Beacon for hope?

“What most struck me, as a nationalist from west Belfast, was that I was not in the slightest bit apprehensive.”

Allison Morris, a journalist with the Irish News spend the 11th night touring bonfires in the loyalist heartlands of north Belfast. Her colour piece is here but I have copied and pasted the article below as subscriptions will probably be need soon.

A well done to Allison who not only braved the elements but crossed over to the other side to visit an event not seen by her as her own.

I attended the Milltown (south Belfast) bonfire on Sunday night. The fire was fierce and unfortunately the road had to be closed off. However what needs to be done here is for the local council to work with the local community to secure a tidy and safe nights festivities.

Loyalist bonfires have long been associated with tribal displays of blatant sectarianism, drunken violence and paramilitary shows of strength. As some communities attempt to change that blue-bag image Allison Morris attends two Eleventh Night events

The loyalist tradition of bonfires on the Eleventh night is one that brings nothing but fear and apprehension to those citizens of Northern Ireland who haven’t engaged in the usual holiday exodus to get away from the annual inconvenience.

Often the catalyst for drunken attacks on interface communities and tribal violence that has marked the July period for generations, these environmental eyesores cost the public purse hundreds of thousands of pounds each year in both policing and clean-up costs.

At one time the only Catholic at a bonfire would have been in the form of an effigy of whatever political/Church figure was to be burned on top of the pile of wood and tyres on that particular year.

Usually bedecked with the Irish tricolour – seen this week on top of so many ‘traditional bonfires’ – the pyre is both intimidating and offensive to nationalist neighbours.

However, a number of progressive loyalist communities have taken the lead in making the ‘cultural’ celebrations less antisocial and more family inclusive.

But while this all sounds good in practice, what is the reality?

On a rain-soaked Belfast night I didn’t hold out much hope of too many people attending the beacon events being held in some loyalist areas.

But with organisers keen to show that they really were trying to make the night open to everyone, and on this occasion that included an Irish News journalist, I put on my raincoat and braved the elements.

Tigers Bay, a stronghold long associated with the UDA and often the scene of interface violence with the neighbouring New Lodge, was our first stop.

Ironically attacks last week did not come from the nearby nationalist community but internally from loyalist residents of the area who are struggling to come to terms with the transition away from conflict.

The beacon placed in a play park at North Queen Street had been petrol-bombed the night before by rival loyalists who saw it not as progression but an erosion of their culture and a concession to the Catholic population.

With organisers struggling to have the beacon ready for the Eleventh, women and children refilled the metal structure with wood chippings by hand in the rain.

No-alcohol signs were displayed around the park and after a small fireworks display the beacon was lit with a groups of parents and small children nearby.

Former loyalist prisoner John Howcroft said the trouble surrounding the event showed that some people were still fearful of change.

“This is a slow and steady transition to peace. You can’t expect people just to change overnight,” he said.

“So OK, there were people who didn’t want the beacon – but maybe next year we can come up with something else that is acceptable. We’re getting there. It’s just not going to happen overnight.”

The next stop was a much larger family fun day at Woodvale Park at the top of the hardline Shankill Road.

En route we passed a traditional bonfire built right up at an interface, loud rave music blasting from huge speaker, bedecked with tricolours.

At Woodvale Park the scene was very different.

Large stages had bands providing entertainment for hundreds of people of all ages.

The event had been in full swing most of the day with a cross-border football match earlier between local players and a team from Dublin.

The rain poured down but umbrellas and marquees were used as shelter.

What most struck me, as a nationalist from west Belfast, was that I was not in the slightest bit apprehensive.

In fact I totally related to the event as it was very similar to my memories of the early days of the west Belfast Feile an Phobail before that became the slick operation it is today.

The beacon was placed in a playing field a short distance away and once burnt it can be removed with no damage to the playing surface and no environmental impact.

No Irish flags were to be burnt.

“We don’t need to disrespect your culture to celebrate ours,” organiser Winston ‘Winkie’ Irvine said.

“It’s about embracing our culture in a safe, inclusive family friendly way and, despite the weather, which is I’m afraid out of our control, I think we’ve achieved that.

  • GGN

    AC,

    Are you in favour of a bonfire in Stranmillis?

  • Andrew Charles

    GGN

    Since there would be no community support for it why would there be?

  • GGN

    I asked ‘are you’ in favour, made no reference to the wider community in that area.

    My question relates to the fact that in Belfast the bonfire and the mess they leave behind are almost exclusively in working class areas, yet many of those are attend by middle class people, who I suspect and I could be wrong would oppose a bonfire in there own area.

  • Fizzbuzz

    has Andrew managed to actually write a slugger piece without bitching about his former party?

  • Damien

    As a moderate nationalist I have to agree with the loyalists youths that the eco bonfire things look absolutely useless. Call me weird but although I’ve never been to a bonfire I do like looking at the photos of the insane several story high ones with inevitable feral youth climbing up it. The new ones look silly, a couple of feet high surrounded by a fence.

  • Test

    subscriptions will probably be needed soon.

    Any techies out there ever test the login at aforementioned online publication ? Just to test that it’s working of course. ;o)

  • Andrew Charles

    “I asked ‘are you’ in favour, made no reference to the wider community in that area.

    My question relates to the fact that in Belfast the bonfire and the mess they leave behind are almost exclusively in working class areas, yet many of those are attend by middle class people, who I suspect and I could be wrong would oppose a bonfire in there own area.
    Posted by GGN on Jul 14, 2009 @ 04:41 PM”

    As the community would not be in support of it I therefore could not support it.

    You may well know that many middle-class areas in SB are religiously and politically mixed therefore it would not be appropriate.

    Also there is the geography – where would you put it? Lagan Valley Regional Park?

    For many years the site of the former Annadale flats was essentially the local bonfire.

    I would also agree with you that bonfires do generally exist in working-class areas. The reasons for this I do not know.

  • Andrew Charles

    “As a moderate nationalist I have to agree with the loyalists youths that the eco bonfire things look absolutely useless. Call me weird but although I’ve never been to a bonfire I do like looking at the photos of the insane several story high ones with inevitable feral youth climbing up it. The new ones look silly, a couple of feet high surrounded by a fence.
    Posted by Damien on Jul 14, 2009 @ 03:50 PM”

    I have to agree Damien. The problem is that there is no regulation and no ‘design’ experts to facilitate the building of bonfires.

    Perhaps it would be a good idea for the Council to intervene and provide such experts.

    Eco-friendly bonfires are a generally good idea but I suspect the ‘fun’ is also in the building.

  • GGN

    “The reasons for this I do not know.”

    Come on now.

    If Stranmillis was 100% unionist, I would still doubt very much if I would see a nice big 40 footer in the middle of the road about or the wee green patch in front of Stranmillis primary school, or what about the grassy area at the end of Sharman Road, loads of room there – why?

    Because its middle class and middle class people do not the likes in their back yard, no matter how staunch they are.

    Security word : ‘class’ – I swear!

  • Chris Donnelly

    Andrew

    I included a link to Allison Morris’ article in my thread on the Twelfth.
    It certainly sounded like Woodvale and Tiger’s Bay have the right idea about using the beacon as a centrepiece for a celebration which, crucially as Winston Rea points out, does not aim to celebrate Britishness by demeaning the Irish identity of their neighbours through burning flags, election posters and other materials with inflammatory comments on them.

    One cautionary note though: I know of one place, Stoneyford, where the move to a beacon was simply a cynical exercise aimed at obtaining funding.

  • Damien

    It should really be an easy sell, getting drunk at night around a fire with your friends. Someone should do a ‘posh’ bonfire at Shaws Bridge, barbecue, marquee etc.

  • Andrew Charles

    Chris,

    Sorry didn’t see that on your post – apologies!

    Is the idea perhaps an easy exercise … as you suggest to get funding etc?

    Maybe the idea of the Councils hiring professional bonfire builders may be an idea … after all there are so many community workers in NI.

    The reality is bonfires will be built no matter what people think. Therefore they need to be managed.

  • fin

    I get the feeling that bonfires are not imposed on working class areas and that they are not for the benefit of the middleclass tourists, even if the ‘nice’ areas had their own bonfires I’m guessing the working class areas would continue with theirs

  • Andrew Charles

    Damien

    I like your idea.

    But then again I feel that this is an issue people don’t want to deal with as they fear getting involved in something sectarian.

    It is also something that local politician can’t agree on. Nationalists politicians can’t be seen to support them therefore creating deadlock. (The same can be said for St Patrick’s Day.) This would be particularly true in Belfast City Council as Alliance hold the balance of power. So the next best alternative is to ignore the issue and let people get on with it. This is the case for many things. If you can’t agree then ignore it.

  • Chris

    As the community would not be in support of it I therefore could not support it.

    You may well know that many middle-class areas in SB are religiously and politically mixed therefore it would not be appropriate.

    Also there is the geography – where would you put it? Lagan Valley Regional Park?

    For many years the site of the former Annadale flats was essentially the local bonfire.

    I would also agree with you that bonfires do generally exist in working-class areas. The reasons for this I do not know.

    Posted by Andrew Charles on Jul 14, 2009 @ 04:57

    Great answer, if only you held the same democractic views regarding your marches the following day, eh ? Same crap

  • Andrew Charles

    Yes Chris … that’s what the Parade’s Commission is for where residents’ can submit objections etc and they come to a decision.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Just to clarify

    There appears to be two Chris’ on here (and nothing wrong with that, btw- great name and all…)

    Andrew
    Unless I’m mistaken, funding for the bonfire/ beacon sites has been ongoing for a number of years, with objections on the basis of what was being burnt (the sectarian element, as well as the environmental.)

    Objections to funding St. Patrick’s Day events has been on the basis of the appearance of Irish National flags.

    Not real parity there, as the presence of Union flags/ British symbols at bonfire/ beacon/ Orangefest events has never been an issue for nationalists, and nor should it be.

    There certainly is a class dimension to bonfires- bit like murals, no doubt, across the community(ies).

  • oldruss

    Your mention the Parades Commission, but isn’t it pretty much a toothless tiger? Take for instance, the display of paramilitary flags during the Orange Marches. They are prohibited, I believe, and yet there are reports on other threads here at Slugger O’Toole, (and in the news media generally) of a number of paramilitary colour guards, and pipe and flute bands specifically associated with loyalist paramilitary groups having participated in this year’s Orange Marches.

    AS for the bonfires, one particular bonfire, which gained some notoriety, was the one located next to the Belfast City Hospital. It would seem that locating a forty-foot tall bonfire in proximity to a hospital would be prohibited for a number of reasons. Yet, the Parades Commission, or the PSNI fka RUC, did nothing to prevent its construction, and presumably, did nothing to prevent it from being set afire.

    I’m an outsider, admittedly, but this all seems a little like Alice in Wonderland.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    So how many bonfires was Allison Morris at in the past? Probably none, but hey, we can’t prevent a journalist making a name for themsleves LOL

  • Ulsters my homeland

    FIN

    “[i]I get the feeling that bonfires are not imposed on working class areas and that they are not for the benefit of the middleclass tourists, even if the ‘nice’ areas had their own bonfires I’m guessing the working class areas would continue with theirs “[/i]

    Holy shit, we’ve got an Einstein in our mist.

  • Secret Squirrel

    Midst.

  • spell-be

    Secret Squirrel

    “Midst”

    OK, you know how to spell, anything else you want to share?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    that was not me ^^^^^^^

  • fin

    Ah UMH, my point was why bother having even more primative rituals than we already have,

  • Driftwood

    I’m an outsider, admittedly, but this all seems a little like Alice in Wonderland.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8148388.stm

    I’m an insider, admittedly, but this all seems a little like Alice in Wonderland.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]Ah UMH, my point was why bother having even more primative rituals than we already have,”[/i]

    Is that right? I wonder how many other slugerites seen that? Do you speak cryptic?

  • fin

    If you really want me to answer that UMH than I will, I would expect any sluggerite of average intelligence or about to have seen it.

    Your posts are quite short today UMH is it painful typing after dragging your knuckles along the road yesterday

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think the bonfires are a horrible anachronism and that they need to go. They’re messy, and incur considerable taxpayer cost. The stuff that goes along with it is worse – paramilitary trappings, burning of flags etc; burning of rubbish releasing dangerous fumes, attraction of vermin around the dumped material, etc.

    In the months running up to the bonfire you’ll see the young children of the neighbourhood playing in the dumped wood/furniture/etc, building huts etc out of the material – unsupervised. On one hand this is all innocent child’s play, on the other it goes without saying that this is dangerous and it’s amazing that there aren’t more small children injured or hurt.

    At the very least I would like the whole thing to be properly regulated. There needs to be enforcement of where bonfires can or cannot be lit, of what may be burnt upon them, who may organize them and what funding may be received, and the need to keep them free of hateful activity such as the burning of flags, election posters, effigies, etc etc. It’s not realistic that they be banned admittedly, although ultimately their ongoing presence could potentially lead to legal action from the EU.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Ah Fin, I see your still an intolerant bigot, unable to comprehend that cultures other than your own have a right to parade.

    IRB – Intolerant Republican Bigot

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Comrade Stalin

    “[i]In the months running up to the bonfire you’ll see the young children of the neighbourhood playing in the dumped wood/furniture/etc, building huts etc out of the material – unsupervised. On one hand this is all innocent child’s play, on the other it goes without saying that this is dangerous and it’s amazing that there aren’t more small children injured or hurt.”[/i]

    Are you for real? or just the only person in n.Ireland not to have a childhood?

    “[i]At the very least I would like the whole thing to be properly regulated. There needs to be enforcement of where bonfires can or cannot be lit, of what may be burnt upon them, who may organize them and what funding may be received, and the need to keep them free of hateful activity such as the burning of flags, election posters, effigies, etc etc. It’s not realistic that they be banned admittedly, although ultimately their ongoing presence could potentially lead to legal action from the EU.
    “[/i]

    Good luck with the effigy part, LOL. We really have some blue-sky wallies in N.Ireland. (Unbelievable)

  • eranu

    “In the months running up to the bonfire you’ll see the young children of the neighborhood playing in the dumped wood/furniture/etc, building huts etc out of the material – unsupervised. On one hand this is all innocent child’s play, on the other it goes without saying that this is dangerous and it’s amazing that there aren’t more small children injured or hurt.”

    i remember as a small child once or twice making huts in the bonfire in a friends area. this was great fun. danger and occasional injury is all part of childhood adventures.

    dont people gather round bonfires on various occasions all round the world? people enjoy it, i think at some primitive level. on a smaller scale, men love to burn things at the bottom of their garden. but im sure they tell their wives that its just ‘necessary’ to do to get rid of waste! lets organize bonfires a bit and get rid of paramilitaries and all that, but dont get carried away and try and get rid of them all together. its normal in the rest of the world to have an enjoyable night round a bonfire. we should be aiming for the same, with the added boast of having the biggest and the best fires in the world.

  • Comrade Stalin

    UMH,

    Sorry, but responsible parents don’t knowingly allow their children to play among rusty nails, old sofas with springs hanging out, and jagged bits of wood. And it isn’t considered virtuous to have children playing in rubbish dumped at the end of the street in most places in the West.

    eranu:

    area. this was great fun. danger and occasional injury is all part of childhood adventures.

    Yes, I’m aware of that, but there’s something insidious about it when it’s household rubbish dumped at the end of a street.

    dont people gather round bonfires on various occasions all round the world?

    In what other parts of the Western world are people allowed to pile rubbish up on public roads over a period of a few months and then set it on fire ?

    people enjoy it, i think at some primitive level. on a smaller scale, men love to burn things at the bottom of their garden.

    Yes, but you’re not actually allowed to do it anymore.

    but im sure they tell their wives that its just ‘necessary’ to do to get rid of waste! lets organize bonfires a bit and get rid of paramilitaries and all that, but dont get carried away and try and get rid of them all together.

    I’m realistic enough to recognize that it can’t be banned, and I’d be a lot happier if it were cleaned up and properly organized. There’s a need for designated sites for people to dump wood to be used for bonfires that can then be taken to the sites as required (provided the bonfire sites are places where it is safe and non-taxpayer-impacting to light fires).

    its normal in the rest of the world to have an enjoyable night round a bonfire.

    Not on the planet that I’ve travelled around called Earth.

  • Andrew Charles

    oldruss

    “Your mention the Parades Commission, but isn’t it pretty much a toothless tiger?”

    Nonsense ask any Orangeman and he’ll tell you otherwise.

    As for your claim about paramilitary flags I certainly saw none in the field and only one along the route on the way back being waved by onlookers at the top of Tates Ave. Nothing to do with the Orange.

    I am sure there is plenty of Republican flags flown on St Patricks Day or at Republican parades.

    The media usually have the habit of being anti-Orange and playing on the negatives. The reality is that the BBC Twelfth programme is the most viewed out of all the programmes in NI.

    This Twelfth was certainly the best in many many years.

    To my knowledge I only heard of trouble initiated by Republicans and have spend most of the day responding to such attacks. Attacks in Ardoyne, Rasharkin and Dunloy all initiated by Republicans … something Gerry Kelly blames on the Orange. An easy excuse never mind the little Republican scumbags out on the streets throwing stones and bottles at Police or the destruction of Orange halls or houses. For me giving media coverage to such disturbances is bad … lets focus on the positive. The crowds out yesterday demonstrate that the Orange are here to stay. Tourists where all over the place, including many at my lodge tent and on the route.

    Such negative scenes do this place no favours.

    I understand that certain elements come out on the Twelfth and a little bit more work needs done but look what has been achieved the last few years.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Comrade Stalin

    “[i]Sorry, but responsible parents don’t knowingly allow their children to play among rusty nails, old sofas with springs hanging out, and jagged bits of wood. And it isn’t considered virtuous to have children playing in rubbish dumped at the end of the street in most places in the West.”[/i]

    You must have lead a very sheltered life.

  • Peter Fyfe

    I am sure there is plenty of Republican flags flown on St Patricks Day or at Republican parades.

    Posted by Andrew Charles on Jul 14, 2009 @ 10:57 PM

    Yes i am sure all them have republican flags at St patricks day parades whether it be New York, London, Chicago or Dublin. What unionist areas were them republican parades passing through you saw? I heard of an attack on a male in Ballymena but he was a pesky fenian getting a bit to close to the spinning mill so he probably deserved it. Of course I think it is an absolute disgrace that a family was burnt out of their home in Dunclug as well. Hope the scum are brought to justice. Around Ballymena they got their attacks in last week so they would be free for the twelth. Crebilly, Ahoghill and Harryville all have to be cleaned up and of course a few families had to move to. At least it was done before the twelth so the pesky fenians could be blamed for causing trouble on the twelth.

    What I don’t get is all this talk of how we could make the twelth a tourist attraction. Yes we could go to the bother of promoting a day when one side beat the other and they all still live there. They can watch very uncolourful marches compared to a normal street parade. Does not sound very attarctive compared to mardi gras in Rio or dare I say a St. Patricks day in the big apple.

    Here is my crazy suggestion. As Saint Patrick is synonomous with christianity in Ireland. The Orange order is christian isn’t it? We could promote one of the worlds better known feast days with the same effort as we put into the twelth? Probably would not work though, sure who would celebrate st patricks day anywhere? Is it not just an excuse to fly a tricolour in Belfast?

  • Andrew Charles

    Well Peter …

    St. Patrick was indeed a Christian jumped on by the Catholic Church and Irish Free State to unite their community and cement their ‘Irishness’. Separate parades are held across NI. Indeed Belfast County as others hold an annual St. Patricks Day service with a parade usually held in Ballymena (I think) on the 17th March.

    St. Patricks’ Day has unfortunately become one-sided but slowly being neutralised … mind you the flags don’t help.

    As for the Boyne the Pope actually gave his backing as he hated and feared James and France.

    I understand that you may not see my point of view but lets just say that history has managed to get distorted by Politicians and Politics.

  • west1

    Are you in favour of a bonfire in Stranmillis?

    there used to be several bonfires in stranmillis when parts of the area was working class loyalist….

  • Andrew Charles

    Interesting West1 where abouts?

  • How come no one has mentioned that Allison Morris was able to write a fine piece in the Irish News about loyalist bonfires, and feel no apprehension, but was struck in the face by a brick thrown by republican rioters the following day ? There was a picture of the injuries she suffered in today’s paper. She pretty clearly set out to report all aspects of the events of recent days, and suffered potentially serious consequences as a result. The poster named Ulster’s My Homeland who poured scorn on her contribution earlier has completely missed the point.

  • Peter Fyfe

    Well Andrew…

    The parade in Ballymena must be very well advertised, I am a resident and have been for most of my 24 years and have never heard of it. Guess you didn’t think enough. Do you know if the pope gave his backing to the penal laws ushered in afterwards to keep them pesky catholics out?

    St. Patricks’ Day has unfortunately become one-sided but slowly being neutralised … mind you the flags don’t help.

    I take it you were being ironic with this as your alternative is to promote orangefest.

    I know the History of the battle of the Boyne son, no need to explain. Personally I do not have a lot of time for the idea of the divine right of kings. I just don’t understand why people in Rasharkin or Dunloy have to be reminded about a 17th century battle if they don’t want to be. Then again I suppose the Order is a protector of religious freedom. Though William had no problem with penal laws against fellow christians. They are the anomolies I don’t understand. How does an organisation promoting religious freedom bar a certain christian religion?

  • Peter Fyfe

    oldhack,

    he makes sure to stay clear of the point at all times

  • Secret Squirrel

    OK, you know how to spell, anything else you want to share?

    I cheated and used a spell checker. Dyslexics of the world untie !

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Apologies if I have scorned Allison Morris’s ‘piece’, but it wasn’t something I would read or think interesting in the first place. It’s interesting now, so please feel free 😀

  • Peter Fyfe

    Andrew before I am made a fool of I do think I rememeber they have some celebration at st patricks barracks in the town. Yes, St. patricks day is very one sided.

  • borderline

    UMH,

    I see you are referring to n. Ireland.

    Tell us, do you at last perceive a difference betwee ‘n.Ireland’ and Ulster?

    And if so, is an honest change in your moniker in the offing?

  • eranu

    CS, i agree with you about people dumping household rubbish. nobody wants that. thats the sort of thing that needs tidied up. designated sites for bonfires where they wont damage or block roads would be best i think.
    a quick google shows alot of countries that have bonfires for various reasons. they’re just more fun than some piddley wee beacon on a pole.

  • kensei

    Andrew

    St. Patrick was indeed a Christian jumped on by the Catholic Church and Irish Free State to unite their community and cement their ‘Irishness’.

    Good grief. St Patrick was a “Christian jumped on” by the Catholic Church? You know how these Saints things work, right?

  • Andrew Charles

    Peter

    I will direct you to the Reformation.

    There is a lot of debate as to whether Catholics are Christians.

    Protestants believe that the teachings of the Catholic Church are misguided and wrong.

    Just for your information.

    Re. oldhack and Allison Morris … I was aware a journalist from the Irish News was attacked but wasn’t sure whether it was indeed Allison.

    This was a very unfortunate event caused by Republicans and I wish Allison all the very best in recovery.

    I know Allison to be a very hard working and dedicated journalist and it is unfortunate that she was caught up in the middle of this violence.

  • Peter Fyfe

    Andrew

    You just confirmed what I thought the orange order was about. Freedom for some but not for others.

  • soandso

    Andrew Charles, much as I tend to disagree with Gerry Kelly, he doesn’t blame the Orange for the violence, he blamed the dissidents.

  • Peter Fyfe

    soandso

    Why do you let the truth get in the way of a good intro?

  • soandso

    Sorry. Forgot the truth is meaninglesss and we should all just say what we want to be happening. Like Lenin said, “A lie told often enough becomes the Truth.”

  • Andrew Charles

    Peter

    It’s a Protestant Fraternal organisation what do you expect?

    soandso/Peter

    And Gerry Kelly did blame the Orange listen to his opening sentence why didn’t he just start straight into the dissidents … oh wait they’re people he is losing

  • soandso

    Why would you not mention that they aren’t soley to blame. He says it once. He’s hardly th type to not take every single chance to blame the Orange he gets. But he didn’t blame them solely so that speaks volumes to me and should not be overlooked.

  • Andrew

    Flip side then soandso

    Why did he mention the Orange at all?

    Why didn’t he just open his remarks by saying dissidents were to blame … after all they were the ones throwing stones and shooting at the police!

    Orangemen have a right to parade there that’s the Parades commissions view. It’s a public space and none of the residents’ live on the main road. There’s just shops.

    Some people just want to be offended and intimidated. They should wise up.

  • Peter Fyfe

    Andrew

    Is it andrew? I never knew that. Do you think its right an organisation that excludes almost half the population has a right to waste so much public money every summer? Do you think it is right an organisation that excludes almost half the population has the right to hold up towns across the country every year?

    Some people just want to be offended and intimidated. They should wise up.

    This coming from the man offended by an irish flag on St. Patricks day. Get your head out of your own arse you blinkered idiot. Gerry Kelly mentioned the Orange order because if they were grown up enough to try and avoid this inevitable trouble by morons they could have. That would have meant showing some respect to nationalist neighbours who did not want violence and simply want to live in peace without UVF banners being carried past. The approach of the OO is to press ahead where they can whether they are wanted or not. This leads to trouble, any moron can see this, I am sure if you searched you may even see it yourself. Yes, there are people who like an opportunity to riot, I assume you have saw the news before. It’s not only Ardoyne it happens. Dissident republicans with a renewed confidence were likely to exploit this situation, did the OO not see this coming? The answer they did and they do not care about the residents of ardoyne, they do not have to live there as the rioting continues, ordinary people do that want left alone in the first place.

    Why did he mention the Orange order?

    Were these riots not linked to the 12th?

  • Andrew

    Peter – Orange parades have been going on for centuries. They have every right to parade.

    I don’t know your politics but you seem very short and narrow minded.

    You have to allow Orangemen the right to parade.

    As for Gerry Kelly and Sinn Fein they are hardly wise men or indeed Saints after murdering and creating mayhem for the last 30 years, many of whom were indeed Orangemen.

    The Orange represent a large proportion of people across NI. You only have to look at the crowds on the streets on Monday. Are you going to deny these people their culture?

    Hold on lets ban all religions, cultural expressions and any political opinions. What a sad world we’d live in.

    The Orange can offer something positive for NI despite the criticism, ignorance and intolerant behaviour held by people such as yourself.

    I think this year was a very good step in the right direction.

  • west1

    Interesting West1 where abouts?

    Andrew,there was one at the bottom of the wee streets just up a bit from chlorine gardens on the same side.there was also one up loughview road.i also remember around the loughview roundabout being festooned with bunting and flags circa 1990.

  • Peter Fyfe

    Did I dispute a right to march? I don’t think I did, I agree with it so don’t put word’s in my mouth. Why would I ban religion? You really are a blinkered fool. I presented a situation where trouble was inevitable where morons will go out and cause trouble. This was going to happen as a result of the dissidents increased confidence. I don’t agree with it, Gerry Kelly does not agree with it and the overwhelming majority of residents in Ardoyne did not agree with it. They do not want this trouble either and they are the ones who suffer as a result of the rioting. The orange order walk on by and go to their own homes. Businesses and home owners are the ones cleaning up today, they are the ones suffering, they are the community scarred by last night. If the Orange order is in fact about promoting Christian freedom, why not do the christian thing and avoid this situation? You call me narrow minded because I want to understand why orangemen feel the need to march where they are not wanted. Do you realise the contradiction there?

    Hold on lets ban all religions, cultural expressions and any political opinions. What a sad world we’d live in.

    When you be reactionary, you are the only person that looks stupid son.

    Andrew, I do agree with you that the Orange order can be something positive and I know from reading the local paper, lodges do charitable work and I applaud them for that. When you call somebody intolerant for asking a questions, it is you that does them no favours.

  • oldruss

    Andrew Charles, not to put too fine a point on it, but my reference above to the use of paramilitary flags during the Orange Marches was not the product of an over-active imagination, as you seemed to be implying in your post above on July 14, 2009 at 10:57 PM. I only made reference to the loyalist paramilitary flags because others here on Slugger, who were reporting on The Twelfth (i.e. Mick Fealty, et. al.), had made mention of them.

    Assuming for the sake of argument that all those who did report seeing such flags were not making it all up, why do the Orange Lodges permit the loyalist paramilitary flags to be displayed during their parades?

    Why, too, do the Lodges allow for loyalist paramilitary pipe and drum bands or flute bands to participate? Again, I’m relying on reports from other posters here on Slugger, who have stated that they observed some of these paramilitary pipe and drum and flute bands marching in the parades with the members of the Orange Lodges.

    Isn’t the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland giving encouragement (perhaps unwittingly) to the loyalist paramilitaries when it does so?

  • Peter Fyfe

    oldruss

    Andrew does not like to answer awkward questions and you are a narrow minded bigot for asking such questions.

  • oldruss

    Perhaps an awkward question, but nonetheless, a seminal one.

    Unionists (as distinguished from loyalists, if only in their own minds) like to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the “loyalist” terrorist violence, i.e. the UVF, UDA, etc.

    Yet, the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, the very epitomy of Unionism, seems to give considerble succor to the “loyalist” paramilitaries during their Orange Marches in the form of pipe and flute bands and paramilitary flags.

  • Andrew

    Peter

    “This was going to happen as a result of the dissidents increased confidence. I don’t agree with it, Gerry Kelly does not agree with it and the overwhelming majority of residents in Ardoyne did not agree with it. They do not want this trouble either and they are the ones who suffer as a result of the rioting. The orange order walk on by and go to their own homes.”

    And Republicans will follow parades where ever they go until they’re all stopped. It makes political sense. Ardoyne is off the route, it isn’t on the route otherwise I suspect that the parade would be blocked.

    Dunloy for example … the Parades Commission enforce restrictions Orangemen abide by them whilts people destroy their hall. Rasharkin the Parades Commission let Oreangemen through and Republicans riot. Whiterock the Parades Commission enforce restrictions. Orangemen accept the ruling, but obviously disagree, but Republicans climb the peace line waving flags and jeer at Orangemen. The 50 men walk through the Workman’s gate through an area sparsely populated as many have been driven out to shouts and projectiles being thrown from Republicans.

    Look to the Garvaghey Road resident’s who refuse to talk to Orangemen.

    Republicans will continue to push and protest until they don’t see an Orangeman about the place.

    Sectarianism is very much active and practiced by many Republicans on these routes. They go out of their way to create a nuisance.

    oldruss

    I can tell you from my experience I only saw one loyalist paramilitary flag on the route back waved by fellas standing at the top of Tates Ave, Lisburn Rd.

    In my opinion the reports put up on Slugger were greatly exaggerated.

  • Framer

    I’m a Serbian and I don’t understand all your ethnic unpleasantness and triumphal marches.

  • Andrew

    Very interesting West1 the area has dramatically changed the last ten years.

    Thanks for that.

    A band hall still exists but suspect is hardly used now.

  • Andrew

    I’m a Serbian and I don’t understand all your ethnic unpleasantness and triumphal marches.

    Posted by Framer on Jul 15, 2009 @ 10:30 PM

    I’ll invite you to the field next year and show you a great day.

  • Peter Fyfe

    oldruss

    I know it is, It is a very serious question which I should not joke about but andrew has ignored many of my points and then called me a narrow minded bigot for asking them. I would expect your uncormfortable question shall be met with the same response. The question will always be met with they didn’t see any or they shall avoid it. Anybody commenting here will remember the welcoming the UDA got at Drumcree. We don’t need to ask for links, we know they exist whether admitted or not.

  • Andrew

    Peter

    Open your eyes and look at the bigger picture instead of focusing in on the negative.

    You obviously hate the Orange. That’s fair enough. Your entitled to your opinion.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘I’ll invite you to the field next year and show you a great day.’

    What if he is catholic Andrew?

    http://newstalk.ie/newstalk/podcasts/25/the-full-breakfast-show.xml

    Have a little listen to this reporters experience at the field. The link is fourth from the bottom, its called Henry of Orange.

  • An Lorgain

    7.Peter – Orange parades have been going on for centuries. They have every right to parade.

    Indeed and as CAIN shows, they have been troublesome also….

    [b][i]The Tunnel area was the site of riots on 23 July and 5 November 1873, the second of these taking the form of a battle between policemen, who were blocking the entrance to the Tunnel, with Orangemen attempting to march through[3]. Serious riots took place in 1880 after a ‘Green’ arch had been erected for the Lady’s Day celebrations of 15 August[4] and in 1885 the Tunnel was the scene of disturbances involving a Salvation Army band, accompanied by ‘roughs’ and playing ‘party tunes’, who had been ordered not to march in that direction.[5] There were further disturbances in 1886, and in 1892 riots continued for several days after the Twelfth, with the Belfast Newsletter complaining about the ‘disgraceful conduct of the police’.

    ‘At ten o’clock a cordon of infuriated policemen was drawn across the mouth of the Tunnel to charge a lot of innocent factory girls, who were marching down the street at the time. Th epolice are, at the time of writing, much excited.'[6]

    By 1972, the communal situation was so bad that there were serious doubts about whether the Drumcree Church parade could go ahead. In late June the UDA had erected barriers in estates close to Portadown and tension in the Obins Street area was very high, there having been ‘mini-riots’ in recent months. Eventually bulldozers cleared away barriers that had been put up in Obins Street on the Sunday morning and CS gas was used to disperse rioters. When the disturbances had subsided an apparently larger contingent of Orangemen started their parade. However, they were led by a group of at least 50 UDA men who proceeded to stand on either side of the Road up until the tunnel and who promised police they would go on through if one shot were fired. It has been suggested that this intervention was not at the bidding of Orangemen, and that the UDA, a legal organisation in the 1970s. appeared from the other end of town.[22] However, not surprisingly this show of strength and the apparent threat of 3,000 available UDA men led to both the Official and Provisional wings of the IRA threatening to stop Twelfth parades going down Obins Street, warning the UDA that they would not be allowed to repeat such actions. Whilst the parades on the Twelfth and Thirteenth passed peacefully, there were three men shot dead in Portadown on the morning of the Twelfth and later that month there was a bomb in Woodhouse Street (Provisional IRA), a bomb in a local Catholic church (Loyalist paramilitary), and a gun battle in the Obins Street area involving, it would seem, members of the IRA, UDA and subsequently members of the security forces to ‘clear out IRA nests’.[23][/i][/b]

    In 1970 Stormont banned the parades for 6 months, I wonder why?

  • Peter Fyfe

    Andrew,

    You mention Dunloy and Rasharkin first off. I am a north antrim man and I would doubt republicans have had to travel too far to either village to be offended. Have you been in Dunloy or Rasharkin? People are not travelling there to be offendeed as you suggest, they live there, there homes and families are there. The halls should not be attacked but don’t mislead people with your statement’s that suggest people travel to dunloy or rasharkin to be offended. Have you noticed I have said there are morons who will want to cause trouble wherever you go, you probably ignored that though. You also mention the springfield road area I lived near the bottom of it for a year. Sorry you were offended by flags and jeers, I believe a parade was going on, were you suprised to see flags or was it the type of flag that offended?

    Look to the Garvaghey Road resident’s who refuse to talk to Orangemen.

    Personally I think they should talk but I wonder where they learnt the current tactic from.

    You try to tell me that republicans follow parades to be offended and then mention dunloy, rasharkin and the Springfield road to me. At least use a good example for your arguement. You really are a blinkered fool who has no respect in the slightest for nationalist neighbours, I shall stop wasting my time on you.

    Oldruss

    Told you he would avoid the question, he is clearly not up to answering it.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘but I wonder where they learnt the current tactic from.’

    Indeed, I doubt Andrew had a problem when the shoe was on the orange foot years ago !

  • Peter Fyfe

    Somebody please correct me if I am wrong but I believe I said I support an orangeman’s right to march, I simply asked why they use this right to antagonise and heap misery on others? I even praised the order for the charitable work they do in their communities. Answer the question and stop accusing me of hate because you are uncormfortable talking about the orange order. For all this hate, I have never once protested against a parade and I see enough of them being from Ballymena, your accusations just don’t add up.

  • west1

    talking of dunloy and rasharkin.both those villages were once 40% protestant.i think we all know why the protestant populations of both villages have dwindled away to nothing….

  • west1

    A band hall still exists but suspect is hardly used now

    i didnt know that Andrew,where is it?

  • Peter Fyfe

    RS

    I am beginning to see that, I actually approached andrew first off hoping he could answer some questions as I wanted to understand a unionist mindset on this issue. For this I was told I was narrow-minded and a bigot. I have saw I ask the wrong person, who on slugger gives a good unionist point of view? Turgon is generally quite interesting but never saw his views on this before.

  • Peter Fyfe

    west1

    Is it because north antrim is so republican?

  • oldruss

    Not to flog a dead horse, but the “ostrich-head-in-the-sand” approach to resolving the issues that are still very much alive eleven years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement leaves a great deal to be desired.

    Using loyalist paramilitary pipe and drum bands or flute bands, or displaying loyalist paramilitary colours during these Orange Marches may only be symbolic, I understand. And there can be legitimate differences over how many such units and colour guards participated in this year’s Twelfth celebrations.

    However, the mindset of the Unionist community and in particular, that of the Orange Lodges, which allow (encourage) participation by the loyalist paramilitary units, and those who deny that any such units did participate, has much deeper ramifications than just these July Twelfth celebrations.

    If Unionists are unwilling to acknowledge the impact these loyalist paramilitary units have on the minority Catholic population, it sends a very negative message. That message says that the Catholic minority simply do not merit any better; and it is altogether immaterial whether or not display of paramilitary flags is prohibited by law or whether they are offensive.

    There are real issues that need to be addressed, by the Irish who live there in the six counties, and I’m very much the outsider. But sometimes one is too close to a situation to see it, can’t see the forest for the trees, and an outsider’s perspective can help put a thing into focus.

  • caps

    However, the mindset of the Unionist community and in particular, that of the Orange Lodges, which allow (encourage) participation by the loyalist paramilitary units, and those who deny that any such units did participate, has much deeper ramifications than just these July Twelfth celebrations.

    oldruss how can you say that? its up to individual lodges to hire bands and how can one prove that they are paramilitary linked? republican parades dont have paramilitaries in their ranks i am sure

  • oldruss

    A number of posters here on Slugger O’Toole have given eye-witness accounts of their experiences. They have been reporting the presence of loyalist paramilitary pipe and drum bands, and loyalist paramilitary flags. Some flags may have been in support of the “original UVF” as distinguished from the present day loyalist-terrorist group; but I think that was only for show, with a wink and a nod to the Parades Commission. That original UVF, BTW, was an armed group formed by Carson and Craig to use whatever force necessary against Parliament and King to defeat the implementation of the Third Home Rule Act.

    As long as the indivisual Orange Lodges and/or the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland permit any of these parmilitary colour guards, banners, pipe and drum bands, etc. to participate in their marches, it speaks volumes for the members of those Lodges and for the wider unionist community.

  • west1

    ”They have been reporting the presence of loyalist paramilitary pipe and drum bands”

    would people please stop refering to ‘paramilitary pipe bands’?pipe and accordion bands are not paramilitary affiliated(ive never seen one in 35 years of parades!)the only ones with paramilitary leanings are some flute bands.

  • oldruss

    My bad, sorry. I guess it best just to say “paramilitary bands”. That loyalist paramilitary bands trail after the Orange Order marches (as reported by several members who were in attendance at the various Twelfth celebrations) speaks volumes about the Orange Order and the unionist crowds that attend these marches.

  • west1

    ” That loyalist paramilitary bands trail after the Orange Order marches (as reported by several members who were in attendance at the various Twelfth celebrations) speaks volumes about the Orange Order and the unionist crowds that attend these marches”

    ho-hum oldruss,and what does the fact that over half the nationalist electorate vote for the provisional republican movement say about your community…?pot,kettle,black…

  • west1

    ”Is it because north antrim is so republican?”

    well,the republican parts were a lot less republican before the prods were chased out…

  • oldruss

    West1: “ho-hum oldruss,and what does the fact that over half the nationalist electorate vote for the provisional republican movement say about your community…?pot,kettle,black…”

    If you mean when you say that, “over half the nationalist electorate vote for the provisional republican movement”, you mean, that Sinn Fein is the largest nationalist political party, which also topped the poll at the recent EU elections, I guess it means that Irish voters are voting for a LEGAL political party, and that an awfully lot of Irish voters in the six counties prefer Sinn Fein over any other party, nationalist, unionist, loyalist, whatever.

    Now, back to those UDA banners and UVF paramilitary bands, how do the Orange Lodges explain their use of proscribed banners and proscribed bands in their Orangefest celebrations?