North Belfast Parading – could the DUP/UUP find a positive way out of their current rabbit hole?

twelfth parade belfast 1As always in Northern Ireland, a row of dominoes have found themselves in a row and are now wobbling.

1. Getting a wide range of people to agree to be appointed to make a credible panel on North Belfast parading and related protests was always going to be an uphill struggle for the Secretary of State. Given the announcement in October with no names, and not a single name – not even a chair – being publicly mooted since them – the panel never really in existence to be collapsed. It practically cancelled itself.

2. With an election looming and parties jostling for position – like a poor man’s America’s Cup with boats looking for clear blue water and clean wind – the local unionist parties are very uneasy about joint action. And so the TUV/UKIP/PUP accused the DUP and UUP of negotiating about parading in Stormont House. And so a joint unionist issue has fractured into an intra-unionist argument. Probably not helped by some Belfast unionist councillors taking their turn as local Orangemen in the Twaddell caravan overnight rota.

3. Sinn Fein didn’t get anything meaningful about a number of issues (including the Irish Language Act) into the final Stormont House Agreement, so it’s reasonable that they’re calling out the lack of progress on parading … jumping the gun on the Secretary of State was at best mischievous, and at worst forcing her hand.

If it was difficult to appoint a panel on North Belfast parading, how easy will it be to find the eight willing non-party-political members of the fifteen strong Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Traditions that must be appointed by June 2015 and report back by the end of 2017? Some academics that you’d expect to be in the middle of the commission will surely be reluctant to participate in an eighteen month-long exercise in three dimensional chess.

With a lack of DUP/UUP politicians will to speak out ahead of tomorrow’s talks with the Orange Order, Alex Kane and I proffered our opinion on the matter on Evening Extra this evening.

My main conclusion was that the DUP and UUP need to find a way out of the deep and dark rabbit-hole that they’re heading down over Twaddell and the collapse of the panel, and instead take a more transformative route forward.

Canon Ian Ellis’ suggestion of a church-led parading forum is at least novel and has the merit of having not yet failed. If clerics independent of the loyal orders could be found – and I can think of a couple of bishops from two denominations, the immediate past Methodist President and a few Presbyterians with listening and mediation skills – it’s worth trying in the run up to July 2015.

There are undoubtedly votes to be lost over Twaddell, but there are also non-voters to be teased back into polling stations with a show of leadership. A way forward for the DUP and UUP that emphasises respect and tolerance, and contributes towards the spirit of the Executive policy on TBUC/Together: Building a United Community would be far better than the current certain unionist stalemate.

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  • Morpheus

    Que? I think you have responded to a different post because I used the example of the OO attempting to discipline 2 senior politicians for attending a funeral for a murdered Catholic police officer and you bizarrely tried to brush it under the carpet with your ‘yeah but they were cleared’ nonsense. The fact that they were cleared is irrelevant, the fact that the attempt was made is key to showing the mindset of the organisation.

    What this ‘collective guilt’ nonsense is I have no idea

  • Dan

    How do you know that GARC wouldn’t threaten an agreement, beyond your own guesswork?
    Where’s the guarantee on that?
    Isn’t it time the Nationalist politicians were able to clarify that to the wider public…..I most certainly haven’t heard anything that would give me optimism to believe a deal between Cara and Twadell would pass unopposed by Garc.

    (By the way, I have absolutely nothing to do with the OO, the parade, the protest, nor any Unionist party or any of the loyalist lot whatsoever. Nothing, nowt. Never have, never will)

  • carl marks

    firstly i have no doubt that GARC would threaten a deal beyond tier own framework (did you miss the bit about them being the Wille and jamie of nationalism) I know the type of idiots they are, I am saying that they will not be able to effectively oppose a deal.
    Now here is a idea (lets call it a tactic) talk to CARA, make a deal and if you are right GARC will stop it and you will be able to stand up and say “Look we made a deal they broke it, you gain the moral high ground, win public and international approval and enter the next round with a stronger hand.
    If you are wrong your deal will get the parade home, win win!

  • aber1991

    No, I am in my late 60s.

  • Dan

    That sounds a pointless waste of time to me.
    All parties need to agree to a deal…and to do that the little power struggle between Cara and Garc needs sorted out first. Ardoyne needs an agreed position, and generosity of spirit…I think that is beyond them.

    Who could be bothered with high moral ground?
    The situation needs resolved.

  • carl marks

    Al right, so thinking with the head and a bit of tactical movement is a waste of time.
    now i have told you that GARC is a micro group trying to use this issue to increase their profile, your solution is to increase their profile (this is not smart) all Garc can do is issue statements but you behave like it is a mighty force!
    Ardoyne needs a agreed position! CARA is that agreed position,
    generosity of spirit, again, get rid of the FTP band with terror links and the nightly displays of sectarian venom coming from camp twaddell and talk to CARA, see what happens!
    “Who could be bothered with high moral ground?”

    that should be the unionist motto,
    all i can say is if that is the attitude Unionism is taking about this then by the time they get up that road there will be Glaciers coming down it .

    good luck with that.

  • Zeno1

    So you were oppressed when you were like 3? What happened?>

  • Morpheus

    Less than 2% of the population Carl.

    I have absolutely no idea what Reader is talking about, not a Scooby-doo. Here’s me standing up for the Protestant community and calling thingymajig on his rhetoric and I seem to be responsible for him in some way because of “collective guilt”. Lost on me.

    And no I am not part of any group which involves riding the goat, the house of Israel, Aarons rod, OPH- RA, “The 300 chosen Israelites that lapped but did not kneel” or anything like that

  • OneNI

    Hilarious idea – but not grounded in any reality.

  • aber1991

    “So you were oppressed when you were like 3? What happened”

    A decision taken by the government of Northern Ireland (concerning education) which ruined by life. A decision which I learned about in January 1980 when the records were made public under the 30 year rule. The decision was based on sectarian malice – as the result of pressure from the Protestant grassroots led by a Presbyterian clergyman.

  • Zeno1

    Ah, Seaan, it’s much easier for people to believe the version of history that gives them most comfort. People aren’t interested in facts. Facts mights cause thinking. Where would that lead???
    We have our pwn multiple versions of history locally. Martin Lynch even wrote a play about it. The History of the Troubles According to my Da.

  • Zeno1

    Something definitely ruined your life and made you very sectarian. You have my sympathy, but it’s not too late to change. Hatred of others is like poisoning yourself and expecting them to die.

  • Reader

    Likewise anyone could point out actions that show the nature of the provisional republican movement. The sectarian mass murderers of Kingsmill are still protected to this day.
    On a rather different note, the OO rules about attending Catholic services (clearly not enforced, as Morpheus’ example inadvertently illustrated) are mirrored by Catholic restrictions on attending Protestant (“Imperfect”) communion. I bet one would get a bit of penance for that sort of misbehaviour.
    The lodge that raised the original complaint is, indeed, a collection of wingnuts, and is at the centre of many of the problems with the OO and parading in Belfast. They aren’t particularly representative even of other Belfast lodges, let alone of the wider organisation.

  • aber1991

    Once bitten, twice shy.

    There is only one way to prevent Protestants using their power over Catholics to hurt Catholics. That way is to not let them have any power over Catholics. Hence, my total hostility to any attempt to coerce Catholics into integrated education. Or letting Protestant parades invade Catholic districts.

  • Reader

    Morpheus: collective guilt
    Blaming all orangemen for the failed attempt to censure the politicians is like blaming all republicans for the murder of the policeman. Now do you see?

  • 88vvv89

    ”3 out of 5 members said they believed that most Catholics are IRA sympathizers”

    Taking into consideration that most Catholics in Northern Ireland actually elect the IRA dolled up as Sinn Fein to represent them in government, I would say ”most Catholics” go way beyond ”sympathizing” with the IRA, clearly ”most Catholics” support the IRA and the streams of blood they left running through every town and village across Northern Ireland.

    As an Orangeman I’m astonished 2 out of every 5 members didn’t know this simple fact, embarrassed a little……

  • Morpheus
  • Morpheus

    No, blaming an organisation for having a rule (enforced or not) that belongs in….

    ….in fact no, it doesn’t belong anywhere.

    What has that got to go with that abey guy?

  • 88vvv89

    My fingers just wondered off there sorry….

  • carl marks

    yep will agree about kingsmill,cant disagree about that, but what does it have to do with Twaddell, and if “a collection of wingnuts in the belfast OO ” then why are you voicing support for wingnuts, why are you willing halt a agreement for wingnuts? and as for representative of the OO well they (the wingnuts) are running the whole Twaddell thing with the full support of the OO and unionist politicians, so on the evidence offered i am sorry but wingnuts are running unionism at the moment!

  • carl marks

    god your bad done by, and of course right, nothing has changed since then just the other day i seen a prod eat a catholic baby while a policeman laughed! aber your embarrassing yourself now.
    please get help!

  • aber1991

    I have not received compensation. The culprits have not been punished.

    Please mind your manners. What a person feels about his own life is a very personal matter. Taking Prods as one finds them is an excellent policy for YOU – and also for ME.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Is there any possibility of having the EU flag taken off the licence? Do we really need a flag ( of any sort) on it?

  • Morpheus

    As far as I can see there doesn’t need to be any flags Alan but this particular issue seems to be pissing off quite a few people in the rest of the UK

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/putting-union-flag-new-driving-8358691

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2836314/Scots-outrage-Union-Jack-driving-licence-David-Cameron-set-strike-blow-Britishness-putting-UK-flag-new-photocard-documents.html

    I dare say this is a bit of a vanity “look what we did” project

  • carl marks

    Compensation! now this getting serious put me down for some!
    and if your feelings are so personal then don’t share them with us, now that would be good manners, but if come on here sprouting nonsense then expect us to poke a little fun at you!

  • carl marks

    don’t think it’s a legal requirement, the name of the issuing authority and the license number is on it, that should be enough to allow for police checks and the like. si no flag needed.

  • aber1991

    Tyranny is not a joking matter.

  • chrisjones2

    Ardoyne isnt a Catholic area – if you look across the road Prods live there too

  • chrisjones2

    You are tyrannized by them walking down a road they share or by them existing?

  • chrisjones2

    Almost all our politicians are sectarian bigots

  • chrisjones2

    yes..they voted for Bobby the terrorist

  • chrisjones2

    Look guys hes either an obsessive or a troll. Best to leave him alone and let him starve

  • Zeno1

    Good call.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Sorry Kevin, but that’s the old, rather moth eaten version. Have you come across the work of Breandan Ó Buachalla? His magisterial book “Aisling ghear: Na Stiobhartaigh agus an taos leinn, 1603-1788,” has entirely re-interpreted this period of Irish history, and has certainly deeply inspired much of my own work!

    Of the top of my head I think Ó Buachalla mentions that against two hundred thousand eighteenth century poems in Irish that speak highly of the Stuarts, only about twenty have the critical “Séamas an Cáca” theme, and those are clearly attempting to curry favour with the Whig ascendency. As late as the 1820s some Dublin Castle secret service reports are more concerned at the singing of “Mo Ghile Mear” as a Jacobite anthem, than other more republican material. It was only with “Young Ireland” that this started to change. Ó Buachalla, and later Eamonn Ó Ciardha’s “Ireland and the Jacobite Cause” show how the liberalism of the Stuarts made the transition from Jacobite to Jacobin in the 1790s a natural progression. While the OO have serious investment in denegrating the Stuarts, despite the fact that Presbyterins were thanking James in 1687 for such freedoms as they would not again enjoy for a hundred years, it seems churlish for those of us with ( I assume) open minds to continue to support another malicious set of lies about a person who almost created a situation which would have ensured equal opportunities for all the peoples of Ireland, and might even have mitigated the horrors of the invasions and plantation for future generations.

    And James was certainly not Louis, please read Sowerby’s excellent book if you have any doubts about this. Tone was perhaps right about James’s Dutch and German “sucessors”, but certainly not about “Rí Shéamais”.

    About tthe coward theme, a week after the Boyne James was standing on the French coast with the Irish “Old Brigade” of Lord Mountcashel, waiting only for the storm to abate to answer calls by almost everyone who had expelled him a year and a half before to return and free them from the Dutchman. I’ve examined the actual letters! William was effectively trapped in Ireland, the French navy had just smashed the Anglo-Dutch fleet and Beachy Head and controlled the seas. Only a month of wicked storms stopped a Stuart restoration which would have ensured that all his people had religious freedoms, so not coward, pragmatist, but one who was only thwarted by bad weather. Don’t simply take your history from other ill informed opinions, go out there and find what really happened!

    Just for the record, an ancestor of mine, killed at Oldbridge, was commanding a troop of horse on Donore Hill on July 1st 1690 while his cousin, my direct ancestor, was supplying cavalry mounts to the Dutchman’s army. You can guess who got the others land…….

  • aber1991

    They voted for a Catholic Freedom Fighter. You Protestants asked for that when you voted anti-Catholic bigots into power.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “(By the way, I have absolutely nothing to do with the OO, the parade, the protest, nor any Unionist party or any of the loyalist lot whatsoever. Nothing, nowt. Never have, never will)”

    Hmmmm, does that mean then you might not fully comprehend why a parade of this sort could be construed as offensive?

  • carl marks

    It’s not Tyranny i am laughing about, it’s someone having to go back to 1949 for something that happened when they were in primary that also happened to everyone else and even through he didn’t know about for 31 years and which the rest of the world has moved on from for a reason to hang his victimhood on.
    you see the rest of the nationalists give up being victims years ago, in case you haven’t noticed we are more or less running the place now and leave the mopery to Dan and the like. but you feel free to mope.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi Zeno, Yeats said that the versions of reality lie one within another in the manner of those Ivory balls with sphere within sphere. Its been my experience that the closer one gets to “real” historical material, rather than secondary interpretations, the more the generally believed versions seem to be turned inside out and back to front. The case of James II & VII is a case in point, where after about ten years of examining lots of primary source material (for example, his correspondance, etc, from the 1685-95 period), I come away with a real picture of an honest decent moral person who felt genuine responsibility for all of his people, and tried to create the kind of fairness and toleration we today would understand. It is one of the great ironies of history, and a tribute to the staying power of lies, that he should still be generally represented as a despotic tyrant who wanted to forcably convert his people!

    I’ve unpacked James just a bit more in answer to Kevin Breslin below. You might find it interesting, if only to show that anyone who gets smacked violently by both sides of a quarrel must be doing something right!

  • aber1991

    “the rest of the nationalists”

    I am not a nationalist. I am a Northern Ireland Catholic, a member of one of the most oppressed races in the history of the world.

    The results of what was done in 1949 are still with me and probably will be for the rest of my life.

    Catholics are not ruling Northern Ireland. That is why Catholic districts like Ardoyne and Rasharkin are under constant threat of Protestant invasion. Nobody has been brought to trial for the burning of Bombay Street.

    If you want to forget and forgive what was done to you, that is no business of mine. If you are able to trust Protestants, that is also no business of mine.

  • carl marks

    now i can’t speak directly for rasharkin but nobody from there i know has ever mentioned this and it’s the sort of thing you would bring up over a pint but Ardoyne under constant threat of protestant invasion! thats a load of complete silliness, i know i was in Ardoyne just last week and nobody brought it up!
    tell me how do you know these things, do you hear voices or is it patterns in tea leaves?

  • Dan

    I’m as fully appreciative of the detail as you….on this and on any subject I’ve seen you adding your tuppence worth

  • Dan

    Cara is clearly not the agreed position of all…it’s the agreed position of one lot of agitators.

  • aber1991

    Have you never heard about the Protestants lurking in Twaddell just across the road from Ardoyne? Have you never heard about the Protestant marches through Rasharkin? Or are you merely trying to be clever?

  • Zeno1

    I’ve never actually studied History. It was either not on the curriculum or when it came to the times I had choices it appeared too vast and interconnected. That obviously isn’t the same as not being interested. From memory, my 9 year old peer group decided that James was a coward and was at least partly responsible for most of their woes. That, sadly is how most people here “learn” history. Little has changed over the years.

  • carl marks

    well you didn’t know that people lived on the route. seem blissfully unaware how offensive a FTP band can be to nationalists, the fact that the band has the names of terrorists on their uniforms doesn’t seem to be part of the equation for you, neither does the fact that the group they laud has killed people on the route doesn’t seem important or that relatives of those murdered also live on the route, do you know about the nightly playing of sectarian tunes by the people of camp twaddell.
    None of these thing seem to register with you, you ask the people of Ardoyne to show a spirit of generosity, tell you what explain why they should since those who want to walk up the road are showing them nothing but contempt.

  • carl marks

    OK, got it, you don’t want to get up the road thats fine, it’s your problem after all, in general nationalists are happy enough with the way things are , and things won’t change unless we agree to it, if you want to let GARC call the shots that completely up to you.
    maybe a bigger caravan will crack it.

  • carl marks

    yep there is about ten of them, mostly old men or younger chaps who shall we say are not exactly para material.
    God your right a elite invasion force poised to attack, how did we not notice the danger,
    no i am not trying to be clever i’m just sane!

  • aber1991

    You seem to think that they are not out to get us. I hope that you are right.

  • Nimn

    “There are undoubtedly votes to be lost over Twaddell, but there are also non-voters to be teased back into polling stations with a show of leadership. A way forward for the DUP and UUP that emphasises respect and tolerance, and contributes towards the spirit of the Executive policy on TBUC/Together: Building a United Community would be far better than the current certain unionist stalemate.”

    Stating the obvious surely, but it will take far more that a resolution of Twaddell to tease non-voters back to the polls. Also respect and tolerance is not a one sided affair.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I am aware that James was not Louis, and he certainly was a tolerant man.

    However, James was in debt to Louis. The Sovereign debt crisis brought out all the nationalistic fears of losing the country.

    In history even the misinterpretations, the lies and the agitprop matter. I would have no doubt that a war between a Protestant king paid by the pope and a Catholic king who converted from protestantism had more to do with political power clicks at Westminster asserting the upper hand, than the reverse.

    The Protestant fear of a Catholic monarch was not artificial, it wasn’t just a French thing. Mary Queen of Scots had helped the cause of The Glorious Revolution arguably more than King William.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    Catholic atheists?! I can’t tell if you are just trolling now.

    A catholic is a type of Christian. A Christian is a type of Theist. An Atheist is someone who is not a Theist. Therefore the term ‘catholic atheist’ is a contradiction. If you don’t believe in god you are not a Catholic or a Protestant or a Jew or a Muslim. You are an Atheist.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Kevin, “The Protestant fear of a Catholic monarch was not artificial”, but, in the case of the three kingdoms, it was! It was!

    http://jacobite.ca/documents/index.htm

    If you read through the first section of material on this site, accurate transcriptions (I’ve checked) of contemporary papers, you may begin to see why, and I cannot emphasise that reading Sowerby is important.

    You may be misunderstanding the issue of subsidies too! Louis gave “gifts”, subsidies (not loans) to Charles II, but James neither requested nor recieved such gifts, and ran the country’s finances within his budget, using his personal income from property primarily to permit a very low level of tax (2p in the pound as I remember), something that the Dutchman could not do. The idea of national debt only begins with William, and the Bank of England was set up to finance his expensive wars against Loius. But James was an independant monarch acting at the behest of no foregin power, Dutch or French.

    But the real importance is in what the genuine history says about the foundation myths of the Northern Irish state, showing that these stories were based from their inception on the kind of manipulation of the public we have become all too familiar with in the twentieth century. You spoke of Derry, and the great blockade, above (a real seige involves something different to the blockade of a town and using the name may be traditional, but is militarily inaccurate), even the agent who approached England for compensation said thirty years after, and still uncompensated, that the town would have had far less abuse if it had simply surrendered to James. Educated people in the late seventeenth century knew that the tales about James (who incidentally wanted to keep the three kingdoms entirely out of the Franco-Dutch war, he became allied to Louis only when William drove him from his throne) were lies, its no credit to us all as adults to keep believing historical fairy stories, and even commemorating one of the most shameful, illiberal and retrogressive episodes in our history.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Zeno, wearing both psycologist and historian hats, I judge history as an inheritance from the past, a deep collective memory, and something essensial for the general mental health of a community. Accurate history, I mean. We can all see the damage that this one fairy tale of the wicked, intollerant tyrant and brave little Derry has done to us all for centuries now. Society would have been much less fixated on religion for starters, if William had never come. James’s general tolerance would have removed the “religious advantage” issue in all three kingdoms, and one may only begin to imagine just how very different the last three hundred years might have been for us all.

    I conduct history tours, and find that neither community seems to have any great knowledge of our local history. I feel that with a real understanding of the deep memory of the place we live in, with all its quirks and contridictions clearly evaluated, much of the shared nature of the experience would burn away much of the ignorant hatreds, and help to improve the general health of our political experience. But its a dream……

  • aber1991

    I now suspect that you are not a native of Northern Ireland and are probably not even a resident of Northern Ireland.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “I’m as fully appreciative of the detail as you….on this and on any subject I’ve seen you adding your tuppence worth”

    Despite not having any band experience nor loyal order experience?

    Hat’s off then.

    In which case you DO understand why a parade of this sort could be construed as offensive?

    A simple ‘yes’ would have sufficed…

  • Dan

    Well that is the crux. nationalists are indeed quite happy with the ongoing dispute….and that takes us back to my first comment..

  • Dan

    Weak.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    Well suspect away. I can assure you I was born and raised in NI and I live and work here now. It is telling, though, that you think the use of logic is such an unusual trait that I must be a foreigner.

    The crude identity politics here has warped your sense of reality to such an extent that you think that people just are Catholics or Protestants no matter what they believe. This is complete nonsense. The words ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestant’ are religious terms that refer to beliefs. If you do not have those beliefs you are not a catholic or a protestant.

  • carl marks

    OK so your not going to talk till GARC is happy, fair enough.
    as i said its your problem, until you sort the sectarian and terrorist connotations involved with both the parade and Twaddell and talk till someone then it’s not going to happen,

    Obviously there has been no thought to a escape strategy if the “civil right’s camp” fails (which it has), it is already causing the divisions inside unionism to widen (and with a election coming up, always good news) what pass’s for leadership inside unionism will find it has weakened them. All hope is pinned on the hope of a minority Tory government weak enough to need the unionist MP’s and we won’t know if that will happen till after the elections.
    even then it will need the agreement of the residents
    As the cuts start to bite the cost of policing the camp will annoy more and more people, and they will not blame the residents they will blame Camp Twaddell and the OO.

    So you have my full support and blessing I shall watch with great interest and much delight from the moral high ground (which if you remember you were not in the least interested in, so you will not mind if we Nationalists claim it) as the OO and its hangers on face the police.
    LET THEM HOME!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Me, for another one! Although wait, as a High Church Anglican I suppose I’m neither fish, fowl or good red herring……..

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    But not incorrect?

    And just to be clear, do you or do you not see why a parade of this sort could be construed as offensive?

  • carl marks

    well as my wifes late mother (miss the wee women) used to say about High Church Anglican’s, herself being a presbyterian of the no frills variety ” next door to he catholics” so you might count, but aber runs a pretty selective club!

  • eiregain

    I believe it is possible to be non theistic and still identify as a catholic or from a catholic background.

    This is not what aber is saying though!
    I am convinced he is a unionist troll or an ill-informed teen operating off “history according to my da “

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Aber, where do you stand on the issue of ‘Celtic Orthodox’ (an admittedly inappropriate term)?

    Are they as bad as the Hussites or simply up there with the Free P’s?

    Do you see Saints Brendan, Kevin, Brigid and Columba as ‘huns’ or simply confused?

    If they were alive today would they try and oppress Northern Irish Catholics too?

    Just thought I’d ask as you seem to be in a sporting mood.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “but aber runs a pretty selective club!”

    A bit like Joe Hoggs’ unionist club per chance?

  • streetlegal

    Wait and see…

  • barnshee

    The bastards they made the 11+ really hard that year and I failed –a crime against catholics– it was all those hard sums and even more insulting the questions were in English. I never got inton Oxford/Cambridge/UCD/ Trinity. The bastards

  • aber1991

    “The words ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestant’ are religious terms that refer to beliefs”

    I could not disagree with you more. In Northern Ireland the words “Catholic” and “Protestant” are tribal terms.

    P.S. It is a pity that we in Northern Ireland do not have equivalents of the word “Serbs” and “Croats”.

  • eiregain

    Taig and Hun would be more suitable than your blanket use of catholic and protestant.

  • aber1991

    “Aber, where do you stand on the issue of ‘Celtic Orthodox’ ”

    I take no interest in foreign games.

  • aber1991

    Prod tyranny is not a joking matter.

  • aber1991

    They might be more suitable but they are not terms in common usage.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh, carl, I know, I know. The late Dr Lord Bannside refused to sit beside me on a flight once in the late 1960s. He could not be accomodated, and fumed the whole hour through as I sipped my whiskey (note spelling). This was because he was well aware that an ancestor of mine, one whose father had been a close friend of John Knox, was noted as “a prelatic betrayer of the faith of Geneva” by the Covenantors in 1638. Never let anyone tell you paisley did not read extensivly (but with narrow focus) in history!

    I find that Catholics seem to think I’m a rather eccentric protestant, while evangelicals ( and probably aber) cross the street at the whiff of sulpher they think they detect. But I should say “lapsed Anglo-Catholic” really, although I’m still partial to joss sticks!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh dear aber1991, irony, not tyranny!

  • carl marks

    I know not about anybody else Seaan, but i always enjoy your posts, and eccentricity ,well nothing wrong with that!

  • Biftergreenthumb

    Aye He’s got to be one or the other. The sheer force of his tribalism reminds me more the loyalist flegger ‘our culture, our heritage’ type mentality that you don’t encounter often from nationalists on this site.

    Regarding your point about identifying “as a catholic or from a catholic background” I think for non-theists the only honest option is “from a catholic background”.

    The problem with this country is that everyone defines themselves and others by beliefs that they don’t even hold. Whether aber1991 is a troll or not we all get labelled as protestants or catholics, unionists or nationalists simply because of where we come from regardless of what we actually believe. To move beyond the sectarian nonsense we need to stop labelling ourselves, and identifying, with our grandfathers beliefs.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thanks carl, I aim to entertain as well as instruct! I have an odd family, quite disfunctional when mesured against strong local loyalties. My grandfather was a mate of Frank Bigger, something I’m very grateful for as I’ve inherited a decent set of family anecdotes, quite a taste for local history and culture, as well as a strong distaste for professional politicians of every hue. I was told at my mother’s funeral (by an MLA) that my family were all “auld Home Rulers” even though some of us ( not my immediate lot) appear in that picture of Carson signing the Covenant, but some people love finding a reason to dislike others, and us poor Lundies get a very bad press.

  • eiregain

    Here Here

  • carl marks

    Oh no doubt there are protestants out there who want to get catholics and there are catholics out there who want to get protestants (i got the one i was after 😉 ) but the old days are gone.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    It is true that a lot of people here now falsely interpret the words ‘catholic’ and ‘protestant’ as tribal designators rather than religious terms. It is this tribalism that is the problem with this country.

    My hope would be that as NI secularises younger people not bought up in the troubles and with no religious beliefs will stop identifying themselves are ‘protestant’ or ‘catholic’ and the distinctions between the two imagined communities will slowly disappear. The constitutional question could then be addressed in a rational manner rather than one of tribal loyalty.

    Your wish for NI versions of the tribal terms ‘serbs’ and ‘croats’ would do nothing but entrench the sense of difference making a non-sectarian future even more difficult to attain.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I’m not a historian, but even if the Williamite cause was for all the wrong reasons, for the wrong goals and for just a fairy tail, the Siege itself speaks of the honesty of human suffering, of people starving to death for their beliefs for the wrong or right of things.

    To many unionists in the Fountain it is as dear to them as the Hunger Strikers are to Irish republicans in the Bogside-Brandywell. In many ways it is the same human tragedy:

    People imprisoned by walls, starving to death, fearing oppression, no surrender, our day will come.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I am from a scientific background and I am willing to change my beliefs on evidence, I assure you. If the facts change I’ll change my mind. Just because I look at the motives that drove the Orange Movement, doesn’t mean I justify them. The hearsay and conjecture will always exist, but the passions, the hatreds, the fears … these are the only things we can take lessons from.

  • Kevin Breslin

    There is a truth in the existence of these lies, and the absence of the full truth.

    The common people of Ireland Protestant or Catholic would have been as privy to the machinations of either king as the average Pole, Czech or Lithuanian was to the inner circles of the Nazi party before they invaded.

    The Churches were the power because it educated, it informed, it brought communities together when nothing in the political establishment would have done so. So when the churches took sides, the people did.

    Perhaps equally ironic is the legacy of Lord Castlereagh who is neither a hero nor villain of the United Kingdom he helped create and neither a hero nor villain the Ireland he wished to emancipate through it. He’s a forgotten figure in both unionist and nationalist histories.

  • aber1991

    A community cleavage resulting from differences in cultures can continue long after the cultures have changed.

    In Ulster the native race changing their language during the 19th century did not reduce inter-tribal tensions. Indeed, the tribal tensions seem to have increased. Most of the settler race discarding their religions in the first half of the 20th century did not reduce tribal tensions. Most of the native race discarding their religion in the second half of the 20th century will not reduce tribal tensions.

    Please accept realities. We are US and they are THEM. Sorry for lowering the tone and raining on your parade.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Kevin, in writing a book about that year, I found myself looking at the real moral worth of usually quite ordinary people from all ranks of society and loyalties in that year. There are many admirable people, but the broader issues still require an honest airing and the myth of Derry’s suffering has been the source of untold misery, both at the time and ever since, in being used to confirm the moral rightness of both whig and ascendency dominance over the entire Irish people.

    I think some of the towns leaders were perfectly honest men, but it’s notable that Mitchelbourne, who possibly did more than anyone else to train the garrison and ensure the towns holding out spent much time in confinement after taking care to bury his friend old Robert Ramsey, a Jacobite colonel killed at first Windmill Hill, with full military honours. This was seen as a sort of treason against teh garrison he had been key in training from a rabble to a fighting force

    This example underlines the scapegoating taht also went on, for there was also an edge of ignorant fanaticism in the town, something of the atmosphere described by Wilfred Trotter in his influential “Instincts of the Herd in peace and War”, and it does no-one credit to ignore this and sentimentalise the very mixed motives that drove the defenders at that time, courage yes, but bitter hatred of Roman Catholics, sufficent to make them reject religious liberty from james’s hands simply so that catholics would be denied such liberty also.

    The other more savvy protestant people outside the walls were trading with the Jacobite camp quite freely, and just getting on with their normal lives farming and making money rather than starving with those who had been terrorised by a concocted story of a re-run of 1641. Oldmixon, the Whig propagandist, had to search hard to find just two credible atrocity stories linked to the Jacobite army during the entire war, as against the terrible catalogue of atrocity that still shows even after the heresay evidence has been abstracted from the 1641 depositions! The war of 1689 was that black and white. The “fear of oppression” was entirely a propaganda fabrication, and although I may pity those so fooled, there is nothing intrinsically admirable about people who have been manipulated by their own ingrained hatreds into accepting the lies others tell them.

    No real history is ever comfortable, for there are few untarnished heros or causes and much of what people do in public life is driven by self interest or fear rather than altruism. I myself, with more than a smidgen of cynicism and critical awareness as an historian, was surprised at just how clean James’s motives seem to be on very close scrutiny. While not unique, such people are very rare in history, and this makes his postumious reputation amongst us as a despot and fanatic, all the more culpable.

    Just an aside, when his remains were dug up during the French Revolution, they were protected by some local jacobins who described him as a “poor sans-coulotte King, who had also suffered himself from Crowned Tyranny”. Interesting.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I entirely agree with you, Kevin, on just how impossible it is for ordinary people to ever be privy to the genuine drivers of realpolitic. But it is a start if they are offered the “real history”, even if this will make it impossible for ever again swallow the much loved myths they have grown up with. This disillusion is an important stage in developing an unneurotic, healthy polity that is not fixed in a cycle of self-aggrandising illusions sustained by misinformation. The same rules that govern individual mental health apply to the collective mental health of a community. Lies and self-delusions will always distort and poison peoples views and opinions, and Yeats’ “desolation of reality” is very much the channel of overcoming this.

    No great fan of Castlereagh myself, but then he’s not in my “period”, but please (I’m serious) let me know why I should re-evaluate my own myths, derived from Shelley and family tradition, (an ancestor who was in the second Volunteer Company of Belfast knew him as Mr Stewart). I’m open to anything new…….

  • Biftergreenthumb

    “A community cleavage resulting in differences in cultures can continue long after the cultures have changed.”

    The NI conflict wasn’t about cultural differences. It was about one group disenfranchising another. It was about civil rights. All the nonsense about cultural differences and “our culture, our heritage” is just a way for Sinn Fein and the DUP to justify their existence.

    However, I agree that division within a society can continue even when the conditions that produced that division have changed. Holding on to an “us and them” tribalist ideology is how this is done. Talk of “native” and “settler races” and “us and them” nonsense is exactly what maintains the “community cleavage” here.

    “Please accept realities.”

    There is no reality in what you say. You are using ideas people used and stories people told 40-50 years ago to understand their reality. Times have changed and reality with it. You are the one that needs to accept the reality of 21 century NI rather than dwelling in sectarian cloud cuckoo land.

  • Zeno1

    I wasn’t talking about you Kevin.

  • aber1991

    What you see as “reality”, I see as silliness. BUT, so long as you do not try to impose your “we should trust Protestants” ideology on Catholics, I have no quarrel with you. I hope that time proves you right and me wrong.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    My ideology has nothing to do with getting catholics to trust protestants. My ideology is that Northern Ireland’s main problem is tribalism and as long as people continue to define themselves by the constitutional question and religions they don’t even believe in we will be doomed to live in a sectarian dump.

  • alexbr

    Would that be the same prods who screamed filth at primary school children in between spitting on them and throwing condoms filled with urine and pipe bombs?
    If that had happened the other way unionists would have been eyeing another bloody sunday.
    Holy Cross primary will probably close in the near future as many parents wont risk another onslaught.
    Congratulations you can put holy cross on your orange banners and claim the victory.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Foreign?
    How was St Columba foreign?

  • alexbr

    Decades of voting for a party, the UUP and knowing how they kept catholics in their place. People like Chris have no shame.
    Have the UUP and orange order ever said sorry or showed even a drop of remorse?
    They justify the UVF gunrunning and threat of violence when they were never treated as 2nd class but when northern catholics suffered discrimination and use weapons they cry blue murder.

  • aber1991

    Do yourself a good turn. Get used to living in a sectarian dump – or migrate to the mainland.

  • aber1991

    Celtic play a foreign game.

  • aber1991

    Yes, that just about sums it.

    Oppressor tribes rarely admit to their guilt so the whining of the Prods is predictable and understandable.

    What really provokes me is the behaviour of Eire people. They have never had to endure Protestant tyranny. Their ancestors abandoned us to that tyranny. Yet they have the audacity to preach at us and tell us how we must Not protect ourselves – and they never make any constructive suggestions as to how we might protect ourselves.

  • aber1991

    “The sectarian mass murderers of Kingsmill are still protected to this day.”
    The same applies to the Prods who, on the previous evening, murdered 6 Catholics in their homes.

  • aber1991

    “I am holding you responsible for statements coming from aber1991”

    I meet Prod sectarianism with Catholic sectarianism. You Prods need a taste of your own medicine.

  • LordSummerisle

    It is a political issue not a religious one. Any wonder no one takes him seriously outside his own study.