Attack on Orange Hall in Convoy, Co. Donegal

Over the last decade or so there has been a modest revival in the Orange Order and associated bands in parts of the RoI. This has been seen in parts of Donegal as well as the other border counties. Many events in Fermanagh will now see small but growing bands from the RoI. This modest revival is purely religious and cultural: whatever one may think of the political positions of the Orange Order, these are not manifested in the RoI. There has been no attempt to organise Protestants politically by recreating the Donegal Progressive Party or similar.

The centre piece of Orange culture in the RoI is of course the Rossnowlagh parade. This is frequently presented as a beacon of tolerance on both sides though it might be noted that most country parades and twelfth celebrations are equally peaceful and that the Orange Order parade at Rossknowlagh, partly as they are not allowed to parade in towns in the RoI. Furthermore tricolours are occassionally flown near the Rossnowlagh procession route with no apparent attempt by the Gardai to remove them.

Much more sinister attacks on this revival of Orange culture have, however, occurred more recently with attacks on the Orange Halls at Convoy and the recently reopened hall in Newtowncunningham. In the case of Convoy the local Presbyterian church was also attacked.

It is only fair to note that whatever Sinn Fein’s history on the subject of attacks on Orange culture Martin McGuinness has condemned this latest attack.

The problem in part is that whatever the Sinn Fein leadership may now say (quite possibly from genuine motives) so complete has been their demonisation of Orange culture over the years (and ongoing in certain places) along with their previous refusals to condemn violence against both Orange culture and Orange Order members, that hotheads and idiots will inevitably feel empowered to take part in this sort of sectarian violence.

Here on slugger (admittedly usually in the comments section) Orange culture is demonised with recent comments (which went uncensured) likening the Orange Order to the Klu Klux Klan and calling for the Order’s proscription. It is maybe time to prevent such bigoted sectarian hate speech even on slugger as it can help, albeit no doubt in a small way, to encourage the mentality which seeks to legitimise criminal damage as a form of hate crime against a vulnerable minority.

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  • Ernekid

    It seems that the Dissidents now that they’ve run out of ammunition and support from the wider Community have been reduced to attacking Orange Lodges in Rural Donegal. It’s pretty pathetic really. A bunch of knuckle draggers attacking property in the middle of nowhere for no good reason. These thugs are disgusting

  • $33309652

    “…..Here on slugger (admittedly usually in the comments section) Orange culture is demonised withrecent comments (which went uncensured) likening the Orange Order..”
    ===============================

    Awwwhh!!! The last redoubt of unionism in Action. Censorship.
    From the guys who brought you such fair minded policies of Internment, Section 31, broadcasting ban, the Special Powers act..Etc..etc.etc.
    I guess coericion is hard to resist..Isn’t it?
    Pull the other one.

  • Comrade Stalin

    This is nothing other than a shameful and clearly orchestrated hate campaign. There are no excuses for attacks on Orange halls or any places of worship.

    Your comments at the end are shameful and amount to an attempt to politicise what is a clear sectarian hate crime. I am quite sure that you and most other respectable people would resent the corollary implication that criticism of the GAA invites attacks on GAA premises. I am sure I remember you saying at least once that individuals have to be responsible for their own actions rather than blaming others for encouraging them. But consistency of principle does seem to be a bit of a problem in some circles in this country.

  • carl marks

    A orange hall burnt at night in Donegal, a true act of patriotism carried out by brave men. Thats no doubt how those who done this spiteful act of vandalism see it.
    I find i hard to believe that these people are supported by anybody in the Area and i strongly suspect that Ernekid has got it right.
    Only cowards burn buildings at night and only those who are devoid of support resort to these tactics.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Seriously who gives a crap – this endless pit of OO despair. Unionists political priority of who matches where. It’s such a God damn drag. Boring!

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Opps “marches”….

  • Bryan Magee

    These attacks are wrong.

  • Nevin

    Attacks on empty community buildings are bad enough but those on homes are potentially much more serious.

  • Guest

    Rubbish, Turgon is 100% correct. The irish republic is nothing more than a foreign rogue enemy nation to all loyal British people!!

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think this contribution shows that even the most valiant efforts to satirize David Vance fail.

  • Michael Henry

    Disgraceful attack on the Orange Order which is a important part of Irish and British history-

    But until Journalists stop calling the dissidents hardline you will always get idiots taking part in such attacks-

  • Dan

    The ethnic cleansing of Protestants continues unabated within the Republic of Ireland.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Blah, blah, blah…..

    Drivel.

  • Reader

    “Censure” isn’t the same as “Censor”

  • Gingray

    Turgon

    You make many good points, and I think Sinn Fein and other nationalist groupings need to do more to stop these disgraceful attacks. I also take on board why you feel comparisons between the OO and the KKK are sectarian and indeed hateful, and there may be a degree of truth in that. However I do think your fellow Ernesider, former UUP leader, and member of the Orange Order, Tom Elliot, best sums up the views of many people on both sides of the divide in regards the OO:

    ‘attempts by the Orange Order to rebrand itself as a cultural organisation are completely discredited while they retain sectarian rules.’

    The OO as an INSTITUTION is a sectarian organisation – that does not mean all Orangemen are anti-Catholic. I know several decent, fair-minded Orangemen (mostly culchies to be honest) and for them it’s a way for meeting up with friends, and rarely a drinking club, and of course they attend weddings and funerals and dont bat an eyelid.

    The fundamental Qualifications of an Orangeman have not changed however, and are full of anti-Catholic references, as is of course the organisations right. But it does make it sectarian. I am not sure how you can disagree with this (and Tom of course!).

    Additionally many in Northern Ireland will see the OO practicing more than just
    religious sectarianism – the group has been linked, rightly or wrongly with political and paramilitary oppression, and with UDA and UVF bands welcomed and celebrated and feted by the leadership. Perhaps for some this reinforces the view that there is little difference between sectarian murder gangs and a sectarian orange order. Personally I don’t totally buy the connection, but I can see, particularly in Belfast and Craigavon, that there is a massive overlap between membership of UVF/UDAand the OO.

    I am with Tom Elliot on this – the claims to be a cultural organization are tainted by the sectarian rules and the refusal to break links to proscribed terrorist murder gangs.

    Gingray

  • barnshee

    “‘attempts by the Orange Order to rebrand itself as a cultural organisation are completely discredited while they retain sectarian rules.’”

    A bit like the Roman Catholic church then— tho I don`t recall the OO supporting the burning of Roman Catholics at the stake for apostasy.

  • carl marks

    so when did this happen, except i thought they had given that up a long time ago.
    something a bit more up to date would help your argument, but i will nominate you for the most irrelevant piece of whataboutry ever!

  • Gingray

    Heya barnshee – I am not really sure how to take your comments, but let me try to respond – the Catholic Church is/has been very very bad, so I am shocked to see you equate the actions of the OO to burning people at the stake.

    Regardless, it is way off the point, Turgon was suggesting that Orange culture was being demonised, and while I agree that he may have a point, I thought it was important to get his view on whether he felt, like a prominent Orangeman, that its sectarian rules also contribute to that demonisation?

    What is your actual opinion on the topic barnshee?

  • barnshee

    “What is your actual opinion on the topic barnshee?”

    Like the Roman Catholic church and its associated hangers on ( Knights of Colombanus,The GAA Opus Dei etc) the OO has rules for membership -If you don`t like the rules don`t join.-check out it rules.

    You might also check out the “rules” of the Roman Catholic church

    eg

    1 Other religions have no validity (protestants doomed to hell because they cannot avail of “the bread of life”)
    2 Marriage approved only where the parties agree to raise children as Roman Catholic (at least an improvement from the days of “excommunication” for marriage to a non catholic)
    3 No confirmation unless children attend Roman Catholic school

    The OO is a direct product of the actions of Roman Catholic Church in Ireland -Its purpose is the continuity of the Reformed Faith in Ireland

    When it comes to sectarian Rules the Roman Catholic Church has nothing to learn

  • Gingray

    Um can you provide a link to these rules? Because it just appears that you have made them up!

    But your agreement that the Orange Order is a sectarian organisation is helpful in my query to Turgon on his views as to whether sectarian rules make an organisation sectarian, am hopeful he will respond.

  • Tochais Siorai

    The GAA is a hanger on of the Catholic church? That’s a new one.

  • barnshee
  • Gingray

    Heya barnshee, I really take your point that you and Turgon don’t like the Catholic Church, and an sure that doesn’t extend to its adherents.

    But those links are not rules – can you find the actual teachings that support your view as I do think you are wrong.

    More important, Turgons blog! Let’s focus on it. I disagree with some bits of it and obviously you agree that sectarianism is in its rules.

    Do you largely agree with Turgons premise? And do you support keeping sectarian rules banning members from Catholic mass?

  • carl marks

    Should Dan be censured? is this not demonizing the GAA!

  • Tochais Siorai

    My, my, Barnshee. The Galway Advertiser. Didn’t have you down as a reader of that august publication but glad you see you have such…… em, catholic tastes.

    Now presuming you have actually read the article, do you think it was relevant to the GAA today or the GAA 50 or 60 years ago?