Rembering today – Oglach Tom Williams executed on this day 2nd September 1942 aged 19years. Fuair Se bas ar son Saorise ahEireann. R.I.P
Remembering today Oglach Tom Williams executed on the2nd September 1942 aged 19years. Fuair se bas ar son na saoirse ahEireann
Much has been written and spoken of Tom Williams the young Clonard man executed in Belfast Prison on the 2nd September 1942. His name, and the fight to have his remains removed from the prison burial ground to a reserved grave in the Republican Plot was kept alive over the years by the National Graves Association. This campaign reached its 58 year end when in January 2000, the remains were finally laid to rest in consecrated ground in the family grave.
The National Graves Association, although keen to have the remains laid in the Republican Plot were happy to compromise with relatives, as Tom was laid with beside his mother.
An account given to the authors by a veteran North Belfast Republican, Billy Wiggins, who was imprisoned in Belfast Prison at the time of the execution sums up the atmosphere and feeling at the time.
This account has been published here for the first time:-
The days and nights proceeding Tom Williams death on the scaffold have been inbedded in my memory down through the years since. I vividly remember those days of tension, feelings of emotion, bitterness and resentment that prevailed among the three hundred or thereabouts internees in D.Wing of the prison at the time.
Following the reprievals of his five companions hopes were raised that Tom’s life might still be spared. But despite appeals from the Cardinal, Politicians North and South, all was in vain.
Naturally all forms of recreation (football, handball etc) were cancelled. The men were in no mood for anything but walking around in silence either in the excerise yard or in the mess hall. This was the old prison workshop. It was used as a kitchen, recreation room and chapel by the internees. It was decided to fast on the eve of the execution, until the special Mass the following morning at approximately the hours of Tom’s death. That was a particularly sad and painful day, and the night was also unforgettable. Being in cells in D.Wing meant that we were on the Crumlin Road side of the prison as indeed is A.Wing also. We listened as all through the night groups of women were outside the gates, one group singing hymns and reciting rosary after rosary. However another group had gathered further down the road at Bedeque Street to engage in ‘booing’, jeering and to sing Orange songs.
The Mass was to be celebrated by Fr. Oliver of Ardoyne who with another Ardoyne priest Fr. Alexis and of course Fr. McAllister the prison Chaplin, were in constant attendance with Tom all the time he was in the death cell.
I had the privilege, with J.B. O’Hagan to serve at the Mass said on an alter erected by the now deceased Jack McNally at the bottom end of the hall. During the Mass the suspense was so intense that many of the men keeled over in faint.
J.B. and myself found it difficult to remain kneeling upright on the alter steps. Fr. Oliver himself was very visibly affected. One seemed to detect a deep sigh at the consecration which seemed to coincide with Tom’s last movements.
The world was soon to be made aware of how he so nobly and courageously met his death with a smile on his lips and a prayer in his heart for God and Ireland.
Although these are some of the thoughts and feelings that existed among the internees at the time, we were always thinking about the feelings of Tom’s five comrades and the other republican prisoners in A.Wing. These must have been worse than ours, being so close to the death cell.
After a funeral Mass in St Paul’s Church, Cavendish Street, on Wednesday 19th January 2000, the remains of Tom Williams were carried from the church amid a barrage of press cameras to begin the long awaited journey to Milltown.
As the Falls Road came to a standstill, people lined the footpaths, as the Nationalist community and Republicans of all shades paid their respects and witnessed an event many of the older generation thought they would never see. Black flags flew along the road as the cortege moved slowly through Beechmount and up towards Milltown, to bring to an end the struggle to have his remains removed from an unmarked prison grave.
you tube link to Irish brigade singing Ballad of Tom Williams
- Oglach Jim Bryson and Oglach Patrick Mulvenna who died on Active Service 31 August 1973 R.I.P (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Oglach Tom Williams – Hung by Britain 2nd September 1942. R.I.P (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Oglach Patrick (Paddy) McAdorey 3rd batt PIRA – RIP (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Oglach Thomas McElwee 30/11/1957 – 8/8/1981 Died after 63 days on Hunger-Strike RIP (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Cuimhnigh linn Óglach Eamonn Bradley inniú. (rsfnational.wordpress.com)
Thomas Mc Ilwee died today 32 years ago, he was a young man of 23 years.
Thomas McElwee, the fifth of twelve children, was born on November 30th, 1957, into the small, whitewashed home built by his father, along the Tamlaghtduff Road in the parish of Bellaghy.Jim and Alice McElwee married in 1950 and had twelve children, Kathleen, Mary, Bernadette, Annie, Enda, Thomas, Benedict, Joseph, Nora, Pauline, Majella and the youngest James.
Tom McElwee went to St Mary’s primary in Bellaghy, and then to Clady intermediate, three miles away.Thomas got on pretty well at school. From he was eleven Thomas had an intense interest in working with cars and all types of machinery.
As he grew older, his fascination for engines grew stronger. He got his driving licence as soon as he was old enough, and got his own car. He used to travel all over the place to watch stock-car racing.
Thomas joined Fianna Eireann when he was only 14, and subsequently joined the independent unit led by his cousin, Francis Hughes before it was recruited in its entirety, after a period of time, into the IRA.The following few years, before Thomas’ capture in October ‘76, were active ones in the South Derry area.
He had been arrested on a couple of occasions but on October 9th 1976, Kathleen answered the phone, to be told that both their brothers Thomas and Benedict were in the Wavery hospital in Ballymena following a premature bomb explosion in a car in the town, shortly beforehand.In the explosion, Thomas lost his right eye, while two other Bellaghy men were also injured: Colm Scullion losing several toes and Sean McPeake, losing a leg.Benedict McElwee, fortunately, suffered only from shock and superficial burns.
Following the explosion, several other republicans in the town were arrested, later to be charged. These included Dolores O’Neill, from Portglenone, Thomas’ girlfriend, and Ann Bateson, from Toomebridge, both of whom joined the protest in Armagh women’s jail.
Thomas was transferred from the Ballymena hospital to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for emergency surgery to save his remaining eye. It was three weeks, however, before he was able to see at all.One week before Christmas, he and Benedict were charged and sent to Crumlin Road jail.
At their subsequent trial in September 1977, having spent over eight months on remand in Crumlin Road, Thomas was convicted not only of possession of explosives but also for the killing of a woman who accidentally died in a bomb attack elsewhere in Ballymena that day and with which other republicans were also charged.That ‘murder’ conviction was, on appeal, reduced to 20 years for manslaughterand Thomas returned to the blanket protest he had joined immediately after his trial, in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.
The McElwee family weren’t surprised last December when they discovered that both Thomas and Benedict had joined the thirty strong hunger-strike, as Sean McKenna neared death.
Thomas McElwee died at 11.30am on Saturday, August 8th. THOMAS McELWEE Aged 23 from South Derry. Commenced hunger-strike June 8th, died August 8th after 63 days.
Mary Queen of the Gael, intercede for the souls of all our Patriot Dead. May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, in the mercy of God rest in peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, comrades and friends of Patriot Dead at this time.
Mary Banríon na nGael, intercede do na anamacha na ár dtírghráthóirí léir Dead. Bealtaine a n-anamacha, agus an anamacha de na departed dílis, i an trócaire Dé chuid eile i síochána. Is iad ár smaointe agus paidreacha leis na teaghlaigh, chomrádaithe agus do chairde de Tírghrá ag
- Huffington Post Explains Case For Censoring Free Speech (politicaloutcast.com)
- Kevin Lynch ‘A loyal, determined Republican with a great love of life’ (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Oglaigh na hEireann Kieran Doherty, Died August 2nd 1981 ~ Rest in Peace (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- British PSNI/MI5 STICH-UP RELEASE CHRISTINE CONNOR (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
Óglaigh Na HÉireann
A dedicated republican and an outstanding soldier
When the family, friends and former comrades of Belfast IRA Volunteer twenty-five-year-old Kieran Doherty learnt that he was joining the H-Block hunger strike, as a replacement for Raymond McCreesh, it came as no surprise to them.
Although Kieran had spent seven of the last ten years imprisoned, his complete selflessness and his relentless dedication to the liberation struggle left no-one in any doubt that Kieran would volunteer for this terrible and lonely confrontation with British rule inside the H-Blocks of Long Kesh. Last December he was amongst those thirty prisoners who were on hunger strike for four days prior to the ending of the original seven-strong strike.
Kieran was born on October 16th, 1955 in Andersonstown, the third son in a family of six children. His two elder brothers, Michael, aged 28, and Terence, aged 27, were interned between 1972 and 1974.
Kieran has two younger sisters, Roisin and Mairead; and his younger brother, Brendan, aged twelve, is still at school.
Kieran’s mother, Margaret, is a Catholic convert from a Protestant background. His father, Alfie Doherty, who is a floor-tiler by trade, is a well-known figure in Andersonstown.
Kieran’s paternal grandfather comes from Limavady, County Derry, and after his people moved to a house in North Belfast in the ‘twenties, they were threatened that the house was going to be burnt.
This was during the loyalist-initiated pogroms which followed partition.
They had to flee to West Belfast enacting a tragedy which was to repeat itself in front of Kieran’s eyes in the early seventies, and stir him to take action.
Alfie’s uncle, Ned Maguire, took part in the famous IRA roof-top escape from Belfast’s Crumlin Road jail on January 15th, 1943.
Ned Maguire’s son, also called Ned, and a second cousin of Kieran, was an internee in Cage S of Long Kesh in 1974, when he took part in the mass escape from the camp during which Hugh Coney was shot dead by the British army. Young Ned Maguire was one of the three who managed to reach Twinbrook before being recaptured. He is now on the blanket.
Ned’s sisters (and Kieran’s second cousins), Dorothy Maguire, aged 19, and Maura Meehan, aged 30, were shot dead by the British army on October 23rd, 1971, in a car in the Lower Falls area of Belfast. Both were members of Cumann na mBan.
Another relative of Kieran’s, his uncle, Gerry Fox, was part of the famous Crumlin Road jail ‘football team’, who escaped from the jail by climbing over the wall in 1972.
However, Kieran’s childhood was relatively ordinary. He loved sport more than anything else, and was always out playing Gaelic football, hurling or soccer.
Kieran went to St. Theresa’s primary school, then moved to the Christian Brothers secondary school on the Glen Road, where he studied until the age of sixteen.
A keen Gaelic footballer, he won an Antrim Minor medal in 1971 for St. Theresa’s GAC.
Kieran took up cycling for a while, following his brother, Michael, in St. Thomas’ cycling club. His mother recalls him taking part in a race with a faulty bicycle: “Although the chain came off at least twenty times through the race, he was so stubborn that he finished with a bronze medal.”
St. Thomas’ cycling club was later decimated by internment. Kieran, his brothers, and many other Andersonstown boys were to end up behind the wire. To such an extent, that Kieran s young brother, Brendan, asked his mother one day in 1975 when it would be his turn to go where all the ‘big boys’ were kept. Brendan was then six.
In the summer of 1971, Kieran got a job as an apprentice in heating engineering but was laid-off when the firm closed down a few months later. He worked for a while at floor-tiling with his father.
In the meantime, however, internment had burst open the lives of many Andersonstown families. Kieran had never been interested in politics until then: nor had his family ever discussed the political situation in front of him.
Like hundreds of other boys and girls of his age, he was moved by the sight of uprooted families leaving a home in cinders behind them. As all of the evacuees were being catered for in local schools, Kieran and his brothers begged their parents to allow them to go and help. Kieran saw the British army on the streets, his friends and their families harassed. He joined na Fianna Eireann in the autumn of ’71.
Kieran proved himself to be an outstanding member of the Fianna. Reliable, quick on the job, he was obviously giving the best of himself to every task assigned him with the aim of being noticed and recruited for the IRA as quickly as was possible.
Even at this early stage of his involvement, he is remembered for his initiative and his discreet ways. Unlike some boys of his age, he never boasted about his activities.
But the British army soon noticed him too and Kieran, his family, and his home, became a target for frequent British army harassment.
On October 6th, 1972, the British army came to arrest Kieran, despite his father’s objection that Kieran was under seventeen. The Brits had checked up, they said, and after a heavy house raid they took Kieran away in the middle of the night. His father got him released eventually after waking up the sexton of St. Agnes’ chapel and obtaining Kieran’s birth certificate.
The Brits were ten days too early.
True to form, on October 16th, the British army were back in force and swamped Kieran’s district, waiting for his return from work. But relatives managed to warn him and he was driven over the border to an uncle in Limerick.
He did not much enjoy his enforced exile and, bursting to get back into action, he made his way back to Belfast at the beginning of ’73.
A week or so later, he was arrested, taken to Castlereagh, and then interned in Long Kesh where he spent over two years from February ’73 to November ’75. He was among the last internees released.
Always even-tempered and quiet-spoken he used his time developing his military skills.
In a letter to his mother he wrote: “They might intern all of us, but we will come out fighting.”
He made a lot of handicrafts during his two-and-a-half years in captivity.
His parents’ home displays a lot of his work, in particular a hand-carved wooden plaque commemorating Dorothy Maguire and Maura Meehan.
On the eve of his birthday in October ’74, Long Kesh prison camp was burned. When visits were eventually resumed he did not complain to his parents of brutality but just remarked jokingly on the ‘birthday party’ he had been given.
He was released from Long Kesh in November ’75, as undaunted as he sounded in his letters, and reported back to the IRA immediately. Always eager to operate, he was included in a team of Volunteers from around Rossnareen which gave the British army in Andersonstown many sleepless nights until a wave of arrests in the summer of ’76.
As the IRA/British army truce petered out at the beginning of ’76, ‘Big Doc’, as he was known by all, soon had to move out of his parents’ house. Raids were a fortnightly occurrence, at least, with furniture wrecked and floorboards lifted.
Mrs. Doherty was tidying up a first-floor bedroom after such a raid when she fell through the carpet, the floor, and partly through the sitting-room ceiling. The Brits had omitted to replace the floorboards. The scar on the ceiling can still be seen.
Many friends who met Kieran after his internment period found him extremely mature for a lad of twenty, not boisterous like most people of his age. He obviously, by then, had thought things out, made a definite choice, and assessed the dangers.
As an operator he was a perfectionist and his comrades recall feeling extremely safe with him. Even in the eventuality of things going wrong they knew Kieran would not give anything away.
He had many narrow escapes.
One night, as he was shifting ‘gear’ in Andersonstown, he was chased up and down the side streets for over five minutes by two Brit landrovers.
Another time, as he was driving to a night job as security man for a firm, armed, as he often was, he drove into a British army road block.
He calmly took his tie out of his pocket, put it on, tidied himself up, and, winding down the window, shouted: “What’s up lads? Let me through, please, I’m going to my work, over there, security staff.”
And the British soldiers opened the way for him. ‘Big Doc’ was welcome in many Andersonstown homes and highly respected by all who knew him.
Families with whom he billeted remember how security conscious he was, staying away for days, using billets in no regular pattern.
Through those months of intense involvement Kieran had little chance to unwind. He mostly liked to go to local clubs for a quiet pint with a few friends.
He also had a reputation as a practical joker. One day he rang a friend from a pub and told him they were wrecking the place, simply to have his friend rush over in his car to pick him up.
In July ’76, a few weeks before his arrest, Kieran enjoyed one of the rare holidays he ever had since the arrival of British troops on his local streets. With a few close friends he drove to the South and was able to indulge in his love for outdoor activities, exhausting his friends with long walks and swims.
By that time he had met his girlfriend, Geraldine, the only steady relationship he ever formed during his short period of freedom.
They did not get much of a chance, as Kieran’s heavy republican involvement often interfered with their dating and since August ’76 they only met for a few minutes once in a while under the gaze of prison warders.
Kieran’s comrades-in-arms recall one particular operation, of the many he was involved in, when one Andersonstown Volunteer – Sean McDermott – was shot dead.
Kieran got away and was told to lie low for a few days, but nevertheless he appeared at his comrade’s funeral.
Sean McDermott’s mother has a photograph of the funeral cortege in which Kieran can be seen, standing on the footpath, sombre, alone, looking on as the coffin is carried to Milltown cemetery.
Sean’s death, and the arrest of other comrades involved, hit Kieran very hard.
In August ’76, as Kieran and his unit were on a bombing mission, the van in which they were travelling was chased by the RUC near Balmoral Avenue in Belfast.
Kieran got out of the van and commandeered a car, which he left some streets away and walked off.
Meanwhile, the others in the van were cornered, Liam White being captured immediately, and the others, Chris Moran, Terry Kirby and John ‘Pickles’ Pickering – himself later to embark on hunger-strike – finally giving themselves up when surrounded in a house they had taken over.
The RUC picked Kieran up one-and-a-half miles away from the scene, unarmed.
He was later charged with possession of firearms and explosives and commandeering the car. Forensic tests could not link Kieran to the first two charges, and although it was impossible for the RUC to have spotted him escaping, seventeen months later, at his trial, RUC Constable Bryons perjured himself twice in order to see Kieran locked up.
On remand in Crumlin Road jail he met Francis Hughes and developed a great admiration for him. Friends often speak of the similarities between the two, always defiant, always fighting, born free.
In Crumlin Road, Kieran was often ‘on the boards’ as punishment for his refusal to acknowledge the warders in any way. He carried this attitude into the H-Blocks after he was sentenced, in January 1978, to eighteen years imprisonment for possession, and four years for commandeering the car.
Kieran joined the blanket protest immediately as did his comrades sentenced with him. He spent all but two weeks of his three years and almost eight months in the H-Blocks, in H4-Block (the temporary spell was in H6), before being moved to the prison hospital during his hunger strike.
Recollections of Kieran’s experiences in the H-Blocks give an impression of relentless conflict between himself and the warders, who made him a target both because of his height and because of his stubborn defiance of the prison regime.
On ‘appeal’ visits he always had to be dragged away, ignoring all calls to end the visit. He never looked a warder in the face when one addressed him and never replied to their orders. He always refused to submit to the anal searches over the mirror before and after visits and was beaten for this.
The worst incident occurred in July ’78 when Kieran refused a mirror search before a legal visit. Eight warders jumped on him, one squeezing his testicles until he became unconscious. He received blows to every part of his body and was taken to the prison hospital.
Although people who visited him recall how often he arrived pale or with grazes on his arms or bloodshot eyes, he never complained, brushing their questions off with a shrug: “I’m OK. What’s the sceal?”
Although Kieran had not been taught Irish at school, and had no time to learn it, later he became a fluent speaker in the H-Blocks like hundreds of his imprisoned comrades.
Another skill mastered by Kieran, whilst in the H-Blocks, was playing chess – crude chess men were made from scraps of paper and the game was played on a mock board scratched out on the cell floors.
Displayed proudly in his parents’ sitting room is an engraved plaque bearing a stunning yet heartbreaking story in eight words: ‘Kieran Doherty, 1980 Champion, Ciaran Nugent Chess Shield’.
And, next to it, another shield, again engraved ‘Ciaran Nugent Chess Shield’, but this time with twelve metal tags, the top of which bears Kieran Doherty’s name and ’1980′, the other eleven still blank. A clue to Kieran’s patience and ability, a clue to the blanket men’s grim determination to outlast the H-Blocks.
CAVAN / MONAGHAN
In June of this year, in the Free State general election, Kieran was elected a member of the Leinster House parliament for the Cavan/Monaghan constituency with 9,121 first preference votes – only 303 votes behind the then-sitting Free State Minister of Education.
To a friend who visited him after the first hunger strike, which ended last December, Kieran said: “They (the warders) are really rubbing our noses in it. By God, they will not rub mine!”
Asked whether he would not settle down – after all, with five years done and remission, another six years would soon be over. He replied: “Remission has nothing to do with it. There is much more than that involved.”
So he went on hunger strike on Friday, May 22nd, having put his name forward for it long ago, as undaunted and full of fighting spirit as when he roamed free on the streets of Andersonstown.
A child, like hundreds of others a product of British brutality and stupidity in the North, who revealed himself to be an outstanding soldier of the republic.
Kieran was a shy, reserved, easily-embarrassed young man who was single-minded and determined enough to have become, in himself, a condensed history of the liberation of a people.
R.I.P. ~ Kieran Doherty…
- Kevin Lynch ‘A loyal, determined Republican with a great love of life’ (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Oglaigh na hEireann Kevin Lynch…. Died August 1st, 1981- Rest in Peace (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Mairead Farrell, a True Heroine (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- FAMILIES OF IRA MEN EXECUTED BY THE SAS IN DERRY,TODAY ACCUSE MARTIN McGUINNESS OF BETRAYAL (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Kevin Lynch INLA Hunger Striker RIP (irishredstar.wordpress.com)
TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS
3 Ligional Lodges, Bands & Local residents
Today is a Parade to show we have not and will not go away.
The Parade will stop on the Woodvale Road at Woodvale Parade.
It is requested that all supporters stop at the line of Orange Marshalls.
After a period the National Anthem will be played and we will all disperse.
No matter what the provocation, violence is not the answer.
Any violence will play into the hands of Republicans.
Thankyou for coming today and joining the campaign to see the Lodges return home and this Parades Commission removed. We look forward to your ongoing support over the coming months as the campaign unfolds.
UNITED WE STAND – DEVIDED WE FALL
Above is a copy of the wording being distributed at the Woodvale Road parade in North Belfast.
Body criticised over march amid tensions
THE Orange Order will hand out leaflets to supporters attending a parade at Woodvale today calling on them not to engage in violence. The leaflet also states that plans to step up the Belfast protests will “unfold over the coming months.”
There is expected to be a heavy police presence in north Belfast for the protest parade that will walk from the Shankill Road to police lines at the Woodvale Road and Woodvale Parade. There are 600 ‘mutual aid ‘ officers from outside constabularies still in the North of Ireland assisting the PSNI/RUC. Serious violence occoured at the flashpoint on July 12 after three Ligional Lodges were banned from the Crumlin Road, the violence spread to other areas and continued for four days. On Tuesday the OrangeO Order was widely criticised for applying for another parade along the Crumlin Road and past Ardoyne with tensions still high in the area. The Parades Commission refused the order permission to pass Ardoyne. Instead the group, involving 500 participants, three bands and an undisclosed number of supporters, will be stopped at police lines at Woodvale Parade.
The Orange Order have said they will have their own marshals working to keep peace during the parade and have asked supporters to leave peacefully immediately following the singing of the British national anthem. The Parades Commission have ruled that the parade must disperse by no later than 4.30pm. Nationalist residents group the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC), have cancelled a planned protest in response to the Parades Commission determination. Senior officer Will Kerr met loyalist representives at police headquarters in east Belfast yesterday to discuss the planned protest. Concerns were also raised about the policing of a parade in east Belfast on July 12 in which a number of those taking part in the march were injured. A police spokesman said that during the meeting officers confirmed that a “significant number of missiles, including stones and paint bombs, had been thrown at the parade” from the nationalist Short Strand area. “Similarly, missiles were also thrown into the Short Strand area. “The PSNI expressed concern for those who had been injured as a result of those missiles and outlined that a full investigation has now commenced. “In relation to further Parades and associated protests the PSNI again emphasise the need for behaviour to be both peaceful and lawful and highlight the fact that attacks on Police Officers are wholly unacceptable and unjustifiable,” a spokesman said.
With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.
- Legal battle brews over Detroit bankruptcy filing – USA TODAY (usatoday.com)
- Parades Commission ban Orange Order’s Ardoyne march (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Orange Order appeals for calm ahead of parade ban protest (newsletter.co.uk)
THE NEW DRUMCREE
ORANGEMEN plan to stage weekly ‘Drumcree-style’ parades to a North Belfast flashpoint in protest at being banned from walking along the Crumlin Road on the Twelfth. Sources say the plans to hold parades to police lines in the Wood ale area for the foreseeable future.
The Parades Commission yesterday refused an application from the order to march from Shankill Road to Ligoniel via the disputed section of Crumlin Road tommorow. The surprise application for 500 participants, three bands and an unknown number of supporters to hold a parade was lodged only on Tuesday. The demonstration is expected to require another huge policing operation. Six hundred mutual aid officers from British constabularies are still in the North of Ireland assisting the RUC/PSNI. A spokesman from the Orange Order said: “This decision by the Parades Commission to prevent this dignified parade is further indictment of this already discredited body.” Last night Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly called for the Orange Order to “step back from their confrontational mode and for wise heads to prevail”. Portadown Orange men have been lodging weekly applications to the parades body for almost 15 years since being prevented from marching along the Garvaghy Road. The Commission still receives around 50 applications a year in respect of the disputed Drumcree march, which sparked serious violence in the 1990s.
With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.
THE IRISH NEWS
pro fide et patria
Orange Order’s messages mixed
THE Parades Commission’s rejection of a misguided Orange Order plan to march past Adoyne shops tommorow was entirely predictable. However, the order’s decision to make an application after days of protest and disorder was an unexpected development which served to increase tensions at a time when political leaders were calling for calm. The bid for a fresh parade at this flashpoint also highlighted the contradictory signals being sent out by the order. News of the application came on Wednesday, overshadowing the Orange Order’s statement saying it would “willinglly and actively participate” with the all-party discussions chaired by US diplomat Dr Richard Haass. This was a positive move but instead of this being the talking point, the focus was instead on the Ardoyne parade and the bid to keep tenisions simmering. After the Parades Commission’s ruling yesterday, it emerged the Orange Order may seek to stage weekly marches up to police lines at Woodvale. There is nothing about this strategy which is helpful or positive in terms of bridging community divisions, furthering the search for a resolution or reducing the threat of violence. If the scenes of last weekend are anything to go by, we can expect to see more disturbances and more destruction, with police braced for attacks and residents living in fear. This sort of tactic does not square with the Orange Order’s stated willingness to take part in the Haass initiative, which offers the prospect of an agreed resolution to contentious issues. It may be that this confused thinking points to a divergence of opinion within the institution and it is certainly striking how thousands of members were able to celebrate Orange culture without any difficulty in Derry and elsewhere on the Twelfth. There are lessons here for the Belfast lodges determined to make a stand at Ardoyne. Engagement, not confrontation, is the best way to achieve a desired outcome.
- Parades Commission ban Orange Order’s Ardoyne march (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Revealed: Drumcree-style Ardoyne Stand-off Could Last Five Days (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- Don’t turn Ardoyne into another Drumcree: UUP (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Dup: Dodds Was Not Target (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Orangemen plan Ardoyne parade ban protests (newsletter.co.uk)
- Northern Ireland police prepare for renewed protests over Orange march (guardian.co.uk)
THE Orange Order was last night urged to “see since” and scrap plans to march past Ardoyne shops again this weekend. There are fears of fresh loyalist violence after the surprise decision by North Belfast Orange men to apply for a parade at the flashpoint on Saturday.
Rioting has broken out in loyalist areas of the city since a Parades Commission decision to stop a march returning past the interface on July 12. Furious Orange Order leaders called for protests after they were banned from walking past nationalist homes on the Crumlin Road, but later called off the action after heavy criticism from the PSNI. There were scenes of serious violence in Woodvale, close to Ardoyne, last Friday night as Orange men and supporters clashed with police enforcing the commission’s ruling. Despite this, and the fact the loyal order said no-one in the unionist community should engage with the Parades Commission, its Number Two district has now applied to march on Saturday afternoon from the Shankill Road to Ligional Orange Hall via Woodvale and the Crumlin Road.
It will involve up to 500 participants and one band, but the number of supporters is unknown. A ruling is due today (THURS). SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness branded the move “unhelpful and irresponsible”. “I am calling on the Orange Order to see since and withdraw their application,” he said.”It is time now for leadership and calm and I am calling on the Orange Order to do the right thing.” Sinn Fein assembly member Gerry Kelly also accused the order of “doing damage to community relations and themselves”. “The Orange Order said they were calling off their protests and yet we still have marches up to police lines at interfaces nightly and now this application to march on Saturday,” he said. “All this application does is inflame the situation.” The DUP’s Arlene Foster last night welcomed the fact the Order had applied to the Parades Commission, saying it was better to hold a lawful protest than an illegal one. A spokesman for the Orange Order declined to comment last night.
With thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.
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Mr Dodds was knocked unconscious on Friday night by a brick thrown during riots on Woodvale Road. Violence erupted following a Parades Commission ruling that banned a return Orange Order parade along Crumlin Road. It is understood the same brick that hit Mr Dodds also struck Orange Order deputy county grand master for Belfast Spencer Beattie. A DUP source said the North Belfast MP was making a good recovery and was likely to return to his political duties later this week. On Monday a statement from the Orange Order referred to Friday night’s trouble. “Orangemen and polititicians tried to calm the situation down and we pay tribute to Nigel Dodds, local politicians and other partners from the Belfast Parades forum – not only for their work at this protest but also at several other times throughout the day,” it read.
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