Is this what a resolution of parading would look like?

The DUP’s well documented position of seeking to extract concessions to build ‘community protestant/unionist/loyalist confidence’ ahead of the devolution of policing and justice has failed to endear the party leadership to the broader community at large. The party has sought to bring the explosive issue of parading back centre stage in a calculated move it knows can only escalate tensions in key flashpoint districts (as the sectarian violence witnessed in Portadown last week illustrates, such tensions are rarely far from the surface.)

Of course, the DUP’s opposition to the Parades Commission emanates from a desire to see Loyal Order/ loyalist parades proceed unhindered wherever/ whenever they want in a dangerous but desperate attempt to win back the hard line loyalist electoral base that has abandoned the party for the Traditional Unionist Voice, some members of which have also apparently been seeking to endear themselves to hardline loyalism recently: a case of the DUP finding itself in competition whilst appealing to what Fionnuala O’Connor has described as the “very basic and unreconstructed instincts” of unionism.

But all of the rhetoric regarding the Parades Commission ignores the fact that it has always made- and continues to make- decisions in favour of loyalists, even when the motivation for parading through contentious areas is as blatantly sectarian as the Apprentice Boys/ UVF-aligned band parade through the Crumlin Road flashpoint this weekend.This weekend’s parade is worth discussing in more detail. Ahead of participating in the Apprentice Boys parade in Derry, the Ballysillan Apprentice Boys will join with a Shankill-based loyalist band which boasts its links to a UVF man who was killed by a British soldier minutes after he had killed a catholic man, Patrick McKenna, in Ardoyne.

The Apprentice Boys have claimed that they asked this particular band to march with them past the flashpoint area (yards from where Brian Robinson killed his victim 20 years ago, and past the homes of his close relatives) because of the band’s “musicality.”

On last week’s Radio Ulster Inside Politics programme, DUP MLA Peter Weir managed to somehow intimate that such parades through flashpoint areas would form a natural part of the DUP’s vision of a ‘shared future.’

Perhaps Peter’s right. But isn’t it about time nationalists considered an alternative strategy than ‘the moral high ground’ to change the context within which parading was discussed to secure a lasting resolution of the issue?

It has long been the case that each and every argument used by advocates of Loyal Order parading could be swiftly turned back on them were a nationalist/ republican body to seek to reciprocate by planning a similar parade in flashpoint/ loyalist districts.

Several years ago, dissident republican British agent? Paddy Murray wreaked havoc amongst political unionism by planning a republican parade in Ballymena.
Suddenly, the call for ‘civil and religious liberty’ was abandoned, with one local MLA declaring that such parades should not be permitted because Ballymena was a majority protestant town (he did not consider that, according to similar logic, that’d signal the end of loyalist parading in Derry, Newry and many other locations.) Now I’m not advocating a whole scale programme of retaliatory parades be planned for loyalist districts, but in specific areas it may be a useful point of discussion to highlight just how unionist sensitivities would immediately be aroused were the proverbial shoe to change feet.

The mantra of promoting dialogue, far from defusing the parading issue, has only served to keep the issue in the political melting pot. A more forthright stance which properly contextualises the loyalist desire to parade in nationalist areas as a sectarian desire, the flip side of which would be a republican parade through loyalist districts, would no doubt be seen as a hardening of the nationalist stance, but would that actually be a more helpful development at this juncture?

Of course, a long term resolution to parading will only be possible when the desire to develop a culture of respect replaces the desire to antagonise and offend. And amidst all of the hollow cries of respect for the Loyal Order’s traditional right to parade, it is worth remembering that even Unionist Ministers in the one-party state that was pre-Troubles Ulster recognised the sectarian motivation of many parades and tried to ban some in the late 1950s.

Perhaps the Apprentice Boys should offer to support the right of a republican parade to proceed from Ligoniel on down to Ardoyne in a gesture aimed at indicating that they genuinely seek to promote tolerance in a reciprocal manner. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but it appears to me that short of proving a willingness to reciprocate their desire to express their political loyalties in nationalist/ flashpoint districts, there will never be a satisfactory desire to parading other than restricting such parades to one’s own community.

As Fionnuala O’Connor remarked on Inside Politics last week, Parading “put poison into the system” in Ireland long before there was a Northern Ireland. It’ll require more than the abolition of a Commission for a Committee to remove that poison.

  • Pete Baker

    Well, Chris, something’s been well documented.

    Although, it’s not necessarily what you claim..


    Well Chris as today proved the TUV are driven by morals, consistency, upstanding and unequivocal denounciation of terrorism………..UNLESS you are a sectarian Loyalist mass murderer who also happened to bash two innocent women in a bar. Says it all really about the hypocrisy of Unionism/Loyalism. A relative of mine knows (through work) a leading well known North Belfast Unionist/Loyalist figure in parading. This guy has unashamedly told my relative that a Loyalist parade that offends NO Catholic has NO meaning as that is what the ultimate existence of Protestant marching is all about. It’s ALL to do with antagonism, triumphalism and reminding Taigs that this is ‘the wee six, Ulster, Norn Iron’. Didn’t a well known Protestant clergyman say the same a few years ago at Drumcree when asked why these Parades couldn’t be confined to Unionist/Loyalist areas and avoid contentious areas? His reply was “Well what would be the point of them then?”. Time for Brown and Cowen to lay it on the line for the Billy Boys. Deal NOW or be governed by joint authority………until the same Taigs are a majority and well then you won’t have much to moan about when Republican Easter & St. Patrick Days Parades are a norm in the Shankill, Dundonald and Portadown. There is NO doubt that Nationalist intolerance of Unionist bigotry and intransigence is at an all time high.

  • Pete Baker

    “Says it all really about the hypocrisy of Unionism/Loyalism.”

    There’s documentation for you.

  • “Paddy Murray wreaked havoc”

    One small point you’ve overlooked, Chris. Philip McGuigan, sometime North Antrim SF MLA, was for and against the Friends of William Orr parade over the course of a couple of days. Now surely that’s a little bit of havoc too 😉

  • I see that TUV now has their own exclusive group on Facebook.

    What a cheerful place that must be!


    Further to my earlier comments my relative who works with the well known North Belfast Unionist/Loyalist parading figure has stated that the guy has openly admitted to colleagues that he NEVER goes to Church, his involvement in marching is NOTHING to do with religion whatsoever and ALL to do with territory and annoying as many ‘Fenians’ as possible. He has also stated that 95% of Loyal Order members NEVER go near a Church and that membership and parading is ALL to with the notion of superiority over Taigs and letting them know it. He says he and his mates laugh when Unionist spokespersons get all high and mighty about a notion of ‘the Queens highway and civil and religious freedom’. It’s shite he says it’s all about ‘F**k you, you Fenian B*****ds, WE ARE THE PEOPLE’. As honest and open as assessment as I have ever heard from Unionism/Loyalism about parading!

  • Dave

    “If scheduled favourably I will march in Coleraine.” – Sean

    I don’t think RyanAir does those 99c flights to Canada, just within the EU.

    I would guess that the Shinners will have to lie down and think of England on the parades commission issue since that is the price they will very likely have to pay to the DUP to secure their permission to devolve P & J. I suspect that DUP will be very mature about it and not gloat – at least until the TUV tries to claim that they devolved P & J and got nothing. If that wasn’t the price, you can bet that whatever it was won’t stay secret for long.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathy C

    At least the DUP have a well documented position. Sinn Fein has waffled tremendously over the years. Back in 97 they stated the orange order marches were akin to KKK marches and they were against them. Now gerry adams says it is sinn fein desire to ensure that unionist parades have a place to march in a new United Ireland. It is my opionion that it is due to adam’s remarks in Wales recently that caused all this problem with the DUP wanting to get rid of the parades commision.

  • The following leaflet was delivered in Ardoyne last night:







  • igor

    I know Chris.

    You have adopted the old phrase Croppie lie down to make it Proddie lie down but they really have got fed up with it. It’s all about balancing rights you see and there is a right to parade and to express ones views. There is even a right to annoy others.

    Its always amazed me that those who would extoll events like Burntollet have created so many of their own Burntollets over the age. But hey, politics is full of hypocrisy

  • martin mor

    martin og must have written that statement about ardoyne. the spelling is woeful for a public statement and just makes ardoyne peops look stupid

  • paddy

    it was 20 yrs ago since yer man got shot at rdoyne shops.nobody in the band had anything to do with it wait n see the ones doing the protesting.

  • interested

    The petition calling for the loyalist killer to be released from jail was organised by TUV member Trevor Collins.
    It is circulating in the Garvagh area, and Collins told the Daily Mirror it had been signed by “more than 2,000 people”.
    On Wednesday, Knight was jailed for four months for attacking two sisters in a Coleraine bar in May 2008.
    His lawyers said he will appeal against his conviction for the two assaults and disorderly behaviour.
    Knight was granted bail, but was immediately driven back to prison following the hearing because his early release licence was suspended in October.
    The Life Sentence Review Commissioners is set to examine the case to decide if the suspension of his licence was justified and if Knight should serve out the remainder of his murder sentences.
    The TUV confirmed Mr Collins is a member.
    But the spokesman said there were no plans to expel him.
    Talking to the Daily Mirror, organiser Trevor Collins said he had mentioned the petition to TUV leader Jim Allister.

    Seems like double standards again from the TUV

  • Martin Mhor, if UR gonna complain about spellings, please don’t spell your native language wrong.

    Also any chance of sticking to the issue at hand; bigoted and insulting parades through Ardoyne that are not welcome!

  • Marty McG

    If one arrived here in Northern Ireland, never having heard of the troubles and listened to Roman Catholic Republicans, you’d think that they were as pure as the driven snow, hadn’t killed over 2000+ people, bombed thousands of businesses, put bombs under vehicles, secretly buried over 30 people, left thousands of persons seriously injured, either in body or mentally and that all the trouble was caused by Protestants, Loyalists, Unionists, the ‘Bratish’. They should get a life….the Roman Catholic population increased year on year in Northern Ireland since 1921, due in part to larger families [not so now], but also due to the welfare state which treated everyone fairly. Indeed, in many cases, due to the large families, people were financially better off not working. Contrast that with the fate of Protestants in the Republic of Ireland…..decreased year on year since 1921 due to discrimination and the power of the RC Church. Whilst a Republican Prod or two made it to President of Ireland and other senior Government posts, a Protestant librarian in Co. Mayo was sacked because of her religion, only of many such incidents. De Valera promoted the concept of jobs for RCs only in his quest for a ‘Catholic [sic] Government for a Catholic people’.

  • BillyW

    Your’re quite right Marty….for those interested check out the following: final.html

  • BillyW

    Your’re quite right Marty….for those interested check out the following: final.html of 1798 WEXFORD.html

  • 2050

    Unionism & the inextricably linked Sectarian Orange order holding us ALL back again.

    When will they learn? Time to cut the money .

  • DR

    chris/donnelly/republican/anti-unionist likes/chooses/tries/fails to link/connect/ties every incident/outrage/scuffle/anti social behaviour in with the issue/right/controversy/fun of parading/marching/wee dander/triumpalist coat trailing, maybe/possibly/just occasionally he should look/reflect/peer/encompass the bigger picture/whole story/underlying issues/a bit of reality,/// / / / / / / / / / / //// / / / /,

  • fair_deal


    “The party has sought to bring the explosive issue of parading back centre stage”

    Parading never left the stage. Why did you think there was a parades review? If it had disappeared why was there serious disorder by republicans in the summer? Why did Martin McGuinness have a section of his Bodenstown speech on parades in July? You also omit the basic fact that the DUP is seeking the Ashdown report model which is much closer to international standards on rights than the Parades Commission. It is a distinct improvement on the Parades Commission model but it is not a triumphalist set of proposals.

    Simply SF thought that the TUV vote in the Euro elections meant they could bully the DUP into devolving Policing and Justice and renege on past indications Ashdown was fine. They would get what they wanted without having to risk political pain for themsleves. They were wrong.

  • danielmoran

    Chris….. as i see it, Robbo is deliberately wasting people time, hoping to string this out beyond the westminster election. However, since the parades issue was clearly not a dealbreaker at st andrews, he is in default of that by bringing it up now as a precondition.
    i note that in his testy response to the open letter from Clarke, [yesterday’s NL]Robbo didn’t object to clarke reference to ‘the likes of Gregory Campbell’ so maybe after westm. election he will feel free to move at last on P&J.

  • martin mor

    mairtin, i wasnt writing in my native language.. “mor” are my initials.
    now, off you go back to school and learn how to spell big words like “sectarian”

  • Q


    Shankill Star Flute Band
    Press Release 004
    3rd December 2009


    # # #
    The Shankill Star Flute Band regrets the nature and tone of comments, remarks and accusations within recent media coverage regarding their upcoming engagement on Saturday 5th December. The band feels that both the band and the event have been unfairly represented; and would offer the following information to clarify the situation to interested parties.

    Shankill Star Flute was formed in 1968, and has been an integral part of the community fabric of the Shankill district throughout the ensuing 40 years. Like other bands of the same origin, the band has provided a much needed social outlet for what has been a deprived area; adding structure and discipline to the lives of many young men, and helping to maintain a united and cohesive community in what were difficult times. During this period in excess of 1000 members have passed through the ‘Star’s’ ranks, with Brian Robinson being one such member.

    It is fair to say Brian Robinson was very much a highly respected part of Shankill Star, and during his time in the band he was utterly committed to furthering its goals. Brian was however much more than just a band member. Coming from a well respected and well known local family, to countless people Brian was a true friend, held in high regard along the entire length of the Shankill Road. Today the band unashamedly bears his name in recognition of these facts and his contribution and commitment to the band, his family, his friends and the wider community.

    The Shankill Star have never made any conscious decision or have any desire to offend any individual or group, and feel that they are justified in bearing the name of someone who was uniquely respected by its members. The tragic circumstances that led to Brian’s death are unique to a situation within this Country, and arguably if born anywhere else in the World he would be alive today. We would assure all those with concerns that, as with all their engagements, the band will approach Saturday’s short procession with discipline, dignity and respect.


  • Marty McG

    I hope you Republicans have viewed Billy W’s links…..copy and paste them and see what your ancestors were capable of….you already know of the 2000+ you killed from 1969 to date….

    As for McGuinness being the picture poster boy of NI politics….in a just society he’d be in Maghaberry jail.

  • Post probably too early for next part of News Letter story

    There has been long standing open dialogue in North Belfast, but with each new group (5 so far) from the Ardoyne things seem to keep going back to the start. With each new group, the Parades Commission assures that this is a group that speaks for the community – there must be an amazing turnover of population.

    If the SDLP were on the beat, surely they would be part of that dialogue group. Instead they stand outside and make political gestures that have no chance of success but make them seem relevant (any half decent lawyer should know the Commission process by now). Indeed, would the NWBPF not be justified in stopping dialogue until the Ardoyne community came to the table with a representative group from across their community including the SDLP? Or does the SDLP support local dialogue, in which case what was the purpose of its intervention?

  • i wonder

    Washington Post
    Digest Friday, December 4, 2009
    Pope Benedict XVI and visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed Thursday to upgrade Vatican-Kremlin relations to full diplomatic ties, the Vatican said.
    The two men also discussed challenges to “security and peace” in the world and “themes of mutual interest such as the value of the family and the contribution of believers to the life of Russia,” the Vatican said.
    Asked afterwards what both men thought of Northern Ireland they both replied we think its fuked.

  • Trev

    Donnelly has beaten this same old drum so often he has worn himself his very own traditional route.

    For him, and his many bigoted cheerleaders on Slugger, very different standards have to be applied to the unionist community.

    Whereas unionists must accept the many republican terrorists now playing at being politicians up at Stormont, examples being Shoot-In-The-Back-Butler and Shoot-In-The-Face-Kelly, Donnelly’s moral apartheid will not tolerate any association at all with loyalist violence, however tenuous as in the case of the band marching this weekend.

    Now I have relatives living in East Belfast perhaps they should be mounting a ‘white-line protest’ against the shinners who move through their ‘community’ on their way to the Hill.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Now I have relatives living in East Belfast perhaps they should be mounting a ‘white-line protest’ against the shinners who move through their ‘community’ on their way to the Hill.’

    Going to work (and school – Holy Cross anyone?) is a necessity. Parading is not. But thanks for demonstrating the mentality which allowed that disgrace to happen 8 years ago. Hopefully you’re not representative Trev, infact i doubt you are.

  • mcoop

    Must take a bit of effort to get up at 07.30 on a Saturday morning in December just to be offended by a 10min parade

  • JR

    “Martin Mhor, if UR gonna complain about spellings, please don’t spell your native language wrong.”

    Sorry Ardoyne republican but your wrong. It is Martin Mór. You only add the h if the preceeding noun is feminine. eg it is Maggie Mhór but Martin Mór.

    See examples below.

    an fear beag-the small man, teach mór-a big house

    bean bheag-a small woman, an ollscoil mhór the big university

  • David

    The parade’s going through Ardoyne?

    I’m surprised the ABOD got permission to march up the Ardoyne Road.

  • David, the ABOD and bigoted band was indeed given permission to march through the greater Ardoyne community…a very proud and cohesive collective community.

    These ‘parades’are not helpful to inter-community relations but then again the Unionist community in North Belfast couldn’t careless!

  • martin mor

    lol JR….pfffft mairtin og

  • Trev


    Thanks for demonstrating the metality that set aside morals and allowed for sectarian murder and permitted that disgrace for over 30 years (La Mon, Enniskillen, Teeban anyone?)

    Hopefully RepublicanStains you’re not representative, but sadly I think you might be.

  • Frank

    At least in confirms that the orange marching orders have no problems being closely associated with, or commemorating uvf terrorists.

    Its hardly surprising that senior Apprentice boys spokesman & chairman of the North Belfast parades forum Tommy Cheevers seems relaxed about the uvf band marching past the spot where Robinson murdered one of his victims.

  • Reader

    Chris Donnelly: The party has sought to bring the explosive issue of parading back centre stage in a calculated move it knows can only escalate tensions in key flashpoint districts
    Chris, I just want to check – in the current negotiations aren’t SF trying to preserve the current system against the DUP’s attempt to introduce the Ashdown plan?
    And do you personally want to preserve the current system?

  • RepublicanStones

    You seem to have a poor grasp of history there Trev. Too much time in the bandroom, not enough time in the classroom perhaps.

  • Frank

    So the uvf terrorist Apprentice Boys parade passed the Brian Robinson uvf murder scene without incident in Ardoyne this morning!

    Apprentice Boys Governor Jim Brownlee said we’re organising it to commemorate a historic event connected with this city (Derry), i presume he’s happy for the Belfast crowd to commemorate sectarian murderers?

  • PaddyReilly

    a Protestant librarian in Co. Mayo was sacked because of her religion

    I think it’s worth pointing out that she was not sacked because of her religion, she was thought unsuitable for Mayo, and so given an equivalent post in Dublin.

    As being sent to Mayo or Craggy Island was generally considered to be a punishment, I think she did rather well.

  • Reader

    Paddy Reilly: I think she did rather well.
    Oi, Paddy, your sort isn’t needed round here – you’re boycotted. You can keep a job if you move 150 miles.

  • PaddyReilly

    “Letitia Dunbar Harrison was born in Dublin in 1906. A Protestant, she was educated at Alexandra College and Trinity. She graduated from the university with an honours degree in French and Spanish. After graduation she trained as a librarian at Dublin County Library Headquarters. Later she worked in the Rathmines Public Library, where she specialised in children’s books. She also took a summer course in library techniques at UCD. In 1930, she applied for one of the five county librarian positions advertised and was appointed to Mayo”

    I don’t know if you are familiar with the Dublin mentality in byegone days, possibly even today, but it did not look favourably on remote country locations. People who came from Mayo or Craggy Island might be happy to work there, but not people from Dublin.

    Miss Harrison was saved from this fate by the hooha which caused her to be reappointed to Dublin. She was not obliged to move 150 miles to keep a job: she got to stay in her home town.

    This was in 1930, when folk were still worried about the effect of Protestants on Catholic morals. No-one these days has any morals, not even in Mayo. The same concern did not apply to employment in the Prison Service or Army: it was only in the matter of books that some discretion was needed.

    Indeed I can think of a case, not in Rural Ireland, when library users were a little apprehensive about the appointment of a pious and practising Catholic to the position of Librarian for fear that he would suppress the juicy books. In fact, I was the person to raise this concern but he assured me that the Index of Prohibited Books was a thing of the past.

    Still and all, you wouldn’t want to put a Nun in charge of a Pornography Shop, would you?

  • RepublicanStones

    Radio ulster inside politics – tory spokesman said he envisages the retention of a parades body.

  • Reader

    PaddyReilly: She was not obliged to move 150 miles to keep a job: she got to stay in her home town.
    She was in Mayo long enough to pick up a husband, and to put up with a boycott.

  • PaddyReilly

    She was in Mayo long enough to pick up a husband

    In which case, by the mores of the time, she didn’t need a job. My great aunt had to give up teaching when she married, and she lived in the United Kingdom. By the rules of the Department of Education.

    Mayo, it must be admitted, was a bit backward. But equally there are parts of the United Kingdom that have shown equal bigotry, and much much more recently: I seem to recall a minister on the Isle of Lewis organising a boycott, successfully, against a school-teacher who had been raised a Catholic—probably not more than 15 years ago. He didn’t actually practise Catholicism—a near impossibility on the Isle of Lewis, but he had failed to show sufficient repentance. But of course we don’t worry overly about such things because very few people want to move to Lewis, and no such problems exist in London or Glasgow. And the last 15 years have taken their toll, even on the Isle of Lewis.

    When I was young, “London” Derry Council used to send a man round on Saturday night to chain up the swings so the young Papishes couldn’t profane the Sabbath on them, ffs! I’d like to know what happened to him when the troubles started, did he end up six feet under or decide it was a convenient time to retire. But those days are gone now, thankfully.

  • PaddyReilly

    However, in defence of both the Library committee of Mayo (1930) and the Minister in Lewes (1990s) I should point out that the objection was not to the employment of Protestants/Catholics in general, just the placing of them in positions in which they would be in charge of the moral development of the members of the other religion.

    Perhaps there is some similarity to the case of Lord Taylor of Warwick, who is now in the news again for spectacularly fiddling his expenses. The son of a West Indian cricketer, he was parachuted in by the Conservatives to be their candidate in Cheltenham, to extreme opposition from the local party. He lost to the Liberal Democrats, even though the seat was normally rock solid Tory. I believe the message given to him by the voters was along the lines of, I’m sorry, Sambo, we will perhaps accept you as our equal, just about, but we’re damned if we’re ready to have you as our superior.