Dispelling the Myths Sustaining Loyalism’s Grievance Narrative: Part Two

The publication of the Parades Commission determination regarding the contentious Crumlin Road parade presents an opportunity to pre-empt the anticipated avalanche of cries from unionist politicians suggesting that British and unionist culture is being eroded in the north of Ireland.

On their respective appearances on The Nolan Show in the past year, Jeffrey Donaldson has spoken about his “identity and tradition being beaten into the ground” due to the decision by Belfast City Council to fly the Union Flag on designated days, whilst East Derry MP Gregory Campbell claimed that ‘protestants would like some equality.’

Already, political unionist reaction to this Parades Commission determination has been along similar lines. As David McCann tweeted last night after noting the vocabulary employed by the assorted unionist parties in their reaction to the determination:

DUP- ‘illogical’ PUP- ‘Cultural apartheid’ TUV- ‘monstrous.’ Anyone want to take bets on which one calls PC decision criminal first?

The bogus nature of the loyalist grievance narrative is evident to all but the most jaundiced of observers, but an outline of the objective facts is always a welcome addition to such discussions. Previously, I have comprehensively outlined how the assertions that the protestant/unionist community was ‘losing out’ in a socio-economic sense were factually wrong (see Willie Frazer’s Tiger’s Bay video produced in the interim to get an idea as to how such erroneous claims are dangerously employed to further a bogus grievance narrative.) Given the Flag Furore and subsequent anticipated row over this specific parade determination, I will illustrate below the absurdity of the contention that the British and Unionist identity is being eroded in this part of Ireland.

Northern Ireland might be a contested entity, governed as a result of an internationally binding consociational power-sharing arrangement in recognition of the two National communities co-existing within the state, but it remains a region overwhelmingly identified by a distinctly British and unionist ethos.

From the statues of the UVF co-founders at Stormont Buildings and array of British memorabilia sprinkled throughout the interior and exterior regions of Belfast City Hall (and other local government chambers) to the very names of our bridges, buildings and roads, the north of Ireland remains excessively British for a region in which its inhabitants are stubbornly or otherwise resigned to a future where parity between the Irish nationalist and British unionist communities holds the key to enduring stability, as embodied by the existence of the OFMDFM office into perpetuity.

Much of the relevant ground to this discussion was covered during the months of the flag protest, when numerous commentators pointed out the many ways in which the British and unionist culture is evident in northern society.

Yet a brief internet jaunt has enabled me to compile this list of how the British and unionist tradition has been celebrated in the past 6 weeks alone, a number in ways that would be deemed controversial (and no doubt an erosion of British culture) were directly reciprocal moves to be suggested and followed through with by nationalists.

UDR Conspicuous Gallantry Cross window unveiled at City Hall

An updated Conspicuous Gallantry Cross window unveiled at City Hall, remembering the controversial Ulster Defence Regiment. A plaque was also placed in the Garden of Remembrance and a permanent bench will follow on the site because, clearly, there aren’t already enough items in the grounds of City Hall commemorating the British/ Unionist military tradition.

 

 

Carrickfergus Armed Forces Day:

British regiments with bands spent the day marching through the town and putting on a number of demonstrations for the assembled audience.

Flying Armed Forces Flag at Belfast City Hall

Alliance joined with unionists to ensure the British Armed Forces flag was flown for 6 days from Belfast City Hall in spite of the obviously controversial nature of this decision.

British Regiments given Freedom of Two Majority-Unionist Boroughs

Territorial Army regiment given Freedom of Castlereagh and more Territorial Army soldiers given Freedom of North Down in the past six weeks.

Belfast City Hall will be illuminated for ‘Orangefest’

Next year, City Hall will be bathed in red, white and blue for the British Queen’s Birthday in June, and orange and purple in July for Orangefest.

Loyal Order Marches and funded loyalist bonfires

By the time July passes, there will already have been thousands of loyalist parades this marching season. Indeed, PSNI Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, has indicated that there are some 500+ parades on the 12th July alone this year. Furthermore, many council-funded loyalist bonfires will have been left to smoulder after being lit on the 11th Night, many others defined by the reckless manner in which they have been assembled (here and here.)

And, of course, mixed residential communities and village and town centres will already have been bedecked in an array of flags, bunting and arches exclusively associated with the British/Unionist identity in a manner which would simply not be countenanced were it to be reciprocated by nationalists at another time of the calendar year on anything approaching a similar scale.

The thousands of loyalist parades will predominantly be held in majority unionist communities where they will either be welcomed or treated in an indifferent manner, as are the overwhelming number of republican parades in the nationalist districts hosting such parades. The sensitive nature of some parade routes (and I have written before on the theme of this specific parade dispute (here and here)   will continue to vex our political class precisely because there is no agreement regarding the equal legitimacy of expressions of the Irish and British cultures within the state, never mind on who should be forced to ‘host’ such political/cultural expressions. And, on that note, it is worth acknowledging that the annual Lundy’s Day Parade in Derry marks the most significant act of one community playing host to a political/cultural expression of the Other. Perhaps one day Lisburn or Bangor town centres will host a republican parade of a similar (or any) scale……

The Crumlin Road determination will have been met with a collective sigh of relief from the PSNI leadership, whose handling of the loyalist flag protests left them vulnerable were they to adopt the traditionally pro-active approach to dealing with illegal road blockers in Ardoyne on the 12th July.

Nigel Dodds on The Nolan Show today has claimed that the Parades Commission have ‘rewarded bad behaviour’ with this determination. That conclusion requires society to blank out the antics of north Belfast loyalists since last July, when we have seen the notorious Famine Song incident, direct calls by unionist politicians to breach the subsequent Parades Commission determinations regarding parades at St Patrick’s Church, loyalist rioting in autumn in the area over parading and, last but very far from least, the illegal street protests and associated violence linked with the political unionist response to Belfast City Council’s decision to limit the number of days when the Council would fly the Union Flag.

Them’s the facts……

 

  • Ulster Press Centre

    Nigel Dodds on The Nolan Show today has claimed that the Parades Commission have ‘rewarded bad behaviour’ with this determination. That conclusion requires society to blank out the antics of north Belfast loyalists since last July, when we have seen the notorious Famine Song incident, direct calls by unionist politicians to breach the subsequent Parades Commission determinations regarding parades at St Patrick’s Church, loyalist rioting in autumn in the area over parading and, last but very far from least, the illegal street protests and associated violence linked with the political unionist response to Belfast City Council’s decision to limit the number of days when the Council would fly the Union Flag.

    Nothing there has got anything to do with elderly protestants trying to make their way home to Ballysillan along a religiously-mixed road after a day out peacefully celebrating their culture.

    The Parades Commission has made it clear that those who threaten and carry out the most violence will eventually get their way. I hope they, and the PSNI, are prepared for the time when Loyalists begin to understand this lesson. I fear that time is almost here.

  • Reader

    Chris Donnelly: That conclusion requires society to blank out the antics of north Belfast loyalists since last July,…
    Collective punishment, Chris?
    Instead, why not list the bands and lodges and individuals you think should be sanctioned, and we can see how the lists compare?

  • babyface finlayson

    Chris
    “The bogus nature of the loyalist grievance narrative is evident to all but the most jaundiced of observers,”
    To be pedantic, unless you have asked all observers about this you cannot stand over that statement.
    Perhaps you could change it to ‘should be evident’.

  • John Ó Néill

    Two added points:

    The Orders regularly cite parades that aren’t contentious as reasons why restrictions shouldn’t be applied elsewhere giving am blank cheque endorsement to all parades with no regard to local issues (and dismissing the possibility that parades may be contentious despite the fact that parades have always been a focal point in and pretext for violent clashes).

    Secondly, there is the false flag sectarianism allegation raised over RedSky and dismissed by the DUPs own Jenny Palmer. It is illustrative of the Grand-Old-Duke-of-York mindset of marching them up a hill, renewing a misplaced sense of grievance and then standing back.

  • “As David McCann tweeted last night”

    Chris, it’s very generous of you to call on a young FFer’s assistance after his condemnation of republican gimmicks a few months ago:

    If Irish reunification is ever to be achieved then republicans need to get away from gimmicks that pander to the home crowd, and start addressing the realities of Ireland as they are – not as they would like them to be.

    You’ve produced a useful catalogue of a range of unionist reactions to the Athboy conspiracy. The switch from shootings and bombings to cultural attrition in 1994 was guaranteed to prolong the conflict and to inhibit better relationships across these islands.

  • Morpheus

    “Instead, why not list the bands and lodges and individuals you think should be sanctioned, and we can see how the lists compare?”

    If the bands do not come under the collective responsibility of the OO and their 11/1 then each band should complete their own 11/1, complete with names and addresses of those who will be up on charges when the law is broken.

  • Aw sheesh here we go again.

    The individual and specific testimonies of grievance and victimhood are nothing more than a symptom of the larger malaise in the political leadership. There is very little apparent will or ability to treat the underlying causes of this annual grieve-fest. That is where the focus needs to be and street by street battles for local supremacy will ultimately come to be seen as irrelevant or pawn-moves in the bigger chess game.

    All of us who have influence or the balls to speak truth to power need to hold OUR politicians to account on both sides to create the desire and opportunity for the conditions for peaceful coexistence to thrive.

    There are two seeming ways to go about this:

    Direct confrontation of politicians on their abject performance in this regard and holding them to account for not bringing the minorities (over whom they actually do have influence) with them. Not sure how to do this in our system except for coordinated arguments through loads of channels.
    or…

    Surround them with lots of evidence of a different way of doing this and where people are not only happy to co-exist but who can demonstrate the case for why it is preferable. There is much to praise in what has been done and mostly due to ordinary people getting on with it. It needs its time in the sunshine.

    I am not of the pessimistic mindset that there is no possibility of the two mindsets arriving at genuine common ground. there is way more we agree on than what divides. I just think the way the debate gets framed and managed is very poor.

    It may be obvious that external independents who can hold a mirror up to both sides is needed on an on-going basis and the appointment of Richard Haas is a positive development. More of that please. At some stage all the key players in Northern Ireland will have to share the same room for a few sessions to work out a different approach. It doesn’t matter if its this year or in ten, it will have to happen. Just wish people could see that and go straight there rather than through this interminable series of depressing, energy sapping, dead-end crapfests every feckin month.

    Poverty – of income, of security, of identity, of freedom of expression, of tolerance, of aspiration. It’s poisonous and seemingly addictive.

  • Son of Strongbow

    Some nationalists do seem to get very prickly when those Pesky Prods dip their toes in the Persecuted Pool.

    Keen, as always, to help the MOPE get along can I suggest some Drone nips down to the copyright authorities and trademarks ‘grievance’, ”oppressed’, ‘hard done by’ etc for their exclusive use?

    At least then should any of the said Pesky Prods dare to raise any concerns couched in TM terms the lawyers could be immediately unleashed and injunctions slapped on the Croppie-come-latelies.

  • Paulk

    Well said Michael, the fact is both sides have to talk to each other and agree a common way forward, i’ve said this on many previous threads on slugger that what the two communities have in common is much more than what divides us. Who says that Nationalists or Unionists are being discriminated against? why that’ll be the politicians who have a vested interest in keeping the two communities divided. The key now is to resume these talks between residents and the OO around September/October when heads are a bit cooler so that this parading issue can finally be put to bed once and for all.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    Paulk: Well said Michael, the fact is both sides have to talk to each other and agree a common way forward, i’ve said this on many previous threads on slugger that what the two communities have in common is much more than what divides us. Who says that Nationalists or Unionists are being discriminated against? why that’ll be the politicians who have a vested interest in keeping the two communities divided. The key now is to resume these talks between residents and the OO around September/October when heads are a bit cooler so that this parading issue can finally be put to bed once and for all.

    There is nothing to talk about. The people of Ardoyne have so much hatred for their protestant neighbours that they don’t want them in – or even near – ‘their’ area.

    Gerry Kelly, Marley and Meehan have all already stated within the past 24 hours they don’t want any parade (even the morning one) to go near the Crumlin Road shops.

    How can you reason with such a sectarian, intransigent mob of bigots???

  • Fortlands

    “it is worth acknowledging that the annual Lundy’s Day Parade in Derry marks the most significant act of one community playing host to a political/cultural expression of the Other. Perhaps one day Lisburn or Bangor town centres will host a republican parade of a similar (or any) scale……”

    I find it hard to disagree with any of the points you make, Chris, but I think the one above is central. If we’re going to talk about mutual respect, let’s have it put into practice. If it’s acceptable for unionists to have over 4,000 marches each year commemorating their military history, then equality demands that nationalists should be free to have the same number celebrating/commemorating their military past. And if unionist marches argue the case for marching past Ardoyne residents, republicans should be arguing the case of marching past Shankill residents. Another and better way, of course, would be for unionists to simply call off – permanently – this annual display of restless legs syndrome by cancelling all marches, with republicans doing likewise. But the key criterion in judging any display of ‘culture’, especially culture in motion, is: where’s the parallel/equal display by the other side?

  • Kensei

    Aye but in general Nationalism all that walking sounds a bit duff. Some more floats with cartoon characters would probably help.

    Maybe we can parade Batman down the Shankill.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    Fortlands: I find it hard to disagree with any of the points you make, Chris, but I think the one above is central. If we’re going to talk about mutual respect, let’s have it put into practice. If it’s acceptable for unionists to have over 4,000 marches each year commemorating their military history, then equality demands that nationalists should be free to have the same number celebrating/commemorating their military past.

    You seem to be forgetting the Unionists tolerate stories about one of Ireland’s most sectarian organisations being beamed into their homes every night at 6pm. The GAA still brainwashes children in hate, still glorifies murder and crime, still allows it’s premises to be used for nefarious reasons and still refuses to tolerate a protestant about the place yet it’s shoved down the throats of law-abiding, tax-paying Unionists every night of the week.

    Perhaps it’s time Unionists begin treating the GAA in the same way catholic fundamentalists treat the Loyal Orders….

  • Paulk

    UPC, i’m sorry but thats not true 95% of the year goes by with zero incidents of violence between unionists and nationalists it always seems to ramp up in or around July as if it was on cue as i said sort out this parade and the other 5% of trouble would decrease significantly imo.

    You say “How can you reason with such a sectarian, intransigent mob of bigots???” that phrase could very easily apply to the OO, the accompanied bands and the supporters. I mean they are hardly renowed for their love of compromise and inclusivity. Remind me how many catholics are in the OO?

    They don’t hate their protestant neighbours either, again the evidence of the other 11 months show that very little violence/disorder happens apart from in July when all the rhetoric gets ramped up.

  • UPC – do you actually know what the aspirations of Gerry Kelly et al actually are. I’d say you have never actually had the chance to ask or listen face to face. Building your strategy on assumptions of the interests of the other side can only lead you up the wrong (blocked) roads. Same goes in the other direction. Stereotypes and archetypes may be logical but they’re stupid; borne of ignorance, fear and arrogance.

    To Fortlands, Kensei is right. I don’t see much aspiration within Nationalism to march anywhere. However there are other things they would like to have valued or accepted, like Irish Language for one.

    But rather than make the zero sum compromise game – what if we stood back and started with what we all wanted and worked backwards from there. At least we would have a common destination as opposed to two assumed destinations that can never be satisfied because the other neither own nor value them.

  • foyle observer

    Haha bow down and respect the British Rule of Law, loyalists.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    Paulk: UPC, i’m sorry but thats not true 95% of the year goes by with zero incidents of violence between unionists and nationalists it always seems to ramp up in or around July as if it was on cue as i said sort out this parade and the other 5% of trouble would decrease significantly imo.

    Absolute nonsense. Protestant homes have been attacked in Belfast in every single month since last July. I’d guess that that would be the same for arson attacks on Orange Halls/protestant churches too. Do you not watch the news the rest of the year?

    You say “How can you reason with such a sectarian, intransigent mob of bigots???” that phrase could very easily apply to the OO, the accompanied bands and the supporters. I mean they are hardly renowed for their love of compromise and inclusivity. Remind me how many catholics are in the OO?

    Why would a catholic be in a protestant religious organisation? That’s like asking how many protestant priests there are in the catholic church. Imbecile.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    Michael: UPC – do you actually know what the aspirations of Gerry Kelly et al actually are.

    I know from Nolan this morning that he doesn’t ever want a protestant to walk along the Crumlin Road near the Ardoyne ghetto. Compromise is impossible with fundamentalist fanatics such as him.

  • BluesJazz

    In what way is Armed Forces Day (a UK wide event) connected to OO parades?

    The MoD decision to hold it in Carrick, rather than Belfast, seems to be a very diplomatic move so no-one could possibly get annoyed.

    High speed boat rides on Belfast Lough!!! Surely another manifestation of the anti Catholic nature of the event designed to provoke nationalist fury etc etc…continued page 94

  • Paulk

    “Absolute nonsense. Protestant homes have been attacked in Belfast in every single month since last July. I’d guess that that would be the same for arson attacks on Orange Halls/protestant churches too. Do you not watch the news the rest of the year?” Evidence?? or specifically evidence of this happening in Ardoyne??

    “Why would a catholic be in a protestant religious organisation? That’s like asking how many protestant priests there are in the catholic church. Imbecile” So you freely admit that the OO is sectarian then. Even the GAA has some protestant/unionist members, oh and the major trophy they all compete for in the summer you know the one…..the one named after a protestant member of the organisation……

    Oh and perhaps you’ve provided the reason nationalist Ardoyne residents protest so vehemently, both are citzens in this country (whether you like it or not) both pay taxes and and both are supposed to have equal rights, but every year those residents are forced to have restrictions placed on their movements (it doesn’t matter if its for 10 mins or 10 hours) watching an exclusively protestant, supremacist, overtly sectarian organisation walk down a road over a battle (ordered by the Pope of Rome too!) fought over 300 years ago.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    Paulk: So you freely admit that the OO is sectarian then.

    As sectarian as any of the other hundreds of thousands of religious groups around the world. What’s your point?

    Oh and perhaps you’ve provided the reason nationalist Ardoyne residents protest so vehemently, both are citzens in this country (whether you like it or not) both pay taxes and and both are supposed to have equal rights, but every year those residents are forced to have restrictions placed on their movements (it doesn’t matter if its for 10 mins or 10 hours) watching blah blah blah….

    Of course, a quick look at some of Belfast city council’s ward data would show that Ardoyne has one of the lowest rates of employment in the city. If that’s your reasoning for them having a say in what goes on on the Crumlin Road, I’d suggest you’d pick a different statistic to use.

  • UPC are you not able to tell that he is playing to a gallery when tensions are up? That’s our politics I’m afraid and it looks like you play the game with Gerry. Even your language is aggressive.

    If you want to stop this type of interaction then change the rules of the game. Do you want a constructive dialogue or are you happy to stay marooned in suspicion and fear along with people from the Nationalist community?

    What for you would be a constructive solution to parading where you and your community felt acknowledged and the other side felt acknowledged?

    Is that an ambition you could accept? the alternative is we won, no we won, no we won, okay you won, we are going to beat you up.

  • michael-mcivor

    Ulster Press Centre-

    ” its time Unionists began treating the GAA ”

    There are Unionists/Protestants who are members of the GAA-and who attend GAA matches and functions-

    You will be asking those people to stay away from the GAA next-

  • Paulk

    I know i should stop feeding the troll i know i should, but i am an imbecile so here goes….. one last time, if all you can come back to me with as a reply is to say that Ardoyne has one of Belfast City councils highest unemployment rates, on a thread about Orange marches then i’m going to say you’ve came to the end of your argument.

    “As sectarian as any of the other hundreds of thousands of religious groups around the world. What’s your point?” My point is that when this is pointed out to Orangemen on the news etc.. they get awfully prickly about it, plus it does sort of nail Orangefest as the lie most know it to be i can see the strapline now “Come to Northern Ireland and enjoy the fun at Orangefest!*” *As long you are white, protestant and love UVF/UDA paramilitary displays.

    To be honest nothing i can say will change your opinions so i’m stopping even trying to, the only acceptable outcome of any dispute for you is for nationalists to do what they’re told, but you’ll maybe realise one day that this ain’t the 50’s and nationalists need to be engaged with and compromises sought. Anyway UPC i’ll not be wasting my time with you again my time is valuable to me and i’ve spent enough of it on you, cheerio!

  • son of sam

    Just as many in the Unionist community are less than enthusiastic about the Orange Order and its marching obsession ,I think it safe to say that not everyone in the “nationalist ” community would welcome parades commemorating I R A men through city centres.While “republicans” will no doubt continue to honour as they see it their”patriot dead” it would be a mistake to assume that retrospective legitimacy would be given by all “nationalists” to the I R A campaign during the troubles.U P C’s comment about the G A A is more of the usual contemptible nonsense that emanates from this source.If the organisation is as bad as alleged,is it likely that Peter Robinson would have attended one of its fixtures ?

  • BluesJazz

    Is the author of this OP aware that Northern Ireland is part of the UK? Not under joint authority, but fully part of the United kingdom.
    The Armed Forces are a matter for the National government in London.
    Did the marines have a filter to stop Catholics getting on board a Commando RIB? God help any Catholic kid who had to witness an RAF Typhoon in the sky over Antrim.
    Giving freedom of the borough to local TA units is par for the course on the mainland, no big deal.

    I assume the author is not in a public sector job paid for by the treasury and refused to watch British events like Glastonbury and Wimbledon on the *British* Broadcasting Association.

    I could go on…..

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Chris

    “From the statues of the UVF co-founders at Stormont Buildings and array of British memorabilia sprinkled throughout the interior and exterior regions of Belfast City Hall (and other local government chambers) to the very names of our bridges, buildings and roads, the north of Ireland remains excessively British for a region…”

    How about a spot of context:
    UVF Co-founders – 2 Irishmen, one a speaker of the Irish language the other a leading figure in a quintessentially Irish product and ergo a part of Irish culture – whiskey.
    The UVF itself and the Ulster 36th used numerous Irish symbols as they were Irishmen.

    Am I to understand that such Irish banners have been shepherded into the ‘British symbols’ camp?

    Yes, they were pro-british in their outlook, as were many people throughout the empire at that time, did Ghandi only become an ‘Indian’ when he dopped his pro-British stance?
    Should Irish people who were pro-Moscow be no longer considered as Irish?

    Should the village of ‘The Loop’ in Mid-Ulster be renamed because of it’s Hugenout origins or can the name remain as a testament to the people who shaped it’s future?

    Perhaps we could leave all these ‘British’ names alone so that there won’t be a predictable backlash from ‘the other sort’ who start to rename places like Carrickfergus, Tobermore, Tandragee, Dromore, Shankill etc?

    What makes a banner a ‘British banner’?
    If I saw a Scottish or Welsh banner of a British army regiment, I think “Scottish or Welsh” not solely ‘British’. Does this apply to Irish banners of the British army or is it much more binary than that, must they be one or the other, not (shudder) ‘both’?

    How many of these 95% (to quote Gerry Kelly on the matter) are as clear cut as he (or indeed yourself) would suggest? I would love to see a list of the ‘British’ objects and see how many of them are actually completely British as opposed to being Irish objects of a pro-British nature.

    I agree that the ‘chipping away’ of ‘British’ culture is over played, but it’s easy to see why it is played as such with language such as this, basically you’re just trying to open up a debate regarding what many Unionists would see as the next phase of ‘DeBritishization’ (to invent a word).

    Calling the place ‘The North of Ireland’ doesn’t help to soothe such paranoia either.

    Personally I believe that there are too many parades, too many flags on lamposts and not enough internal scrutiny of the bands (will be interesting to see how many bands will fly the banners or memorials of convicted murderers and escape comment or criticism from Christians).

    Not to mention the sheer inconsistency of the flying of some of these flags e.g. a single lamp post could have an Ulster flag (redundant as of 73), an Independence flag, a Union flag and then a Lion Rampant. If I was a Scottish nationalist I’d be a tad miffed at seeing my flag thrown in with this montage.

    But a sure fire way of making them worse is to start erasing the names of the establishment that built the place, it’s as petty as those who were glad to see parts of Georgian Dublin demolished because it was built by ‘The British’.

  • Lee Reynolds

    If you don’t want to accept that expressions of Britishness and expressions of Ulster Protestant identity has got it bad so be it but this is a superficial, meagre and misleading list to try and paint a utopia with. Also the narrative of a generous nationalism doesn’t stack up either. Here is why:

    1 UDR CGC etc

    This decision over this was taken nearly 6 years ago and it took a number of attempts before it was implemented. It was opposed at every stage by nationalism plus if you look at the options that were available it ended up much closer to the minimalist option than maximum option presented as Alliance was wary of Nationalism at that time. Of course republicans don’t like it because it is a physical counter to the re-writing that that the IRA murders were justified even after they failed to achieve their goal of unity.

    2.Armed Forces Day and Freedom of Borough

    Rather dumb to include these. Unionists councils do things Unionist like, oh the humanity.

    Question going forward is will nationalists invoke the minority protections against such things in new Councils? Indications are they will considering the behaviour of the likes of Newry and Dungannon council on issues like park names and support for terrorists. Again something you omit from your ‘analysis’ only Londonderry gets a mention.

    Also you later highlight events which largely take place in single identity areas as some sort of model but then complain about these events…that take place in largely Unionist areas. Contradictory much?

    Again with the Armed Forces day flag nationalism opposed it throughout including Alliance’s compromise of 1 day and they were opposed to the alternative suggestion the MoD made of an event this year. It has also taken the Council years to finally adopt the policy of 6 days a year. There was again no quick win.

    3. City Hall lighting scheme

    You only name 2 days of the 10 selected. There will be 10 set days a year (9 evenings were all of city hall will be lit and 1 evening were the Cenotaph will be light up) plus 12 charity days nominated by civic dignitaries and special lighting schemes fro big events e.g. World Police and Fire Games. 2 out of the minimum 22 days does not look like much of a ‘pro-British’ bias does it so you only mention the 2. You omit that it took three attempts to get the monarch’s birthday added and again opposed by SF at all stages. Whereas the additional days the SDLP and SF proposed passed first time.

    PS it wasn’t next year, the changes were made in advance of the official birthday in June, so it has already happened in 2013 (have a nice pic of it somewhere). The webpage must have been drafted after it or drafted in preparation for next one.

    4. Parades and Bonfires

    On parades you don’t list any of the many restrictions placed on parades including one of the latest where Orangemen are restricted to their band playing one verse of national anthem outside their hall and are banned from singing it. Hardly an example of acceptance of Britishness but again a detail that will undermine so it gets ignored.

    You do the usual of including the Council scheme bonfires with those who stay out to try and paint both with same brush. You also omit the independent research in Belfast which shows the only thing that has produced advances in time of collection, what is burned, end of paramilitary displays and seen year on year reduction in flag burning is the bonfire scheme. Down with this sort of thing….even when it is succeeding in addressing the things we complained about.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    Michael: Do you want a constructive dialogue or are you happy to stay marooned in suspicion and fear along with people from the Nationalist community?

    These people – fundamentalist fanatics – do not ‘do’ compromise. It’s either their way or no way. Dialogue with such extremists is futile.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    Paulk: one last time, if all you can come back to me with as a reply is to say that Ardoyne has one of Belfast City councils highest unemployment rates, on a thread about Orange marches then i’m going to say you’ve came to the end of your argument.

    You mentioned they were taxpayers! Clearly the statistics show many of them are not!

    “Come to Northern Ireland and enjoy the fun at Orangefest!*” *As long you are white, protestant and love UVF/UDA paramilitary displays.

    More tripe:

    http://www.dwilliamso.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ghana.htm

    Anyway UPC i’ll not be wasting my time with you again my time is valuable to me and i’ve spent enough of it on you, cheerio!

    To be honest, your level of debate is about the standard of some of the worst trolls on politics.ie – read a few more books, flesh out your ‘arguments’ a bit more and feel free to rejoin the adults at some point in the future.

  • JH

    lol.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    son of sam: If the organisation is as bad as alleged,is it likely that Peter Robinson would have attended one of its fixtures ?

    The same man who’s currently withholding funding from protestant victims groups – while simultaneously forcing through an IRA shrine at The Maze?

    We all know that Peter Robinson does what’s best for Peter Robinson – and his moral compass has been broken since he got a sniff of power and money at the top table.

  • JH

    Hey y’know what? Maybe it’s not everybody else.

    Maybe it’s you.

  • Sp12

    “The same man who’s currently withholding funding from protestant victims groups”

    Is the EU asking for the £350,000 to be paid back because the group is protestant or because of ‘irregularities’ in their accounting? Or are you suggesting that one goes hand in hand with the other?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Lee,

    You do the usual of including the Council scheme bonfires with those who stay out to try and paint both with same brush. You also omit the independent research in Belfast which shows the only thing that has produced advances in time of collection, what is burned, end of paramilitary displays and seen year on year reduction in flag burning is the bonfire scheme. Down with this sort of thing….even when it is succeeding in addressing the things we complained about.

    To be honest I think most of the pressure to end the bonfires is going to come from the people who are forced to live next to them. The sad thing is that those people have no voice, and the DUP are not going to give one to them.

    Things would be a lot easier if loyalists had ways of celebrating their culture that didn’t involve breaking laws, destroying property and generally creating an eyesore.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hello Ulster Press Centre, I’m really delighted to find something I can agree with you over! “We all know that Peter Robinson does what’s best for Peter Robinson – and his moral compass has been broken since he got a sniff of power and money at the top table.”

    But before you judge Peter too harshly, there are some important issues to consider here. The full investigation into poor Peter’s finiancial doings has not concluded! As I said elsewhere:

    “I note than ‘While the police investigation into the conduct of the Peter and Iris Robinson concluded in a recommendation not to prosecute in 2011, the Standards and Privileges enquiry has still not been completed three years after it was ordered by the Assembly, and remains ongoing’ according to the Wikipedia article. I sincerely hope that this issue is now quickly clarified so that poor Peter may be able to offer an unblemished reputation to his prospective future colleagues in high finance and important building development projects and that they may benefit from his experience as an international statesman. It would be terrible if this unresolved enquiry should blot his chances of a lucerative (and, hopefully, undemanding) career after his titan efforts to effect peace and reconsiliation throughout the province. Alas, we may not see his like again.”

    A man of Peter’s sensitivity and talent must constantly feel the stress of relying simply on a “letter from his mother” (actually from an in-house lawyer) to affirm his entire innocence in these matters. His inability to act in any consistent manner, and the bad calls he has been making for several years now, all suggest the actions and behaviour of a man under unendurable stress. The sooner the burden of leadership is removed from his shoulders the sooner he can begin to recover and begin to have a life. We are lucky to have someone waiting in the wings who has had to make some really terrible decisions in the past. I am certain Sir Martin MacGuinness will be more than capable of filling poor Peter’s shoes as head of the Oifig an Chéad-Aire agus an leasChéad-Aire.

    Over on the “Military Covenant” thread I’m still trying to discover if there is any connection between any member whatsoever of the DUP and anyone who ever fought for their country:

    “Can anyone clarify for me whether Peter Robinson actually had a grandfather or a great grandfather at Theipval on 1st July 1916?” Or any of the other grandees of the DUP? I really would like to know.

    As Peter himself has told us there was “barely a family who would have been untouched by what happened and it is really important that they reflect and remember”, I’m sure that at least one party member must have had someone there. I know that Ian Paisley’s influential political mentor Richard Dale Winnett Harrison was in uniform on the home front at the time, but perhaps Auld Ian’s da was at the front.