Jackie McDonald questions Orange Order Covenant parade taking motorised machine guns past Short Strand

Political Studies Association

The Future of Loyalism session at the Political Studies Association conference started with two academics – Jim McAuley and Graham Spencer – introducing the Political Studies Association delegates to loyalism, loyalist themes and transformation efforts so far. Rev Chris Hudson – who acted as a conduit between the Irish Government and the UVF – spoke about his journey. [Click on their names to hear their 10 minute introductions.] Finally, Jackie McDonald – introduced as a former UDA prisoner – spoke …

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Elliot and Kennedy facing Loyal Orders disciplinary proceedings

Danny Kennedy, the Minister for Regional Development and Tom Elliot the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party are to go before a Loyal Orders disciplinary hearing due to their attendance at the funeral of Constable Ronan Kerr.   Few things to get clear first… I’m not a member of the Loyal Orders I support the Loyal Orders and would attend both the main 12th demonstration every year and also go to Scarva to see the Black Men on the 13th. …

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Row between Parades Commission and LOL District No. 6

During last week the ongoing row between the Parades Commission and the Orange Order came up again. In April Rev. Mervyn Gibson, minister of Westbourne Community Presbyterian Church and Orange Order’s District Number 6 Chaplain complained when the Parades Commission specified that only one hymn “Abide with Me” be played whilst bands marched passed St. Mark’s Catholic Church on the Lower Newtownards Road. Mr. Gibson stated: “It breaches our religious liberties. They have banned the playing of Christian hymns in …

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Watching the Twelfth: Ladder of Escape…

Spellbound by Joan Miró’s brilliant exhibition at Tate Modern on Monday, it was fresh in my mind as we set off early on Tuesday 12th July for Augher and Clogher – in it, his ‘Ladder of Escape’ appears and reappears as a running theme, symbolising a way out, a hopeful exit, but sometimes a ladder of futility, going nowhere, leading to a dead end. Where would the Orange commemorations be leading? I walked down the Lisburn Road at 9.00, as …

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Augher, Clogher…..Slugger hits the road

When I blogged our intention to visit the Twelfth in Clogher John Robinson and Iain McClung of Glenageeragh LOL 908, a rural Augher lodge, kindly got in touch to offer some guidance and help. Their hospitality and warmth along with that of their fellow lodge members was greatly appreciated throughout yesterday. So we started our day with a feeder parade in Augher. According to the 2001 Census the entire Augher ward was 55% Catholic and the output area (95OO020004) including …

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Tweeting the twelfth

Since Mark and company will be in the field (in all senses), I’ll try and keep a feed running here on CoverItLive which will automatically update from twitter. At the moment it includes the most common hashtags (#twelfth, obviously, and #orangefest, #niparades and #glorious12th) but I can include others if people feel they are trending sufficiently. You can comment below or use the hashtags and join in via twitter. Anyone who wants to relay tweets into the comments can feel …

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From the weekend…

1) The Economist talks about getting back to business. Worth a read. Panos Lioulias, chief executive of Qubis, a venture-capital outfit that nurtures spin-offs from Queen’s University in Belfast, thinks indigenous entrepreneurs are a big part of the remedy. Northern Ireland’s universities turn out top-notch graduates in physics, life sciences, computing and the like—the basic stuff of start-ups. One of Qubis’s stars is Andor, founded in 1989 by a physics graduate student, Hugh Cormican, who hit on new imaging technology. …

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Hope for Stoneyford Catholics as main abuser finally revealed as a pederast

It is terrible that the main hope for an end to decades of sectarian abuse in Stoneyford lies in the final conviction of ringleader, criminal, key Orange figure and proven pederast Mark Harbinson. With his long overdue gaoling, hopefully Slugger can close its coverage on the multi-faceted campaign he directed across this small village and further afield for close to 20 years – unless some of his proteges are waiting in the wings to pick up the many crimes he …

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Book-Token

It seems we will be saying goodbye to many political faces as the Assembly and needlessly delayed council elections approach. The latest to fall is the unelected MLA for East Derry, former lots of things, Cllr Billy Leonard. The declared reason from the 55yr old for leaving political life is the time required to write a book (he clearly doesn’t have the stamina of an older, prolific SF author) Blank

UUP leadership interviews – restoring unity after a divisive campaign

UUP banner logo - slightly cropped

Both candidates agreed that the leadership campaign has been divisive. But what would they do to restore unity after the result? [Elliott] At stages it has been divisive. Clearly we’re all big people. We’re in politics so we have to move on. In past times I have differed with other Ulster Unionist Party leaders. But I’m still in the party, clearly because I accepted the will of the majority. [McCrea] It certainly turned into a more divisive and a more …

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The coming Papal visit

As the media frenzy over this weeks visit to Great Britain by the Pope continues, further protests have emerged.  By far the highest profile protest is organised around the Protest The Pope website and includes organisation like the National Secular Society, the British Humanist Association, Atheism UK and Outrage as well as prominent atheist supporters like Richard Dawkings,  Peter Tatchell & Christopher Hitchens.  Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell hosts `The Trouble with the Pope` which airs on Channel 4 at …

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What a difference 5 years make

In 2005 Ardoyne had exactly the same problems surrounding the 12th of July parade as those that transpired last night (and it has been going on a lot longer than that). Back then, a full five years ago, 80 police officers were injured during what Gerry Kelly described as control being lost for for a time. In that distant almost forgotten, for some, era he fully blamed the Orange Order for creating the conditions that resulted in the violence: The …

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Photographs of the Day – 12th photographs at Barnett Demense

Yesterday’s annual 12th Demonstration saw me head up to the field at Barnett Demense. Normally i would cover the warm up and gathering around Templemore Ave then the walk into the city centre. This year i decided to forgo this (and get a lie in) to head up to the point of destination at Barnett Demense. I had a vague notion to document the various banners and to look at the family nature of the gathering at the field and perhaps get …

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“Wake up”, indeed.

News that the Orange Order’s Grand Lodge has voted to reject the proposals contained in the draft legislation [pdf file] on contentious parades public assembly has prompted a rant about the “Orange State” from Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd – one member of the ‘working group’ responsible for the proposals.  But, as we’ve noted on Slugger previously, they are far from being the only group opposed to the legislation. As Eamonn McCann pointed out in the Belfast Telegraph recently In a discussion …

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Politics and religion do mix

If there was still any real doubt, the Orange Order demonstrates yet again it is not solely a religious and cultural organisation but a political one. Blank