Unionists turn

Last week CD found issues with the Grand Lodge’s choice of language in its statement about GAA halls. This week Arlene Foster was angered by Margaret Ritchie’s attack on the media for treating attacks on GAA and Orange Halls as equivalents, treatment she described as “deeply concerning”.

  • The Reincarnation of Paul Revere’s Horse

    Why Oh, why, in a sentance talking of building bridges did Margaret Ritchie decide to burn them. Was it really nessesary to say that.

  • Dec

    his week Arlene Foster was angered by Margaret Ritchie’s attack on the media for treating attacks on GAA and Orange Halls as equivalents

    Correction:

    Actually what she said was:

    “She said while all attacks should be equally condemned, the growing tendency in the media and elsewhere to suggest an equivalence between the GAA and the Orange Order was ‘deeply concerning’.”

    I fail to see how anyone can argue otherwise unless they can point to the GAA’s ‘Drumcree’ or ‘Whiterock riots’ (to list but two examples).

    Of course, it’s refreshing to see Arlene Foster fully recovered from the summertime trauma of constant intimidation from Fermanagh GAA bunting.

  • autocue

    “There was absolutely no need for her to introduce the Orange Order into the discussion in hand, but it would appear as though she just couldn’t help herself.”

    Key sentence. Ritchie’s pettiness just got the better of her.

  • Dewi

    “Unfortunately this type of outburst has come to be expected from the SDLP – this after all is the party which described the Torrens estate in North Belfast, which had to be abandoned by its Protestant residents because of a systematic campaign of terror as a “windfall site”.”

    I’d be interested in the source of that quote.

  • Unfortunately Ritchie used the background of GAA Clubs and Orange halls being attacked to criticise the orange order. It was wholly inappropriate given the context.

  • fair_deal

    Dewi

    It was Alban Maginness, an online version of the original article
    http://saoirse32.blogsome.com/2006/03/03/nationalist-politicians-blast-the-latest-housing-figures/

    This is the explanation he offered in the assembly when challenged about his choice of language.

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ni/?gid=2008-10-06.4.14

  • Dewi

    Thanks Fair Deal – unfortunate phrase to use at best.

  • They are bigots because we hate them

    Surely this is a deliberate attempt to be divisive and provocative ?

    Mrs. Ritchie’s musings are rather skewered on her own sense of bias. The Orange Order is indeed sectarian, so is the Catholic Church, in that they are organisations of particular sects for the activities of their sectaries. If however Mrs. Ritchie means Sectarian in the traditional, wrong, Irish sense; seemingly antagonistic tribalism, she would do well to remember the clear endorsements and commemorations of murders and murders of the GAA’s affiliates and the regular and meaningful condemnations of violence by the loyal orders when considering their worth to reconciliation and peace. Perhaps Ritchie, in seeing the seething, indoctrinated hatred that the Orange provokes among her fellows, which is divisive alright, and the relative indifference of Protestants towards the often provocative and often insensitive GAA, has rationalised for us that the OO are the problem, rather than the hatred expressed towards them, which she seems not immune to herself. This can be resolved by remembering that the hatred and violence of the perpetrator cannot be resolved justly by acquiescing to their agenda against the victim, it is resolved by the protection of the victim and the punishment of the former.
    The suggestion that there is no moral equivalence between the Orange Order and the GAA is a sound one, the idea that this absence of equivalence should be at the expense of an organisation committed to non-violence and in favour of one that endorses the commemoration of violent men is not. The idea that the O.O. and the GAA are integral and similarly functioning parts of our community, and its violent habits, is perhaps worth exploring, how many GAA halls were gateways to paramilitaries ? A similar charge is not applicable to the orders. A more sound equivalent to the GAA may be the Loyalist marching bands ?

  • Dec

    It was unfortunate language however Foster’s version of events surrounding Torrens leaves a lot to be desired.

  • They are bigots because we hate them

    line 8 comment 8 should read ‘by’ instead of “and murders of” – must just have went a bit mad after getting exposed to ritchies bigotry.

  • Ranger1640

    Is there an election on the horizon, and is Margaret Ritchie setting out the SDLP’s anti Orange and anti Unionist credentials?

    I find it regrettable that Margaret Ritchie has fund it necessary to make these remarks on the Orange Order. As, of all the members of the executive Ms Richie was the only one that seemed to have any credibility.

    Ms Richie needs to remember the recent fury over the St Paul’s GAA club in west Belfast, which was to be used for a memorial night for INLA hit man and killer “Crip” McWilliams.

    Then there are the numerous other GAA clubs, grounds and competitions named after recent IRA and INLA personnel. Some of these clubs, grounds and competitions were endorsed by Nicky Brennan, I would like to remind her, while the GAA have some progressive people around who wish to move them forward to a better place, they remain, unlike the Orange Order, sectional and sectarian, and deeply divisive in our community.”

  • Dec

    I see the Special schools are closed today

  • Dewi

    “they remain, unlike the Orange Order, sectional and sectarian”

    I doubt whether even the brethren themselves would deny being sectarian.

  • it is not he that is presented as hateful, but he

    The charge that the Orange is sectarian whilst the GAA has no religious specifications is true enough, the understanding that one is a religious organisation and the other a sports concern takes the sting out of any such line of attack, something someone of Ritchie’s privileged background is well aware of. Mrs Ritchie will next feel the need to remind us there is no equivalence between Neasden Hindi temple and The Den at Millwall, Millwall being an open and progressive sporting concern that recruits from all sections of the community, whereas those sectarian madman at Neasden have the gaul to suggest that a Hindu temple is for the purpose of Hindu worship…… It should be remembered that although the GAA are claimed by Ritichie to be ‘progressive’ (asumeing she means progressive towards peace and reconciliation) that they were the only sporting body in Europe to discriminate on terms of National allegiance. A stipulation only droped after the acceptance by the IRA of normal goverment in the United Kingdom. Again Mrs. Ritichies outburst is so historically illiterate and bigoted as to call into question her upbringing, sanity and commitment to reconciliation.
    ——————————
    Tell us the ture story Dec ! was it a case of innocent Prods tormented out of their wits while a supine media looked the the other way ? (like they did with the Pyjamie mammies at the big old protest ;>) or were those loyalist badmen up to no good as usual ? lets ee if we can guess what line dec will take…. Im saying 50p, to be collected, that he feels loyalists were to blame for any incidents in the Torrens, any takers ?

  • charlie muck

    I believe that it was only the County Down GAA board that voted to abolish Rule 21, whilst the other 5 voted to retain it. I agree with ranger1630 that there are (or at least appears) to be progressive thinkers in the GAA, but this clearly shows attitudes on the whole within GAA heirachy in Northern Ireland.

  • charlie muck

    sorry, rangers1640-typo!

  • Congal Claen

    Hi All,

    I think Ritchie thinks that because some Prods play GAA it’s less sectarian than the OO as they don’t allow in Catholics. However, the GAA is a sect. Just not a religious one. It’s based on ethnicity ie a Gaelic sect.

    It should be remembered that the UVF have had Catholics in their ranks. Is anyone seriously suggesting that the UVF is less sectarian than the OO? Similarly, the SDLP compare the DUP with SF. FFS, SF murdered hundreds of our citizens! If she’s getting upset at GAA/OO comparisons maybe she should drop the SF/DUP comparison.

    Incidentally, why does Ritchie always appear to be angry when answering any question. You could ask her the time and you’d think ye were gonna be assaulted.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “Ms Richie needs to remember the recent fury over the St Paul’s GAA club in west Belfast, which was to be used for a memorial night for INLA hit man and killer “Crip” McWilliams.”

    – Yes indeed, but the appalling tribute event wasn’t held in St. Paul’s GAA club for folk saw common sense and reason!

    “Incidentally, why does Ritchie always appear to be angry when answering any question. You could ask her the time and you’d think ye were gonna be assaulted.”

    – Very true Conagal Claen, for she has a face that could stop a clock! But most of the MLA’s have stoney frosty faces. Maybe the general crankiness is part of the Ulster character!

  • Dec

    Tell us the ture story Dec ! was it a case of innocent Prods tormented out of their wits while a supine media looked the the other way ? (like they did with the Pyjamie mammies at the big old protest ;>) or were those loyalist badmen up to no good as usual etc etc blah blah…

    Let me know when you’re accompanied by a responsible adult and I’ll respond.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “I would like to remind her, while the GAA have some progressive people around who wish to move them forward to a better place, they remain, unlike the Orange Order, sectional and sectarian, and deeply divisive in our community.”

    The Orange Order are no longer sectional and sectarian and deeply divisive in our community?

    OK, Where can I join up?

  • cynic

    “I fail to see how anyone can argue otherwise unless they can point to the GAA’s ‘Drumcree’ or ‘Whiterock riots’ (to list but two examples).”

    Well, let’s perhaps talk about the way in which a small minority of GAA clubs in NI were actively used by senior PIRA members to recruit young volunteers as cannon fodder for their campaign? And of course they too have their clubs named after notorious murderers and terrorists.

    Not a total parallel but the truth is that both the OO and GAA are embedded in their communities and in the North shared many of the attitudes and issues of those communities over the last 40 years.

    Now thank god the GAA generally moved on from that many years ago (much faster the the OO) but its still all part of our shared history.

    As for Margaret Ritchie’s comments ….. what a surprise, an SDLP politician who is blind to problems in her own community but happy to criticise ‘themuns’ in the pursuit of a few votes or a headline. After all they have to compete with Gerry’s Afrikaner moment.

    Those Orangemen …..they keep their coal in the bath don’t you know.

  • Driftwood

    Will Ms Ritchie explain to us why Roman Catholic schools are openly sectarian, while state schools are not.

  • bystander

    Its nice to know that my possible death after the arson attack on the Memorial hall In Londondery, would have been more deserving than had i been attending a similar charity event in a GAA club.

  • edward

    Cong

    Similarly, the SDLP compare the DUP with SF. FFS, SF murdered hundreds of our citizens!

    to the best of my knowledge SF has never murdered any one, you of course have evidence to back up your assertion

  • Dec

    Well, let’s perhaps talk about the way in which a small minority of GAA clubs in NI were actively used by senior PIRA members to recruit young volunteers as cannon fodder for their campaign?

    Is it too much to ask for a single scrap of evidence to back this claim up?

    Now if you have have any evidence of Nicky Brennan urging his community to take to the streets in protest during Drumcree(a la Harold Gracey) or insisting he would not to anything differently after several days rioting following which included live gunfire fired at police and army and blaming the violence on the police in the first place (step forward Dawson Baillie), please provide it.

  • Greenflag

    Comparing the GAA to the Orange Order is like comparing Apples to Oranges .

    The former play with a football the latter play at protestant God . Even an atheist can see the difference .

    When God turns up to play Gaelic Football and/or hurling or alternatively to wear a sash and a bowler hat then yiz can pick the winners of this ‘debate’.

    Until then – losers one and all 🙁

  • Greenflag

    Driftwood ..

    ‘Will Ms Ritchie explain to us why Roman Catholic schools are openly sectarian, while state schools are not.’

    I believe the RC Schools do accept the children of the ‘heretics’ if they have no other school to go to in the neighbourhood . I have not heard reports that any of these ‘heretics’ are force fed catholic indoctrination or warped by subliminal conversion techniques such as tempting them to play ‘gaelic ‘ football or hurling .

    I’m unaware of the Orange Order having a special class/room where RC members can go when the brethren doff their hats and worship the chief wizard /goat/worshipful master etce etc .

    It’s all so f**ing brainless either way inn’it ?

  • Big Maggie

    Several days ago I suggested that the OO should hold a joint press conference with the GAA and use it to appeal to their respective knuckle-dragging ‘supporters’ to stop the attacks.

    No one seems to have taken my suggestion seriously, if at all. Perhaps it’s too logical and inclusive. Far better of course to continue the centuries-old game of beggar my neighbour—as illustrated perfectly by the comments on this thread.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Edward,

    “to the best of my knowledge SF has never murdered any one, you of course have evidence to back up your assertion”

    The “best of your knowledge” is rather lacking then isn’t it?

    You should recall the negotiations between the leaders of SF and the UUP in talks to restore Stormont. Due to the repeated use of the “SF isn’t the IRA” argument used by Adams, etc Trimble wouldn’t agree to anything unless SF confirmed that they spoke for the IRA. Which they did.

    You could also investigate the overlap of convicted IRA terrorists and SF membership.

    However, I also suspect that you know SF have killed.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Edward,

    also…

    Sinn Féin organiser Danny Morrison at the party’s Ard Fheis (Annual Conference) in 1981, said:

    “Who here really believes we can win the war through the ballot box? But will anyone here object if, with a ballot paper in this hand and an Armalite in the other, we take power in Ireland?”

    So Edward, what would a “political” party want with Armalites?

  • Seimi

    Big Maggie,
    your suggestion re the OO and GAA sitting down and talking together to appeal for these attacks to stop reeks of common sense and maturity, traits which are neither asked for nor catered for in these parts. Please take your sensible, positive ideas and begone from this place. Try a more tolerant society. Like China. Or Beirut. 😉

  • Congal Claen

    Whatabout taking the cost of repairs from budgets allocated to the “other side’s” cultural activities?

    So, say a GAA hall gets torched. Take the repair money from government grants to Orangefest, Ulster Scots, etc.

    OO hall gets burnt. Take the costs from grants to the GAA, St. Paddy’s parades, etc.

  • Modernist

    Same old argument going round in circles,circles…yet more circles and even more circles. As an agnostic/atheist Im no fan of the OO.. Im just not interested in this protestant God marching bollix but if halls are being attacked then why the hell are the police not doing their job and arresting the criminals carrying out these CRIMES

  • Modernist

    This equivolence idea is a bad idea in my opinion. I agree with Madge. It’s just another form of whataboutery playing into the hands …. as Ghandi once said “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.

  • Modernist

    This equivolence idea is a bad idea in my opinion. I agree with Madge. It’s just another form of whataboutery playing into the of those motivated (for whatever reason) to commit crimes …. as Ghandi once said “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.

  • ggn

    The attempted marriage in the media of the OO and the GAA follows the classic NIO 50/50 rule.

    The classic example of which if which is the language unknown to linguistics known as ‘Irish and Ulster-Scots’. The 50/50 rule applies no matter how bizarre the outworkings are, or alternatively to enforce a bizarre situation.

  • edward

    Congal Claen

    Does overlapping memberships and former members of paramilitaries in your party not make the DUP mouth pieces for loyalist terrorists so in equivlence the DUP has murdered people

  • Modernist

    Does overlapping memberships and former members of paramilitaries in your party not make the DUP mouth pieces for loyalist terrorists so in equivlence the DUP has murdered people

    Sure werent a few of the DUP heads in Ulster resistance
    …Paisley senior… Peter Robinson
    Ive a good quote from Peter Robinson al wikipedia

    At a rally in Enniskillen, Peter Robinson announced; “‘Thousands have already joined the movement and the task of shaping them into an effective force is continuing. The Resistance has indicated that drilling and training has already started. The officers of the nine divisions have taken up their duties’.[2] Sounds like a loyalist paramilitary organisation to me unless Im missing something here..

    Unionist double standards never cease to amaze me

    The group collaborated with the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) to procure arms. In June 1987 the UVF stole more than £300,000 from the Northern Bank in Portadown. The money was used to buy an estimated 200 AK47 assault rifles, 90 Browning 9mm pistols, 10 RPG-7 rocket launchers and 150 warheads, 450 grenades and ammunition which arrived at Belfast docks in December 1987 and were then transported to a farm outside Portadown. The arms were Palestine Liberation Organization weapons captured by the Christian militias in the Lebanon and were split three ways between the groups.

    “On 8 January 1987, as they attempted to transport their weapons to Belfast, the UDA’s share was intercepted by the Royal Ulster Constabulary. A UR member, Noel Little, a former Ulster Defence Regiment soldier and the Armagh chairman of the Ulster Clubs was arrested in connection with the find under the Prevention of Terrorism Act but released without charge. The Ulster Volunteer Force’s (UVF) share was successfully smuggled to Belfast but several weeks later around half of the arms were also seized by police.

    Part of the Ulster Resistance share of the weapons was uncovered near Markethill, County Armagh in November 1988, along with stolen missile parts and Ulster Resistance red berets. Two men were arrested in connection with the find and sentenced on 22 September 1989. Both were from South Armagh, one of them a DUP member. The party subsequently claimed that they had severed links with the group in 1987.”

    I can also remeber seeing that guy Cecil Carvet on TV hanging round yer man Harbinson in Lisburn. Wasnt he in the DUP for a while. All this is in the public domain

  • Dusseldorferin

    Ritchie’s prettiness just got the better of he.

  • sean

    The GAA in S. Derry run a yearly Gaelic competition for all the local Gaelic teams , and is a popular event, The competition and trophy is named after three notorious S. Derry IRA members who died as a result of a premature explosion , as they primed a bomb , which was to be planted in the centre of Magherafelt . The brave men who are honored by the GAA every year ,are BATESON, SHERIDAN and LEE. Many in S. Derry have forgotten these heros of the IRA, but the GAA and its followers are going to make sure that as many dont.

  • Blair

    Sean,

    Thanks for the confirmation.

  • Earnan

    Farewell to Bellaghy, likewise Tamlaghtduff,
    And the green hills of Derry that I dearly love,
    My thoughts return to you from a dark H-Block cell,
    So friends and brave comrades I bid you farewell.

    For hundreds of years now we’ve kept on the fight,
    And the history books told me of Ireland’s plight,
    So with gallant Francis I followed the cause,
    To conquer the tyrant and defy England’s laws.

    Through the hills of south Derry we marched and we drilled,
    To our exploits in action all Irish youth thrilled,
    Most feared men in Ulster, volunteers on the run,
    We give England our answer from the barrels of our guns.

    Oh gallant south Derry you are forever blessed,
    In the struggle for freedom you have given your best,
    There’s Hughes and there’s Bateson, Sheridan and Leigh,
    And enscribed with their names now brave Tom McElwee.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Edward,

    “Does overlapping memberships and former members of paramilitaries in your party not make the DUP mouth pieces for loyalist terrorists so in equivlence the DUP has murdered people”

    No. For instance Sean O’Callaghan is a former Ra man who is in cahoots with the UUP. However, no one would suggest the UUP have links with the Ra. Whilst a few terrorists have been in Unionist parties, the unionist parties did not spawn them. They reguralrly condemn them. Do you recall the barracking Paisley got after the GFA was signed?

  • Modernist

    No. For instance Sean O’Callaghan is a former Ra man who is in cahoots with the UUP. However, no one would suggest the UUP have links with the Ra. Whilst a few terrorists have been in Unionist parties, the unionist parties did not spawn them. They reguralrly condemn them. Do you recall the barracking Paisley got after the GFA was signed?

    Congal I would disagree with you on that one. Both the leaders of the two main Unionist parties have played active roles in political organisations linked to loyalist paramilitaries Reg Empey in the Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party (ever heard of Craigs calls for the liquidation of the enemy)”We must build up the dossiers on the men and women who are a menace to this country, because one day, ladies and gentlement, if the politicians fail, it will be our duty to liquidate the enemy”.

    The DUPs leadership’s (see Peter Robinson, Paisley Senior etc)association with an organisation like Ulster resistance which actually imported illegal arms. These guns have never been decommishoned and may still be on the streets being used by some unsavory characters… they may even still be involved in the odd murder. Remember Peter robinsons apparent call to arms “‘Thousands have already joined the movement and the task of shaping them into an effective force is continuing. The Resistance has indicated that drilling and training has already started. The officers of the nine divisions have taken up their duties’

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Modernist,

    All the examples you give are non terrorist. They would have been involved in all out civil war in a doomsday scenario. And whilst that would have been violent it would not have been terrorist violence. There is a difference.

    On the nationalist side you could say the Easter Rising was violent but not terrorist. However, the IRA then subsequently resorted to terrorist means.