Orange Order open new museum without the Tricolour.

A big deal or a storm in a tea cup? As journalists went to the opening of a new museum to commeorate important events involving Orange culture they noticed something missing on the outside of the building

But the Orange Order had an explanation;

The former Irish President, Mary McAleese was at the opening and made no comment about it.

Have the Orange Order missed a trick? Should they have raised the Tricolour to represent their lodges in the South and make a step towards the “inclusive unionism” that Peter Robinson regularly talks about?

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  • Carl Mark

    You must explain how Tony granted wish’s from a list, what wish’s, who too, when?

  • John Collins

    Well there certainly was not universal sufferage in local authority elections and this was what led to there being a Unionist controlled corporation in Derry when they had one third of what should have been the electorate

  • John Collins

    All right Tom. Point taken. However I do feel the people in the South should have their say on these matters, after all these suggestions have been bandied about long enough.

  • james

    And what did the covenant say?

  • james

    That’s so last century.

  • james

    Wishes*. OTR’s.

  • Adam Martin

    Stupid comment.

  • james

    Do you also still refer to the US state of Texas as Comancheria, by any chance?

  • james

    “I dis say band members who broke the law should be punished. Have you a problem with that?”

    No problem with crimes being punished under the law, as long as that applies to everyone. Even if they are now political fat cats up at Stormont and sporting Armani suits.

  • Carl Mark

    No! don’t know what that has to do with it.

  • Reader

    Carl Mark: explain how exactly how paying people to play offensive tunes to their neighbours is Christian…
    Sorry for being so long getting back to this topic. My point was that both the OO and republicans are being hypocritical about their own symbols and standards. My followup reply to kensei made this point.

  • james

    Why, it’s almost as if the 20th Century never happened in your world view. Nigh on 100 years Northern Ireland has been independent from Ireland, ever since Ireland seceded, in fact.

  • Carl Mark

    well James I am sorry if it disturbs you, but the present circumstances will not last for ever, Just getting ahead of events.

  • james

    Nothing lasts forever, mo chara. But nobody really knows what the future holds. Pethaps we will be governed directly from London again. Would be welcome in my view.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Exactly: so why are you asking the OO to fly the tricolour then?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I accept their legal right under current law to do that.
    It’s democratic in the old majoritarian pre-72 sense, but not in the 21st Century consensus-decision-making sense. If politics in Northern Ireland generally followed Belfast City Council’s approach, we’d most likely have a unionist government in Stormont. I don’t think simple majority rule on controversial decisions is really the way to go post-GFA; decisions need to be made with the qualified consent of both communities wherever possible.

    Also, on flag, it’s not simply a council matter. There is also an obligation to respect the wider community’s decision on sovereignty. And in Belfast, there is the added complication that the building is both the council chamber and an icon for the city as a whole, significant parts of which are not in the Belfast City Council area. Decisions on the City Hall affect not just those in the council area but a much wider constituency in Greater Belfast as a whole. Further, as the centre of the capital city of the province, it has an even wider role still. So I’d caution against a narrow legalistic approach to the flags issue there, it’s much more complex.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You really think one side had all the advantages? So a middle class Catholic doctor is “dominated” by an out of work Prod bin man? You may have missed a class dynamic or two there.

    If only it were about a quest for equality, that would be easy. It would then all be settled. But nationalism has traditionally made negative judgements about British life in Ireland and British people, seeking success for itself by denigrating us and portraying its own national allegiance as somehow “better”. It talks the talk of equality but too often walks the walk of ethnic chauvinism.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    fair point though – how can people who won’t fly the union jack complain about the OO not flying the tricolour? It’s kind of a no-brainer

  • MainlandUlsterman

    the British state funds all sorts of Irish nationalist activities in NI … massive double standards here if people are demanding loyalty to the flag because of that

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Arthur Aughey has written about how respectable Irish nationalism loves the OO at one level:
    “Ironically, cultural nationalists actually do appreciate Orangeism for it allows them, through the good offices of televisual imagery, to show firstly how very Irish, though uncreatively Irish, the Protestants really are, and secondly how very un-British these uncreative people really are.”

  • james

    You seem very sure of it. Odd, considering that the last century has repeatedly failed to move us any closer to unification. Indeed, like a man reaching out and prodding at a floating tyre with a very very long thin and wobbly stick, the SF project has managed not to entice it closer but to push it farther away. And is dangerously close to sinking the whole dream. Far from being disturbed, I find myself laying up on the bank, chewing a blade of grass, chuckling at the doomed effort and idly wondering if the exasperated, flushed fellow will topple in and get a ducking. Thus, I find it amusing that the last roll of the dice by Republicans is the somewhat desperate attempt to convince unionists that there is any reason whatever to panic. Sunny afternoon as well. Happy days.

  • Devil Eire

    “It’s kind of a no-brainer”

    It is, but not in the way you intended. Can you point out where SF have complained about the OO not flying the tricolor?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I was referring generally to people who won’t fly the union jack in Northern Ireland complaining about the OO not flying the Republic’s flag there. Ample evidence of that on this thread, just scroll …

  • Devil Eire

    But the comment you claimed was a “fair point” was specifically about the union jack flying off SF HQ, not a general point about “people who won’t fly the union jack in Northern Ireland complaining about the OO not flying the Republic’s flag there”.

    The OP is pointing out what is arguably hypocrisy from the OO.

    Your more general point is irrelevant, unless you can demonstrate that the “people who won’t fly the union jack in Northern Ireland” while “complaining about the OO not flying the Republic’s flag there” are also being hypocritical.

    Once you have achieved that, you will have raised the level of your argument from irrelevance to whataboutery.

  • sk

    No it isn’t a fair point. It’s a ridiculous point. And the fact that these silly comparisons seem to be the agreed “fall-back” position amongst the unionist contributors merely serves to highlight the paucity of their argument.

  • sk

    ” It talks the talk of equality but too often walks the walk of ethnic chauvinism.”

    What an ironic comment for a unionist to make during the marching season.

  • Nobody is making demands of anyone; just pointing out the amusing oddity (and obvious bitterness) of the situation.

    If the Orange Order wish to conduct themselves in such petty fashion, they’re more than free to do so; it’ll do their “credibility” no favours and people will just continue to laugh at them.

  • barnshee

    Share you idea with Causeway and Glens where the vote is to fly the union flag “Apparently that’s … democratic! do you accept their right … to fly the flag?

  • barnshee

    “Barnshee you really are a voice from the past. A vote for SF is a vote for a political party and a political party only. Is a vote for the UU a vote for the UVF of 1912?”

    Agreed –Happy to have SF appearing in say 2096

  • barnshee

    “Quite a number of Protestants lived near me down in East CorK”

    With protestant pop of some 2% in the ROI at “quite a number ” you may have cornered the market.

  • barnshee

    I think a modest crowd of Dubliners politely clapping Willie would produce a seizure on the spot

  • barnshee

    Portstewart Dunloy and Portrush to start with

  • barnshee

    The purpose of terrorism is to terrorise– killing the innocent goes hand and hand with that

  • barnshee

    Neither the Irish or Brit governments have cheeped when the flags have been misused

    BOTH governments should have disowned the usage the gombeen men still use it ? –the governments have created clear water between them and the gombeens and those responsible for dragging it in the mud are clearly isolated

  • Roger

    I’m surprised. I thought the OO would be dieing out in IRL…Not such a religious place these days.

  • Roger

    St Patrick didn’t have a cross; he wasn’t a martyr. It’s bogus.

  • Roger

    Like I’ve said, I don’t mind about this OO decision but I don’t agree at all with your explanation. That there is an All Irelnd OO Lodge is irrelevant to flying state flags. The island is split between two states and why wouldn’t both state flags appear on that basis.

  • Roger

    Does that mean you favour UK flags on Donegal Co. Co. offices and Meath Co. Co. offices?

  • Roger

    Don’t agree with any of this. It was perfectly fine and 21st century for a council to decide about the flag over its building…

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Please feel free to check it out for yourself……..

  • Carl Mark

    I believe the matter of who runs the republic is settled, its the Irish!
    The GFA agreement applies here, your point is a strawman.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Ill-advised to make a non-cross-community decision on that area for Belfast, with such an ethnic balance. So, so important to get both communities on board.

    Note, this couldn’t have happened in the Assembly, because the Assembly for all its woes was designed so as to avoid one community being able to vote through contentious measures opposed en bloc by the other community. Belfast City Council should really try to be more in tune with that key aspect of post-GFA politics, instead of reverting to the old-style majoritarian approach which both nationalists and unionists voted to move beyond in 1998.

  • Roger

    “So, so important to get both communities on board.”

    No decision would still have been a decision. A decision to fly the official flag every day of the year. Both communities were not on board with that. A democratic process found a middle way.

    At the Assembly, no flag flies over the building every day. The London Government already dictated a middle path for them there.

  • Roger

    All these polls I read about how few Catholics would like a united Ireland

  • Roger

    It’s true “British” is a broader-church term than “Irish”. Don’t disagree there. You’ve got people in places like the Caribbean who haven’t a drop of Anglo Saxon blood but who feel British. It is legacy of the UK’s rich history.

    I wouldn’t really agree that the union wasn’t a homogenising project. Look at Irish history. When we joined the union, most Irish were denied the right to vote because they would not conform to the state promoted religion etc. Look how obsessed the British were on insisting we keep the Crown at independence etc.

    I don’t really understand about the “converting” bit. I suppose winning hearts and minds is equally applicable to whatever side one takes, if one wants to ‘win’. The British, after all, tried once to ‘kill home rule with kindness’. At the time, they saw a need to “convert” many Irish to happy subjects. They tried, but ultimately failed.

    About the UK being a better container than Ireland: well, I guess it’s hard to know. It is rather crude, but I can only think of the comparison of how well (or not well) the protestants of Ireland proper have got on since independence versus the Catholics of Northern Ireland. It isn’t a perfect comparison and is a story of mixed results. But I look at my own broader family and see how irrelevant all of the historic strife is to those of that community that I know now. I compare that to NI. It leaves a big doubt in my mind about the UK being the better container. Though we can never know for sure as we don’t know what would have happened if the former Ireland hadn’t been partitioned.

  • Roger

    They could probably only fit so many flags so it was practicality that would draw the line. Looked from the picture that they had about as many flags as one could properly put up.

  • Roger

    The matter of who runs NI is settled too – it’s the UK. That’s in the GFA. It’s why Ireland dropped Art.s 2+3 etc.

    Just like any other part of the UK, the people in NI could decide to change that position….No different to England, Wales or Scotland.

  • Roger

    I “understand” why some murders are committed. That’s irrelevant to whether they are right or wrong.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    It is hard to know, I’d agree. But on your comparison of southern Protestants and northern Catholics, the numbers tell a story. The one who are left may see the historical strife as an irrelevance now, but of course most left. The alienation experienced by Protestants in the South in the 20s and 30s is hardly a great endorsement of the Irish nationalist project, though I’m not suggesting it would happen in the same way in a future Irish NI – the dynamics would be quite different.

    I’m not sure you’ve persuaded me about the union and British nationality being a homogenising project – I think so, so much more diversity is woven into the fabric of Britishness than Irishness, they really aren’t comparable. And it’s unfair on Ireland to compare really, it can’t possibly provide the multi-national varied tapestry of identities that a country of 65 million can.

    On the converting bit, I think it’s a huge problem for Irish nationalism and it needs to make its mind up what it is really saying now. Until the watershed of 1998 when it finally recognised the equal legitimacy of British identity on the island, its position was that we were all Irish people whether we realised it or not, and other identities didn’t really count as ‘national’ identities, being some kind of ‘false consciousness’. Though insulting and plain wrong, it was at least an internally coherent position: Ireland must be unified as one nation because the people on the island are one people, goes the traditional Irish nationalist line. Unionists always pointed out the basic denial of reality involved in that – to suggest that there were not two competing national allegiances on the island was absurd. And finally in 1998, nationalism conceded we’d been right all along. That brought it into the real world, but left it facing the existential crisis it had swept under the carpet for the best part of a century: if we now accept there are two peoples on the island with different national identities and allegiances, then it is no longer obvious why there is a pressing need for them to be moved into a single nation; and if they are, to what extent is that new amalgam then still “Irish”?

    If it wants unity now, it either needs to convert those of British identity and allegiance into losing it and adopting an Irish one; or it needs to no longer seek to create a single Irish nation but a joint Irish-British one, merging the two peoples without converting anyone.

    It would be very uncomfortable for many in the South to have to give up the form of Irish identity they have been used to in order to accommodate the new shared identity. I can’t see them wanting to. But if they don’t, then any new shared Ireland will be a sham, it will just be an Irish Catholic takeover of Ulster Protestants. Big problem. And it must be said, imperfect though the UK is, it doesn’t require the re-engineering of a state and a national identity in order to contain the two peoples of Northern Ireland.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    We ended up with a flag-flying situation that I don’t have a problem with, but it wasn’t cross-community consensus democratic process, it was a majority vote democratic process. Nationalism argued for decades against the majoritarian approach and I agree with them. The process does matter – that’s how you carry people with you and avoid resentment and the seeds of future conflict.

  • Roger

    Obviously, I agree: process matters. It was indeed ultimately a majority only decision without consensus. Just the same as the previous flag-flying situation was. But outcomes and the ability to achieve them matter too. I don’t think even nationalism ever argued that all decisions must require consensus. That would just mean paralysis because it is not realistic to think people will always agree. Paralysis can equally lead to conflict too. It is inherently dysfunctional. I supposed the UK could dictate Stormont-style rules for council flags too and for how they make all decisions. Or they could just abolish all the councils and have civil servants make the decisions or some variation like that. But consensus in all matters is not realistic.

  • Roger

    Numbers certainly do tell stories. Some general thoughts:

    I’ve always understood that there was a mass exodus of Protestants from Ireland in the 20s and 30s. I think it was more dramatic than any other exodus from the entire island during the last century.

    But very many who left were associated with the old regime, so to speak. In this way, there were comparable exoduses of colonial peoples from lots of ex-colonies during the twentieth century. Indeed, I’d say it was much more the exception for there not to be. Whether a particular independence project was a success or not, I think in most cases there was an exodus. The droves of Portuguese, French and Brits leaving sunny colonies are what I think of here. That doesn’t mean Ireland of the 20s and 30s was a heaven for religious minorities, but it does put the exodus in a broader context. Moreover, when one considers how Catholics in NI were treated during the same period, the idea that the UK is the ‘obvious’ better container looks not too convincing at all.

    Then there is the less obvious exodus that I am more hazy on the numbers about. I’d love if some numbers buff would contribute on this. I’m open to correction but my impression is that had those Catholics who were born in NI since its creation emigrated from NI at the same rate as Protestants, Catholics would be a large majority by now. I think that in fact there was rather a relative exodus of NI Catholics. Again, so much for the UK being an ‘obviously’ better container. One community definitely prospered far better than the other in NI.

    Then, on the ‘better container’ theory, I also think of the 25 years of the ‘Troubles’. They stand in contrast to the peace Ireland enjoyed.

    Maybe Ireland is/would be a better container for the Irish and the UK is/would be a better container for the British? That actually sounds much more plausible to me. Alas, neither has been an ideal container for both.

    I accept you hold to your opinions on the UK not having been a homogenising project. I pointed to some major themes of the Irish experience in the Union but it didn’t affect your view. I won’t persist!

    “And it must be said, imperfect though the UK is, it doesn’t require the re-engineering of a state and a national identity in order to contain the two peoples of Northern Ireland.”

    Well, I certainly agree. The UK has ‘contained’ those two peoples for over 90 years now. It can indeed do the job! At least for those who don’t choose to leave. I But how well is the question. Being very broad-brush, I don’t personally regard the track record as impressive at all!

    I should mention that I don’t think there will ever be a united Ireland, although I’d like one. But that doesn’t dim my interest in topics like this! I do rather love Ireland and Northern Ireland, all of it!

    Since starting this post, I did some googling and came across this study. It pertains to numbers. The Catholic ‘exodus’ from NI was just as bad as I thought it was….QUOTE: Between 1881 and 1971…Protestants retained their share of the population through most of the period despite a birth rate 50 percent lower than the corresponding Catholic rate…”

    http://www.sneps.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/1-Dominant-Ethnicity-demography-and-conflict_revision-Dec2010.pdf

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Yes Roger, that was undoubtedly the reason :

    “Any more room up there Tommy?”

    “There is not Jim. I could undo this here Toga flag but she’d be a fitterin’ match!”

    “Never mind then Tommy, sure no one will notice, it’s just a flag…”

  • Roger

    Obviously it’s up to the GAA and I don’t disagree with a word you said.

  • Roger

    Obviously it’s up to the GAA, which doesn’t mean we can’t have opinions on what the GAA should do. And I obviously don’t disagree with a word you said.

  • Roger

    so how many members of the OO in Togo are there then? if their flag is to be replaced by Ireland’s, some objective factor like numbers in the OO sounds like a good basis to me. I’d guess (don’t know) that the numbers in the OO in Ireland are really tiny by now.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    That’s logical enough.

    Our very own Joe hoggs, our resident orangeman formerly of this site was insistent (if I recall correctly) that numbers down south were rising at a healthy rate.

    It would be an interesting comparison.

  • Roger

    Has Joe Hoggs been to Togo lately too?

    I’m skeptical, and admittedly, not well informed about rising numbers in the OO in Ireland. It’s a country that has recently, and somewhat overwhelmingly, redefined marriage. I don’t think its fertile ground for protestant fundamentalism.

    I’ve never been to Togo but it is a poor Christian country. Religion is the opium of the people and all that. I bet the OO in Togo does better than in Ireland….

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    What would please you more Roger?
    Hearing that the OO’s membership is on the rise in south or that the OO is dying in the South?

    It may not be fertile ground for Protestant fundamentalism, that’s a duff point though, very few of the OO men I’ve met in my life (loads of them BTW) were fundamentalist, it’s not a requirement for membership as far as I’m aware.

    BTW, there appears (from this article anyway, I will dig further) to be less lodges in Togo than the Republic of Ireland:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Order#West_Africa

  • Roger

    I suppose, I’d like it if the OO was flourishing in Ireland as I’d see it as positive for diversity. Even if I’m not that keen on organisations like the OO.

    I didn’t suggest being a fundamentalist or fundamentalism was a requirement for membership. I suggested something more subtle: a very religious (i.e. fundamentalist in my book, albeit that term is so vague that maybe it’s not helpful) society is more fertile ground for the OO. Ireland is going in the opposite direction to religion and so, intuitively, I think it’s increasingly barren ground for religious organisations including the OO. Do you disagree with that too?

    I wouldn’t go by numbers of lodges in Ireland. A historical legacy will be that there were many lodges in the past and some might linger on. But the vibrancy is what I’m talking about. How many turn up to lodge in Togo v Ireland. I don’t know the answer to that one.