Republican Castlederg parade: the insensitivity of the impotent

West Tyrone Sinn Fein’s strategy over the 11th August parade in Castlederg has been progressing according to a fairly well worn formula. Initially the annual event was announced at the spot where the volunteers Seamus Harvey and Gerard McGlynn were killed 40 years ago on active service. (translation IRA terrorists blew themselves up with their own bomb). Then following the predictable outcry which Sinn Fein apparently without irony have blamed on unionist politicians the parade has been rerouted to avoid the war memorial and Methodist Church.

The DUP have described the rerouting as meaningless and have shown that the modified route still passes the sites of three IRA murders. The daughter of one of those murder victims has pointed out that it is more than possible that the murderer of her father may be on that march.

Sinn Fein’s justification of the parade has centred round comparing it to loyal order parades. However, in order to compare it to a loyal order parade, such a parade would have to be commemorating loyalist murderers of the Troubles. Whilst one Belfast Orange Lodge does (disgracefully in my view) have a convicted terrorist on its banner (shot by the army) such is rare: I believe unique. No lodges in the Castlederg area have parades commemorating Loyalist murderers. As such the justification seems weak except of course to the Republican faithful.

The other justification is to point out that Castlederg is a 60% nationalist / republican town. This statistic is presumably drawn from the NI census: it certainly was previously when they trotted it out. Indeed when one asks the latest census for the relevant information Casltederg appears 63% Catholic (Sinn Fein’s usage of Catholic as an automatic proxy for nationalist / republican is interesting, far from unique or unsurprising in Northern Ireland but interesting). However, the ward is a different area to the settlement (census speak for town) and excludes all the town across the river which is solidly unionist as well including only the countryside north west of the town which is solidly nationalist.

Whatever the justification the reality is that the parade will be seen as coat trailing sectarianism by the Unionist community: what of Sinn Fein’s unionist outreach strategy (remember that) or its claims to understand the hurt it has caused previously? Next time Declan Kearney starts his loathsome “outreach” he should be reminded of this parade.

At some level the open regression of Sinn Fein into this most blatant sectarianism – has anything changed since SF/IRA? should almost be welcomed. It demonstrates the failure of their strategy thus far to undermine the realities of the union. Clearly unionists have been incensed by the removing of unionist symbols: of which the reduction in the flying of the Union Flag is the most prominent recent example; a similar, even more overt though less well known example of such cultural vandalism being the attempts by Sinn Fein to end the flying of the St. George’s Cross over Enniskillen castle. However, despite the “sacrifice” of Messers. Harvey and McGlynn, Castlederg remains the most westerly town in the United Kingdom. The pointless deaths of Harvey and McGlynn have failed and they have become “martyrs” to a small subset of people in much the same way as the terrorist thugs of a previous generation: South and O’Hanlon who also periodically get events in their honour. South and O’Hanlon even have their own songs though as I have mentioned before the surprised, outnumbered and outgunned policemen were the ones who acquitted themselves rather better.

Yes of course the march is sectarian and insensitive but it is the insensitivity of the largely impotent. It is the insensitivity of those honouring people who lost their lives for nothing more than their Sinn Fein masters getting a portion of political power (only after being elected) within the United Kingdom: Harvey and McGlynn on the other hand “Have joined that gallant band of Plunkett, Pearce and Tone.”

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  • Mc Slaggart

    between the bridges

    I think everything needs to get planning permission. I do not see why any part of society should not have to apply for it.

    I have said that during the Band parades on a Friday night in Omagh there is no crowds in the main street. The youtube videos back up what I am saying.

    How does one get a Councillor? I have never asked Santa for such a present.

  • between the bridges

    The SDLP has this morning come out in opposition to an IRA commemoration parade to take place in Castlederg this Sunday.

  • FDM

    @between the bridges 7 August 2013 at 2:47 pm

    The SDLP has this morning come out in opposition to an IRA commemoration parade to take place in Castlederg this Sunday.

    Well there is leadership for you from the SDLP.

    How long does it take them to come to a decision when they then say that the commemoration is “totally insensitive”? If it was “totally” anything then surely these objections could and should have been voiced, dare I say it, BEFORE the parades commission made their adjudication?

    They then mention a 15th anniversary of Omagh? Omagh was carried out by a different organisation? Additionally is there any day in our calendar that isn’t an anniversary of something terrible happening?

    Why is it when I think of the SDLP I have the picture of an inflated hot air balloon in my minds eye?

  • michael-mcivor

    There will be a Sinn Fein protest on saturday against the Orange march in Castlederg-[ sorry if someone has already said this ]

  • redstar2011

    How can anyone take the bleating of unioniss including Nesbit, seriously, about glorifying terrorists, when they have no problem with their own community doing it as in OO with Brian Robinson???

    I am convinced the first word unionists utter when they arrive in this world is ” themmuns!”

  • ayeYerMa

    redstar, where has any Unionist representative started they have “no problem” with glorification of past/present proscribed terrorist organisations?

    Issues such as Castlederg (only the recent tip of the iceberg) are more likely to be raised because it is being both organised and manipulated directly by their supposed coalition partners in government.

    It is also more natural human behaviour to raise issues which most afflict someone of your own background. Perhaps if the SDLP can drop their nonsense obsession for the “human rights” of terrorists over justice, and support for playparks named in their honour, then perhaps we can have a greater inclination in spirit towards a united voice in opposing all glorification of proscribed terror groups?

  • redstar2011


    Are you for real????

    Tell me one just one Unionist representative who has objected to the Brian Robinson glorification in North Belfast as it passes the spot where he carried out his murders?

    Come on now, one just one….

  • carl marks


    As has been pointed out to you before they don’t seem to have a problem glorifying the UVF,
    We get all this crap about the “old UVF” being a fine bunch of boys ignoring the treason of their formation, and unionist politicians seem blind ti the modern UVF and its political reps being involved in the organising of parades to celibate it formation.
    Indeed you yourself seem willing to rewrite history to excuse that terror group and its murderous past.
    I’m still waiting for you to explain “Mickey Collins northern excursion” which you used to justify the existence of the UVF.

  • Barnshee

    Surely the stupid prods should take emulate SF
    Celebrate oh I don`t know say McGurks Bar or Greysteel Celebrate the murder gang involved mouth the usual claptrap ” they felt “they had no alternative” “the police/british government/society”let them down

  • Submariner

    Barnshee they already do don’t tell me that you’ve never heard of the Brian Robinson parade

  • Barnshee

    “Barnshee they already do don’t tell me that you’ve never heard of the Brian Robinson parade”

    Cant find any detail on a ” the Brian Robinson parade” a url would help ?

  • Submariner

    Type Brian Robinson parade into Google and fill your boots

  • between the bridges

    michael-mcivor (profile) 7 August 2013 at 3:16 pm
    There will be a Sinn Fein protest on saturday against the Orange march in Castlederg-[ sorry if someone has already said this ]

    Micheal i’m am sure they will be disappointed that the OO is not parading but will make do with protesting at that other group of themuns the ABOD…

  • odd_number

    Freeman Memorial parade each year in their own parade in Coleraine. The Freeman remembered was a member of the uvf who blew himself up in the 70’s. Don’t recall Unionists ever objecting.

  • Barnshee


  • RepublicanStones

    Serious question. What is the need for this commemoration to involve a parade through the town? What is the need for any commemoration to involve a parade? I’d suggest they could just gather at the football pitch, but I don’t think sporting premises should be associated with (para)militaristic events.

  • between the bridges

    @Micheal Mc…my source’s tell me that due to a total lack or support (no one wants to get the bus to the derg twice in one week) the mass (sic) rally against the orangies ophs i mean crimbo’s has been abandoned, can you confirm…

  • DC

    So Republican supporters have identified a loyalist parade in Coleraine that is held in memory of 4 UVF men in a similar fashion to their castlederg parade and they think that gets them off the hook morally in some way and helps to justify what they are doing.

    Wrong – because there’s a very big difference.

    Martin McGuinness is the joint First Minister and rather than show he can move on from violence or commemorating violent acts in response to demands from victims etc, he falls back onto a pre2007 Chucky position of uppa ‘RA and suck it up as it will be dignified and the Orange State is over.

    In effect you have a deputy First Minister endorsing marches in memory of the green murder mob while at the same time heading up NI PLC and its government. SO much for generosity of spirit and moving beyond violence and responding appropriately to victims, as in war as in government Sinn Fein has shown contempt for victims based on this Castlederg march, cheered on at the highest level by Martin McGuinness DFM.

    You don’t get this with the UVF parade as its political representation if indeed it really has any as opposed to claims that it does, is not in government and not in the highest office in the way that SF are.

    This was the DUP that went into power on the basis that SF had cleaned itself up and moved beyond seeking thrills of this nature, the thrill of kriminelle Energie.

  • FDM


    posted at

    9 August 2013 at 3:46 pm

    for reasons unknown.

    Are you in pain from those contortions DC? Can I suggest the Ulster Clinic in the East of the city just in case you trapped anything.

    On a serious note do you actually think you convinced anyone with that complete and utter nonsense?

    Do you actually believe you generated some thought with your comments?

    So let me get this straight then.

    So the UVF parade is different from the republican parade because loyalism doesn’t have any elected politicians?

    Didn’t they give up their mandates, like Billy Hutchinsons quota in North Belfast to support other combined loyalist/uniionist candidates like Nigel Dodds? And hence never got them back. Their sectarianism lost them their place at the table.

    SF can’t be involved in republican commemorations because they are part of the government?

    Yet the DUP/UUP/TUV/PUP/Indie Unionists can walk in loyalist/OO parades all over, like the one involving the commemoration of Robinson in the North of the City? They can attend any British military parade/procession/commemoration and that is acceptable? Even though a sizeable proportion of the population of this island and in many far flung places around the world the British Armed forces are considered to be responsible for heinous acts of terrorism?

    So thats OK and the unionist position is tenable and yet the SF position is certainly not, in your “explanation”.

    Dire DC, dire.

  • PeterBrown

    DC/ FDM

    I understand he Coleraine parade is not in memory of Freeman or the others who died alongside him – the band is named after him (which in my opinion is wrong by the way) and it is their annual parade – the Brian Robinson parade is in his memory and is therefore wrong per se but is also not directly comparable in that it has no endorsement by any mainstream political party and does not go to the city centre or past the scene of hi crime(s).

    I’m more interested in the justification for this piece of culture – when the boot was on the other foot no amount of exp0lanation could dissuade certain posters that everyone on the PUL side was involved….

  • DC

    FDM – the castlederg parade is endorsed by Sinn Fein at the highest level of government, deal with it.

  • Kevsterino

    With no agreed method for dealing with the history of the conflict I don’t see any way this elusive ‘shared future’ can come about. Neither side is interested in vilifying their own dead or praising the dead of the other side. What then?

    It seems to me that you can either stop these perpetual scab pickers of whatever stripe, or learn to hold your nose and close your eyes when these processions and commemorations take place. The latter seems more likely to succeed.

    To make that easier, could all such commemorations take place at grave sites or out in the country somewhere?

  • Submariner

    DC/ FDM

    I understand he Coleraine parade is not in memory of Freeman or the others who died alongside him – the band is named after him

    Peter perhaps you may want to do a little research before you post.

  • PeterBrown


    As you can see from the article this was a one off parade 8 years ago – odd number is referring to the band’s annual parade (he specifically says each year) – perhaps you want to take a dose of your own medicine?

  • odd_number

    The Freeman band is named to commemorate members of the modern uvf.
    They hold an annual parade in Coleraine.
    That is by clearly a yearly pro uvf parade. No unionists appear to have an issue with that.

  • odd_number

    The clue is in the name. The ‘Freeman memorial’. Clearly everything they do, even if they are doing all that great charity work as outlined in nelson mccausland’s fantasy report, is in honour of a member of a modern uvf man, but I suppose that is different.

  • odd_number

    I see many loyalists are gathering to protest in the city centre before 5pm.
    Kinda blows the whole ‘going out of your way to be offended argument’ out of the water.

  • Reader

    odd_number: The clue is in the name. The ‘Freeman memorial’. Clearly everything they do, even if they are doing all that great charity work as outlined in nelson mccausland’s fantasy report, is in honour of…
    Great logic, which also applies to GAA clubs named after Provos, of course.

  • odd_number


    You are either agreeing with my point or conceding that GAA clubs named after provos should not be an issue for anyone.

  • tacapall

    Unionists dont glorify violence but most of the orange order parades do and they have no problems glorifying these type of people.

    “British forces used up to 10 tanks ” supported by helicopters ” to smash through the walls of the jail and free the two British servicemen.

    Was there concern that the British “soldiers” who were being held by the Iraqi National Guard would be obliged to reveal the nature and objective of their undercover mission?

    A report of Al Jazeera TV, which preceeded the raid on the prison, suggests that the British undercover soldiers were driving a booby trapped car loaded with ammunition. The Al Jazeera report (see below) also suggests that the riots directed against British military presence were motivated because the British undercover soldiers were planning to explode the booby trapped car in the centre of Basra”

  • PeterBrown

    Unionists dont glorify violence but most of the orange order parades do

    Non sequitur unless you can actually back that up (much like ON and his leap from name to commemoration)

  • odd_number

    Does the naming of the playpark commemorate Raymond McCreesh?
    It’s just a name after all.
    For the record, I would ban all parades but as ever unionist hypocrisy is hard to stomach.

  • PeterBrown

    The band name commemorates Freeman – the annual parade which is not on any anniversary does not. The parade carries the name of the band (which I have indicated I find offensive) but the parade will has speeches or act of remembrance and is therefore not directly comparable to Castlederg – the name of the band and GAA clubs are comparing apples and apples and I object to both

    And the banning of parades would disproportionately affect unionists unless there was quid pro quo from republicans so that would hardly be fair….

  • Submariner

    I see the loyalist scumbags are doing what their Divis equivalents were doing last night and are attacking the PSNI in Royal Avenue. I wonder how the DUP and other Unionists will justify this rioting.

  • FDM

    Enough is enough.

    Those “citizens” currently ripping up the centre of our city and throwing it at our police force need to be stopped.

    There has to be a point where we draw the line.

    Lets make it tonight.

    Lift every single one of them and have them all in the clink on remand, followed by a 6 month mandatory for riotous behaviour.

    The law abiding, democracy respecting overwhelming majority of us have to tell these people in a language they understand that they either behave as a member of this society is expected to or we will isolate them to protect society.

    The unionists on here need to show a little responsibility and stop posting one hair-splitting post after another attempting to justify the unjustifiable. If you agree with the rabble then have the bravery to go and stand on the line for your beliefs, rather than just setting-up the ill-educated for a fall.

    Enough is enough.

  • tacapall

    Peter I was being sarcastic but anyhow why do I have to back anything up. Do Unionists support and partake in armed forces day parades or support and participate in Orange parades commemorating,/glorifying the killing of those from the other side in past or present battles/wars, like your non existent participation on Williams side at the battle of the Boyne. Everyone is entitled to a view as to what is acceptable behaviour but, Im sorry being an Irishman and watching fellow Irishmen commemorating/glorifying a foreign army of mercenaries invading our country, killing and defeating fellow Irishmen, who died fighting alongside those fellow English, Scotch and Welsh, and their King, who you conspired and committed treason against with other quislings from the slave trade, is just as sick and wrong as any group commemorating/glorifying those who were killed by their own device attempting to kill other fellow Irishmen because of a difference in political opinion.

  • odd_number

    I never once said it was comparable. Unionist argument is about glorifying terrorism, which is either an issue across the board or it isn’t. I don’t recall a unionist politician ever disowning the paramilitary trappings of bands or the orange order. Loads of nationalists will not care for this parade either but unionism would have more credibility on this if they did anything at all to put their own house in order.
    We have commemorations every year for the ruc, udr, british army without any acknowledgement they killed many innocent people, but that’s alright.

  • Submariner

    Lift every single one of them and have them all in the clink on remand, followed by a 6 month mandatory for riotous behaviour.

    FDM I agree but would go further.Cast your mind back to last years riots in England and the swift justice meted out to those convicted of rioting some were given five years in prison. I would like to see a mandatory five year sentence for anyone convicted of rioting and no bail under any circumstance for those charged with rioting or assault on our Police force. These guys and girls are taking a battering that others would never put up with. Im sure some of their colleagues at the WPFG are wondering why they havent shot any rioters.

  • PeterBrown

    Disgusting scenes tonight and no justification for them – they were rioting before the supposed justification of the offensive parade even arrived and in those circumstances which I only ever saw close up once there is generally no such thing as a heavy handed police response – just like there wasn’t when the boot was on the other foot on the Garvaghy Road. If you can’t stand the rubber bullets stay out of the riot….interesting to see calls for loyalist rioters to be shot from those who claim Sean Downs was murdered though, so no hypocrisy there? Treat them all equally harshly no matter what parade what protest or what bonfire it kicks off at….

  • FDM


    All I can say to you is this. I have read several of your additions. I think you have a case of mild-whataboutery and Lovelessness for the community from which you clearly do not come.

    My advice, as a doctor, would be purge the disease or embrace it.

    This sham in between just looks like, well, a sham.

  • PeterBrown


    Does anyone in Northern Ireland especially on Slugger not suffer from those diseases (except you clearly pointing out the log in my eye) and if so at least my case is mild? How do we purge it or why would we embrace it? It would appear that integrated education is not the panacea some might claim given the distinction between the girls at Hazelwood (I assume) from Ardoyne’s public pronouncements on BBC3 and their now deleted twitter accounts

  • Morpheus

    Silence from political unionism on the annual UVF Brian Robinson parade which took place over the weekend. 70 bands and thousands of supporters (including a trip to Twaddell Avenue to face down the police) yet not a peep from political unionism. Quelle surprise.

    Obviously the nauseating levels of hypocrisy know no bounds.

  • FDM

    Morpheus 9 September 2013 at 1:57 pm

    “not a peep from political unionism.”

    “Obviously the nauseating levels of hypocrisy know no bounds.”

    Credit were credit is due, I don’t think we got anything from APNI or NI21 either.

    AP21 were very strident in their opposition of Castlederg and said bugger all about the murdering drug dealers in uniforms taking over Naomi’s consituency for a sash/fleg/murder celebration in April this year.

    APNI: “where principles is a clothes shop”

  • Morpheus

    True, nothing from Alliance, TUV, UUP or NI21 and, following on from the other thread, nothing from the SDLP.

    Same goes for the threat to the school children in north Belfast – not a peep.

    Absolutely sickening.