Somme: May Trench Raid – death of a great great uncle

Tonight is the one hundreth anniversary of the death of my great great uncle during a German bombardment of the trenches after a succesful trench raid by the Ulstermen – a talk was recently held in the Masonic Hall (the old Tamlaght  / St Lukes Church of Ireland Church Hall), Coagh on Private Robert Sands and other men from Coagh who died in the Great War. In this centenary year of the Battle of the Somme the tragic and brutal slaughter of the Great …

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Backing the police means using accountability mechanisms, not grandstanding to constituents…

I meant to get this up yesteday. It’s a clip from UTV’s exclusive report on the Ballynafeigh kurfuffle last week. It’s not comprehensive by any means, but it does suggest the PSNI might have some operational questions to answer. The process has been kicked up the Police Ombudsman, and the Policing Board should probably have an inquiry of its own into it too. The local SDLP MLA Claire Hannah was quick to note how DUP politicians were rather too quick …

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Fairness and Fear in the alternate universe of the Orange Order…

I’ve heard some bizarre things on the Nolan show but the recent interview with Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, has got to be in the top five. The discussion centered round a recent Orange Order report, ‘Fairness and Fear’ that outlined the horrors Protestants face in the workplace. As an atheist I object to being called a Protestant’ but I suppose I could be termed part of the wider PUL community the Orange Order frequently claims to …

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A possible solution to the parading issue in Northern Ireland?

Lee Reynolds in transit at Belfast's Orange Parade, 12 July 2011

Alex Johnson writes for us on how he thinks the parading issue could be solved in Northern Ireland In my experience all problems have a solution. What is so often lacking in this part of the world is the understanding and guts to bring solutions into operation. I would like to suggest solutions to two of our favourite subjects (the rest of the world must laugh their heads off when they see this) – bonfires and bands – the two …

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‘People are not clubbable any more’: A South Yorkshire Orangeman speaks

You don’t often hear much these days from the Orange Order in England. It is there, though – there are lodges all over the country, and not just in Liverpool. There is even one in my native city of Sheffield: the John E Bingham Loyal Orange Lodge 844 (established 1913). Richard Harvey has been a member of the Lodge for 36 years, and is the Grand Orange Lodge of England’s Grand Chaplain. It was only with some difficulty that I …

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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 USA, Canada, Togo.. so why no Irish tricolour? Orange Order defends flag omission from museum display @irish_news pic.twitter.com/8K9cQ10Vpw — Brendan Hughes (@brendanhughes64) June 24, 2015 But the Orange Order had an explanation; Senior Orange Order official says Irish tricolour is omitted from flags …

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So, was Hancock right? (!)

There really is nothing like a classic comedy sketch to highlight confusion and/or ignorance over important historical events. Such is the case with this outburst by Tony Hancock in an edition of his semi-eponymous sitcom. As the foreman of an immovable jury, seemingly mystified as to why his fellow jurors cannot agree with him about the defendant’s innocence (‘Well, he’s got such a lovely face…‘), he bellows at them: Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in …

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“Shopkeepers were being killed, only sons were being killed, isolated farmers were being killed…”

I haven’t seen this film, which was commissioned and produced by the Orange Order, but I am told it is very quiet and very powerful. This trailer contains just a few stories that are being told of the loss of a community, that might otherwise go untold… Lest we be too careful to hear some stories and too careless to hear others… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on …

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Brian Kennaway: “[The Grand Master’s speech] achieved one purpose only: it made Gerry Adams sound good”

Brian Kennaway isn’t someone from whom the Orange Order will appreciate advice. On his blog he’s issued a response to Grand Master Edward Stephenson’s statement at Saturday’s Twaddell Avenue rally: … encourage Orange brethren and our supporters to demonstrate their displeasure at the current situation by holding peaceful and legal protests across Northern Ireland, at times and locations of their choosing, over the coming weeks. (Grand Master Edward Stephenson) The former member of the Parades Commission asks: Have the Grand …

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Attack on Orange Hall in Convoy, Co. Donegal

Over the last decade or so there has been a modest revival in the Orange Order and associated bands in parts of the RoI. This has been seen in parts of Donegal as well as the other border counties. Many events in Fermanagh will now see small but growing bands from the RoI. This modest revival is purely religious and cultural: whatever one may think of the political positions of the Orange Order, these are not manifested in the RoI. …

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#Indyref and the Orange demonstration: some quick notes

With the actual poll looming, this weekend sees the Orange Order make its on-street intervention into the #Indyref debate in Scotland. What will add an extra dimension to this is keeping an eye on how the media deal with events on the day, since, as Kilsally points out, #Indyref has created some unusual bedfellows. The last few days have given a couple of stand out media moments of the campaign. At a wider level, Nick Robinson’s reporting yesterday was astonishing, not …

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Edinburgh Orange Order pro Union parade illegal?

Interesting one from `Cybernat` (his term) Craig Murray regarding the proposed Orange Order demo in Edinburgh shortly before the Independence referendum. The proposed Orange for No march appears plainly to be in contravention of the Public Order Act 1936. This act makes it illegal to wear a uniform to promote a political cause: Section 1 (i) Subject as hereinafter provided, any person who in any public place or at any public meeting wears uniform signifying his association with any political organisation or with, the …

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It’s not the Orange Order “coming down the street, shouting and yelling and waving rifles and pistols”

So, I was going to let this one run til the PCC had its say, but for the record here’s Colin Freeman’s offending dispatch from Baghdad in the Telegraph last week… “Ever since last week, not a day has gone past without them coming down the street, shouting and yelling and waving rifles and pistols,” said Imad Ahmed, a shopkeeper in the Sunni district of Adel in west Baghdad. “They say they will crush the Isis terrorists and anyone who …

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And then, the marching season was back upon us…

The Parades Commission has given its determination on the latest application by the ‘Ligoniel Combine’ to stage a parade along the section of the route that the Commission has specifically ruled out since 12th July last year. The reaction to this will, to some extent, colour the atmosphere as those summer parades that are usually contentious approach. Significantly, yesterday, First Minister Peter Robinson chose to avoid the debate on racism in the Assembly that his own comments sparked. Instead, he went with a …

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Court dismisses case because there were too few present who were likely to be offended?

Interesting judgement yesterday… A small group of around 15 nationalist protesters was said to have been gathered nearby. However, the defendants’ lawyer argued that the band was playing Sloop John B, the Beach Boys’ song which has the same tune. After hearing evidence the district judge made no ruling on whether or not it was the Famine Song being played. But it was decided that the prosecution had failed to establish there was an intention to provoke a breach of …

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An Irish speaker’s reaction to Orangeman’s outburst

Belfast’s County Orange Order Grandmaster George Chitick may protest that he never intended to offend Irish speakers with his exhortation to Protestants not to learn the language he termed part of the ‘republican’ agenda. But Irish speakers in Belfast and throughout the north are well used to such insults, going back to the time of Sammy Wilson’s infamous ‘leprechaun language’ jibe and beyond. While it’s disappointing, it’s not surprising and life will go on. Grand Master Chitick may be surprised …

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The Republicans are coming! Chittick on the Irish language

As many of you know Linda Ervine has been leading efforts for years now to make Protestants more aware of their contribution to the development and maintenance of the Irish language. There have been a variety of events held in places like East Belfast to demonstrate how much of our everyday language is actually linked to Irish. Well, today the Grand Master of the Belfast Orange Order George Chittick, decided to add his two cents on whether Protestants should be …

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McGuinness: in the city of Belfast the UVF, the PUP and the Orange Order are one and the same thing // Robinson responds to the “dictator” deputy First Minister

The moment that draft seven of the Haass proposals went into the shredder may well have been at 10:45pm when BBC NI’s The View broadcast deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness telling Mark Carruthers: Mainstream unionist elected representatives have told me that they accept my analysis that in the city of Belfast the UVF, the PUP and the Orange Order are one and the same thing … I believe it needs to be challenged. Just as I have challenged those so-called …

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McCann meets….John McCallister MLA

Yesterday I sat down with NI21 deputy leader, John McCallister. In our interview we spoke about the upcoming NI21 conference, his relations with the UUP and the summer violence we have experienced. On his relations with the UUP; The hardest part (of leaving) was the strain that might put on some of this friendships and some people feeling diappointed or let down. When I look now and see where the UUP is…it has literally lost all sense of direction or …

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No #Twaddell from Parades Commission

The Parades Commission has given its response to the ‘Twaddell Initiative‘ put forward by Unionists and the Orders. Not only does it say No, but it publicly deconstructs how it was first made aware of proposal by the media and dismissed the grounds for a late application, the failure to abide by its ruling for the 12th July parade and continued breaches of its determinations. It was abundantly plain that that would be the case (although there is still Nigel …

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