A return of the optimistic view of parade resolution, Crumlin Road style..

The week that saw the 10th anniversary of the loyalist protest at catholic school girls walking to school in the area has now witnessed the first sustained violence surrounding a contentious loyalist parade this year.

That’s not surprising, as the sectarian geography of north Belfast has meant (and will mean) that political/community tensions will come to the boil on a more frequent basis than perhaps anywhere else in the north of Ireland.

Yesterday’s loyalist violence followed a predictable pattern. Parade determination announced, one side loses out. Subsequent ratcheting up of tension begins (cue loyalist street protest Thursday evening) before the marching hour brings with it the almost inevitable violence.

Nelson McCausland donned his best tribal colours when he suggested that the violence was because the Parades Commission appeared to loyalists to reward republican violence following last year’s series of contentious loyalist parades down the Crumlin Road interface. Nelson conveniently ignored the fact that the most sustained violence witnessed around parading in the north/ west Belfast interfaces in recent times was instigated by the Loyal Order/ Loyalist paramilitary rioting following the 2005 Whiterock parade. Republicans will tell you that they believe the intensity of that violence- and subsequent political pressure from unionism- has meant that many contentious loyalist parades have been green-lighted since then. And on it goes.

I can recall Sinn Fein representatives being asked by the local media to publicly call for local residents to report the rioters to the PSNI following last year’s republican rioting in Ardoyne following the Twelfth of July parade. No doubt we’ll hear similar challenges being put to Nelson in the days ahead…..

Resolving this particular parade dispute is significant because it provides an annual rallying cry for republican dissidents as well as reaffirming to nationalists that the antagonistic dimension to Loyal Orders/ loyalist parading is never far from the surface. Some unionists will point to the dispute as evidence of a lack of tolerance of expressions of their tradition.

This is old ground on Slugger (who are we kidding, nearly everything is at this stage!) but I do believe that thinking outside the box on this one could hold the key to resolving this dispute.

Contentious parades are so precisely because they involve challenging one community to play host to expressions of the other culture. The unionist reaction to the new Lord Mayor of Belfast’s rather enlightened and innovative approach to ensuring expressions of both main political communities were visible in what should be the politically neutral terrain of the Mayor’s Parlour in City Hall indicates to nationalists very clearly that many unionists quite simply would not countenance hosting a reciprocal republican parade.

But this particular dispute actually presents a rather unique opportunity for both communities to display a willingness to host the other community’s parades and in the process hopefully transform the atmosphere surrounding these annual parades.

The argument used by many loyalists to support the Crumlin Road parade is that Ballysillan/ Ligoniel loyalists have no other means of returning home from parades other than by walking this route.

Leaving aside the fact that this is a somewhat bogus argument- given that public or private transport could very easily get the concerned loyalists from A to B rather quickly- nevertheless it is the case that the situation is precisely the same for Ligoniel republicans.

I know many republicans from that area who have participated in republican demonstrations and parades throughout the years and, not once, have they managed to return home by parading through loyalist Ballysillan.

I don’t personally hold out much prospect for the proposal at this stage, but wouldn’t it be great if the rawest of sectarian interfaces could crack a dispute with a proposal that could transform perceptions across the board, not to mention prevent future generations of local kids from both communities from ‘coming to the attention’ of the police for getting involved in the annual rioting?

  • perseus

    best post chris since ya been on da blog.
    neatly navigating though the twists and turns with ease.
    I’m not playing you in an drivers racing-rally pc game !

  • Mr Crumlin

    Great post Chris.

    Here’s my solution.

    The OO march past the Ardoyne in the morning – residents hold a dignified protest – then the OO get the bus home that night.

    Therefore the nationalist residents are not hemmed in for the rest of the day, yet the OO have fulfilled their ‘basic human right’.

    This would mean the alcohol fuelled hangers on would have nothing to hang on for.

    Just an idea.

  • Reader

    Chris Donnelly: …because the Parades Commission appeared to loyalists to reward republican violence following last year’s series of contentious loyalist parades down the Crumlin Road interface. Nelson conveniently ignored… [2005]
    And let’s not forget 1169, either.

  • Mr Crumlin

    or 1690! Heaven forbid we forget 1690!

  • lamhdearg

    i was going to comment that, i wont even dignify that with a reply, but as that would have consitited a reply, and would therefore been a lie, i will reply with the same amount of bais
    WHATABOUT yesterdays irish nats violence.
    As for republicans walking from legoniel to ardoyne ok, but to make it fair vis a vis both sides walking through the same amount of the others territory, its only fair the the O.O. get to walk, not down the woodvale road but straight down the crumlin, and that in keeping with like for like the A.O.H. walk the legoniel march.
    ps not only is it old ground, but it is also being covered today on the, men that wont stop marching post.

  • Glad to see a thoughtful post from Chris. However, he fails to say that the Greater Ardoyne do NOT wish to ‘hosts’ for Loyal Order parades. He also fails to mention that the GARC residents group proposed an alternative route for these marches back in 2009…

    The same residents groups also carried out an extensive survey in the area…with over 1,100 households calling for an end to secterian marches through their community.

    There are only six marches throughout the year which are deemed unwelcome by GARC and of course CARA. For the remainder of the year, the Republican/Nationalist community do not have an issue with the Unionist/Loyalist Community going about their daily business.

    The problems arise when the above community insist on having secterian marches through a community who does not welcome such parades.

  • lamhdearg

    F**c Sake, who woke him up, Goodnight.

  • Another issue is how many of those Loyal Order members and supporters who blocked main roads in North Belfast during the past two nights. Some of who were involved in violent clashes with the RUC/PSNI. How many have been arrested and/or charged?

    The plastic bullet guns remained silent during these riots, as did the numerous water cannons at the State Police’s disposal. Will we be seeing scores of photos and videos of suspected Loyalist rioters released by the Political Police. Will statements be issued by the Matt Baggot about how deeply the UDA and UVF were involved in planning the disturbances?

    Or like the debacle in ASDA and the Rathcoole disturbances, partial British policing will be applied again. In comparison to the 40 or so Ardoyne residents arrested & charged with blocking the Crumlin Road on the 12th last year. Or the scores of alleged rioters who have appeared in court in connection with the riots in Ardoyne which followed another unwelcome parade.

  • Comrade Stalin

    In comparison to the 40 or so Ardoyne residents arrested & charged with blocking the Crumlin Road on the 12th last year.

    Does that include the Spanish guy with an address on Ulsterville Avenue ?

  • lamhdearg

    considering how many golf balls where thrown by the ardoyne ( of the irish nat variety) residents last night, do the G.A.R.C. have shares in dunlop.

  • Stalin, I posed a question about two Ardoyne residents being forcibly removed from the sit-down protest during last year’s march. They were arrested and charged the same day….

    How many Loyalists/Unionists were arrested yesterday or the evening before in Twaddell for blocking the road?

    Since last July, over 40 Ardoyne residents have subsequently been charged with the same charges…Can we expect the same to happen with Twaddell/Woodvale residents?

    As for the Spanish guy, far as I’m concerned I didn”t agree nor do I condone what he did. So he’ll have to face the music for that!

    The reality is that partial, political and secterian Policing is still here despite promises by Politicians!

  • lamhdearg

    or the guy from lurgan, or the guy from ballymena, or the ect ect ect, A.R. was it not only 12 of the 40 where from ardoyne, or is your view of what greater ardoyne, now include most of europe.

  • Lamhdearg, the only people I seen throwing golf balls last nights were from Twaddell Avenue…

    However, if U have proof of otherwise please let’s hear it because I and a dozen or so Community Representatives done our upmost to ensure young Nationalists stayed calm in the area.

    As for GARC having shares in Dunlop, GARC were not protesting these past two nights, the Orange Order, Loyalists and Unionists were. Sorry but did you not see the footage and press photos chara?

  • lamhdearg

    As i was there and i seen the golf balls hitting people, i shall have to take your word for that, and assume it was the police that where throwing them, even though with there scarfs over their faces they did not look like police men, i did see people on the twaddell side throwing, as i am not blind to “my sides” idiots.

  • lamhdearg

    As for the press. its funny (not really) that they always seem to be embedded with the irish nationlist protesters, see the coverage on bbc and utv, but thats another story.

  • Okay then let’s take your word at face value chara…
    It must’ve happened after midnight because I’d to go home, my pumpkin was ready to change and all that lol…

    Do U accept that apart from six days each year, that the Republican/Nationalist community in Greater Ardoyne do not have an issue with their Unionist/Loyalist neighbours?

    If so, it’s a good starting point. The six times I’m speaking about are the marches that the Loyal Orders insist on walking through Greater Ardoyne chara. Which everyone, Republican and Loyalist cause inter-community tensions and trouble.

  • lamhdearg

    I dont accept that it is only six days a year, as a relative of mine that lives in twaddell has had their home attacted many other times, mainly after football games, not as many times this year thankfully, and i am sure you could tell a similar story. we can move on to a better relationship when certain elements within both sides stop using the parade issue has a means of keeping the pot boiling, but to suggest that the legoniel/ballysillan/upper ardoyne people should just stay away from the crumlin road at the ardoyne shops because its irish nats territory is not going to wash, they have as much right to pass by the point in peace, as irish nats have of passing the bottom of the shankill, and unlike the irish nationalist that do walk in parade “through” the shankill, the ballysillan marchers have no viable alternative route.

  • fordprefect

    ArdEoin Repulcan is 100% right. Have your parades/protests or whatever you want to call them in your OWN area, leave the rest of us in peace! Lamhdearg, I told you on an earlier post to brush up on your english, you obviously didn’t listen to me. Go away and get a life.

  • fordprefect

    Plastic Bullets, I would really like to see the figures. I have no doubt that during a “loyalist” protest there were very few (if any) fired, during a republican/nationalist/catholic protest, there were probably thousands!

  • lamhdearg

    ohh lordy lordy yes massa i is sorry massa. ford you are a silly billy, by the way its, ArdEoin Republican, not Repulcan, as i told you on another post if you are going to point out the bad English of others make sure yours is perfect.

  • lamhdearg

    plastic bullets
    most fired in one night, in portadown against loyalist,
    but we do digress.
    and also plastic bullets and their victims are no joke.

  • fordprefect

    Lamhdearg, fair enough, I make mistakes as well, LOL! You make more than I do! By the way, LOL is Laugh Out Loud, not Loyal Orange Lodge! LOL

  • lamhdearg

    Most of mine are not mistakes,my mistake was that i just did not pay attention at school (thats when i bothered to go at all), as bad as may English is, i will not lower myself to text speak, so i am glad you pointed out LOL means laugh out loud, as to me it was always lots of love, from valentines cards.

  • fordprefect

    Unbelievable! Lamhdearg and I are with each other on this one! You are right, Plastic Bullets are no laughing matter, and they are no laughing matter for people that have been hit by them, or, the relative’s of people that have been killed by them.

  • L.D. I have often opposed any kind of sectarian violence against Twaddell/Woodvale residents as I would against any community chara. On a number of occassions, I’ve physically stopped young Nationalists from throwing stones and bottles at Twaddell homes. I agree not much has happened this year, probably because the Pub on the Ardoyne side has closed down, plus Loyalists haven’t attacked Ardoyne homes!

    The contentious part of the Crumlin Road is a community chara, it is not just a row of shops. People actually live there, shop and work there! Hence the reason why these marches cause so much tensions because ordinary people cannot go about their daily business six days of the year due to heavy policing, secterian marchers and potential rioters.

    The greater Ardoyne community have proposed an alternative route where no-one will B offended by Loyal Order Marches. Where the marchers could parade 24/7 if they so wished…

    If exclusively Catholic/Nationalist and Republican Marchers insisted on marching past PUL communities on a regular basis and the Parades Commission and RUC/PSNI facilitated them regularly. Wouldn’t that cause the same amount of tensions, rioting and trouble?

    The reality for those Republican and Nationalist communities is that military-type curfews, sectarian marchers and trouble is not wanted and justifies protests.

    The other issue is that if the Klu Klux Klan marched through a black community the same would apply. Why? Because the KKK are anti-black, just as the Loyal Orders are anti-Roman Catholic simple chara!

  • fordprefect

    Lamh, that’s the other one, I couldn’t remember, Lots Of Love, thanks for reminding me. Ach come on Lamh, and crack a smile for me! LOL

  • lamhdearg

    would it not be better if the residents of mountianview (because thats the olny people who are really put out) let the O.O. people pass in peace, two mins it would take, the shops could stay open the people on the shops side could go about their business, and there would be no hangers on as there would be nothing for them to see, A.R. give peace a chance, you may like it, as for alternative route, yes, remove the protest against the somerdale housing project and the parade can walk down somerdale park through the sommerdale site onto the ballygomartin road, and the G.a.r.c. can have those 25 minutes a year all to themselves.

  • fordprefect

    Lamh, I don’t like text speak either.

  • lamhdearg

    i am always smiling, no that’s a lie, but i did crack a smile when i noticed repulcan, anyhoo, having a good chat with you guys better that what on tv, is the golf on?.

  • lamhdearg

    by golf i mean rory not A.R.s golf ball throwing mates, still smiling.

  • Think you’ve missed the main point here, the majority of M/View residents like Ardoyne are the same community chara. They also come from a Catholic/Nationalist background and as such view the Loyal Orders as organisations who wish to eradicate and are biased against their religious/political identity etc.

    Therefore, it’s not surprising to realise that they view these marches as bigoted and want them stopped going through their area.

    As for the Somerdale Project, yea, I and many other Republicans haven’t any issue with housing being built there. Work away and enjoy the space chara…

    Sadly, the Loyal Orders don’t want to meet local residents and therefore cannot achieve any kind of dialogue around the issue. I’m sure if the Orders met the locals and began to understand the huge change in the demographics etc, they might not insist on these marches, who knows?

    If the money spent on policing these marches was also diverted into upgrading local access to Somerdale/Glencairn etc. It could also help the overall problem.

    Like you, I too want peace chara but I want peace with social and economic justice for everyone. The right to live without sectarian unwelcome marches is one issue that could be helped with a little dialogue between all sisdes inside of perceptions that became the reality for some of us.

  • lamhdearg

    better than whats on tv, now that was a mistake, no that was just lazy.

  • fordprefect

    Lamh, you still don’t get it do you? I wouldn’t care if a band came through the area where I live with elephants, tigers, and lions! I do take umbrage at people calling me a Fenian Bastard and all sorts of other expletives!

  • lamhdearg

    it seems to me that its the G.A.R.C. that are missing the point, the people of ballysillan are not going to be cut of from their kith and kin on the shankill, quite a few of us moved to ballysillan after we where forced from our homes in the late 60s and early 70s, and we are not for moving again. Untill there is a viable alt route we will endeavor to take the least controversial and shortest route down from the place where we live to the place we want to be. As for somerdale i am glad that republicans have removed their objections to the site, and as soon as it is built i am sure the loyal orders will choose to go that way, they will choose to do it because they will do as the people say because they are off the people, but they will not go down that route at the point of a gun, so it would be best if the G.A.R.C. could find it in their hearts to find a way to let their p.u.l. (as you call them) neighbours have their traditiions, and pass the shops in peace, it takes 3 min, i can hold my breath of nearly three mins, surely the G.A.R.C. can hold their temper.

  • lamhdearg

    so would i, people should not be calling you or anyone names, my hope would be that we all can move away from that sort of nonsence.

  • tacapall

    lamhdearg where is your opinion along with dwatch, limerick , heinz, independant ulster etc to this thread


    Yeah nothing biased about you.

  • lamhdearg

    a while ago i stop commenting on MPs posts, i annonced my intention to do this and have stuck to it. if you can be bothered trace it back. ps i am as biased as the next guy.

  • tacapall

    Im sure you are lamhderg.

  • lamhdearg


  • tacapall

    oh that changes everything, sorry, you’re not the bigot, it must be someone called lamhdearg.

  • lamhdearg

    bigot, what kind of bigot am i tacapall, bigoted against what.

  • tacapall

    Six replies and you’ve forgotten already, you’re top drawer all right, ever think of teaching at mount vernon high school.

  • lamhdearg

    what the mount veron high school new york, tacapall could you please try and be a little less cryptic. come on out with it, get it of your chest.

  • Enough already.

  • lamhdearg

    morning joe
    can you enlighten me?.

  • lamhdearg

    no, good night all.