January 02, 2014

When are we going to have an honest conversation about the conduct of PUL parades?

In response to the failure of the Haass talks, Alliance Leader David Ford said: "The real issue with parades was never about structures - the problem was behavior." This is interesting since the Belfast City Centre Management report here on the 12th July parades delivered a stinging indictment against the bands and Orange lodges that march through the capital city. It found tourists who complained of an "intimidatory atmosphere", "louts roaming around drunk" and an untidy public realm.

In my earlier post here I cited a 1925 essay by the Ulster MP W.D. Allen on an Orange demonstration in Tyrone.
"Silently, humorously, doggedly, they mass around a dripping platform, a remarkable feudal, patriarchal, tribal, historical anachronism in these days of moderation, toleration – whine, don’t fight – enlightenment."
I also looked at John Hewitt's 1970 poem, 'Conversations in Hungary' here:
"Our friends in Budapest
days later also, puzzled, queried why,
when the time's vibrant with technology,
Such violence should still be manifest.

Between two factions, in religion's name.
It is 300 years since, they declared,
divergent sects put claim and
counterclaim to arbitration of the torch
and sword."
Conor Cruise O'Brien said in 1996:
"I have, in an Orange context at an Orange House, urged them to see that marching through areas that don't want them is not good policy for the Orange Order itself or for the unionist community."
The first "Orange riot" on record was in 1824, in Abingdon, New York. The 'Orange Riots' of 1870 and 1871 in New York here were infamous. After this, the Congregationalist minister Merrill Richardson from the pulpit of his Madison Avenue church said that the time had come to take back New York City, for if "the higher classes will not govern, the lower classes will."

David McCann asked and then answered here: "[When are we] going to put an end to this mindless cycle of violence every summer?" This issue needs a serious, honest and frank examination.

My previous posts related to the Orange Order are here, here and with Brian Feeney here. The Conor Cruise O'Brien take on the Orange Order here. My blog post on the Belfast City Centre Management report which said that tourists found the 12th of July parades intimidating here. Below is a column by Newton Emerson in The Irish News from January 2 2014.

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