Rasharkin Parade: Will Facebook threats lead to PSNI action?

The loyalist parade through the overwhelmingly nationalist village of Rasharkin has served up a number of interesting points for discussion. Firstly, of course, the arrogance of seeking- and absurdity of being permitted- to process through a village in which the overwhelming majority of residents are hostile to your agenda can best be understood by those sympathetic to the loyalist cause if they were to concede that the equivalent to this parade would be a similarly demographically profiled majority loyalist town- oh, let’s say Ballyclare for talk’s sake– being forced to host a parade involving some forty republican bands including flags and banners evoking militant republicans.

Some of those involved in the loyalist parading culture may appear to genuinely seek to reconcile their tradition with their neighbours, but I would suggest that this type of parade underlines precisely why they will gain little traction until they grasp the basic concept of respect being a two way street.

But we’ve been down that road before, and doubtless will be so again.

But this particular running of the parade has an additional point of interest due to something noted by the eagle-eyed local Sinn Fein MLA, Daithi McKay.

Prior to the parade, loyalists made a number of explicitly sectarian comments on Facebook, including a member of the Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors band, the hosts of the parade, who issued what can only be interpreted as threats to kill all members of the Catholic faith.

Such comments could only be construed as inflammatory by nature, not least due to the tensions surrounding this parade.

Now, given the PSNI record of arresting and charging individuals identified as so doing when the Facebook target was a unionist politician– or deceased PSNI officer, it will be interesting to see if this incident is followed up on.

On his own Facebook page, the Sinn Fein MLA has signalled that he has already passed on the details of this threat (presumably to the PSNI) as well as providing the details of the names of those involved and their comments, so this is space worth watching.

  • I think really there are two stories here.
    The traditional “right” of very sectarian and right -wing people which no self respecting English liberal would tolerate to process in the very areas where they clearly hate the inhabitants..
    The second is the new Facebook scenario.
    There might be a Debate to be had on whether Facebook is or isnt “real”or whether or not…..Im not a big believer in the Internet as something quite as serious as its advocates would have me believe.

    Nevertheless it is clear that the PSNI and the West Midlands Police or Metropoloitan Police should be treating Facebook the same way. Its not good enough (and the same is true of rubber bullets and water cannon) that Norn Iron is different.
    But the bigger question is that right wing extremists in Norn Iron should be given no more or less licence than any right wing extremists would be given in a democratic western society.
    Racism disguised as “diverse culture” is not acceptable.

  • Chris Donnelly

    The issue isn’t really whether or not the police in Britain are dealing with Facebook posts differently than the PSNI, but whether or not the PSNI will deal with such threats on a consistent basis.

    Hence the reference to pro-active measures taken by the PSNI following Facebook posts where the ‘targets’ were a Unionist politician and a deceased PSNI officer.

  • babyface finlayson

    “Deceased” is a rather coy word to use in relation to Constable Kerr. Why not ‘murdered’ or even ‘killed’. He didn’t pass away in his sleep.

  • Threats, whatever the source, are quite rightly considered under the law to be an assault and should be prosecuted.
    Of course, In N.I. , a blind eye is often turned towards sectarian behaviour, from both “sides”. That is a shame on us, collectively.

  • michael-mcivor

    The Deceased who the brit foreigners killed in afganistan were murdered also- i hope there are no brit killers lovers trying to give the Irish advice- how stupid would that be-

  • Cynic2


    Are you racist or just drunk again?

  • Cynic2


    Its simple. This is the UK and thj rule of law applies.

    If the Parades Commission allow the parade , it goes.

    If the bandsman has posted what you say then he should be investigated and prosecuted.


    But why are you so coy on just what was said? What were the words used? And why is Dathai MacKAys Facebook page on the link above now ‘temporarily unavailable’?

  • aquifer


    Have you made your complaint to the PSNI yet?

    The police tend to be busy so if you are seriously concerned make this issue their business.

  • dwatch

    You forgot about all these other foreigners in Afghanistan

    United States – 90,000
    United Kingdom – 9,500
    Germany – 4,812
    France – 3,935
    Italy – 3,880
    Canada – 2,922
    Poland – 2,560
    Romania – 1,938
    Turkey – 1,786
    Spain – 1,552
    Australia – 1,550
    Georgia – 937
    Denmark – 750
    Bulgaria – 602
    Czech Republic – 519
    Belgium – 507
    Sweden – 500
    Norway – 406
    Hungary – 383
    Republic of Korea – 350
    Croatia – 320
    Slovakia – 308
    Albania – 260
    Lithuania – 237
    New Zealand – 191
    Estonia – 163
    Macedonia – 163
    Greece – 162
    Finland – 156

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk


    Correct to a point. NI is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland so I guess UK rules (but not British) rules may apply.

    Even then Wales and Scotland ( i.e. the other technically British countries unlike the North) have their own laws/rules.

    The bottom line is simple – either there is a legal issue with using “social media” to make sectarian threats or not. Or is the PSNI going back to the “good old days” when they could prosecute “Nationalists/Catholics” for something but let “Unionists/Protestants (especailly OO members”) get away with the same thing?

    It seems to be to be a decade old argument. The OO/Unionists need to grow up and recognise that the (non-existent – even in Britain!) “right” to march the “Queens” highway wherever they want, whenever they want is gone and is never ever coming back.

    If Baggot and the PSNI want to have any chance of retaining the respect of decent honest constitutional “Catholics/Nationalists” the the law must be brought to bear against this person and (if they did use their facebook page to encourage violence against Catholics) they mst be punished.

    In the unlikely event of this ever happening I await with interest the (excuses sorry! reactions) of the OO “leadership”).

    Not to worry – it will be the usual pitiful drivel about religious and civil liberty for all (except Catholics of course).

    As a Catholic/Nationalist who lived for many years in London and since much further afield, I do love the OO and their “leadership”. Especially since Drumcree 1997 onwards – I don’t think Catholics /Nationalists could have employed a professional ad agency to humiliate the OO and show it up for what for what it is any better than it (and it’s so-called “leadership”) has already done by itself.

  • Cynic2

    “In the unlikely event of this ever happening”

    ….. I know. It’s such a shame that PSNI have wasted the last 10 years by recruiting the wrong kind of Catholics who are so obviously pro OO and so biased against Catholics

  • Chris Donnelly

    Ronan Kerr was indeed killed by dissident republicans, and that was an action I totally opposed and condemn. Furthermore, I earnestly hope those involved are caught and successfully prosecuted.

    Therefore, your attempt to sidetrack this thread is futile.

    You seemed to have misread the post. The former Policing Board member and Sinn Fein MLA, Daithi McKay, has indicated that he has already passed the information on (presumably to the PSNI.)

    The names of those involved are clearly identifiable on the Facebook thread, which Daithi has helpfully provided on his Facebook page along with their comments.

    So, again, another effort to sidetrack the main point is rendered futile.

    Presumably you would agree that the PSNI should be treating this case with the same degree of seriousness that they treated threats against Gregory Campbell and Ronan Kerr?

  • Cynic2


    You forgot the Taliban many of whom are from Pakistan and who include numbers of Foreign Fighters from countries like India and Yemen

    And of course there is the small matter that the foreigners you list are in Afghanistan at the invitation of the elected Government of that country. I know. This democracy thing is shocking isn’t it

  • Cynic2

    “Especially since Drumcree 1997 onwards ”

    I object strongly to your criticism of the OO leadership post 1997. Yes the OO leadership post 97 is dire and dismal but they were even worse before that!

  • Chris Donnelly

    michael, dwatch, cynic

    Fascinating though your comments are, they are clearly off topic on this thread.

    Please do try to avoid falling into the trap of racing off into Tangentland…..

  • “the Sinn Fein MLA has signalled that he has already passed on the details of this threat (presumably to the PSNI)”

    Chris, are you trying to get young Daithí into trouble with North Antrim republicans who don’t subscribe to the SF alleged flip-flop on our version of apartheid ie the control of those who can live in or pass through our cities, town and villages?

    Was there any particular reason that you left out the behaviour of the protesters? Where did they come from? What did they get up to?

  • babyface finlayson

    That’s fair enough. It’s just thw word ‘deceased ‘ is not often used around here. It kind of jumped out at me.
    I have no wish to sidetrack the thread. I cannot see the comments on facebook, but I agree the PSNI should be consistent in dealing with this kind of thing.
    Michael mcivor, does pointing out that a man was murdered somehow mean to you that I support murder? Strange. Also I am Irish.

  • “a parade involving some forty republican bands including flags and banners evoking militant republicans.”

    Chris, are you not drawing false parallels? Some of the bands on parade in Rasharkin identify with loyalist paramilitaries whereas you’re referring to a wholly republican paramilitary event. Also this band applied for permission to parade, a practice not uniformly applied, and the organisers appealed for calm and called on troublemakers to stay away.

  • michael-mcivor

    Chris- damm- i have a two week holiday booked to tangenland-
    babyface nelson- sorry finlayson- if you support the brit war lovers in afganistan then you do support murder- support peace instead-

  • sonofstrongbow

    I feel another ‘watch’ coming on. The Ballyclare one seems to have crashed. Perhaps it became too difficult to keep count. After all you’ve only so many fingers available to do the maths.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Um, ‘apartheid?’

    Me doth think you overegg the victim mentality.

    Reread the post Nevin. Those supporting parades like this one must prove their willingness to accomodate reciprocal expressions of republican cultural expressions if they are serious about suggesting they are genuinely on the side of freedom of expression.

    Perhaps a republican band parade consisting of 40 plus bands, flying flags and emblems associated with militant republican organisations, being invited through Bushmills, or indeed Coleraine, would transform the attitudes up there and indicate a loyalist desire to show the same generosity of spirit they expect of others?

    Thought not……..

  • Chris Donnelly


    You need not fret, the B’clare Watch is alive and well! Updates will appear as and when necessary.

    As a school Maths co-ordinator, I’m loving the reference to my inability to count beyond my fingers too!

    Organising a band parade for this area is an act of provocation in itself. The call for troublemakers to stay away is, therefore, disingenous, and the utterances of at least one band participant on Facebook suggests the call for calm was deeply cynical.

  • Cynic2

    “school Maths co-ordinator”

    Loyalist Maths or Republican maths?

    As for going off on tangents you still haven’t answered my question. Exactly what did the Bandsman say? Why is the SF web page you linked to now off line?

  • Cynic2

    “Organising a band parade for this area is an act of provocation in itself.”

    I agree. But so was murdering people and blowing up buildings for over 30 years. Do you condemn that too?

  • “Me doth think you overegg the victim mentality.”

    I think the apartheid label is very apt and it applies especially to places where loyalist and republican paramilitaries rule the roost. Perhaps I should have pointed out that loyalist paramilitaries, like their republican counterparts, have also been known to organise illegal parades without let or hindrance from the authorities.

    If you wish to cheer-lead for republican paramilitaries perhaps you should cheer-lead for loyalist paramilitaries too – in the interests of equality. It should be a relatively easy transformation as they appear to have so much in common 😉

    By the way, do you fully appreciate the significance of the problem you’re creating for Daithí by so openly hanging him on the PSNI hook?

  • sonofstrongbow

    One question springs to my mind. Why would the parade want to go there? I know one Prod who lives there and it’s not a happy place for those who wear the Mark of Calvin.

    The guy is Rasharkin born and bred and is in his late seventies, maybe even early eighties, over the last number of years he has suffered regular sectarian abuse from, I guess we must now consider to be, the ‘host community’. In the past he would have raised the Union Flag on the 12th morning and taken it down that night but after his flag was stolen for the umpteenth time he gave up. Btw the PSNI’s response was an official shrug of the shoulders.

    CD is a teacher? Oh God there goes the next generation.

  • Cynic2

    No he s not a ‘teacher’ he is a ‘coordinator of teachers’. In my experience that’s a bit like this:

  • Chris Donnelly

    Lovin’ that link. To clarify, I’m also a full-time teacher.

    I find it hard to take serious references to cheerleaders. Memories of attending North High School basketball games spring to mind…..

    I think you’re also overplaying the difficulties for Daithi. I can’t envisage him experiencing any problems by undertaking the excellent role of exposing the antics of those involved in this parade using social media.

    I lived for ten years in Greenisland, Co Antrim. I can only imagine the response my family would have received had we decided to fly the Irish Tricolour from the house at Easter time.

    I do feel sorry for this gentleman, though, and anyone suffering sectarian abuse deserves to be supported by the PSNI.

    Ideally I would like to see the development of a broader culture embracing free expression of cultural and political identity right across the north of Ireland, and the best way to achieve that is to ensure that those wishing to celebrate their identity in areas predominantly of the ‘other’ political-religious persuasion convince people that they are willing to reciprocate as hosts.

    Oh, and the next generation are in great hands so fret no more!

  • sonofstrongbow

    The scene: a classroom in Bumscoil Adams deep in the heart of the West Belfast ghetto. The Maths Master enters.

    Maths Master – “settle down now. First thing, for those of you involved with the Arts Master’s ‘Dirty Protest’ art project I’d like to say I’m very proud of your hands-on participation in the Republican Movement; you boy no sniggering! However for the love of Mary go and sit at the back and open some windows.

    Moving on, the solution to yesterday’s problem: AK47 plus M16 is RPG and not more dead Brits as some of you suggested. That is simply a by-product.

    Today’s problem is: how many cups of coffee must you drink to free-up the jar for your bomb? Answers on my desk by 9am tomorrow.

    Before the bell sounds the Irish Master has asked me to remind those of you who have not changed your Saxon slave names as yet to get a move on!

    She is also disappointed with some of the completed work so far and expects to see at the very least a doubling of the word count and a threefold increase in the application of the fada. So get to it.

    Hurry up now or you’ll be late for your Whataboutery class.”

  • Nevin: “By the way, do you fully appreciate the significance of the problem you’re creating for Daithí by so openly hanging him on the PSNI hook?”

    Since he has linked to this page on his facebook I doubt the connection is causing him very much concern.

  • Millbag

    Any situation where minority rights (like those of the loyalist bands and their supporters) are asserted as a way of denying the rights of the majority (the residents of Rasharkin) will inevitably fuel the most intense paranoia and sectarianism within the minority.

    More importantly, how did the Parades Commission even agree to this parade in the first place?

    Chris Donnelly’s analogy of a reciprocal parade by republicans through the centre of a majority unionist area is a sound one. If such a parade was even announced I’d dare say there would be an upsurge in sectarian attacks the likes of which we wouldn’t have seen in years.

    ‘Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors’

    That’s about as subtle as a shotgun to the face.

  • Cynic2


    You still haven’t answered the questions

  • Chris Donnelly

    Become a friend of Daithi on Facebook. I’m sure he will accede to your request. The entire conversation is included.

    Man playing of the highest order there. But,really, how did you know my nickname was the ‘Maths Master’?

  • andnowwhat

    On the issue of OO parades in towns with a nationalist majority , I would go for the Derry model, let them march.

    If the OO are indeed a religious grouping wishing only to express their culture etc. they should be happy to conform with any reasonable restrictions put on them. Now, if the start any of that crap like they did in E Belfast (the sash/psalm thing), they should face immediate sanction.

    Re. the Bakebbok incident. I logged on to Daithis’s page and couldn’t find the link but based on what I have read here, the cops need to prosecute these people given the Campbell case.

  • “I think you’re also overplaying the difficulties for Daithi”

    Chris, his home and person have been attacked on a number of occasions by other republicans so he’s most unlikely to directly advocate folks providing information to the PSNI.

  • babyface finlayson

    There is too much mathsdebating going on here.

  • Leaving aside the threats issue (prosecute as per the Gregory Campbell case is my opinion) are there no Protestants living in Rasharkin? Are they to give up their culture because the majority of the village are not Protestants? In Cookstown we manage just fine with large Loyalist and AOH parades in a town which is 65% Nationalist 35% Unionist and has a Sinn Fein controlled council. Dungannon and Magherafelt manage similarly. They manage this by keeping the parades largely to the town centres and out of residential areas.

  • Killsally, here is the NINIS survey of the village of Rasharkin. I don’t see any details for Rasharkin and district.

  • JR

    Personally speaking, I think it is a disgrace to the marching culture that they would organise such an event in such an inappropriate location. From watching the videos on youtube all I can see is triumphalism.

    This parade is no more justified than a hunger strike march would be in a loyalist village.

  • andnowwhat

    A tweet from Daithi..

    daithimckay Daithí McKay
    @Jason_R_Burke @keithbelfast when a bannerette has a UVF logo & name of 1970s UVF member it’s quite clear who the reference is

    Actually, his tweets of the last 24 hours or more make interesting reading

  • Chris Donnelly


    Surely you meant ‘moral’ high ground…..

  • ThomasMourne

    Disputes re contentious parades should be settled by the vote of the electors in the affected street(s) or localities.

    If the local people want them they can express that in a secret ballot; if not then the decision is made in a democratic way and should be acceptable to everyone.

    No further need for a Parades Commission.

    And, perhaps, the beginning of the end of sectarian coat-trailing.

  • sonofstrongbow


    Just checking that you knew your home address. I knew, and won a fiver on it, that you’d be back to confirm your place of residence.

  • lamhdearg

    i have come late to this thread and i am not going to read all 40+ comments, so excuse me if i repeat someone else’s comments.
    Chris in your post you ask us to draw a comparision between rasharkin and ballyclare vis a vis a parade happening, my i also draw a comparision between these towns, one of them Ballyclare has a police operation put into place when a flag is place in the street outside a catholic church the other Rasharkin has had all but one of its non irish nationalist residents ethnicly cleansed from it, maybe those that parade in rasharkin have this in their minds, the fact that they and there kin have been driven from the towns streets to its hinterland, and wish to parade in the town as a show of resistance. can anyone point to a town in Ulster where the reverse of what has happened in rasharkin has occurred, the 2001 census has the protestant popul at around 200 go back and it was more.

  • Chris Donnelly

    If that were indeed the case, then surely you would support a republican parade through the loyalist Rathcoole estate in Newtownabbey on the basis that prominent republicans like Bobby Sands and Jim Gibney and their families were amongst the hundreds of catholic families that once resided in that area.

    I’ve not the slightest idea of what you’re talking about now. Far too cryptic for this teacher’s summer Sunday…

    But I’m glad you won a fiver from somebody.

    Perhaps you should purchase a dictionary with it ;>

  • lamhdearg

    chris, rathcoole is not a town, what you say of rathcoole could be said about many parts of belfast in reverse, i should know i had to move twice in 70 and 72. name a town, better still name a town west of the bann (in nationalist ulster) where 15 years ago over a quarter of the pop where nationalist, and now there is one nationalist.

  • Chris Donnelly


    Why should it matter if it is a town, village, estate or for that matter townland?

    I know little about the religious demography of many places, though am conscious of the fact that many catholics and protestants have moved to areas they feel more comfortable in over the past forty years- including Rathcoole and Rasharkin.

    Where you have a problem is in attempting to justify a parade on the grounds of attempting to effectively stick up two fingers to the locals on the grounds that some of your co-religionists used to live in the area.

    Precisely the same logic could be used to argue for republican parades in parts of Larne, Lisburn, Greenisland and Carrickfergus.

    btw What’s with this ‘nationalist Ulster’ place? I live east of the Bann River. Am I a resident of ‘Loyalist Ulster?’

  • lamhdearg

    the nationlist ulster place, see the electoral map. I am quite sure that someone with your background would know if such a town where to be found anywhere in ulster. take your time and come back to me. as for the parade i am against it, i am not justifying it, what i am doing is saying “maybe” the people that march in rasharkin feel that by marching their they are not giving up on the place, “maybe”.

  • Cynic2


    What sophistry. Many of them moved to areas that they ‘felt more comfortable in’. They were ethnically cleansed (on both sides) and wanted to keep on living. You seem like an intelligent enough man (for a teacher) so tell it like it is!

  • “many catholics and protestants have moved to areas they feel more comfortable”

    Very perceptive, Chris. I presume you would have moved too if you had been burned out by or received death threats from those of your neighbours of a paramilitary disposition. It’s a shame that the flip-flop on SF HQ’s pro-apartheid tactics came too late for many. No doubt many loyalist and republican paramilitary godfathers still indulge in these ‘we ourselves’ antics, especially if the protection money ‘contributions’ are coming through a bit slowly.

  • JR

    Cynic and lamhdhearg, do us all a favour and leave the ethnic cleansing terminology in the concintration camps, the Balkins and Rewanda where it belongs.

  • Neil

    It would be interesting to see a debate around the possibility of deciding what parades should happen, where based on a democratic vote. One would wonder why that would be a problem for anyone, that parades would only occur when they’re welcomed by the majority and any complainers can just suck it up, but then you realise that you’re talking about the Ulster Loyalist.

    They give us a hundred and one reasons why they must parade through overwhelmingly Nationalist towns and villages, and in reality if they lost their ability to antagonise Nationalists a large number of people would lose interest.

    On the other point, I moved from Ballymena to West Belfast, and for manby reasons but not least for that security that comes from knowing that the one reason you won’t get a kicking is because I’m Catholic – it happened in Ballymena, but it’s not problem in West Belfast.

    When one compares hypothetical parades, why not compare a Republican Ballymena with a Loyalist one in Rasharkin? There is a sizeable minority of Catholics in Ballymena (being a larger demographic than Protestants in Rasharkin). When I lived there that Fisherwick crowd wanted to parade at Easter. They weren’t allowed out of their own estate, and when they erected one flag, on a flag pole in the estate, all hell broke loose.

    They’ve since been allowed to march around a primarily Catholic part of town as I understand, and again there was widespread trouble in the town in repsonse. Now, one can only imagine what might happen if they marched through the ‘shared’ centre of town, or heaven forbid, a Loyalist part of town.

    We all know what would happen if they tried, yet they expect it to be fine as ‘resistance’ or a sectarian two fingers to the hated fenians in the town for Loyalists to parade in Rasharkin.

    It all boils down to the slow realisation that the OO have gone from calling all the shots, to having to deal with the PC and not calling all the shots, while people are starting to question whether they should call any shots at all. It’s a slow erosion of once absolute power to march where they please, and the penny’s starting to drop.

  • Rasharkin has a 26 Protestant population. I take it they must be submissive as they are in a minority? Does the parade keep to the main street by and large and if so what is the problem?

  • 26% Protestant

  • lamhdearg

    kilsally, correction Rasharkin had a 26% (around 220 people)protestant population in 2001 (censes) it now has one protestant living in the town, the rest have left, some (me) would say they where ethnically cleansed (sorry JR thats now i see it) .

  • anne warren

    Agree with idea of streets having democratic votes about whether they want or do not want a march, want or do not want flags displayed, kerbstones painted different colours and so on.

    What would happen if Street A polled its residents/business owners and workers and then informed the Parades Commission of the result and asked them to base their decisions about parades accordingly?

    In any case, if the demographics have changed (for whatever reason) parade routes should change to match.

  • lamhdearg

    So if a street on the route has five house’s on it and the people in three of the house’s dont want the pride parade or st pats parade or the notting hill carnival then the parade cant go down it. passport to pimlico springs to mind.

  • anne warren

    Yes Lamhdearg, majority rules. That’s democracy. First past the post.

    Polling should of course be repeated at regular intervals- every 5 years – to allow for changes in house occupiers or shops/businesses etc.

    You presume a NO vote would predominate but look on the positive side – some streets might vote YES for parades. Miles of new streets might be waiting to welcome parades with open arms. So why not give them the chance to have their wish? Would you like to have a parade pass along your street?

    Don’t understand your reference to Pimlico, a smart Central London area near Victoria. Did you know Oswald Mosley used to live there?

  • Chris Donnelly


    You’re wide of the mark on the sophistry charge.

    I chose my words carefully to highlight the fact that, whilst many people were forced under threat of violence from their homes, many more opted to move simply because they either felt more comfortable, less inhibited or less frightened for themselves and their families.

    This is an important distinction, not least because it exposes the serious flaws in the ethnic cleansing narrative of some of our more excited- and less informed- regular commenters.

  • lamhdearg

    Its a film anne, before your time?. If a street can go it alone then why not a county, Antrim could pass it’s laws and rules based on its majority, NO gaa for example, but as in Pimlico (the film) the surrounding areas may retaliate with their own laws, no trade with Antrim for example (of course this may not work on antrim has it is not land locked), Or why stop at a street, why not just a house, ie MR, I, N, Tollerant of 3* westbourne grove london who “don’t what no niggers or queers walkin past my house”, is that ok, as that is the democacy of one. I do enjoy our chats, Goodnight, catch ya later.

  • lamhdearg

    what is ethnic cleansing in your view Chris, do people have to be killed ,to have been cleansed from an area,

  • lamhdearg

    sophistry, sluggers latest word, i remember when gist was IT.

  • lamhdearg

    ps, goodnight.

  • Cynic2


    The UN defines ethnic cleansing as “rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove from a given area persons of another ethnic or religious group.”

    As you admit

    “whilst many people were forced under threat of violence from their homes, many more opted to move simply because they either felt more comfortable, less inhibited or less frightened for themselves and their families.”

    I hope you will admit that forcing a number form their homes intimidates the rest to move somewhere where they will feel “more comfortable and less frightened”. This has been ethnic cleansing.

    The sophistry charge stands I am afraid.And that really is a pity. There have been terrible things done on both sides where but you do seem blind to the crimes committed by those whose political philosophy you support.

    Wanting a United Ireland is a good and noble thing. Murdering, attacking , intimidating your neighbours because they are protestant and unionist is racist and criminal.

    Where is CAJ on this one? The Human Rights Commission? Silly of me to ask.

  • Chris Donnelly


    I didn’t ‘admit’ anything and disagree in not the slightest way with the UN definition.

    I am also far from blind with regard to the deeds committed by republicans during the most recent conflict in Ireland- and before.

    But, again, you seek to make the sophistry charge without offering any evidence.

    Evoking the ethnic cleansing charge is rather simple and often politically motivated without genuine foundation in a 6-county context.

    I suppose the plantations were the most obvious examples of ethnic cleansing in Ireland (though earlier invasions would have provided a similar outcome.)

    And to my own experiences.

    The catholic populations of Greenisland and Carrickfergus have dwindled in the past thirty years.

    Is this because of ethnic cleansing?

    I don’t think so.

    But it would be true to say that many catholics in the area experienced sectarian intimidation, and many more were uncomfortable with the overtly loyalist culture of the area, ultimately moving to areas where they felt more comfortable.

    The same could be said for protestants residing in many areas.

    My own village of Crumlin is now overwhelmingly catholic, with both State schools having opted for the integrated route as a (probably) vain attempt to stave off ultimate closure due to falling numbers. This is sad but unfortunately true.

    Have protestants been ethnically cleansed from Crumlin?

    Unfortunately for those prefering the simple narrative, not only is there no evidence to support that contention, but the history of political violence and aggression in the area is almost exclusively one of loyalist paramilitaries attacking catholics and their properties, including the killing of Ciaran Heffron.

    I can recall the former Presbyterian Moderator, John Dunlop, speaking about his regret that many protestants decide to leave areas in significant numbers when their majority status is under threat.

    On the other hand, catholics appear more willing to stick it out in what might be deemed ‘hostile’ areas where they are in the minority in spite of facing the same pressures- a theme we have discussed in some detail on Slugger before.

    You might prefer the simplistic ethnic cleansing narrative, perhaps because it is consistent with your political preferences, but it is hardly sophistry to point out that it is dubious to bandy the term about with reckless disregard.

  • lamhdearg

    Any luck finding that town chris, the one where there was a 26%(220 people) catholic pop 10 years ago, but now there is only one. “have dwindled in the past thirty years.” i would not call what has happened in rasharkin dwindled.

  • Cynic2

    “the catholic populations of Greenisland and Carrickfergus have dwindled in the past thirty years.Is this because of ethnic cleansing?”

    In part yes. I have no doubt that in some areas of Garrick for example they were forced out by Loyalists who ‘wouldn’t have a Taig about them’. And that was wrong. Totally wrong. As a Unionist I am happy to admit that and say that Unionist politicians also didn’t do enough to condemn and stop it too.

    You ask for ‘the evidence’ of sophistry but in your own posts you have said that “many people were forced under threat of violence from their homes, many more opted to move simply because they either felt more comfortable, less inhibited or less frightened for themselves and their families”. That by the UN definition is ethnic cleansing but you then try and excuse and cover that by spurious examples

    If the Protestants were forced out of Rasharkin so they could live somewhere where they wouldn’t be ‘frightened’ what do you think they were frighted of in Rasharkin? The bogey man? Spiders? Big cows looking over hedges at them? Next you will tell us that they all just had bad hay fever ad had to move to town.

    Indeed, many of the Catholics were forced out of Carrick years ago but events in Rasharkin are much more recent – within the last 10 years. So all of this is relatively recent and just as bad as every other racist pogrom – an ethnic cleansing that has been organised and driven by local republican racists.

    What happened to all the guff about ‘parity of esteem’? What were the equality provisions of the Northern Ireland Act for? Where has the Human Rights Commission been besides losing case after case and nipping down to bank their salary cheques?

    And why does an intelligent man like you deny this?

  • Millbag

    Did the dwindling Catholic populations of Carrick and Greenisland hasten their own departure by holding ill-advised republican band parades through said towns on a yearly basis?

  • Thanksgiving

    Rasharkin has a larger Protestant population than 1, whilst I do accept some may have felt the need to leave, several have returned since so clearly do not feel that under seige.

    However the real issue is what is lost from protestant cultural identity by having 5 to 10 bands coming to Rasharkin?

    44 bands coming to a village of that size is antagonism & should not be allowed, other parades come to Rasharkin & do not incite the same feeling, this is due to problems with the ballymaconnelly band who host it & there inability to discuss anything with residents.

    No talking, no walking

  • JR

    Lamhdhearg, Care to produce any evidence for there being one protestant left in the village?

  • Neil


    “A member of the Ballymaconnelly band has been making threatening comments towards me and the Catholic community in general on Facebook,” he said.

    “He made a direct threat towards me in July and that is being investigated by the PSNI.”

    Police said they were investigating complaints about offensive comments posted on the site on July 27 and August 18.

    Mr McKay said the posts contained comments such as “kill all taigs” and “scum in Rasharkin”.

    “Such comments make it quite clear that the author, in this case a member of the Ballymaconnelly band, is only parading through Rasharkin for sectarian reasons.”

  • Chris Donnelly

    That by the UN definition is ethnic cleansing but you then try and excuse and cover that by spurious examples

    If the Protestants were forced out of Rasharkin so they could live somewhere where they wouldn’t be ‘frightened’ what do you think they were frighted of in Rasharkin? The bogey man? Spiders? Big cows looking over hedges at them? Next you will tell us that they all just had bad hay fever ad had to move to town.

    Again, you make an ill-founded allegation, relying on ridiculous assertions as evidence.

    There is, quite simply, no evidence of an ethnic cleansing campaign in Rasharkin.

    That does not mean that some protestants weren’t targeted by sectarian thugs.

    But ethnic cleansing implies a much more concerted endeavour.

    I would have hoped you had the intelligence to recognise the difference.

    Your dismissal of my examples as ‘spurious’ is interesting- perhaps it is best to stick to the simple narrative, eh?

  • Cynic2


    Read what you wrote earlier

    ” whilst many people were forced under threat of violence from their homes, many more opted to move simply because they either felt more comfortable, less inhibited or less frightened for themselves and their families.”

    Now lets fillet that

    “many people were forced under threat of violence from their homes”


    “many more opted to move simply because they either felt more comfortable, less inhibited or less frightened for themselves and their families”

    So first of all many people were physically forced out then others left because they were frightened. You wrote those words. Not me.

    So why were these many people forced under threat of violence from their homes?

    Who forced them? Are the average Catholic residents of Rasharkin racist thugs?

    Your denials are incomprehensible

  • Hopping The Border

    So this band is called sons of the conquerors.

    And commemorates the victory of a couple of hundred years ago of one religion over another and consequential continuing supremacy of that religion.

    And wants to march to commemorate this through a town where the overwhelming majority of residents are members of the religion defeated in that battle a couple of hundred years ago.

    And in doing so wants to bus in hundreds if not thousands of participants and close the streets of this small town to traffic and business, leaving those who reside close to the route effectively trapped in their homes.

    Ah yes, I can see who is being unreasonable.

  • Hopping The Border

    Is there another such example of sheer “inyourfaceism” in celebrating historical victories anywhere else in the UK/Europe/The World?

  • Cynic2

    Hopping the Border

    “of one religion over another and consequential continuing supremacy of that religion”

    It was much more about a power struggle between different groups in England and an extremely vain and stupid King who believed in his Divine Right to rule and wanted to become an absolute monarch and usurp Parliament. Even the Pope had despaired of him.

  • Neil

    It was much more about a power struggle between different groups in England and an extremely vain and stupid King who believed in his Divine Right to rule and wanted to become an absolute monarch and usurp Parliament. Even the Pope had despaired of him.

    That may be true but it consequently led to the victory of one religion over another and consequential continuing supremacy of that religion.

    So a minor quibble over cuase and effect but you more or less agree with what htb said exactly?

    I suppose it boils down to the fact (much like the UVF flag discussion) some people are more empathetic than others. Using the UVF flag as an example some Unionists in the thread can see that whether the UVF flag is legal or not, it’s used as cover by a large number of people as an excuse to fly a flag with UVF on it – hence it’s increased popularity more recently.

    Those folks can say ‘yes (you may be wrong about the flag’s legality etc.) but some UVF supporters use it as a way of expressing support for the recent UVF, and yes we understand that they may well have murdered family of the people in this particular city/town/village so it’s possibly understandable for you to object to that flag being carried through your majority Catholic area while the people who live here are corralled into their homes’.

    Others just repeat the mantra ‘it’s legal so fuck ya’. It’s all down to sensitivity to the other side’s point of view.

    It also in turn provides cover for those who wish to commemorate their heroes of bygone days on the other side of the fence.

    All of which does nothing for relations – which in Rasharkin are just about as bad as they can be. I can certainly condemn attacks by my community on the others, and I most certainly condemn the past behaviour of the bands who go to Rasharkin every year. No doubt their continued interaction with the village folk has contributed to the piss poor state of relations today.

  • Cynic2

    “That may be true but it consequently led to the victory of one religion over another and consequential continuing supremacy of that religion.”

    Well did it really? William of Orange was actually funded in part by Pope Innocent and one source actually claims that:

    “In the 1930s, a portrait of William against a backdrop of onlookers was installed at Stormont, the Northern Ireland parliament, They found that in the background there were various faces looking in, and one of them was Pope Innocent. They had to get rid of it.”


    As for this being an Irish war

    “The forces which battled beneath the walls of Derry or Limerick were not the forces of England and Ireland but were the forces of two English political parties fighting for the possession of the powers of government; and the leaders of the Irish Wild Geese on the battlefields of Europe were not shedding their blood because of their fidelity to Ireland, as our historians pretend to believe, but because they had attached themselves to the defeated side in English politics”

    James Connolly Labour in Irish History

    So its all largely just a big myth dreamed up to help justify the conflicts of the 18th and the 19th Centuries.