Grieving for a Lost Supremacism

The loyalists who paraded past Ardoyne on the morning of the 12th July carried a banner stating ‘End hatred of Orange culture.’ The banner was brought to the interface at Twaddell Avenue and placed on a wall during protests in the days after the Twelfth.

It is a gross error of judgement for loyalists to introduce the words ‘hatred’ and ‘culture’ into the discussion around loyalism’s ‘festive’ Twelfth period.

Here is what an online thesaurus throws up when the word ‘hate’ is inputted:  abhor, detest, loathe, dislike, despise.

Let’s see if we can find illustrations of ‘hate’ in the conduct of loyalists over the Twelfth period.

Let us begin with the festive 11th Night bonfire tradition. Many of these have been funded by local government councils for a number of years now, as Alan’s helpful thread has outlined.

The conduct of loyalists at these gatherings gives a firm indication as to the mindset of many within their community at this time.

Earlier in the week, news broke of a statue of the Virgin Mother having been placed on a bonfire at Lanark Way at the west Belfast peaceline. The public outcry led to the statue being removed and given to Fr Gary Donegan of Holy Cross Monastery, though not before it had been defaced.

The Irish News reported that an effigy of the Pope was burnt in Sandy Row whilst the National Flags of Poland, Palestine and the Vatican were burned at Cluan Place.

The Polish community has come under attack from loyalists before, including this sectarian attack nearby to where the bonfire was sited, for which a man was jailed less than a month ago.

Loyalists have ‘previous’ when it comes to taking exception to other outsiders as well as their catholic, nationalist neighbours.

The Pride of the Raven band that stopped outside St Patrick’s Church to play The Sash (a hymn, according to a tweet over the weekend by former Flag Protestor now PUP rising starlet, Johnnie Harvey) was involved a number of years ago with orchestrating a parade along Donegall Pass in Belfast that was widely interpreted as a thinly veiled attempt to intimidate the Chinese community in the city.

And, of course, the band that stood outside St Patrick’s and played The Famine Song last 12th July returned to the parade this year, with a number of bands reported in the Irish News as striking up the song mocking the death of one million Irish people just as they’d cleared the church on Donegall Street. And wasn’t it nice to see the loyalist, William Bell, who pleaded guilty to common assault during last year’s parade in a subsequent court appearance, when the Shankill Road YCV band were filmed playing The Famine Song outside St Patrick’s, invited to participate in the parade and walking past the church again this year.

What was that about hatred?

Replica shirts of football teams- Celtic, Cliftonville and the Republic of Ireland- associated with the neighbouring catholic, nationalist community were placed on many bonfires to be burned.

The Irish National flag in many formations and of a wide variety of sizes, was burned by the hundred across loyalist parts of the north (though it was noted that, on a number of bonfires, citizens of the Ivory Coast would have immediately spotted their flag being prepared for burning.)

An effigy of Fr Matt Wallace, a Belfast priest who committed suicide last month, was purportedly also placed on a bonfire in Newtownabbey. This incident recalls a previous loyalist cultural bonfire in 2005, which mocked the suicide deaths of a number of catholic teenage boys in Ardoyne. Then, the effigy signs read ‘Up the Ardoyne bungee jumpers.’

It also recalls the mocking of the sectarian murder of Michael McIlveen from a loyalist bonfire , who died after being savagely beaten by loyalists in Ballymena.

And, not to be outdone, effigies of nationalist politicians, amongst them the SDLP’s John Dallat, were also burnt from bonfires,  including a death threat from the Garvagh bonfire.

Of course, it should be noted that loyalists reserve the right to lay claim to entire communities and districts regardless of demographic composition nor the residential or commercial nature of the areas through the erection of flags, arches, bunting and painted kerbstones to claim the area as a dog might when urinating on a lamp post (this is not exclusive to unionism, though exists on a much, much smaller scale when it comes to republicans and as a practice lacks the type of political cover loyalists receive from unionist politicians for engaging in such acts.)

The proliferation and siting of flags is of itself part of loyalism’s strategy of aggressively claiming ownership and seeking to goad ‘the other.’ Hence the Ballyclare riots of July 2011 and subsequent expansion of the campaign in 2012 to harass catholics where they gather (ie at church) in majority protestant east Antrim by increasing the number of churches where flags were flown. The mentality driving this conduct was best outlined by Antrim unionist councillor, Mel Lucas, in 2009. Rejecting a call for him to condemn those who erected loyalist flags outside a catholic church in Antrim town, Lucas claimed, “It’s all British, even the bits outside the chapel.”

Objecting to this practice can be a very dangerous exercise. Only days ago, a woman was forced to flee the Fountain estate in Derry after her home was attacked- and that of a neighbour- following words she’d exchanged with loyalists seeking to erect a flag outside her house.

And then there’s The Twelfth itself.

500+ parades on the Twelfth is proof positive that there is no erosion of the British unionist culture in the north of Ireland. The cultural war cry raised by Mervyn Gibson and Edwin Stevenson would be laughable were the consequences not so serious- a cultural war which includes the Orange Order marching without opposition through the centre of the largest majority nationalist city in the north of Ireland, Derry; a cultural war that has seen republicans support funding for the British Queen’s Jubilee celebrations; and, as I have comprehensively illustrated recently, unionism’s efforts at aggressively asserting its political/ cultural identity have continued apace at council level in the past six weeks alone without nationalists feeling the need to launch their own equivalent of a flag protest.

There are, of course, many Orangemen and their followers who seek simply to enjoy their day in the sun without malice entering their mind. But the sheer weight of evidence makes it impossible to reach any logical conclusion other than that the 11th Night and Twelfth commemorations are used by a large section of loyalism to express their hatred, loathing and abhorrence of their catholic, nationalist neighbours.

What is it about?

Phil MacGiollabhain has put it well: they are grieving for a lost sense of supremacism, kicking out at their neighbours in the process.

And Phil has some harsh words for the Orange Order and their supporters in political unionism in the aftermath of this year’s Twelfth commemorations.

“What we have witnessed this week end in Belfast is grieving for a lost status. The British unionist community has a place on this island, but not one based upon privilege or any imagined supremacy.

Moreover they no longer can call upon the local forces of law and order to do their bidding or to look the other way as they gather on street corners to put the taigs in their place.

Those rioters are not better than their nationalist neighbours.

They are not ‘The People’; they are just people, just like the rest of us.

If they finally get that then they might earn my respect.”




  • Davy McFaul

    The guy who’s last two blogs were anti-bonfires and anti-Orange order?

    In order to give a more rounded MOPE Shouldn’t anti Pradissint be in there somewhere as well?

  • Ulster Press Centre

    mac tire: What has that got to do with being anti-Unionist?

    Again, the baying mob seek to put words in my mouth.

    I did not say Alan was ‘anti-Unionist’.

  • PaddyReilly fundamentalist terrorist..

    Yes, in a United Ireland there will be compulsory recitation of the Rosary in public squares on all Sundays and Days of Obligation. Protestants will be obliged to attend, wearing special dunces caps imported from the Spanish Inquisition.

    In case you haven’t noticed, I’m taking the Piss, Baby.

    I don’t think you have quite comprehended what is signified by a Catholic Fundamentalist. In a United Ireland there will be no border. Consequently Unionist parties will be outvoted 8 to 1 with the result that the question of the Union, and anything that can be confused with religion, will be excluded and politics will be entirely about money.

    Otherwise, things will be much the same, though you may find it harder to get an abortion.

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    Could you, for the sake of us all, clearly and explicitly demonstrate how one can highlight the ‘not so nicey bits’ of the 12th with out being a SF mouth piece/Republican propaganda drone?

    Once you’ve done this, then perhaps some one here will then repackage said criticisms so that you can defend or admit them one by one, for as usual you’re just squirming.

    We all gather that it’s a source of general amusement for you, but for the other unionists here on this site it’s a source of eye-gouging embarrassment as some one as articulate as yourself chooses to avoid many of the accusations and seldom grapples with the point in hand.

    If burning the polish flags is indeed a good idea then please enlighten us as to the pros of said actions as I for one can’t see any plus side.
    Indeed, all I can think of now is of some vodka fueled massive slav wanting to cave some one’s skull in for wearing a Northern Ireland top because he now associates Norn Iron-shirt wearers as people who burn his flag in the name of culture.

    Speaking of unimpressed slavs, I took my wife to a 12th parade and an 11th bonfire.

    She loved the parade, the bowler hats, the way the elderly were catered for, the sober nature of the (morning) event, the kiddies’ involvement and the variety of bands (no, it wasn’t Belfast).

    She loved the 11th night inc the bouncy castle and especially the lambeg.

    Then she saw a tri-colour on the bonfire and thought of us as a bunch of nationalistic hill billies.

    Yes, you’ll agree with the flag being burnt due to your seemingly old-testament-esque attitude but I personally think that a ‘Christian’ gathering should not lower itself on account of the wrongs of others.

    Burning the tri-colour did not improve the 12th ‘fest’ at all.

    It was unnecessary and as my mate who was there too (former RIR 1st batt, born and bred in London) said “it makes me think of you all in the way I see mental ignorant people burning flags on the TV in the middle east…”

    So, 2 negative reviews and subsequent reports to foreign family and friends (i.e. potential future visitors) and NO over all benefit to the proceedings of Magherafelt district’s parade.

    So why bother?

    So please, how can criticisms be presented without you spitting the dummy out?

    Am I now a Republican because I resent the image of Willy McCrea and Oliver Cromwell being on the Magherafelt Loyalist arch?

    Indeed, is it actually possible to criticise some points of the orange order without being a Republican?

  • Ulster Press Centre

    Am Ghobsmacht:

    Indeed, is it actually possible to criticise some points of the orange order without being a Republican?

    Of course. Are you suggesting Chris Donnelly/John O’Neill’s almost daily anti-protestant, party political pro-Sinn Fein blogs are just ‘constructive criticism’ designed to help the Unionist community improve our image?

    I didn’t know they cared….

  • UPC

    I have mentioned in earlier posts you are your own worst enemy and doing what you, in the way that you do reinforces the insights you rail against. You are difficult if not impossible to converse with. Everyone talks at you, you call everyone liars or bigots. You are exasperating and exactly sum up the dilemma at the heart of hard core loyalism.

    You may find it hard to believe but there are people who want to genuinely hear what you have to say, to understand what your views are and why you hold them, to listen to your story, to help you connect with society in a way that brings you and the people you speak about, forward.

    I really hope you are not a senior leader of loyalism but even if you are – go on give it a bash – talk to a taig. You never know you might be surprised and I’ll say this for sure – things couldn’t get worse so there’s not much to lose.

  • SK

    Spot on as usual, Chris Donnelly.

    Unionist politicians have cultivated this Loyalist victim narrative to a point where it has become self-sustaining. The strategy of keeping the Protestant working class in a constant state of indignancy has lead to a kind of mass hysteria, where any attempt to promote equality is interpreted as a form of persecution.

    They’ve created a monster.

  • Comrade Stalin


    I think you need to do something about this crap. I don’t mind opposing debate but one particular individual is not here for the discourse and debate, and it’s killing the discussion.

  • Davy McFaul

    Hearing reports of up to five blast bombs being thrown into / at Short Strand. Don’t know how accurate the reports are but if true that’ll be those ‘coordinated retaliatory strikes’ again.

  • Jack2

    Ref SK:
    Yup they have created a monster.
    DUP have poked the bear far too many times now.
    Recent examples..
    Print 40,000 leaflets about the fleg to try to regain East Belfast.
    Stir up tensions before the 12th and announce an attempt to recall Stormont to try to deflect from the previous recall that had a DUP Minister in hot water.

    Constant poking and stirring for years and years.
    They cant control it.

    Thanks to the comments at the start I now have “Piss baby” in my google search history. If someone could link the article from here I’ll probably need it when the social workers come knocking 🙂

  • smcchampers


    Totally agree! I said earlier about young working class loyalist/Protestants allowing themselves to be led to the ‘Top of the Hill’ but unlike the Grand Old Duke of York, they are not led back down again, their politicians, Orange Order and even men of God disown them and deny them. It is about time that someone from within loyalism provides leadership to their communities and put an end to this nonsense.

    How many times can the ‘ Men in suits’ play the Orange Card and then walk away from it?

  • Hopping The Border

    I think you need to do something about this crap. I don’t mind opposing debate but one particular individual is not here for the discourse and debate, and it’s killing the discussion.”

    Could not agree more.

  • Devil Eire

    I think Chris Donnelly probably intended to title his piece

    “Grieving for a Lost Supremacy

    as he would no doubt argue that it is the supremacy that has been lost rather than the supremacism.

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    Around half a dozen points in my post and you try to squirm away again.

    If they don’t have any decent points then you should be able to logically dissect their arguements and expose the weakness of their points but you seldom do this.

    So, as “anti-protestant, party political pro-Sinn Fein blogs” are usually quite easy to expose as ‘mopespeak’ then please would you step up and do so?

    Just simply go through the points and demolish them one by one for you give the impression that their points are so biased that they are wrong and misleading, ergo they should prove to be no difficulty for you to take apart.

    So, away you go.

    In your own time.

    Fire at will.

    Unleash the dogs of war….

  • An Orangeman is just a Christian Brother for Protestants. And we all know how badly that ended 😛

  • David Crookes

    Tonight the BBC reports that the OO has applied to have another parade on the Crumlin Road.

    That application is not merely stupid. It is malign.

    Everyone should be able to see now that the OO is principally at pains to cause trouble.

    There’s no excuse for imagining an urban-rural divide in Orangeism, or in blaming its urban elements. The OO and its leadership represent a squalid threat to peace and civilization.

    “We are barbarians. We want to be barbarians. It is an honourable title.”