Dungiven parade: Republicanism on display or a mere base sectarian reflex?

I picked this up from Gerry Lynch on Facebook just now. It won’t come as any surprise to the practicing Anglicans of Dungiven to find themselves regaled with loud Republican music whilst at worship

Their church has been marked out for all manner of special treatment over the years, not least the careful siting of a hunger strike just outside the local church ground…

Chris has raised important questions about the attitude of the DUP leadership in relation to parades and the parades commission… It appears that the deputy First Minister has some questions of his own to answer…

It’s interesting to note that both Sinn Fein and the DUP have already tried to put in place ‘other arrangements’ to replace the Parades Commission, and failed…

As a tail note, Nelson McCausland draws a useful insight from Brian Kennaway:

Brian Kennaway told us that Roman Catholics have a particular view about the sanctity and significance of church buildings, even if they are empty, closed up and locked. Then surely many of those organising and taking part in the Sinn Fein hunger strike commemoration would hold that view.

In that case they cannot plead ignorance when they march past a Protestant church with bands playing republican tunes and with depictions of IRA weapons and references to IRA terrorists on the Sinn Fein cumman banners and on the sides of some of the bass drums..

Quite. And if this is not an issue for Republicans to deal with directly and robustly, I don’t know what is. Here’s Gerry commentary on Facebook:

What future for members of the Church of Ireland does Sinn Féin, in the Irish Republic it envisages, think it communicates to Protestants by behaving like this? Every stupid piece of sectarian triumphalism in Republican areas West of the Bann acts as an apology for the stupid sectarianism that Catholics have to put up with in places like North Belfast and South East Antrim.

Stupidity and sectarianism are the most appropriate words. It does not just belong to one or the other side in this ‘argument’. In 1845 clashes were so bad in Ulster over Orange demonstrations that they were banned the following year.

By 1849, an attempt by Ribbonmen to put them off the road ended in the death of one Catholic boy. The impulse to march and take control of the public highway is long and deep rooted, as is the determination to treat neighbours with contempt.

So long as such bloody minded reflexes takes the upper hand in either identity, there is little space for the Republic of Tone, Emmet, Davis or Thomas Russell..

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty