Sinn Fein had already said their protest was about illegal wars – this statement proves it was all about bigotry and sectarianism”

    Yeah, heard Nigel Dodds repeatdly claim the same thing on Nolan.

    Can someone tell me how this can be billed sectarian? Am I missing something?

  • William

    Question for Paul McMahon. Was the 35 year war carried out by Sinn Fein / IRA amongst the illegal wars they were protesting about? I don’t recall the UN giving permission for their campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing of Protestants along the border.

    Perhaps you could enlighten me, non Provo-speak please.

  • William

    I have just heard that paragon of virtue, Mark Thompson of the Provo lead Relatives for Justice. He is such an unbiased and truthful commentator with deficient eyesight and poor hearing. His poor Reelateeves were ‘subjected to abuse’…..not as much abuse as some of his reelavtees and their kinfolk meeted out to Jean McConville and to the other 1773 people the Provos murdered. Stick and Stones will break your bones Mark bhoy, but names will never hurt you.

    I’m sure that the resident whinger of Talkback is sick that his Provo mates didn’t get the loyalist to attack them. The Provos had their own video crew in place…no doubt they, like Mark McGregor are doing the careful editing of the pictures to show their Provies up as the good guys and ‘them Loyalists’ as the bad guys.

  • Neanderthal radio

    Willy away and crawl back to calton radio or I’ll send spike round to visit you.

  • There will be riots in Belfast tonight

    Can you give me next week’s lottery numbers while you’re at it?

  • Gregory Carlin

    “There will be riots in Belfast tonight”

    My last Fire Brigade FOI was between Dresden and a particularly combustible sink estate in England.

    I am not sure I would notice the difference. I had another bonfire type arson thing today. I’m not sure if it is a WB thing, does SB have a lot of arson?