ABOD “ironing out difficulties and promoting our culture in a proper way”

I have argued here on Slugger before that if Republicans and members of the loyal orders were to follow through on their professed values, in theory least, we would not be seeing most of the trouble we get in the summer.

In truth most of the trouble we do have is a result either a legacy of nasty human conflict or a result of an equally nasty but utterly contemporary push for political territory. Often both of these collide.

Both sides are reluctant to admit fault, and often resort to loud accusations of a lack of leadership on the other side.

However the ‘The Maiden City Accord’ produced by the Apprentice Boys of Derry looks like a structured attempt to assert their own culture.

Sam McBride in the News Letter reports

Jim Brownlee, governor of the Apprentice Boys, stressed that the document was not a “code of conduct”, but rather an “agreement” about how parades will be conducted.

He told the News Letter that the “local accord” was “a common sense document addressing issues whereby Protestant culture in particular has been demonised”.

He added: “It will make people aware of what’s expected of them in terms of parades.

“And it will also give them a sense of pride that this culture is something to be proud of; not something to be hidden or limited in terms of a public procession. It’s reflective of history and tradition and in many ways it’s a document which is common sense in terms of what’s expected of you at parades.”

Mr Brownlee said he hoped that it would lead to “ironing out difficulties and also promoting our culture in a proper way”.


  • Joe_Hoggs

    A code of conduct on parading was well overdue. In many ways the ABOD are ahead of the Orange is this regards with more progressive leadership and better discipline. The Maiden city festival is a true testament of what can be achieved by the Loyal Orders.

  • Ernekid

    The Siege Museum run by the ABOD is an informative exhibition that explains their history and traditions clearly to those who are unaware of it. I was totally ignorant of them before I visited the Museum recently and now I have a much better understanding of their viewpoint. The ABOD is much better at outreach and cross community dialogue than the Lodges of Belfast. The Belfast OO has much to learn from their brethren on the Foyle.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Hi ErneKid,

    Where is the Siege Museum and when does it be open?

  • Ernekid

    Heres a link to the website Joe. http://www.apprenticeboys.co.uk/museum

    It’s next to the walls and the Cathedrals in the ABOD Hq

  • It is on Bishop Street temporarily while the ABOD Memorial Hall is refurbished.

  • This was a Bands Forum initiative for the North West, joined by the Loyal Orders in pulling this together. It is collaborative. The Londonderry Bands Forum, said that describing the document as a ‘code of conduct’ could have given the impression that there was a problem with the conducts of those on parade.

    “It’s a management plan for managing parades in order to get everyone on the same hymnsheet,” adding that it was “as much an education process for people in the parades as for those outside”.


    This is not a rule book. Though if the guidance is followed, organising, managing, and the decorum of a parade should be assured.

    For the full Accord see http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/regional/maiden-city-accord-the-full-document-1-6223602

  • Joe_Hoggs

    4.2 It is the responsibility of each Single Identity Group to ensure that all their members present themselves at parades in a very high standard of dress code in order to both promote and protect the public image of all participants and the parade in general. In special circumstances and with the prior permission of the organisers where it is deemed appropriate i.e. re-enactments, period costumes may be acceptable.

    This won’t be embraced by the Orange where falling standards and straglers are accepted on parade.

  • Morpheus

    Credit where it’s due, The Accord is an excellent, common-sense approach to parading. I would say after few parading seasons showing that this has been embraced and implemented across the board and it will take the sting right out of the parading issue. Well done to all those concerned in Derry, showing leadership and leading the way again.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Thanks to both of you.

  • Michael Henry

    ” 5.8- Parade participants must refrain from any form of antagonism towards the general public,especially in areas where the people present may not be supporters of Parading Culture “-

    There is what the nice words mean- they still think they have a right to walk through Nationalist areas-

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Given this was formed in partnership with the ABOD which has its main parade in Londonderry (a Nationalist area), one would have thought such wording very appropriate.

  • Tacapall

    A fair effort at tackling the ever increasing PR disaster for the Forrest Gumps of Ireland through an area in which the local population can be described as Non supporters. Although the attempt to describe the Catholic community as those members of the general public who may not be supporters of the parading culture is a pathetic attempt to wish away the demographic reality of Derry. People who parade should not be congratulated for coming up with an agreed set of principles that are not compulsory but rather desired, a set of rules should be imposed on those who wish to parade in a public place especially where the majority are “Non supporters” and the first rule should be that organisers must pay like football clubs for the presence of the police.

  • Tugger

    Surely the Sinn Fein-orchestrated ‘residents groups’ should foot the bill seeing as it is they who cause/orchestrate/participate in the majority of parade-related violence in Northern Ireland?

  • Tacapall

    Maybe you should go and read up on local history Tugger, violence has followed loyal order parades long before there was any Sinn Fein.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Loyal Order already do pay a “road fee” in order to parade.

  • Tacapall

    Hold on Joe until I stop laughing, LOL,

  • Michael Henry

    They talked they agreed they changed the Route they walked- it should be the way for everywhere

  • Backbencher

    The folks in Londonderry are to be congratulated, trust other areas follow their example.

    On a general point – town/village centres and arterial routes should be open to all parades provided they are orderly and don’t glorify terrorism or other acts of law breaking.

    The restriction on parades in villages like Dunloy, Newtownbutler, Rosslea, Mountfield, Bellaghy, etc is a scandal, surely the village belongs to everyone including the inhabitants of the rural surrounds.

  • Michael Henry

    Unionists started attacking Parades a long time ago-( it’s ok for them to march but no one else should be allowed is the attitude )-

    A peaceful Civil rights march was attacked by Unionists at Burntollet Bridge in 1969 and the Paras finished the job for the Unionists at Bloody Sunday-

    You reap what you Sow-

  • PeterBrown

    And does that apply in reverse as well then? Can someone toss a La Mon blast incendiary into the Felons Club any time they feel like it ad infinitum which is the logical conclusion of that ridiculous position? Let’s at least be sensible about it…

  • PeterBrown

    It is not the parade per se which requires the presence of the police – most are not now policed, it is the protest and to impose this charge would simply mean that objectors would be able to halt parades on a financial basis by protesting or the mere prospect of a protest even where there are currently no protests which is therefore effectively a protestors veto?

  • Tacapall

    So who directs the traffic and holds back the general public who wish to avail of their own civil rights to exercise their freedom of movement.

  • PeterBrown

    Marshalls – same as St Patricks Day, Pride, Marathons & Fun Runs, the list goes on (which are presumably all under threat from your proposal or is a sectarian attack on loyal order parades only)?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Skimmed the document rather than reading it in detail but it looks like an excellent piece of work and a genuine effort to put parading problems to bed.

  • Tacapall

    Now your telling Porkies Peter its not Marshalls who direct traffic or hold back the general public if it was I would drive over them as they have no right to disrupt the freedom of movement of anyone. Yes all parade organisers regardless from which side should be financially responsible for the presence of police officers. Do you think its sectarian to be opposed to the general public being financially responsible for the financial implications of 3000 plus parades per year ?

  • PeterBrown

    Wrong (unfortunately) – of the 6 annual apardes I take part in (annual Twelfth / Black Saturday, district church and lodge / preceptory church) only half have any police presence whatsoever and of those that do the police do not control every junction at any of them and givehn that the parades have been permitted under the relevant legislation any attempt to interefer with them with or without police presence or directions would in itself be an offence (try it and see otherwise what was to stop Willi Frazer etc driving up and down Derrylin main stareet last weekend excpet Art 7 of the 1987 Order)?). On my small sample statistics less than half parades require any police presence (probably less than that for loyal orders) and all of mine only require the officers already on duty who leave if required elsewhere so there are no financial implications for anyone (you have ignored my paralells which I presume do require police overtime by the way). So what is your point now that you don’t actually have a valid one?

  • PeterBrown

    Or s14 of the 1998 Act for that matter which creates the offence of
    14 Breaking up public procession.N.I.
    (1)A person who for the purpose of preventing or hindering any lawful public procession [F1or protest meeting]F1 or of annoying persons taking part in or endeavouring to take part in any such procession [F1or protest meeting]F1—
    (a)hinders, molests or obstructs those persons or any of them;
    (b)acts in a disorderly way towards those persons or any of them; or
    (c)behaves offensively and abusively towards those persons or any of them,
    shall be guilty of an offence.
    (2)A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.

    See you in court Tacapall…

  • Michael Henry

    No bomb was tossed into the La Mon hotel- it was a incendiary device that was attached to the grills on the Window- a terrible accident which happened during a war-and you are trying to say that a bomb tossed into the Felons Club today would be like for like-

    There is a legal anti interment march this weekend which anti law Unionists / Loyalists will try to stop like they tried last year using violence- yet another instance where Unionists say we can walk where we want but yous can’t-

  • PeterBrown

    La Mon was an accident – as was Enniskillen, the Abercorn, Teebane, Bloody Sunday, Ballymurphy, McGurks etc…all terrible (deliberate) accidents (sic)
    It wasn’t a war, it might have been an insurrection but under no definition (legal or otherwise) was it a war because targetting civilians or off duty security forces would have been a war crime and Gerry and Martin (or Billy and the loyalists) aren’t cooling their heels waiting for their trial at the Hague. Wars have rules and no-one wanted to play by those rules all the time and some of those involved didn’t want to play by the rules any of the time so they lost the ability to refer to themselves as an army or soldiers or their actions as a war. What happens if someone accidentally bombs the Felons Club, or the Derrylin commmoration as per Enniskillen, or the Carrickdale like the Abercorn – that’s OK presumably?
    The reaction to the internment march is wrong and hypocritical but presumably is the result of people like GARC quite openly indicating that if you object to any march you can prevent it with the threat of violence – as someone once said “You reap what you sow”…can’t remember who that was?

  • Michael Henry

    ” Wars have rules “- that’s the best one yet- like the Germans and Japs stuck to in world war 2- like the Brits stuck to when it sunk the belgrano outside the war zone- like what Israel is doing in GAZA- can you explain which country in which war stuck to the War Rules-

    Sounds like you are trying to blame some of the marchers at the anti interment march for Unionists rioting against them-

    The Return march in Ardoyne was stopped by the Police- it was not stopped by GARC-

  • PeterBrown

    Erm Michael can I refer you to the Geneva Conventions (War Rules 101 as it were) about combatants treatment of prisoners etc…and indeed the ECHR which republicans were happy to use to challenge white noise interrogation ignoring the fact that their own nutting squads tortured suspects before summarily executing them without trial, even a diplock one – all a distraction from your inability to deal with the other atrocities I mentioned of course…
    As for blaming the marchers you did it first I was merely quoting you – have you not just argued against yourself when I said that the blocking of the parade was wrong and hypocritical (which must make you wrong and hypocritical too then)

  • Michael Henry

    You can refer me to what you want but no country pays heed to the Geneva convention during the fighting- the winning side gets uppity after victory and then looks arrests from the other side- not their own no matter the atrocity-

    Is it a crime in your eyes to be a Republican -so it was alright to torture for that reason-the innocent do right to take their beaters to court-

  • PeterBrown

    No nor is it a crime to be a loyalist (and maybe now you could actually answer all or even any of my points)

  • Backbencher

    Question for Tacapall and Michael Henry

  • Backbencher

    (Oops sorry about the earlier hit the post button a little early)
    Question for Tacapall and Michael Henry

    Do you support the right of the loyal orders to parade on arterial routes and villages such as Dunloy, Newtownbutler, Rosslea, Mountfield, Bellaghy, etc?

    And before you ask, I support the right to parade for all provided they are orderly and don’t glorify terrorism or other acts of law breaking.

  • Michael Henry

    So you admit you made a mistake about those Republicans who were tortured by the Brits going to court – as is their right-

  • PeterBrown

    What mistake would that be (other than giving you another opportunity to avoid the original question about the reaping what you sow)? I did not dispute their right to take anyone to court (although they were not all innocent as the courts have subsequently found) I was merely pointing out that they shared your double standards…any chance of you dealing with the original point or do you need to take us even further off topic to take us further away from your obvious hypocrisy? Unlike La Mon (which was an accident at least in your view – presumably they were just careless where they left a blast incendiary rather than in any way liable) your failure to address my point seems to be deliberate!

  • Tacapall

    An Orangeman quoting the law ! How ironic, The parades commission is the legal body in this part of Ireland that determines the laws of parading and im pretty sure the OO, especially in Belfast, ignore what determinations, rules, laws that they impose on parades. Your right to exercise your freedom of movement through a community other than the one you come from versus people from that community’s right to freedom of movement while your exercising your seemingly god given right to disrupt them and hamper their same right to freedom of movement is whats really the issue. I and most likely the majority of people in this country know which party is right regardless like I said above which side of the fence those organising the parade come from.

    For you to attempt to deny that the police are present at OO parades is pissing on us and telling us its raining, I’ve been in Belfast city center during OO parades and there’s no protests yet there’s quite a large police presence.

    I never ignored your paralells you obviously just see what you want to see Peter

    ” Yes all parade organisers regardless from which side should be financially responsible for the presence of police officers”

  • PeterBrown

    In relation to obeying legislation regarding parades let those who are without sin cast the first stone…The Order rarely moves through a community other than the one it comes from and in Belfast it is accepted by most of us that it could so with greater dignity and decorum and the dog is finally starting to wag that tail this year and the topic of this thread is a further welcome development. it is no more disruptive than many other local events but the reaction to it causes most of the significant disruption.
    I did not deny the police were at some parades but they are not at most and to try to say I said differently is downright dishonest – they would be at even less if there was less opposition (and there might be less opposition if there was more grace by those on parade, but in Donegall Street apparently not). If you did not ignore my parallels where was the response? Are is this an equally dishonest comment – just because the facts do not fit you r version of events does not make them untrue Tacapall….much like MH’s accidental atrocities further up this thread and your own now totally exploded falsehood that marshals have no legal authority…

  • PeterBrown

    You have just missed another mirage in the cultural desert of North Antrim – on my way back from town I have just by chance encountered the local ABOD return parade round the village and not a PSNI officer to be seen (and no inconvenience to speak of but then again no busloads of residents of other counties and even countries here objecting to the oppression of the local flute band and 30 men in suits not even passing the local chapel….)

  • eiregain

    Very well said sir. Is there any value to pointing out differences in culture. Most Official Republican Commemorations are for Fallen volunteers or civil rights remembrance that have happened in our lifetimes or the last 50 years(granted Dissidents are the minority and historic commemorations do occur). Even ignoring the Minority of paramilitary loyalism, most official “Unionist” parades, promoting “Culture” are directly connected to anti-Catholicism and struggle singularly to keep the unionist Establishment firmly in power and holding nothing but public contempt for their neighbors, with no regard for peace or reconciliation on both sides. Culture is the issue, promoting it is detrimental to our future as all our cultures consist of is Resistance against British state or resistance against Irish representation.

  • Backbencher

    ‘Most Official Republican Commemorations are for Fallen volunteers’ – that would be glorification of terrorism then.

    ‘most official “Unionist” parades, promoting “Culture” are directly connected to anti-Catholicism and struggle singularly to keep the unionist Establishment firmly in power and holding nothing but public contempt for their neighbors’ – you need to get out and view a few parades, thousands of parades are held in harmony with their catholic neighbours.
    I am glad you made the distinction ‘anti-catholicism’ as opposed to ‘anti-catholic’.

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    ” thousands of parades are held in harmony with their catholic neighbours.”

    Personally I think it’s a bit of a stretch to apply the word ‘harmony’ in this context.

    If I took the accepted universal unionist measurement of ‘harmony’ with regards to parades then perhaps I’d be inclined to agree, but in my experience this measurement is simply witnessing a Catholic view the parade and assuming “see?! Not offended, I don’t know what the fuss is about. It’s bloody SFIRA stirring everything up so it is!”

    The parades are impressive (hence some Catholics will come out and watch them) but they could be even more impressive if they got rid of some of their more hostile trimmings such as the merry ‘sing songs’ on the band buses (such shanties include songs like ‘what shall we do with the f****n b*****d’) or some of the banners that salute the memory of dead terrorists (even if they are very much the minority, but they tar the whole band scene).

    I remember heading to a party after a parade one time with a band colleague (in uniform), the guy hosting the party was a Catholic and using the universal ‘gauge’ I would have seen him as one of those Catholics who view the parades in ‘harmony’.

    We took our uniforms off and joined the party. It was only after a few beers that he told me how he really felt about parades.

    Anything BUT harmonious, but he was willing to accept that it was our thing and to not let it bother him, but, he (and of course his family and friends) were hurt by elements of the parades.

    I think before we give a parade a thumbs-up we should try and find a mirror image of the parade, imagine how we/you would feel if the parade was a nationalist one and a mirror image of the parade in question:

    Union Flag = Tricolour (which in nationalist eyes it does equate, that is THEIR flag, officialdom doesn’t matter in this regard)

    Former Ulster flag = Yellow ulster flag? Starry Plough?

    Paramilitary banners = IRA/INLA banners

    ‘SAS 8 – IRA 0, Loughgall’ T-shirts = ‘IRA 18 – Paras 0, Warrenpoint’

    Songs about past battles = songs about the Black and Tan War

    Drunk men in Rangers shirts = Drunk men in Celtic tops

    Songs about killing Catholics = Songs about killing Protestants

    Songs against Catholicism and the Pope = Songs against Protestantism and the Queen

    Looking at unionist band parades through this prism might help to determine if perhaps a parade is overstepping the mark, so to speak.

    Of course, as you know there are many inert non-aggressive parades with just a few old men and a wee band as well as impressive musical contests, but if there is any room for offence then it should be addressed.

    The parades can be impressive, why not make them magnificent?

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think the Maiden City Accord has a lot of potential, but there needs to be the same spirit and will to have the Titanic City Accord for the Ardoyne-Twadell Avenue lot.