Being sold short?

‘It is an Orange Hall, with the Alliance Party washing the floors and cleaning the windows to make it more respectable’

That was Martin McGuinness parroting Danny Morrison when he dismissed the 1982 ‘Prior Assembly’. However, the words seem to be becoming an apt description of events taking place at Hillsborough, the British Queen’s country pile in Ireland.

As discussions on stabilising the latest experiment in British devolved administration continue some seem to think ‘hope’ is on the horizon and in return for a united Unionism permitting an Alliance Minister limited control over the regional police force that SF republicans will buckle and compromise on the current status quo around disputed parades. Indeed, Slugger’s own Chris Donnelly indicates that at least he one SF member would have no problems with Orange feet on the Garvaghy road just one last time as long as it nailed the final piece in SF’s policing jigsaw.

With the phrase ‘community confidence’ having been a continual mantra from the DUP, I wonder just how thoroughly SF has assessed community confidence in areas that could suddenly find themselves back in the centre of summers of madness. Sellout is another old phrase but the ground work seems to at least being set for selling short.

  • RG Cuan

    What are you hearing Mark to make you say this?

    As i’ve just mentioned in another post, everybody (and i’d like to presume that includes Sinn Féin) except a hardline minority can see that scrapping the Parades Commission is ludicrous. You’d think the DUP and Orange Order actually want a return to violent summers.

    It is also totally unreasonable – frankly delusional – to compare, or swap, parading in contentious areas for P+J and an ILA. Will the Assembly controlling NI’s own justice structures, or promoting Irish Gaelic a bit in areas that want it, bring uncalled for intimidation and sectariansim to our streets? No. Loyalist parades in areas where they’re not welcome will.

  • Henry94


    No matter what is agreed there will be cries of sellout from (the usual) people on both sides. But let’s at least wait and see what the “sellout” is before getting worked up about it.

  • Ulick

    Mark, SF were busy assessing community confidence the week before Christmas while Mick, Pete and yourself were otherwise gourging out on the Adams story. The view of one person with no connection to north Armagh or Ardoyne does not constitute groundwork for a sell out as you well know.

  • Turgon

    “British Queen’s country pile in Ireland.”

    It is not really in the country though is it? More pile in small village now with added ribbon development all around.

  • Chris Donnelly


    Oh, please. If you’re going to quote me, get the context right. Oh, and I’m not currently a member of Sinn Fein and haven’t been for some time (don’t read disillusionment or a desire to follow in your troubled footsteps from that, more a lack of time to give to active political involvement.)

    My views were clear in the thread I posted which clearly stated that ‘model’ solutions were those, like Garvaghy/ Ormeau/ Clifton Park, in which parading at interfaces was a thing of the past- big clue in the title, never mind below it.

    I’ve absolutely no doubt that republicans would walk from the current talks process were it even considered that an Orange parade through Garvaghy Road was a possibility.

    That doesn’t detract from the desirability- from a nationalist/ republican perspective- of moving the parading debate onto a new level, one in which the context for discussion is shifted to one requiring unionism to acknowledge the need for reciprocity in terms of accomodating expressions of political/ cultural identity in its host community.

  • tacapall

    Chris Donnelly indicates that at least one SF member would have no problems with Orange feet on the Garvaghy road just one last time as long as it nailed the final piece in SF’s policing jigsaw.
    Mark McGregor @ 07:31 PM

    Where did you get this from then Mark.

  • Even if SF were in favour of getting rid of the parades commission the 2 governments, the Alliance and the SDLP would presumably be totally against it.

    Mark, presumably you are against a deal?

    By my reckoning of the the ‘regular’ bloggers only Brian Walker and Chris Donnelly are in favour both Mick and Pete dont want their analysis of the STA to be proven wrong and Turgon and yourself are anti-agreement.

    Slugger is quite a little anti-agreement hotbed in spite of the fact that a majority of people Unioinist and Nationalist are pissed off by the impasse and want a deal.

  • Mark McGregor

    6.Personally, if you were talking about ‘one final period’on Garvaghy Road, then I’d go for it.

    But it’s not for me to say, is it?

    Posted by Chris Donnelly on Jan 26, 2010 @ 07:06 PM


    I’m confused about how I can take the above in anything but one context. I’ll correct the other bit you flag as currently inaccurate.

  • west belfast


    I usually enjoy your blogs – they usually challenge me in some way.

    However this is a very disappointing post.

    Regarding the Parades Commission – what we will get is the Body for Parading or something else which will be the Parades Commission for slow learners. The Orange Order have to get themselves off their self imposed hook of not taking to the Parades Commission. What they will get is the same thing with local dialogue as a core part of the process.

    I also agree with Moderate Unionist that the vast majority of people want a deal.

    Just saw the pictures on TV of the plenary session and with the exception of Nigel Dodds everyone else looked very relaxed.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Firstly you left out the second part of my reply to iluvni when I remarked I’d be wanting an ILA as well….

    Secondly, I’d still ‘have a problem’ with it quite simply because, as I outline in the body of the thread, dealing with Loyal Order parading in a decisive manner either involves permanent rerouting (as in Ormeau/Clifton Park) or a willingness by unionist political leaders to do what has never been done- namely, engage in a discussion about how to develop a culture in which mutual tolerance of political/ cultural expressions in either ‘community’ can be created.

    In the long run, that’s an infinitely preferable scenario- the ‘Derry’ way, or perhaps for your benefit, the ‘Crumlin’ way; for now, however, the preferred model is clearly rerouting such parades.

    On the notion of ‘one final fling,’ I personally believe- as I stated on the other thread- that the finality involved in such a scenario would be worth working out a compromise- but as I indicated, it’s not for me at this remove to dictate to local people who have to put up with the antics of loyalists in Portadown who seem determined to keep the town’s name associated with loyalist knuckledraggers.

    Such a scenario could also open up leverage for the local nationalist/ republican populace to demand acknowledgement from unionism of the right of nationalists to express their identity in the town as the price for that finality regarding Garvaghy- after all, republicans seem to be placing a lot on a Parades Commission at the moment, almost as if it can be relied upon to never try and force such a parade through that area.

  • pete whitcroft

    It’s up SF how they play this.
    They aren’t as threatened as DUP and can further damage SDLP if they deal.

  • John O’Connell

    In the long run, that’s an infinitely preferable scenario- the ‘Derry’ way,

    The Derry way seems to be to get two Catholic businessmen with a financial interest in capitulation to set the rules and let the paraders get on with their parade.

    They never negotiated a clause that stops the marchers from marching as most Derry people want, at least from time to time.

    No wonder the DUP are pointing to the Derry model.

  • ben_w

    The burning desire of the Orange Lodges and their fellow-travelers to assert themselves and make sure that the people they despise and pretend to view with contempt remain aware of their existence must be some sort of Christianity thing, is it? Turning the other cheek, or something? Blessed are the meek?

    I wonder how many attention-seeking charades like this the oh-so-insecure political leadership of Norn Iron is going to need. Send in your respective heads of government, again, to finish our negotiations for us, or we’ll scweam and scweam!

  • pete whitcroft

    Christianity corrupted by ( in this case British ) nationalism is the problem with and for the Orange Order and Unionist parties.
    If they dealt in one item only the may be successful but won’t.
    Hence the ongoing opportunity for Nationalism.

  • ben_w

    The Orange Order is the embodiment of Christianity fused with belligerent nationalism. If they dealt with the problem they would cease to exist.

  • abc123

    Says Pete Whitcroft the Nationalist Green Party member ..

  • abc123

    The DUP should also ask for an agreement about funding of the GAA i.e. no more funding until they stop linking themselves to terrorist groups.

  • pete whitcroft

    I’m not a Nationalist of any sort.
    I am an individual with a family who chose which passports they wanted, it’s currently 3-2.

  • Alan N/Ards

    As a unionist who is non orange, I don’t really care who marches or doesn’t march. I don’t watch orange or patricks day parade nor do my children. We have absolutely no interest in them. The real issue for me is the mess Ruane has made of the education system here. I am not nescessary pro 11+ but I do believe that the DUP should be bargaining with education rather than parades.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Boys, pack it in or leave the table permanently. John, you are losing the run of yourself again!

  • John O’Connell

    Good luck, the worst little headcase in republicanism. And Jewish too?

  • John O’Connell

    SOT ADmin

    Did you read the insults? And I was losing the run of myself? Was I indeed?

  • nollaig a chara

    Reply to 19
    The real issue for me is the mess Ruane has made of the education system here.

    Alan i think you have to look @ the stance the DUP have took on this issue they purposely turned education into a sectarian issue in an attempt to maintain grammer schools as part of there social class eg…middle classes….

    It has been wide knowledge that the DUP members on the education committee did not take part in the consultation process when it was there