Watching the Twelfth: Ladder of Escape…


Spellbound by Joan Miró’s brilliant exhibition at Tate Modern on Monday, it was fresh in my mind as we set off early on Tuesday 12th July for Augher and Clogher – in it, his ‘Ladder of Escape’ appears and reappears as a running theme, symbolising a way out, a hopeful exit, but sometimes a ladder of futility, going nowhere, leading to a dead end. Where would the Orange commemorations be leading?

I walked down the Lisburn Road at 9.00, as burger vans and older citizens, armed with umbrellas, flasks and folding deckchairs vied for the best pitches amongst the overnight puddles; rounding the junction of Sandy Row and Lisburn Road, a vigorous feeder parade accompanied me down Gt Victoria St to gawping tourists at the Europa; the mood was boisterous, friendly and loud. One hour later, in the tender care of Edwin Graham, Moochin Photoman and Mark McGregor, we had travelled 60 miles west and a century back.

Augher was bathed in sun, as the bands and Orangemen gathered, in family format, with children tagging along, waving their flags, straightening their mini-collarettes and tuning their pipes, (Brian Ború Irish pipes we were proudly informed, with three drones), polishing their silver horns and wheezing their accordions into action.

We were greeted by our contacts and inducted into the day’s events, a feeder in Augher, a short drive to Clogher (where we might view the exhibition of banners and photos in the Orange / Black Hall), and then the main march to the field, followed by (mainly religious, rather than political) speeches, the resolutions (more anon) and return walk; we were then generously invited to tea with our hosts (politely declined, in favour on onward travel to the embers of the Lisnaskea and Newtonbutler events in Fermanagh).

Three points struck me about the experience.

First, the obvious pride and openness with which the Orange explained their traditions, musical equipment and rituals to what must have appeared as a suspect bunch of four equally oddly-attired townies from a political website with a funny name, probably intent on finding fault. People I knew in a professional city context appeared in a different uniform, talking about why they were Orange, and what community meant to them; I had forgotten.

Second, the age profile; I observe all political party conferences here, and marvel at the gerontocracy, wondering how they might attract younger generations and refresh themselves; I had assumed the Orange (was it really Mo Mowlam who dubbed them that?) would also have suffered a similar atrophy; they were certainly in the older category, but you could not say wholly so; all generations were there, numbers were healthy, and if only through the bands, an up and coming wave of younger musical activists were marching too.

Third, apart from the political context, it was little different to the Miners’ Galas of Scotland and the North of England – marching bands, colourful banners displaying history and politics together, a big family picnic, huge pots of (distressingly and unexpectedly, counter-intuitively and unstereotypically weak) tea, bouncy castles, stalls, memorabilia, the hint of youthful impatience for something stronger (musically, politically and alcoholically speaking), nostalgic rhetoric about the dignity of labour and the cohesion of community. It could even approximate to our esteemed editor’s Tolpuddle Martyrs commemoration in Dorset, or even Cameron’s ‘Big Society’. Well, half of one, anyway.

But the political context is all; although Clogher boasted no politicians, the religion was heavy-duty (understandably – it is a religious organisation), the resolutions unbending (‘Read the Bible, loyalty and faith’, with a wee dig at Alex Salmond’s SNP for endangering the Union) and the Protestantism unremitting (again, I’m not naive about the beast whose belly we were knowingly and by invitation exploring).

And yet, we who live here all know that interfaces and divisions abound, even (especially?) in the rural community; housing, territory, schooling, arts and sport, worship, of course; tension at the city bonfires the previous night, Ardoyne undoubtedly to follow… one participant told me his brother had recently been shot between the eyes with a ball bearing at this same event, another reflected that although both villages were majority Catholic, everyone tolerated the event.

Clearly not the case in Lisnaskea – where we witnessed the early removal of bunting and flags (‘we had been leaving them till Thursday’), watched by a bunch of surly hurley-stick wielding teenagers from the neighbouring Nationalist estate, after an incident attended by the PSNI the night before, now defending their tricolour from early removal too.

We tasted ‘Nationalist beer’ in empty premises, and the ‘Unionist’ equivalent in crowded bars – couldn’t taste the difference in the beer, only in the atmosphere.

Mark (McGregor) won’t mind my observing that he had woken up early and travelled 60 miles to be offended, and so, offended he was to be; but in a curious and fun-filled kind of way. Edwin (Graham) saw everything through the prism of fairness and objective assessment, and Moochin Photoman observes through the lens of truth – as I was dropped off 12 hours later on the Lisburn Road, now crunching with broken bottles, swimming with beer and urine, echoing with chants and menace from the noisy bars, we all noted that Ardoyne was only up the road, but a world of difference from the amiable Clogher Valley.

That set me pondering the ladder again; the Orange collarette often carries a facsimile of Jacob’s Ladder (to Heaven); not Miró, but a metaphor yet for escape, but escape to what? Climbing to a better future, or aiming for futility and a dead end?

, ,

  • Such a contrast with Belfast.

    > … the obvious pride and openness with which the Orange explained their traditions, musical equipment and rituals to what must have appeared as a suspect bunch of four equally oddly-attired townies

    I found this too – their pride always overcame any reluctance they may have hidden well.

    By the way – the resolutions would have been common across the mainstream Orange fields.

  • lamhdearg

    “Mark (McGregor) won’t mind my observing that he had woken up early and travelled 60 miles to be offended, and so, offended he was to be; but in a curious and fun-filled kind of way.” then he returned and made a try at offending someone else “sock puppet”. Comber was probably somewhere between belfast and clogher, a little closer to clougher, on good behaviour and lack of alcohol, and closer to belfast for size,all and all a good day out.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m beginning to think that analogies are the only way to begin re-imagining, not where we’ve been, but where we are and where we might willingly go from here.

    As anyone from the country will tell you passions run deep there too. As someone with ancestors on the fatality list at Dolly’s Brae, I can certify that little is forgotten there too.

    Yet there’s the civil commerce of the mart, where even DUP and SF formers had the measure of each other before their urban colleagues formed themselves into the civil peace we have now at Stormont.

    One thing that has helped Protestants at large in Northern Ireland become more familiar (and comfortable) with CNR culture has been the televising first of All Ireland finals, and then successfully down as to the preliminary round of the Ulster Championship.

    On the other side, apart from the occasional pipeband show, the Twelfth is it. Inevitably we get the bad news from the urban flash points, and the environmental hazard of the bonefires (and someone really has to get to grips with the public urination problem on the Belfast walk).

    There is something to aspire to here in the countryside’s manifestation (by both communities) of the very core values of civil and religious liberties of the order itself.

    A returning to sources (or ‘pilleadh arís ar na foinsí’ as the poet O’Searcaigh has it) may be the most powerful way to locate that ladder and begin to climb it.

  • Alias

    Were many Catholic babies eaten at the festivity?

    The Orange Order still has a long way to go before it can be considerend to be a respectable organisation.

    There are far too many thugs and bigots among the membership who continue to tar all with the one brush. And until they remove them, then tarred all will be.

    The simple and incontrovertable reality is that no respectable person would endorse an organisation that continued to have such members among their ilk, and hoeever ‘nice and normal’ some members appear to be they cannot be respectable in that context.

  • lamhdearg

    sideline,
    pipe band championships at stormont july 30th, thank you.

  • qwerty12345

    “Clearly not the case in Lisnaskea – where we witnessed the early removal of bunting and flags (‘we had been leaving them till Thursday’), watched by a bunch of surly hurley-stick wielding teenagers from the neighbouring Nationalist estate, after an incident attended by the PSNI the night before, now defending their tricolour from early removal too”

    All estates in Lisnaskea are nationalist its an 80% nationalist town.

    As for the early removal of flags – im not sure where you are talking of – the bunting and flags are still up tonight in the middle of the town. And no flag has been taken down early – the orange in the Lisnaskea area have in recent years extended the time that their flags are up by starting to celebrate the somme at the end of june.

    And what are these Somme celebrations like – a thoughtful solemn affair- uh no, they have pig roasts and fireworks. yes thats right pig roasts and fireworks to remember the slaughter of thousands.

    Some unionists just dont do irony do they.

    I was at the demonstration in Lisnaskea myself. Most of the townspeople were indoors or absent. Perhaps next easter republicans in Fermanagh should march through Ballinamallard or Lisbellaw. See if the unionists are as accomadating as the people of Lisnaskea.

  • lamhdearg

    80% irish nat?, are they all yellow or do they have no ladders. or are the flags in the 20%s part of the town, ps i do not know lisnaskea that well (drive through it sometimes) so please forgive my confusion

  • qwerty12345

    I think the flags you refer to are the ones that were hanging ( illegally) from lighting poles the length of the lower half of Lisnaskea – they werent up this year apart from on the day.

  • qwerty12345

    lamhdearg, yes lisnaskea is 80% nationalist and the people there have been putting up with a lot for a long time. There are no catholic or protestant areas, its mixed but overwhelmingly catholic.

    While I personally have no problem with flags adorning private homes or business, or the orange celebrating. I think its asking a lot of such a large majority nationalist town to allow flags on every lamppost along its main street.

    This simply wouldnt be allowed if the shoe were on the other foot.

  • Mick Fealty

    Qwerty,

    Here’s the pic: http://yfrog.com/kfo2lduj

    LD,

    Quit trolling!

  • lamhdearg

    qwerty12345
    is there any time of the year when Eire’s flag is flown in the town?.

  • qwerty12345

    Very Interesting photo Mick. So the flags were even closer this year to the estates than in any previous year. I would suggest that they never should have been there in the first place.

    flags / bunting are still flying tonight in the “commercial” part of town – as has always been the case at this time of year.

    The way to gain acceptance is not to try to make an 80% nationalist town look like sandy row. very bad form.

  • qwerty12345

    lamhdearg there was a very tatty tricolor hanging off a light pole for a long time at the bottom end of Lisnaskea but it hasnt caught my attention in ages so maybe its gone.

    You wouldnt be shocked by such a thing in our society. However, I think it would be a shock if you drove through an 80% unionist town and saw hundreds of tricolors. No?

  • lamhdearg

    yes i would be shocked, and i agree with you that its not right, i just wonder that why in a town that is 80% one side or the other, some people don’t take it upon themselves to remove said flags.

  • between the bridges

    Lisnaskea had the biggest crowds I have seen at a fermanagh 12th. There are probably a number of factors, good weather, the upsurge in interest in PUL culture in fermanagh and the west in general, and the large numbers of CNR community out too watch their nieghbours.

  • qwerty12345

    Well LD I think perhaps the beginnings of that are afoot where in sleepy places like Lisnaskea the old ways might not be as acceptable anymore.

    I think that the nationalists in that town are actually remarkably accepting. The orange should realise this and start caring about the impact they have where they march.

    On a side note I found the demonstration colorful and very interesting, particularly the bands from Cavan / Monaghan / Leitrim. I only saw one drum thumping that made me feel uncomfortable.

    As you might have guessed im a small r republican.

  • qwerty12345

    B2B I think you gild the orange lilly when you wrote “large numbers of CNR community out too watch their nieghbours”

    Id say the percentage of local nationalists watching was about 2%, trust me.

  • qwerty12345

    Did I really say 2%. Revision – 1% ( I was one of them)

  • SK

    “There are probably a number of factors, good weather, the upsurge in interest in PUL culture in fermanagh and the west in general, and the large numbers of CNR community out too watch their nieghbours.”

    _

    That is absolutely the way it should be.

    But why is it that, for so many Protestants, the twelfth doesn’t quite feel like the twelfth unless they’re antagonising someone?

    Tricolour barbeques, abrasive speeches…is it not all terribly self-defeating?

  • between the bridges

    qwerty i stand by my comments , you should have given me a wave!

  • lamhdearg

    pul/cnr, not for me, my English is bad, but i will not lower myself to text speak. b.t.b. why do the orange order leave the flags up in lisnaskea after the 12th, if it is a 80% irish nationalist town. as i have said i know not the area, and as where i have lived one (wrong) flag in the wrong place can/will cause a row.

  • lamhdearg

    b.t.b, sorry must add, thats if its the order that puts the flags up in the first place.

  • qwerty12345

    I have lived very close to Lisnaskea all my life. The deal has always been that the flags went up before the twelfth and came down maybe a week after. Maybe two – three weeks in all.

    Over the last ten years this has been extended.

    I dont think the sheer number of flags speaks of cultural certainty or comfort. I think its a divisive attempt at territory marking (which is a bit silly when you are in a 20% minority)

    less flags,more engagement..

  • between the bridges

    SK..’But why is it that, for so many Protestants, the twelfth doesn’t quite feel like the twelfth unless they’re antagonising someone?
    Tricolour barbeques, abrasive speeches…is it not all terribly self-defeating?’

    half a million people took part in or watched the 12th, how many of them took part in burning flags? the simple fact is that the 12th is growing and becoming more of an attraction for many people regardless of background.

    LD
    i am not privy to the details but i think there was an agreement that parts of the town would be decorated for different periods.

    Qwerty re the roast pig and fireworks at the somme event there was also bouncy castles and quad bikes! apart from the ‘fun’ end of things there was a remembrance service, wreaths laid for all 3 irish divisions and a two minute silence. It may not have been to your taste but imho at least someone remembered all our lost during WW1

  • Drumlins Rock

    Can I just say this report is totally unacceptable and a full inquiry is need, to be served weak tea at the twelfth is a offense that is virtually unforgivable, however if I may beg your forgiveness Quintin and on behalf of the Clogher Valley Folk offer a full apology for this heinous crime maybe you can return to us again someday.

    I am glad you got some of the spirit of the day, because of the close knit community it might not always carry the same resonance to visitors, the renewal of personal relationship, even if just on this one day, is a dimension that is hard for an outsider to catch possibly, I think you got a glimpse of it. I not sure many would remember the 3rd resolution, or had pictures of ladders of escape in their mind, but everyone see things differently.

    I was interested in you comparison with Miners Galas, in the run up to the day Mark McG was asking about banners, so I looked up some trade union ones on the net, and many of them showed the banners at the Galas in the 1970s, I was struck by how similar the settings were, family friends and bands gathered round a banner with a strong sense of happiness on almost all the faces, it was quite uncanny and has made me wonder are there connections somewhere.

  • The Three Stepped ladder is a Royal Arch Purple Emblem rather than an Orange Order one…

    we had a good twelfth in Ballyronan, PGM. Saulters spoke and Rev Gamble gave the address though neither seemed too interested in preaching Christ crucified, Saulters was political and Gamble was focused too much on the versions of the Bible rather than the Word of God itself which was disappointing.

    Alcohol was certainly kept to a minimum and I can’t understand why we don’t just ask for the bars to be closed that day but overall it was a good day though we could have had more of the faith expounded.

  • SK

    “half a million people took part in or watched the 12th, how many of them took part in burning flags?”

    Thousands of them. Your implied disdain for that kind of thing is heartwarming though.

    “the simple fact is that the 12th is growing and becoming more of an attraction for many people regardless of background.”

    If the OO could knock the overtly political nonsense on the head, then opposition to silly hat day would be nowhere near as virulent. The have a fair bit of evolving to do yet, though.

  • qwerty12345

    b2b a cynic would say that the lisnaskea somme event is just an excuse for another orange shindig in an 80% catholic town.

    Call me a bore but I find the whole thing tacky and in terrible taste.

    ps Im fairly sure my own grandfather was at the Somme (Royal Irish Rifles)- his father was killed at Gallipoli (Royal Munster Fusileers)

  • Edwin Graham

    Many thanks Quintin – and thanks also to Mark.
    I have just returned from a day in Birmingham and I found myself reflecting on the Clogher experience.
    I was profoundly struck by the friendly family focus of the events at the field in Clogher, the almost complete absence of alcohol and the presence of only one flute band at a Twelfth demonstration.
    I was also very impressed with the quiet organisation of the events – everything ran smoothly, there was nobody obviously directing activities but everyone seemed to know where to go in the field, even though it has been several years since Clogher was the venue for a Twelfth demonstration.
    Another impressive feature was the focus on the religious service. On other occasions when I have been present in a field at a Twelfth demonstration the activities on the platform appeared to be viewed by most of the participants as a distraction and only a small group of about 20-30 actually listened to what was happening. Clogher was different. The platform activities began with a joint performance by the excellent Murley Silver Band and the equally excellent Glenageary Pipe Band. This was the first time I had heard a silver band and a pipe band play together and it was truly impressive. And many in the field also thought so. I would estimate that the majority of the adults in the field moved towards the platform when the two bands started playing – and then most of them stayed for the service. It was a dignified service with proper printed service sheets. Although some may not agree with aspects of the Chaplain’s address the entire service was conducted with an air of respectfulness.

    Alias said “There are far too many thugs and bigots among the membership who continue to tar all with the one brush. And until they remove them, then tarred all will be.”
    This is a fundamental point – but to what extent is it fair to be critical of those in Clogher because of the bad behaviour of mobs on the Lisburn Road and Shaftsbury Square in Belfast. (On our return to Belfast on the Twelfth night the car tyres crunched over broken bottles and ploughed through tons of rubbish while BCC workers drove road sweepers to try and clear it – but no sign of anybody from the Orange Order making an effort to assist in the clean-up.) But it doesn’t seem to me to be fair that the Orange district lodges in Clogher should be criticised because of the bad behaviour of others in Belfast.

    My reason for being in Birmingham today was to attend the annual meeting of the UK Inter-Faith Network. At one stage a delegate was describing how Muslim, Christian, Hindus and Baha’is had initiated a programme where they attended each other’s religious services and quietly and respectfully observed the religious practice that was fundamentally at odds with their own beliefs. It got me wondering if there is a possibility that there will be more times when Catholics will be welcomed to observe services at Orange demonstrations and they will be able to do so with respect.

    We certainly had a warm welcome in Clogher – many thanks to all.

  • wee buns

    Analogies are excellent ‘cos they can build identity and can provide orientation.

    Problematically false analogies abound. Take informal fallacies such as flags: that Poland is somehow like Ireland or that the Confederacy flag relates to Loyalism- how?

    I was intrigued by the artwork on the various lodge banners at Rossnowlagh. One depicted an intimate forest scene with figures on horseback, mostly female and of the winged variety (as in fairies wings). I asked about it, but it transpired the banner had been inherited from another lodge and nobody seemed to know the actual story behind it. But very interesting because whatever analogy exists between OO and wood nymphs it is far from the(very tired) militaristic stereotype .

    Yes to Miro flags from every lamp post next twelfth.

  • lamhdearg

    youngpolitico,
    i intended to go to the south londonderry parade (is that right) as i went to garvagh last year and the pipe bands and the whole day was great, but i was put of by it being in ballyronan, as any time i pass through ballyronan it is decked out i Eire flags, and also for me to get there i would pass through toome, (no offence to toome but with a three year old in the car and the fact that it only takes one d******d with a brick) i gave it a miss. Did it all go off swimmingly, ps is saulters not just like the man from father ted with the very boring voice, pps ach let us have a wee drink, go on go on go on.

  • between the bridges

    qwerty ok you’re a bore!!! (well you did ask!) not to be to pedantic but i think the figure is closer to 70%.

    re your great grandfather have you ever attended remembrance day? or is that also a bit too ‘prod’?

  • Stu DeNimm

    >whatever analogy exists between OO and
    >wood nymphs it is far from the(very tired)
    >militaristic stereotype .

    And, while the Fivemiletown banner above is a thing of beauty, what does Lord Krishna have to do with anything?

  • Zig70

    Why did the Orange choose Augher for the 12th? All very positive bar the UVF tunes, yeah I know the old UVF. And it’s all very religious don’t you know. That showed the empty pub, same as the empty church in Short strand. The ladders the Orange need are the ones to take down the paramilitary flags or are they an acquired taste? That gaudy arch in Glengormley is certainly an acquired taste. Do the religious ‘love thy neighbour’ Orange not feel slightly embarassed that so many fellow countrymen feel compelled to leave for the 12th? Good for tourism, especially Donegals.

  • JR

    Any chance of some Unionist bloggers, Maybe Drumlins and Turgon doing a blog on the Ulster Final?

  • Mick Fealty

    We should try and do that. I’ not sure that Turgon is in the least bit interested in sport of any description. But how could we get tickets at this late hour?

  • JR

    That would be all part of the experience Mick. Have them don Derry shirts and mooch about the bars in Clones looking for tickets.

    Seriously though I am sure you have some GAA contacts Mick. Phone someone you know that is involved in their club. They will always know someone who knows someone who has a spare ticket. This invariably leads to some friend of a friend leaving a pair of tickets with his cousin to be collected in a Pub somewhere. If you look there you will always get a ticket somewhere.

  • qwerty12345

    BTB wrote: “Qwerty ok you’re a bore!!! (well you did ask!) not to be to pedantic but i think the figure is closer to 70%.

    re your great grandfather have you ever attended remembrance day? or is that also a bit too ‘prod’?”

    Lisnaskea was closer to 71% Catholic ten years ago with 7.8 % of census respondents not declaring religion.

    Nope never been to remembrance day in my life. Maybe that will be my next foray into the land of unionism.

  • qwerty12345

    PS I think your inference that I have a problem with things “prod” wasnt very precise. Particularly seeing as I spent most of the 12th with “prods”.

  • Drumlins Rock

    JR, thanks for the invite, I will confess that I also have little interest in watching sports,( I did manage one Northern Ireland football match with a youth group about 15 or more years ago, thats the only time I have watched an entire match ) but would not mind getting the atmosphere, just one other technicality, for various reasons it couldn’t be on a Sunday, seriously limitis option I know, but maybe sometihng is possible.

  • JR

    DR,
    Alot of the Qualifier matches are now hield on a Saturday, You have Antrim and Down on Saturday evening in Casment Park. In Atmosphere that wont be anywhere close to an Ulster Final though. If Armagh beat wicklow which they should this saturday there is the prospect of Tyrone v Armagh next week. Date and venue to be confirmed. The atmosphere should be good for that one.

  • “doing a blog on the Ulster Final?”

    JR, a closer parallel to the range of Loyal Orders demos (Orange, Apprentice Boys and Black) would be the AOH ones. I’ve checked the Parades Commission website but I can find no mention of AOH parades for August 15 and I can’t find an AOH website giving details of this year’s parades. Banna Fliuit Naoimh Phadraig is parading in Kilkeel so I’d have thought this would indicate that the band was participating at the nearest AOH demo.

  • JR

    Nevin,

    Warrenpoint on the 15th. Attical and longstone bands. I personally would be more interested in what they thought of an Ulster Final.

  • Sam Maguire

    You’d have no bother getting Ulster Final tickets at this stage – It looks like it won’t be a sell out. Give the Ulster Council office in Armagh a ring and somebody there will get you sorted out.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Nevin, I have watched numerous AOH parades over the years in the town, there probably were things that could annoy me, but I ignored them and enjoyed the music, ironically many of those watching in the town were orangemen, just wanting to get a quick comparison I guess.

  • Skinner

    Could a member of the Orange Order on here please explain why it allows some lodges to march behind banners that glorify loyalist terrorists? That sort of stuff is a million miles from the Orange Order I have experienced and I’m just wondering why it is tolerated. If I were in charge, the lodges concerned would be warned once and then kicked out. Why is discipline so far down the agenda?

    On the GAA point, I have attended an all-Ireland semi-final and felt perfectly comfortable. I was slightly self-conscious that I didn’t know the words to the Soldier’s Song but there was nothing to mark me out of place apart from that.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Skinner, I didn’t see any in Clogher, and if you can show me any orange banner glorifying loyalist paramilitaries then I would be very concerned. I know some bands have “memorial banneretts” to these individuals, I don’t like it but there is not much I can do about it, kicking people out is not that easy, it has even went to court recently.

    I’m a bit rusty on the soldiers song myself.

  • Thanks JR and DR.

  • between the bridges

    skinner…’Could a member of the Orange Order on here please explain why it allows some lodges to march behind banners that glorify loyalist terrorists?’

    they don’t, there are a few bands that may but much like gaa grounds named after ira men the ‘excuse’ is that the person was a former member.

  • Skinner

    BTB, Drumlins

    A “bannerette” glorifying that UVF fella Brian Robinson featured in an orange parade in Belfast. There were hundreds of Orange men at it. Why did they not see it and think “er, what’s that doing here? I’m not marching behind that”. And why did senior figures in the Orange Order not say “that is absolutely appalling, we do not want to be associated with that” and take immediate steps to throw out the member who carried it?

    And if throwing out a member is ‘not that easy’, then bloody well make it that easy! Change the rules!

  • Didnt see a single parade took myself away on the M1 south 12th and 13th.

    Someone suggested that Orange numbers are dropping, that there are only 30 – 35000 actual Orangemen in N. Ireland. If so there are more homosexuals here than Orangemen. If the Homosexuals make do with 1 parade in Belfast and 1 in the Maiden City (although I believe Ballymena and Larne are planned), still why do the minority Orangemen need so many?

  • Drumlins Rock

    did you even bother to read Quintin’s thread? or any of the other 12th threads? if it was down to 2 or 3 parades , guess what Clogher would not be one of them. Live and let live Mr.

  • between the bridges

    skinner… was it a band bannerette? as per my answer to your query, if it was an orange bannerette it would have a lodge name and number on it…

  • Mark McGregor

    Mick, Drumlins,

    I’ve sent an email to some of the team and friends re. getting to some GAA.

    Sunday would be difficult for numerous reasons – venue, time to plan and tickets being some. We could do Antrim vs. Down on Sat – less time to plan but easier for most to get to and tickets easy found. Or hold fire and go to something big in Croker.

    Anyone else interested give me a shout and I’ll keep you in any loop that might develop.

  • Skinner

    Between the Bridges

    It probably wasn’t a lodge bannerette – I don’t really know. All that was reported was that it was a parade of hundreds of orangemen and within the same parade a bannerette was held (by an orangeman) in tribute to UVF man Brian Robinson. Whether it was a lodge that sanctioned the bannerette or not, my point still stands. Why did the hundreds of orangemen not refuse to march in the same parade? Why did the leadership of the orange order not come down like a tonne of bricks on the orangeman who held it?

    The fact that you do not know about this incident is quite telling (despite it being some years ago). It tells me that orangemen didn’t care enough to make a fuss of it and secondly it tells me that nationalists were not surprised enough to make a fuss of it. Both of these conclusions are very damaging for the orange order.

  • between the bridges

    skinner… the fact you don’t really have any details tells me all i need to know about the alleged incident.

  • Skinner

    I don’t follow – what does it tell you? Are you trying to suggest it didn’t happen? Come on, you can do better than that – I have told you all the facts you need to know to answer my question.

    Here’s a bit more:

    June 2003, Belfast, hundreds of orangemen on parade, one of them named Eddie McElwaine (a ‘Shankill Butcher’), dressed in full orange regalia, held aloft a bannerette featuring a picture of Brian Robinson.

    The same questions apply to the incident where an orangeman on an official parade down the Ormeau Road held up five fingers in gloating reference to the Catholics murdered at the same spot.

    Why do the Orange Order not come down on these people like a tonne of bricks?

  • Mick Fealty

    Okay, let’s keep the GAA idea for another thread (mark and I are working on it). Let’s leave this thread for the idea above.

  • lamhdearg

    out of interest skinner,
    “June 2003, Belfast, hundreds of orangemen on parade, one of them named Eddie McElwaine (a ‘Shankill Butcher’), dressed in full orange regalia, held aloft a bannerette featuring a picture of Brian Robinson.” where is this from, it seems unlikely its from a mainstream media outlet, naming someone like that is not the done thing.

  • between the bridges
  • between the bridges

    ps should have added it must be true…

  • Skinner

    It’s quite disappointing that you are refusing to engage with the question.

    Here’s an article that mentions Eddie McElwaine by name:

    http://gcd.academia.edu/NiallMeehan/Papers/150767/Between_a_Rock_and_Hard_Gospel_-_the_Orange_Order_and_the_Church_of_Ireland

    The article is very anti-orange order but it contains a picture, so it should be obvious to anyone who knows what he looks like (not me) whether it’s Eddie McElwaine or not.

    In any case, that’s not the point. It doesn’t have to be Eddie McElwaine, the point is that it was an orangeman who held it up and loads of other orange men were happy to march alongside it.

    Why? Why did the Orange Order not come down on these members like a tonne of bricks?

  • lamhdearg

    is it ok it i name people, as long as i can post a link to where they have been named before?.

  • Skinner

    between the bridges (profile) 14 July 2011 at 6:24 pm
    “skinner… was it a band bannerette? as per my answer to your query, if it was an orange bannerette it would have a lodge name and number on it…”

    The bannerette said “Old Boyne Island Heroes LOL 633”.

  • between the bridges

    Skinner. The article is quite anti-oo, and has some glaring mistakes, but the photograph is indeed as you describe, I have done a bit of checking on and off line. 633 is a shankill lodge. lodges commission their own bannerettes and past members can be portrayed on them. It seems this bannerette has cause controversy in the past I will post more whenever I am sure of my facts, but I will say that it would be far removed from any subject displayed on any banner I have seen or paraded behind.
    they do have another banner as well ( before you ask no i don’t know whats on the front!!) http://www.flickr.com/photos/alaninbelfast/2664561946/

  • lamhdearg

    lamhdearg wrote “qwerty
    did you forget about those tricolours, this makes it hard for me to believe any of the rest of your comments”

    LD – the tricolors were put up the night before the twelfth. They werent there before and they arent there now. I wasnt at that end of the town on the 12th so didnt see them.

    Any other questions?
    one more,
    if as you say the tricolours “where put up the night before the twelfth. They werent there before and they arent there now” , would you concur that they where put up to antagonize the people at the march?.

  • qwerty12345

    “if as you say the tricolours “where put up the night before the twelfth. They werent there before and they arent there now” , would you concur that they where put up to antagonize the people at the march?”

    LD I put that very question to the young people who had put them up. I asked them did they not think it was a provocative act. Their reply was something along the lines of “why should they be allowed to cover where we live in union jacks, we have a flag too”

    They also said they had no problem with the march – but they did have a problem with people coming into their estate, making a mess of it, and shouting sectarian abuse.

  • mightymouse

    Hi Qwerty, I happen to be one of the nationalists you interviewed and with all do respect I recall telling you the tricolours were erected as a sign of protest. Ld they were not used as a provocative method,far from it in fact. May I inform you’s that there was a field used to the bottom of the town that has never been used by the Orangemen before, keep in mind this is directly opposite an 97% nationalist housin area! This caused a llot of anger within the estate. May I also inform you that the Orangemen were allowed to park within the grounds of the housing area and did so without hinderance, there was no damage etc caused to their vehicles. Yet it was used as a dumping site, while bandsmen shimmied up poles to tear down tricolours and shout sectarian abuse!
    Tom Elliot was quick to put pen to paper during the time a local gaa team won an all Ireland game to give off about the gaa flags flying in the town, I’m sure he wouldn’t be as quick to condemn his fellow Orangemen for their antics in a nationalist housing estate!
    The town was left in a terrible mess after the parade as well. We are well within our right to put up the tricolour and may I add they are not only used during the twelth. Also if we wished to provoke the loyalists we could have tore union jacks, shouted insults etc but it wasn’t . So once again to clear this up the tricolours were used as part of a protest!

  • Skinner

    “it would be far removed from any subject displayed on any banner I have seen or paraded behind.”

    That’s what I expected. I know a bannerette like this is far from the norm, which is why I said at the outset that it is a million miles from the OO I have experienced.

    But the fact that it is ‘far removed’, as you put it, raises the question of why it is “alllowed”. You say it isn’t “allowed” and I agree with you in the sense that it is against the principles of the organisation – it certainly amounts to uncharitable sentiment against Roman Catholic neighbours. But it is “allowed” in the sense that nothing is done about it. There should have been a big hoo-hah. There should have been edicts issued and men called to account and men very publicly thrown out. Most fundamentally, there should have been a stand-off on the day between the Orangeman who held the bannerette and the other Orangemen at the same parade. There should have been such a fuss that every Orangeman in Ulster (including you, if you are a member) remembers it. But there wasn’t any of that. Why?

  • NiallMeehan

    A comment above refers to an article I wrote, entitled, Between a Rock and Hard Gospel, The Church of Ireland and the Orange Order, as containing ‘glaring mistakes’ on the subject of the Orange Order. I would be very happy to see the mistakes, as I believe we could all benefit from learning from them (especially their author).

    As to one of the photographs mentioned above and contained in the article, that of ‘Shankill Butcher’ Eddie McIlwaine carrying a ‘bannerette’ of fellow UVF member Brian Robinson, a very clear version can be found in The Orange Order, a Tradition Betrayed, (Methuen, 2006) by former Education Convener of the Order, Brian Kennaway. The book contains other interesting photographs, for example one of convicted sectarian killer Billy McCaughey marching with his lodge and another of McCaughey with other members of the Order (‘wearing Orange regalia’), organising a weekly protest against Roman Catholics going to mass in Harryville, Ballymena.

    Skinner’s point on the Orange Order’s tolerance of things that supposedly are not ‘allowed’ is very well put. His questions on this point are unanswerable and so are apt to be ignored. It strikes me that the organisation will always have difficulty convincing people that it is a harmless cultural group for as long as members who marry Roman Catholics are expelled, while those who kill them are not.

  • Skinner

    Between the Bridges?