“At the end of the day there has to be a realisation from republicans that they don’t own the road”

There’s a lot of coverage of today’s “worthwhile” meeting between Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and the North and West Belfast Parades [and Culture] Forum.  Not that the North and West Belfast Parades Forum haven’t met others before.

And as the UTV report notes

Forum spokesman Tommy Cheevers said the mood of the meeting was “business-like.”

“This is not about negotiating over individual parades but about finding a way forward.”

When asked if Sinn Fein should be “prepared to compromise” on the parades issue, Mr Cheevers said: “they will have to, that’s a challenge for them.”

That might be what he was talking about in this 23 July Belfast Telegraph report

Senior north Belfast Apprentice Boy Tommy Cheevers described Mr Adams’ call as a “joke”.

He said he had made numerous efforts to engage with republicans to resolve the issue in past years but each time they refused to compromise.

Noting the variety of different residents and interest groups in Ardoyne, Mr Cheevers said dialogue would only be possible this year if the Ardoyne community could present an agreed position to the Apprentice Boys.

“At the end of the day there has to be a realisation from republicans that they don’t own the road,” he said.

Apparently they’re planning to meet again in September

And one line from UTV’s Ken Reid’s blog really jumps out

Both sides seemingly determined to make sure a repeat of the July 12 riots at Ardoyne can be avoided.

Both groups said the talks were not about individual parades but to plot a way forward.

The Apprentice Boys are due to parade past the Ardoyne shops on August 14 but there is no plan for a return in the evening.

Dissident republicans have been active in the Ardoyne and the loyalists say they are keen to know if Sinn Fein can control the area. [added emphasis]

Sinn Féin’s response to that particular question doesn’t seem to have been reported anywhere…

Here’s a thought, maybe we won’t need that Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests Bill after all!

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  • Hard hat

    Alan, and Mickhall below, agree that dissenting voices have the right to challenge and be heard, and if they have public support, persuasion will be sufficient. However, when it requires calls for people from all areas to join mass protests, threats of voilence then actual violence, I hope you will understand why their failure to attract sufficient support in their local community to achieve their aims by peaceful means, is seen as suggestive that their mandate is contrived.
    Alan: “only that it does not march on their turf”?? No further comment.
    I mentioned the Vol Sean McIlvenna flute band as it has been routinely engaged at the Greencastle Easter Commemoration parade which of course parades along the still mixed Whitewell Road and as much through Graymount as the Ligoniel Parade goes through Ardoyne. Yet, (until the current divisions within Republicanism arose), all of the faces at the forefront of the Ardoyne protests were in the Greencastle parade every year without fail. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying they should or should not be there, but I am saying it lacks consistency. (The band was also invited to the Independent Hunger Strike Commemoration parade through the lower Shankill earlier this year, but although I remember “the Carrick” leading, I cannot recall if Vol SMcI turned up.
    As for ArdEoin, in so far as force is influencing due process by the use or threat of violence, I have not heard anyone challenge the ArdEoin residents’ right to protest, or threaten violence by the parade. I sympathise with those residents who have been embarrassed by the reflection brought on them by the thugs who went on the rampage in July and guess they certainly know what it is like to have an unwelcome situation forced upon them.

  • Alan Maskey

    Hard har: You should really have quoted my full sentence: The Ardoyne peopple are not asking that the UVF named band be disbanded, only that it does not march on their turf past where the UVF guy in question killed an unconnected RC for being a RC.

    This gives a different slant than “does not march on their turf”

    As regards Republican bands:
    1. They should not be sticking it up Loyalists.
    2. They were set up in imitation of the Loyalist bands as fife and drums have a blood n thunder feel too them anyway.
    3. They were used as recruiting agents and by the Provos to sideline the AOH 15 August efforts,.
    4. They should probably be disbanded.

  • Hard hat

    Alan – Sean Kelly “is not and never was the organ grinder” so why should his presence upset anyone? If this is to be accepted, then surely you either have to assume that those in the loyalist band in question are “organ grinders” or make the same allowances for them?

  • Hard hat

    I don’t think the full sentence makes any difference to the slant. The concept of a mixed arterial route being someone’s “turf” is depressing whatever way you dice it. Who’s turf is the Westlink, the M1…….? If the OO went out of its way to parade on even just one residential street in Ardoyne, I would sympathise with lawful protests against it (not on the “turf” logic, but on common sense grounds). But it does no more than brush the edge along the one and only route from Ligoniel to the City Centre – it does not set foot on a single residential street within Ardoyne.

  • lamhdearg

    brian robinson killed an rc for being an rc = bad man. sean kelly who killed 9 prods inculding two children = man just following orders, It did not cut it at nuremberg but i suppose if its only orange scum dying its ok. Was robinson not just following orders. I hope his victims family have found/will find some kind of peace, and i hope the familys of the “interesting case” shankill bombs (all victims of the ardoyne IRA) suffering has/will ease also. There are inconsistencies in the way you veiw killers and victims.

  • Alan Maskey

    So it is ok to march right past the place where the UVF man they commemorate shot down and killed (in cold blood as they say) a Roman Catholic, who was a “legitimate target” solely because he was a Catholic? OK, fine.

    Because the UVF/UVFF motto was any Taig will do, then do not be surprised if people object. These people can then see the legitimate targets might have been – and often were- their kith and kin and so they are not happy troopers.

  • I don’t think the full sentence makes any difference to the slant. The concept of a mixed arterial route being someone’s “turf” is depressing whatever way you dice it. Who’s turf is the Westlink, the M1…….? If the OO went out of its way to parade on even just one residential street in Ardoyne, I would sympathise with lawful protests against it (not on the “turf” logic, but on common sense grounds). But it does no more than brush the edge along the one and only route from Ligoniel to the City Centre – it does not set foot on a single residential street within Ardoyne.

    Hard Hat, are there no residential homes on the part of the Crumlin Road that these sectarian marches pass? Or what about those who live in the residental streets which branch off from that section of road? Are they not entitled to object?

    Do those residents not have the right to object to sectarian parades?

    Are their homes and families not subjected to huge crowds of triumpalist Loyalists before, during and after these marches? Do they not have to endure the heavily-militarised policing operations to facilitate such parades…..?

    The bottom line is that residents do have the right to object and they do. However, they are afraid to speak out publically for fear of reprisals by Loyalist paramilitaries who in the past have killed a number of those residents!

  • AR

    Regrettably you are sounding like a bigot. The above clearly indicates your objection not just to the parade but to it passing anywhere near anywhere you claim as your own. I have to say such an attitude is unlikely to be tolerated in the ROI.

    More, you may not have been in favour of the riot but you do sound like an apologist for the rioters.

    If you really want a UI surely you know the old saying: You get more with the carrot than the stick?

    The stick has never worked, worse over the last decades innocent people, on both sides, have been abused and wounded by the power the paramilitary groups took upon themselves, surely you are against a repeat of that? It’s no good thinking it would not happen again. History of the world, not just this island, shows it would.

  • “The above clearly indicates your objection not just to the parade but to it passing anywhere near anywhere you claim as your own. I have to say such an attitude is unlikely to be tolerated in the ROI.”

    Pippakin.

    I’m not sure you are right about this. Take the people of Bradford, the English Defence League intends to march through its streets soon. Now the only reason they have chosen Bradford is because a large number of British muslims live there.

    If this EDL march is not banned, I have no doubt the march will be opposed by people who live in Bradford and those who support them in their opposition. Violence may occur, but if it does, surly the blame lays with those who insist on marching where they are not wanted?

    It seems to me with Ardoyne, officialdom is blaming the victims not the original perpetrators. No march no trouble.

  • mickhall

    Your comparison is exactly right. If the march in Bradford goes ahead it will be because they have the right to march, and you are exactly right again, it will inevitably be opposed by the anti fascist people. Another interesting coincidence is most of the marchers/protesters will be from outside the area. Arrests will be almost inevitable.

    The point is if the appalling fascists had their march they would be ignored by most and heckled by a few. No news, no big deal, but those protesters will in all probability turn a non event into a newsworthy story, worse the fascists will end up looking like the victims as happened in Ardoyne recently.

  • Hard hat

    Mairtin, per my post 3 August “Those most impacted by the parade are in Mountainview and Crumlin Road. The number of properties on Crumlin Road in the protest area is 25.
    11 of these are at Mountainview, 9 on the Everton Complex side and 5 above Mountainview Place.” Was that accurate enough?
    We can grind on forevermore judging each other by our history, or we can become a tad more progressive, take others as we find them and judge them according to their actions today.
    Ironically the hoods, joyriders, drug dealers and dissidents who turned up on 12 July CURRENTLY pose more threat to the people of Ardoyne than loyalists. Pause for thought….

  • Pippakin

    You may have a point about what might happen on the day, if the EDL march was ignored, however history teaches that would not be the end of the matter as far as the likes of the EDF are concerned. The lack of opposition would embolden them, they would in all probability then attempt to march through London’s Brick Lane, which has a large British Bangla community, or some other northern town in which folk whom they hate live.

    In the mid 1930s, once the working class people of the Eastend of London and their supporters stood their ground at Cable Street against the Mosleyite Nazis, it proved the beginning of the end for pre war British fascism. It was not parliamentarians or nice middle class people who defeated the rise of the Mosleyites, but mainly working class Jews and their Labour movement supporters.

    Indeed members of my own family who lived in central Europe were advised to keep their heads down, ignore the strutting brown shirts and await a change of government and better days. Unfortunately by the time that particular government was gone, so were they.

  • mickhall

    The EDF are too small to count, the BNP are bigger (same people) but still insignificant. The danger is if they gain the longed for status of victimhood that too attracts the gullible.

    I believe if the extremists are denied the oxygen of publicity they will diminish, but there will always be extremes, maybe there should always be such, less we become complacent.

    If the parade passed by, it would be much reduced and chastened, and gone in a couple of minutes. The oxygen of publicity and victimhood would be denied to those extremists who need it to support and expand their ambitions, and those people exist on both sides.

  • Alan Maskey

    “At the end of the day there has to be a realisation from republicans that they don’t own the road”

    ..and that UVF supporting bands do.

    “At the end of the day” sounds like football commentary.

  • Hard hat

    Quality analysis.

  • “The EDF are too small to count, the BNP are bigger (same people) but still insignificant.”

    Pippakin

    What a complacent attitude, do you seriously believe all these people want is media coverage, I have already given you a clear living example of where such complacency can get you.

    I steered clear of Ireland in my examples, but I could have pointed out up until 1922, those who propagandised the atrociously bigoted ideas of the Orange Order, etc, were a tiny minority of the population of the UK. Yet after a change in the political landscape, between 1922-69, they became the norm of the six county statelet and helped make hundreds of thousands of nationalist lives a misery and eventually led directly to the blood letting of the long war years.

    That is where your talk of ignoring extremist views in the hope they will go away gets you. My point is it is not the individuals, but the ideas they represent which are the danger, and they must be challenged head on. Yes the BNP is small as too is the Apprentice boys,etc, but the ideas they put forth are once again increasingly gaining traction.

    I find your claim that the oxygen of publicity and victimhood must be denied to extremists like (the apprentice boys-MH) and the EDL somewhat hollow, as what you are supporting is bound to turn them into victims as it demonises all those who refuse to do a Nelson and go out on the street to oppose them marching through their communities. Thus you and the media turn the victims into the perpetrators and the perpetrators into the victims.

    Is there an example of extremist political ideas being defeated by ignoring them?

    PS. Your point about the BNP is interesting, as until the last few years the mainstream political parties strategy in England was to ignore them and they would go away, well they did not and began to gain real traction in some lower middle class and economically deprived communities.

    Jointly the trade unions and searchlight with some support from the political mainstream set up ‘hope not hate,’ and prior to the last general election its members went into these communities and worked dam hard to point out the BNP’s nazi ideology, plus they all but stopped the BNP marching through communities where they were not wanted by opposing the BNP’s every move.

    Consequently the BNP vote fell and they lost most of their council seats in east London and did extremely bad in their targeted wards and constituencies.

    My point is, yes these extremist groups are comparatively small, but they need to be defeated politically and ideologically before they become large enough to ruin millions of peoples lives.

    In saying this we should not exaggerate their importance, but nor should we cock a deaf one to the potential threat they could pose.

    Best regards

    Mick

  • Alan Maskey

    Good post Michael. Particurraly good about pre 1922 Ireland. I am sure others will come in with this and that.
    Interesting too that the BNP put in the nice, smiling face in public. What is their position on Orange parades?

  • Mick

    Extremist groups are defeated politically every time. People in the UK and in Ireland have the right to march/parade if govt’s start deciding which political party gets to be seen and heard then democracy in both countries is in serious danger.

    To riot because you disapprove of a march/parade, is ridiculous and dangerous. Who decides which march/parade is acceptable?

    To attack the marchers makes them look like victims which is exactly what they want, even better it stirs up resentment among two groups: those who secretly sympathise with the marchers and those who think everyone should be able to march.

    Im not suggesting any of the ‘extreme’s should be ignored, quite the reverse. It was said in London the pro IRA marches were allowed so that the security services could photograph and record all marchers.

  • Alan Maskey

    http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/47430-Orange-Order-must-distance-itself-from-BNP-candidate

    Here is a member of the Orange Order who stood as a BNP candidate. Maybe he fancies a stroll through Ardoyne with his mates.

  • Alan Maskey

    The democrats of Ardoyne are to be commended for not reacting violently to the provocation of the Apprentice Boys stomping past.