Young Conway Volunteers sail home

Thirteen members of Young Conway Volunteers have been found innocent of provocatively playing a sectarian tune outside St Patrick’s Church in July 2012. They played the tune made famous by the Beach Boys: “Sloop John B”. At their initial trial they had been found guilty as the tune is also that of “The Famine Song”. However, as demonstrated by the defence counsel the tune is also used with multiple different lyrics. At the initial hearing they were found guilty but this has been overturned with the Crown offering no evidence provided the band members agreed to being bound over to keep the peace.

Clearly the court accepted that the fact that a tune has other potentially offensive sectarian lyrics does not mean that when one is playing the tune they automatically mean it to be the sectarian one. Had this not been overturned playing almost any tune could have been deemed sectarian if someone had written alternative lyrics.

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  • Jack Stone

    It was my contention, that due to cases brought down from the European Court of Human Rights that just “keeping the peace” was found to be insufficiently precise and thus the conduct to be refrained from should be particularized within the order. I can dig up the particular cases, if you need them.

    Also, it still does not require a complaint but it does require that the court feel that there is a real risk, not a mere possibility, of the bound conduct continuing and of a breach of the peace occurring. In this case in particular, the offenders and the prosecution came together in the making of the order and its terms in exchange for the prosecutors offering no evidence so I am sure that the offenders did not resist the order or challenge the bind over order. But they had the right to.

  • Robin Keogh

    Special needs

  • Jack Stone

    Also most of the YCV have been bound over for years already. The reality of this case is that the bind over orders as an alternative to criminal proceedings probably were the correct response to begin with but the media focus was so great that the prosecutions were a bit overzealous.

  • Robin Keogh

    How can i be a hypocrite condemning one action when u dont know what my views are on a similar action?

  • Thomas Girvan

    Well it is good that it has been sorted.
    We have to beware of those who choose to be easily offended just to stir the sh*t.
    Let’s face it it was a lot of silly nonsense, and how much has it cost the taxpayer?

  • Dan

    Ludicrous prosecution to begin with.
    Offended by everything.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    It appears to be Niamh’s first comment ever on slugger.

    That’s what Mac Tire was referring to.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Thomas, do you genuinely feel that the behaviour of the band was not offensive?

    Would you tolerate similar behaviour outside a protestant church by a republican band?

    And if so does that mean that the congregation of Dungiven CoI should not be upset at the parading behaviour of Kevin Lynch FB when it parades past their building?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Dan

    Could you give an example of offensive behaviour by a loyalist marching band please?

    What are the qualifiers?

  • T.E.Lawrence

    It is indeed Eireanne. I like the words of both versions. Got to know this song long time ago before the Irish Rugby and Football fans began singing it. Used to be my work colleague, Michael’s Party Piece at our Christmas Dinner in the old Chimney Corner Hotel.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    I remember the Regal Jazz Band walking on the 12th July in Belfast with Sandy Row District and wee Freddie Barr from Charles Street South drumming to the half size jazz drums all fully dressed up in his Jazz Clothes, Bowler Hat, Dickie Bow Tie and Braces etc. Class Act ! As a matter of fact they played during the Summer months in the Bandstand at Botanic Gardens. Always had a soft spot for the old Jazz Music !

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’m old enough to remember it on the radio…………

  • PeterBrown

    Why? Those who set out to deliberately cause offence there are not even the subject of a PC determination despite numerous infractions never mind a criminal prosecution in an example of the double standards RK is getting so exercised about further down this thread

  • PeterBrown

    Behaviour which I have pointed out above the Parades Commission refuses to even act upon never mind the police / PPS prosecuting them for and which is organised by and then followed by speeches from Sinn Fein (the same people issuing press releases about Donegall Street when the priest isn’t even offended)> For the record this behaviour was wrong but there should be no crocodile tears from republicans

  • PeterBrown

    Ah got it

  • PeterBrown

    Nice – do you need a link to the website standards? Without sounding like a Premiership football where are the cards admins? How about actually condemning behaviour of your comrades in Dungiven instead of ad hominem attacks

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “For the record this behaviour was wrong but there should be no crocodile tears from republicans”
    That’s fair enough.

  • John Collins

    Exactly. Can anybody tell us of any other European country where marches of this nature take place throughout the Summer and on an annual basis, It makes one glad one was not born, reared or living in NI. And certainly makes one wonder why anyone would want a United Ireland, where this nonsense on both sides would be continued. Anyone watching Simon Reeve’s BBC2 programme could not but be embarrassed by the antics of those Orangemen featured in the programme. Haying said that the entire series, thankfully just two programmes, was full of other cringe inducing features.

  • Robin Keogh

    That wasnt actually meant for u the other answer is, and i criticised the Dungiven march way back when it happenned.

  • Neil

    Yeah, and that’s the problem. As things have panned out it would seem from scanning twitter and facebook that the way events have unfolded has now emboldened some Loyalists to reach the conclusion that they have been vindicated and in future they can go ahead and play what they like where they like. They should have either gone for the binding over order initially or pursued them until the judge threw the case out. I would also submit that suggesting they had been proven innocent to the degree where laughable warnings are being issued to be careful what you say is nonsense.

  • PeterBrown

    So who was “Special needs” meant for?

  • PeterBrown

    You’re assuming this is typical behaviour for these paraders – most are genuinely family friendly and less cringeworthy that that guy on about fairies

  • Robin Keogh

    It was a reply to another poster on another thread on another topic regarding Fianna Fail. Anyway, listen up i dont approve of any marches or parades that contrive to cause offense no matter who is doing the marching or parading.

  • Tochais Siorai

    I think Celtic fans were there first, T.E. probably after a European Cup match in Dortmund where a fan got hold of a mic in the main square and sang it in front of thousands. Many fans were familiar with it as some of the Irish players particularly Chris Morris had it as their party piece at supporters functions. The Liverpool version probably has its origin from the Ireland / Holland Euro play off game in the mid-90s held at Anfield. Rugby was a few years later with Munster adopting it first, despite Connacht fans wearily reminding them where Athenry actually is.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    You could be right TS but my first introduction of the song goes way back to the early 80s at our Christmas Do, as it would not of been much of a do if Michael had not give us all a good rendition of the Fields of Athenry as we all hugged and kissed each other and wished each other a Merry Christmas !

  • Tochais Siorai

    Ah yeah, it would have been popular enough in the late 70s and early 80s alright. I meant Celtic supporters seem to have been the first sports fans to adopt it.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Bugger! I’ve got both recorded, are you telling me I’d be better off deleting them?

    Always go for a drink on a Monday evening with three English mates, two of whom have seen it, they seemed to enjoy them but did comment on ” how in hell do they get away with those bonfires! “

  • John Collins

    AI
    My reply to Peter below sums up my attitude to the programmes.

  • John Collins

    Peter
    As far as I am concerned much of the content of the series are cringe worthy. I have seen several programmes on religious pilgrimages presented by Steven Reeve and they were most interesting. As you say the Eddie Lenihan interview was from another age, if such an age ever existed. Stephen’s constant preoccupation with the RC Churches influence in the Ireland of the seemingly very recent past was at the very least way over the top. If the series was made in the 1940s it might have some relation to reality, but in 2015 it seemed way out of kilter with modern Ireland. I felt the people that were interviewed were just too polite to tell Stephen to stop living in the distant past.
    I suppose seeing the somewhat fanciful way things in the South are presented it is little wonder that a somewhat warped representation of the OO might be also presented.
    However Peter I remember the 200 Anniversary celebrations of 1798 when there big marches in different villages throughout the county Wexford (and other areas) every weekend of that Summer. By the time it was over I just felt happy it was over as it just stirred old bad memories of a time which belonged in the past. I think the same applies to all marches commemorating old battles regardless of who organises them.

  • John Collins

    This song was written by Pete St John sometime in the mid to late 1970s. It is hardly a traditional song.

  • Thomas Girvan

    If I wasn’t there I would not be offended.
    If you don’t like the 12th of July parade, just stay away.
    As for Dungiven I wouldn’t give a monkeys’ as long as they are not disorderly. Maybe I am just not as sensitive as some, but then, thank God, I am an athiest.
    No one has the right, not to be offended. Live and let live.
    Looking at the St Patrick’s thing the tune was not an offensive one, if they had played the “Billy Boys” that would have been out of order,
    Sloop John B has been played on Orange parades since Lonnie Donegan first sang it, and he was a Catholic!
    A contrived storm in a teacup.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Pity, I was looking forward to watching it. I’ve never seen any of his programs but my mates say he’s not bad.

    They seemed to have enjoyed the two programmes and made no derogatory comments other than they thought the bonfires were ridiculous, and wouldn’t be allowed in England.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “If I wasn’t there I would not be offended”

    A straight-up dodge of the question I put to you.

    “If you don’t like the 12th of July parade, just stay away”.

    If it’s in the town centre of your town or village then a person may not have that luxury.

    “As for Dungiven I wouldn’t give a monkeys’ as long as they are not disorderly.”

    Well, does stopping outside the church, marching around in circles and playing a tune that could be interpreted as an offensive tune not count as ‘disorderly’?

    What about if they just went about their business in an orderly fashion or indeed were respectful of other people’s sensibilities and decided not to play outside certain places of worship full stop?

    Would you oppose a scenario where republican bands wouldn’t play outside Protestant churches and loyalist bands wouldn’t play outside of Catholic churches?

    “Live and let live” – marching in circles outside a church singing a song that could easily be interpreted as offensive where some of the locals may take offense is hardly ‘live and let live’.

    “Looking at the St Patrick’s thing the tune was not an offensive one, if they had played the “Billy Boys” that would have been out of order,”

    They had the choice of being silent and respectful whilst passing the church and they had the right to say;
    “actually, this tune might get mistaken for another one that really winds some people up, especially during the most tense time of the year, so let’s play ‘The Flinstones’ or Game of Thrones instead so that there is no room for error…”

    But they didn’t.

    They chose to be as offensive as they could whilst still having the merest cloak of deniability around them, which makes it all the more cowardly.

  • Thomas Girvan

    So how does this offence you take manifest itself?
    Do you wake up in a cold sweat.
    Do you develop panic attacks when the Beach Boys are played on the radio?
    Have you been taking counselling?
    Yes, you are a sensitive soul, obviously not hardened to the harsh realities that life inevietably throws your way.
    Austerity,…. global warming…. Islamist terrorism…. and to cap it all…..Sloop John B!
    By the way, I didn’t realise that the YCV actually sang it.
    If they did that whilst playing the flute,and walking in a circle, they could be contenders for next year’s Britain’s got Talent!
    It would be a change from a performing dog!

  • Dan

    Quite a lot of the behaviour of both loyalist and republican bands will leave me describing them as wankers….the wee paramilitary outfits, the spidetastic look many of them have whilst they think they as hard as nails, the reverence to scumbag associates etc, but walking round in circles playing a tune on their flutes doesn’t warrant a prosecution in my eyes.

  • Dan

    Well, I did reply, but such sensitive souls on here.. It’s gone

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Actually, when you put it like that I’m inclined to agree.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “So how does this offence you take manifest itself?”

    It doesn’t so much offend me as embarrass me and make me wonder what’s happened to the marching culture whenever something that is quite clearly wrong still finds so much support.

    They had no call to be doing that and if people keep supporting of defending such ape-like behaviour then it’s never gonna stop.

    “Yes, you are a sensitive soul, obviously not hardened to the harsh realities that life inevietably throws your way.


    Naw just someone who spent his youth going to parades and buying Black Mountain Records flute band tapes and as such knows b******t in the flute band scene when he sees it.
    This “it’s only a bunch of lads playing Beach Boys tunes!” excuse is quite clearly b******t”.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    And you still haven’t answered the question:
    ” do you genuinely feel that the behaviour of the band was not offensive? “

  • submariner

    You do know that the Young Conway Volunteers are like so many other loyalist bands open supporters of loyalist terrorists.

  • Thomas Girvan

    Not to me it wouldn’t be, but maybe others would find it so.
    As the man would say “They are easily annoyed!”
    There are a lot of things that I find offensive, and they are not illegal, and either should they be.
    I am tolerant and not particularly easily offended.
    Mind you I don’t like hypocrites,and there are loads of them about, slagging off the other side for being bigots, when they themselves are even more bigoted.
    Now that does offend me!

  • Thomas Girvan

    I give up, what’s the word?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    It rhymes with ‘tools fit’…

  • chrisjones2

    …and the court has to take into account the Human Rights Act. The course of action you suggest would be a clear breach of Article 6 rights to fair trial and legal representation – specifically Articles 6.3 b, c and d

  • Catcher in the Rye

    If I wasn’t there I would not be offended.

    You’re not offended by anything that does not happen in your presence ? I doubt that is at all true.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Either no one should be doing it or everyone is allowed to do it

    I think nobody should be doing it and prosecutions should proceed in both cases.

    What do you think ?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I am not a republican.

    The fools are the people who think that innocent people are the sort of people who would consent to being bound over to keep the peace.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    In this case Peter the DPP agreed to the proposal that they would be bound over to keep the peace in exchange for not challenging the appeal.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Whose fault is it that Unionist politicians refuse to complain to the Parades Commission about a sectarian parade in Dungiven ? if they did – and they should – restrictions would almost certainly, and rightly, be imposed.

    None of that justifies the republican parade in the first place. But there is a core point here; if someone suggests to you that what you are doing is unreasonable, it is fair that you should take them at face value and modify your behaviour.

  • PeterBrown

    The politicians have complained and the PC still doesn’t act – in fact to rub salt into the wound it considers the parade as potentially controversial then deems no action necessary (check out its website) -on what grounds do you suppose it treats these parades and action differently Catcher?

  • PeterBrown

    Neither – no other loyal orders districts outside Belfast even try to get away with this sort of thing but the turning of a blind eye to similar actions by their opposite numbers is used to justify it so any clampdown needs to be even handed. I await universal calls for an end to this discrimination – all parades restricted or none, all breaches prosecuted or none

  • PeterBrown

    Do they stay indoors on 5th November ? Also believe it or not I suspect because its hard to legislate against them I suspect that there may not actually be legislation which renders them illegal per se – like this public order problem you have to stretch other laws to and sometimes beyond breaking point to make a case. Anything that includes this sort of bonfire includes someone burning garden waste and therefore hasn’t been passed (I’m subject to correction on this)…

  • PeterBrown

    An implicit acceptance in the face of the new evidence that that was all they could hope for – a legal fig leaf as it were to stop others claiming this was a politically motivated withdrawal

  • Anglo-Irish

    No they don’t stay indoors on bonfire night, like myself they are parents and grandparents and have experience of November the 5ths dating back to our own childhoods over 60 years ago.

    To attempt to equate what happens in England on bonfire night with the total sectarian nonsense that happens in NI in and around the 12th is ridiculous.

    You either have no experience of an English Guy Fawkes night event or you are being deliberately disingenuous in comparing them.

    Moving people from their homes and boarding the houses up in order to facilitate this nonsense shouldn’t be allowed, but the NI authorities tip toe around in a manner which wouldn’t happen in Britain.

    Building monstrous bonfires using pallets and tyres, with effigies of your neighbours spiritual leader and countries flag on top whilst singing sectarian songs and walking around with KAT painted on children’s faces is totally against British values.

    Having said which, the caricature of ‘Britishness’ displayed by the ‘loyalist’ community in NI is laughable, or it would be if it wasn’t for the inherent nastiness involved.

  • PeterBrown

    What is your personal experience of the Eleventh Night and who is burned on 5th November and why? One fire last year involved evacuating homes but let that stop you making an unfounded sweeping generalisation….

  • Jack Stone

    Then why not take up the appeal? If you were the offenders, if beating the charge was a sure thing, then why not take it to the appeals court?

  • Jack Stone

    Could you expand on this? To the best of my knowledge that this would be covered in the breach hearing (and such a hearing would be a civil hearing and subject to the civil standard of proof). What is your reasoning for this response?

  • Anglo-Irish

    Unfounded and sweeping? Good one!

    Why don’t you have a word with the Belfast Telegraph with regard to the fact that they hold the same view as I, and most people that I know , about the annual nonsense in NI?

    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwihsLunwMXJAhVG1RoKHe5xAjQQFggwMAM&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.belfasttelegraph.co.uk%2Fsunday-life%2Fshameful-bonfire-scenes-cast-belfast-in-bad-light-as-no-other-tourist-destination-would-allow-this-to-happen-31372118.html&usg=AFQjCNH4vRA40_0ZtvMdKFvASK9Ok8v8SQ

    The headline ‘ No other tourist destination would allow this to happen ‘ says it all.

    And I know all about the ‘gunpowder plot’ and what it entailed but you know what, the majority of English people don’t use the occasion as an opportunity to display religious hatred, in fact Catholics brought up in England take part in Bonfire night just like everyone else.

  • PeterBrown

    Erm because they can’t appeal if their appeal was actually successful and the case was withdrawn – all they could have done was not accept the binding over

  • PeterBrown

    Good use of a headline from an article that refers to 2 individual bonfires there – Googling for support for something you said without evidence can backfire as we know from past experience. As for your second point I accept that Bonfire Night in England is universally supported despite being a commemoration of a religiously inspired persecution – that presuming involved toning down the religious element and the Catholics choosing not to take offence. We still need both here in Northern Ireland too – there is fault on both sides here (witness republican offence at hymns being played outside St Patrick’s when the PP enjoyed them and Sinn Fein itself inflicts offensive songs on Protestant churches elsewhere if you see my video). Bonfires are not perfect but neither are many of those pointing that out – but we are off topic thanks to Reeve (have you wtached it yet?)

  • Jack Stone

    In this case, they were offered the bind over order as an alternative to the criminal proceedings. We do not know, if the cases had been successfully appealed, if the magistrate would have bound over anyone. But, even if they had, the court still would have to had proven beyond reasonable doubt that there is a real risk of a breach of the peace unless action is taken to prevent it. Are you saying that the YCV were still a risk to breach the peace even if they were able to quash this case?

  • submariner

    I am on record as not having supported these actions but their case was they were playing a Beach Boys tune which had been in their repertoire for a decade and therefore for 5 years before someone even penned the alternative words – under those circumstances they should / could not have been convicted of the offence with which they were charged unless they were the ones singing the offensive words..

    Then their case is clearly BS as the band was only formed in 2007 and therefor could not have been playing the tune for a decade before the Bigoted Rangers fans version was penned.

  • PeterBrown

    I have no idea when they were formed I was merely paraphrasing their statement but whatever their evidence was it was obviously to persuade the PPS top back down

  • PeterBrown

    Apparently not – it is in already in the PC Code that music not be played but when loyalist bands flout that there are PC determinations and prosecutions, when republicans do it there isn’t even a determination – I agree that offence shouldn’t happen and it shouldn’t have to be enforced but what about the PP appreciating hymns? Once you allow any sort of music it becomes a grey area again…

  • PeterBrown

    How do you know what? Look at what extremists in England get away with saying without being prosecuted never mind unaccompanied music – it is hard to police and prosecute (compare the attitude to the painting to the music it portrayed – no-one I can think of is being particularly consistent in their approaches to both issues)

  • Anglo-Irish

    The problem is this, everyone thinks that the environment that they are born into is normal.

    Today’s children accept online social media as normal, Facebook, Twitter, Skype etc, etc it’s what they were brought up on and is in no way extraordinary to them.

    Some people born and raised in NI appear to think that hatred of ‘themuns’ is normal.

    The sad fact is that they are born into an unnatural environment and don’t understand that people in the rest of the UK and the ROI do not automatically look upon someone from a different background as an enemy.

    In fact some of us actually enjoy the fact that people are different, we think that it adds to the enjoyment of life.

    We also tend to look upon people who live their lives hating others for no reason, other than the fact that they come from a different background, as lowlife scum.

    It doesn’t matter which way the hatred is aimed, anyone who hates for no better reason than a difference in background qualifies for that description.

  • barnshee

    The band let the system off the hook
    They should have pursued their appeal al the way

    The system was running scared A TUNE was played OTHERS applied words to the TUNE the players of the tune were incapable of putting words to the tune at the same time as playing it. The words were supplied by others..

    “Everbody knew” what they meant-?? really

    Proof dear boy –proof needed

    Damages anyone?

  • barnshee

    Whuy not a complaint to the Equalitiy Comission about the apparent discriminatory conduct of the Parades Comission on particularly the Dungiven incident?

  • barnshee

    “In the eyes of the law there may not have been any way to prove it but outside the court people make up their own minds.”

    Proof dear boy proof -thats whats needed “peoples minds” ain`t worth sh1t

  • barnshee

    “If YCV FB aren’t punished then we will see more of this kind of stuff happening outside of protestant churches.”

    Then we will see the republican band subjected to the same sanctions?

  • PeterBrown

    On what basis? I’m not sure the Equality Commission has jurisdiction over the Parades Commission but I could be wrong…

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Hopefully!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Yes, indeed. It should indeed have been taken all the way, as this kind of evasiveness on both sides will actually encourage sly incitement to racial hatred. Even had the band been entirely innocent, the perception that they could “get away” with playing a tune with these associations outside a chapel opens the way for both factions of the community to covertly attack the other in drearily similar ways. The proper policing of such offensive actions protects everyone, not simply one “side”, just as the “encouragement” this muffed judgement gives to ugly behaviour endangers peace for all of us.

    And regarding “proof” you have obviously not read equality legislation, where the perception of those offended by hate crime must be fully evaluated and considered by the court. While I’ve stated above that it is impossible to strictly prove the intentions of the band, that their playing of the tune was perceived as threatening is unquestionable, and had the band had concern to keep the peace, they would have stopped playing the instant their argued “innocent playing of a West Indian folk tune” was given threatening words by the crowd. That they continued playing can be construed (and legally) as connivance at racial hatred. I’d made the point regarding similar perception of threat and intent quite clearly in many postings over the “Asher’s” case, and I believe it may have been used in the “Asher’ judgement, although I’d have to check that file to be certain.

    No, the “system” was, as usual, trying to placate extremism, as it did with Ronnie Bunting Senior in 1968, an act of silly indulgence that precipitated descent into terrible years of violence. Had the “system” even handedly given proper protection to NICRAs peaceful protest against those ignorant and brutal enough to conflate hatred with honest opinion, then even an appearance of support would have perhaps saved our community long years of suffering. But perhaps you would return to those years? Me, I’d rather not myself.

  • barnshee

    “On what basis? I’m not sure the Equality Commission has jurisdiction over the Parades Commission but I could be wrong…”

    On the basis that (apparently) the Parades Commission– a publicly funded body- is partial in that it acts on one set of behaviours (Belfast) and fails to act on another (Dungiven)
    Surely worth a punt? if only to watch the two bodies get their knickers in a twist as the try to flee the scene

  • barnshee

    “Lonnie Donegan did a rather good cover of it before anyone ever heard of the Beach Boys.”

    And he nicked it from the “weavers” (pete seegar ronnie gilbert etc)

  • Hugh Davison

    How do you ‘nick’ a traditional folksong, I wonder? And, on the subject of ‘nicking’ did YCV ‘nick’ theirs from Rangers Football Club supporters?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Exactly! When the law is fudged in this way, the lassitude for those encouraged to copy such acts from BOTH factions will affect each and every one of us.

  • babyface finlayson

    Proof for a court case yes. But the PC or whatever will replace it surely takes into account all knids of considerations including submissions from concerned groups (peoples minds in other words).
    Which is why I think they will err on the safe side and prohibit any music at all outside places of worship.

  • barnshee

    Arrangement nicked —also nicked by the Kingston Trio

  • barnshee

    The prosecution declined to present -for fear of losing so the case ended .
    The band lacked the balls ( or the funds) to continue and expose the PPS

  • barnshee

    Remember there is a difference between a Tune and a Song

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The Weavers found it in a collection of songs collected by Carl Sandburg and published in 1927.

  • John Collins

    Tom
    You sound sensible, analytical rational and sane. You definitely do not look suitable material to be on Slugger.

  • Hugh Davison

    Ah, so!