Tough love.

The late Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich argued the IRA campaign of violence was wrong because it divided communities.

He used an easily understood analogy.
He put forward the thesis that attacking your neighbour’s home every weekend after getting drunk was unlikely to keep you on the christmas party invitation list.

This analogy may be a little simple but none the less profound.

North Belfast has witnessed another splurge of rioting and destruction primarily at the shops in Ardoyne.

A lot of nationalists in that area simply do not want Orangemen parading along and close to catholic homes.

The Orangemen take the view they have every right to walk the ‘queen’s highway.’

This standoff will guarantee that 2011 and all ensuing Twelfths will mirror image of what we have just witnessed, ugliness being beamed around the world.

So where does all this leave us ?

ACC Alistair Finlay is in the eye of the storm because he dared to ask what the First and deputy first ministers had done to prevent what happened or what they were doing in a united way to demonstrate their opposition to this bout of viciousness?

Peter Robinson branded ‘unacceptable’ this observation by ACC Finlay. He is now going to raise Alistair Finlay’s remarks with Chief Constable Matt Baggott.

Mr. Finlay’s utterance may well have resonated with more people than Mr Robinson thinks.

The Twelfth didn’t suddenly steal up on us. It is a constant in the calendar. The politicians had a full year to take a long hard look at potentially what would rear its ugly head at Ardoyne. Did we witness an urgency to obviate what we saw in North Belfast over the past six months to a year. The answer is no.

We heard talk of dumping the parades commission after Hillsborough.

How many hours were devoted to cracking the parades issue from last year?

The First and deputy first ministers should dwell a little on what Alistair Finlay said.
This was tough love.
We all deserve it at times. The parades demand big leadership.

Peter Robinson and Martin Mc Guinness have shown themselves capable of big leadership on Policing and Justice perceived to be correspondingly intractable. They overcame all difficulties with assistance of the two governments. If the question of parades necessitates additional support let us have it.
Northern Ireland plc cannot have a repeat of these disgraceful scenes in twelve months time.
Eamonn Mallie

  • Mark McGregor


    Well done for learning how to use the simple system to put posts up.

    Seriously, learn how to blog – people can help you with that.

    Mark McGregor, aged 38.5

  • Pete Baker


    “So where does all this leave us ?”

    The more pertinent question is, as I thought I’d already highlighted, “So where do we stand on the “Cohesion, Sharing and Integration” strategy?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Always dangerous to evoke the memory of a Catholic Cardinal given the default position on the Catholic Church with many of Sluggers finest minds.
    ACC Finlay has prolly done his chances of getting the top job serious harm… he playing “politics”….but thats in the nature of ACCs …there were always be one deemed more acceptable in one community while another will have the ear of the other community.
    This enables the Chief Constable…indeed the PSNI to talk out of both sides of its mouth at the same time. Which is of course what the bisbegooten notion of Creative ambiguity demands.
    In fairness, Gerry Kelly ……not just MLA for the area but the DFMs ahem…….junior minister..was in Ardoyne and therefore Robbo was the prime target of Finlays ire.
    Hence Robbos response.
    But actually Finlays attitude is not a lot different from the “Police Federation” except of course their (ex RUC attitude) target is SF-IRA.

    But why is “cracking” the Parades issue so important?
    I mean I know it flies in the face of the Overclass perception that we should be more civilised..and present a pleasant face to the World……but is not saving life actually more important?
    I think so.
    The parades are the irresistable force.
    The residents (and God knows the feral hoods rioting at Ardoyne dont hold mortgages or rent books) are the immovable object.
    Compromise would be nice but how exactly does that happen?
    One for you.
    One for me?
    Thats not compromise. Its merely splitting the difference. An entirely different concept.
    Its tempting for the NIO or whatever to think that everybody is a little bit right……and a little bit wrong.
    But it makes little sense.
    I suspect that the Orange Order would be happy enough with a judgement of Solomon.
    That Ormeau Road can happen
    In exchange for Garvaghy Road not happening.
    Ardoyne happening
    Dunloy not happening …….and so on.

    But personally the think that one “side” is more right. And deep down the plague on both your houses attitude only works when viewed from Dublin 4…….
    If the Orange Order wont talk……ban the parade.
    If the Residents say “no” ban the parade.

  • James Driscoll

    Finlay told the truth.

    Let’s not pretend that this activity by a hoard of anti-social rabble, with pent-up frustrations, is representative of anything, anybody or anyone

    Whilst the orange marches are clearly a trigger for lighting the borderline mindset, and play into the hands of the dysfunctional dissident mindset; the broader problem remains poverty and social apartheid.

    It will not have been lost on many, that Gerry Kelly had to stand in front of a crowd of anti-social elements, referencing his electoral mandate. If ever there was a sign that they had gone away, this was it.

    The political deficit stems from a total failure to implement strategies pertinent to social reconstruction in divided societies. Whilst it is laudable that some ex-prisoners meet once a week to chat across the boundary lines, it has to be recognised that such an approach is limited.

    Perhaps some of those that inhabit the Gold Coast could go and take a guided tour to see the conditions under which the people in these areas live. The likes of Cultra and Helens Bay, fifteen miles down the road, seem like a million miles away .. and there in lie the problem…

  • Anon

    Stop spamming trheads

  • dodrade

    Contentious parades are the excuse, not the cause. Even if there was never an orange parade in Ardoyne they’d invent some reason to riot.

  • I dont believe the people of Ardoyne wanted those riots, but it has been clear for some time, even here on Slugger, that trouble was a distinct possibility.

    The late Cardinal was right.

    McGuinness and Robinson have had a decade to get it right. I hope they have had enough ‘practice’ by now.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Tomas O Fiaich’s opposition to the IRA campaign was a matter of public record (not), what exemplary moral leadership he gave … But we need to get back to basics here: people have a right to protest against Orange marches but it is not very tolerant or pluralistic to do so.

    You can always find offence in aspects of another ethnic group’s culture, especially groups that have been at loggerheads for as long as we have. I could protest outside Irish music venues that play anti-British songs; outside GAA grounds, etc; I could regard all Irish nationalism as offensive as it’s based on an assumption that Britishness is less worthy than Irishness in Ireland. Fundamentally, in a pluralist society, if we believe in parity of esteem, where does protesting about a key (legal, peaceful) aspect of another ethnic group’s culture get you?

    You don’t have to like it – I’m not a huge fan myself – but not liking it does not give you a right to stop it, nor should it. Otherwise we would have the BNP stopping Diwali celebrations, homophobes re-routing Gay Pride marches. Our right to be offended should not trump other people’s free expression.

    However, the right is not unlimited and if Orange marchers show any sectarianism towards Catholic residents anywhere they walk past, then that march should be banned for at least 10 years from walking there.

  • Granni Trixie

    I suggest it could help to apply the new emphasis on measuring OUTCOMES rather than PROCESS to parading. Targeting reduction of numbers of parades and most of all their impact.

    Forinstance,nomatter how right or wrong the merits of a particular parade may be, this time round the sunbsequent riots of 12th have dredged up old lawless images throughout the world. Hardly going to help us economically? And Dept of Ed have stopped funding
    CR grants for children?

    On hols last week (not because of the 12th, honest) my heart just sank at the renewal of old stuff about NI on tele).