The Judiciary: Where the Orange light still shines brightly?

Martin McGuiness’ assertion at this weekend’s Sinn Fein Ard Fheis that the northern state was no longer an Orange state but an ‘Orange and Green’ one is no doubt based on a recognition that the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent developments have cemented power-sharing in the state as well as that of the Irish nationalist identity alongside that of British unionism. However, the latest episode of judicial leniency with regard to the sentencing of loyalists (and here) suggests that reforming the judiciary remains the most formidable obstacle to developing that Orange and Green state (though, admittedly, the PSNI remain a work in progress.)
The case of the two loyalists- one a PSNI employee and another employed by controversial Ballymena firm, Wrightbus, has been covered on Slugger before. The two loyalists- one pictured on the front of today’s Irish News giving two fingers to the camera- were freed after being found guilty of collecting details from a PSNI database on catholics in the Randalstown/ Toome area.
Justice McLaughlin concluded that he was satisfied the details had not been gathered for “a paramilitary purpose.” The PSNI employee, Aaron Hill, received a suspended sentence and Darren Richardson got off with a one year sentence (which he had already served on remand.) A PSNI officer blamed a change in legislation for not being able to charge Richardson with UVF membership (see Irish News article linked above.)
Both are prominent members of the Randalstown Sons of Ulster Flute Band, which was honoured with a plaque and Council reception last year by the UUP Mayor of Antrim, Adrian Watson, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the band’s formation.
An indication of the mentality of some band members can be gauged by this excerpt from the band’s official website:
The band’s loyalism is a thorn in the side of the majority of Nationalists and Republicans in Randalstown. The band’s hope is that this thorn remains, although the fight is getting harder, the members will thrive on continually showing their religion in the town.”

Slugger readers will remember that loyalist figures in the area- alongside unionist politicians- collaborated with Antrim Council officers to pioneer the concept of council-funded lamppost-pi**ing spots Loyalist flagpoles at a number of sites in the loyalist Neillsbrook estate in the town- some clearly intent on continuing that fight….

  • Where does Martin see others? Is it not their state too?

  • Archie

    It is gratifying to know that a former Chief of Staff of the IRA and OC of the Derry Brigade, a man whose hands are dripping with the blood of hundreds if not thousands of innocent people, is lecturing us from the grey skys of an Irish republic showground hall. As the Father of little Kathryn Eakin, one his Claudy victims was buried last Saturday, many reflected on how he was feted by Government, whilst Billy died a broken rejected man.

    It is even more repulsive that this unreformed terrorist is Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland. The only joy about his position is that the is a paid Minister of the British crown.

  • picador

    Justice McLaughlin concluded that he was satisfied the details had not been gathered for “a paramilitary purpose.”

    I’m sure those whose details were being collected will be similarly satisfied.


    You may be interested to learn that three loyalists from Stoneyford have been charged with public order offences.

  • “The only joy about his position is that the is a paid Minister of the British crown. ”

    That doesn’t say much about the British Crown….

  • ArchiePurple

    Catholic Observer…..I must agree….had Her Majesty’s Labour Government had a inch of backbone and indeed their Tory predecessors the same, then Adams and his cronies would have still been in jail for their crimes against humanity and their etnic cleansing Protestants who lived along the border areas.

  • frustrated democrat

    I am neither orange nor green do I not have a place in NI.?

  • Chris Donnelly

    I am aware of that and will be watching the progress of that case very closely.

  • james

    I wonder will the Orange Order allow the band to continue using its Orange hall in Randalstown.

  • Cynic

    Frustrated Democrat

    Sorry, no.

    You don’t have a place in Martin’s Norn Iron. There all must be either Orange or Green. The role of the Oranges (or Jaffas as the Greens playfully call them) is to scare the Greens into voting SF. The role of the Greens is to do what they are told.

    Of course on the Jaffa side the situation is totally different. There Peter wants all the Greens to be as Green as possible to scarce the Jaffas into unifying and consolidating the Jaffa block vote to keep those uppity Greens in their electoral place.

    Of course both Martin and Peter know that the other side have no real hope of totally eliminating the more free thinking elements in Pastier on each of their sides. So it suits both of them to play along with this strategy as for each of them it optimises their power.

    Some bight young thing studying game theory will get a PhD on the back of an analysis of this in 15 years time (if he ever gets into a secondary school as a result of the’reform’ of education). Unfortunately, in the meantime, all us Greens and Jaffas are the Lab Rats.

  • cynic

    ‘Pastier’ should read ‘Parties’

    Bloody spell check

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “the more free thinking elements in Pastier on each of their sides”

    mmmmmm…..a Freudian slip Cynic or maybe ye were doing a bit of cooking while typing this?

    Jaffa tarts?

  • Quagmire

    I am neither orange nor green do I not have a place in NI.?
    Posted by frustrated democrat on Feb 21, 2009 @ 07:22 PM

    I’m afraid that’s the nature of the beast FD. It all derives from that proud moment in our history when some dude in a suit drew an artificial line on a map thusly dividing the people of this Island both physically and more importantly psychologically, which only served to further entrench the cancer of sectarianism in our society. As I said on another thread, the Americans have Independence Day, the French have Bastille Day, ours would be called the annexation of one part of Ireland from the other via sectarian headcount day! True national reconciliation can only be achieved if the border is removed and a new national democracy established with rights and entitlements for all!

  • indeed


    In fairness, what did you expect? Has something fundamentally chaged in what the north laughingly refers to a judiciary?

  • ulsterfan


    I think you have put the cart before the horse.
    Lets remove sectarianism and bigotry before dealing with the border.
    If you remove the border by some miracle and leave sectarianism then this is doomed to fail and make matters much worse.
    Reconciliation first and who knows what might follow.

  • Tee Dee Um

    Paranoid nonsense.

    If the ‘Stoneyford Three’ don’t hang will there be a repeat of this drivel?

  • Smug O’ Toole

    Great to see some progress. Years ago, all this would have been done behind closed doors in murky back rooms and would have required a tribunal or court case to try and blow it out into the open.

    Now it’s all done clearly and transparently in the open, saving the English taxpayer 100’s of thousands of their hard earned tax dollars.

    Well done Aaron Hill for getting off so lightly. He must have seen some crazy shit at the last PSNI Christmas party to warrant such a lenient sentence. Anywhere else in the world, if an employee was mishandling data, they and their employer would be in severe breach of modern data protection laws for breeching them in mishandling customer information. Maybe when the amount of PC’s and high tech employment increases in NI, these laws might be taken more seriously. Another decade or so.

  • Cushy Glenn

    Oh bugger
    the Lawyers’ Lodge has had its cover blown by the searchlight of the Shinners
    Sir Seamus Treacy will have to stand down as Worshipful master. The good brethren Brian Kerr, Donal Deeny , and Richard McLaughlin will have to keep a low profile now….

    “ours would be called the annexation of one part of Ireland from the other via sectarian headcount day!”

    shurely that ought to be ” violent cessation from the democratically elected sovereignty of the United Kingdom government followed by refusal to recognise the independent Boundary Commission established to recognise the local wishes of the people” Day

  • Smug O’ Toole

    Cushy Glenn,

    No I believe it’s called “Home Rule ruled out on several occasions by the undemocratic House of Lords, which led to a rising and an all-Ireland vote to become an independent nation, ignored, Tan terror, Hun gun running by those ‘Loyal to Britain’ (snigger), independent boundary commission me hole, what about the Tyrone and Fermanagh councils” day.

    Often confused with Valentines day.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I am neither orange nor green do I not have a place in NI.? /

    No -as long as there is an NI State there will be orange and green . Even without an NI State there will be orange and green although the political significance of the colour difference would be much abated as both ‘orange ‘ and ‘green’ flag holders would be swamped by the ‘not too green and not too orange ‘ across the island .

    When I say you have no place I mean no ‘political ‘ place . You are of course allowed to live , breed , work , vote etc etc etc but don’t ever expect your ‘party ‘ to ever command the First Minister position . Not going to happen this side of Tib’s eve .