Perhaps the best indicator that this particular strand of nationalist outreach has begun to pay dividends came earlier this week with the surprising revelation by UDA leader, Jackie McDonald, that he was opposed to Loyal Order parades being forced through nationalist districts.
Speaking during the course of an interview conducted for the Belfast Telegraph, McDonald said:
It might be tradition and it might be culture, but why would you?…. Its to get one up on the other community, or being there because the other community says you cant be.
It is useful to remind ourselves of the supportive role played by the loyalist paramilitaries in the recent past as the Loyal Orders sought to fight against Parades Commission rulings that went against their collective desire to march in mixed and catholic/nationalist areas.
The Whiterock Riots in 2005 brought the Orange together with loyalist paramilitaries and ultimately proved successful in coercing the Parades Commission to move away from its compromise proposal that did not involve permitting the Brethren the victory of literally forcing open the peace walls to facilitate a loyalist parade on the catholic side of the wall.
Needless to say, an Orange order spokesperson has deemed Mr McDonald’s intervention as an ‘unhelpful‘ one.