Loyal order ‘flouted’ restrictions
THE conduct of loyalist marchers (Orange Disorder) at the Last Saturday parade was “beyond comprehension the parish priest of St Patrick‘s Church in Belfast has said. Fr Michael Sheehan was reacting to the Royal Black parade on Saturday when loyalists played The Sash while Mass was being celebrated inside the church.
Fr Sheehan, said: “it was disappointing and disheartening that the Royal Black Preceptory consider that the playing the Sash as they march past residents of Carrick Hill and through this community of St PPatrick’s was respectful.”The playing of loud music as they pass in frount of St Patrick’s Church during devine worship is definitely not respectful, It is not conductive to the building of respect, trust and confidence between the communities of this city. It doesn’t win the respect or trust of the congregation of this church. This particular breach of codes of practice is beyound comprehension,” he said. “It is difficult not to interpret such actions on the part of the loyal orders as a failure at any real attempt to resolve the issues around the contentious parades as they pass St Patrick’s Church and it’s community.”
The last Saturday parade which passed St Patrick’s Church on Belfast’s Donegall Street “flouted every legal restriction placed on it,” according to the culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin, a Sinn Fein MLA for the area said “total disrespect” shown to the nationalist community living in the area. The Parades Commission had determined that only a single drum beat be played as bands passed Carrick Hill while the return leg was supposed to be finished ahead of Mass. However, nationalist politicians claimed the Royal Black Institution (a supposedly religious orgainasition) was delayed by participants so that it coincided with Ssturday evening Mass. While music was played passing the church. Ms Ni Chuilin also claimed a member of the order had spat on a protester. Parish priest Fr Michael Sheehan said: “Tensions had been inflamed by “disrespect for the rule of law and good civic relations between citizens, organisation and communities”.
Ms Ni Chuilin said: “I am fed up hearing about loyal orders being religious oeganisations celebrating culture when in reality what was on show today was an exercise in sectarian coa trailing through a nationalist area. “A member of the Royal Black Institution spat upon a protester and on the way home they waited until Mass had started before returning past St Patrick’s Church. “Every aspect of the determination in relation to the parade was broken today and it is my opinion it was an effort to goad nationalist residents into some type of retaliatory reaction.” SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness said he believed marchers acted “quite deliberately” to delay the parade to coincide with Mass.”The Black men (bastards) were supposed to have finished their parade by 6.15. They didn’t commence their parade until around 7.10 so they passed the church after Mass had started,” he said. He said the manner which music was played when passing the church as “not fitting for prayer or worship” and described the behaviour of marchers as “aggressive and provocative”. In June this year the Orange Order, in conjunction with the Royal Black Institution, issued a “template” it said would help ease tensions in the area. The template suggested they would facilitate weddings, funerals and regular church services. Violence erupted outside Donegall Street church during a similar parade last yesr when nationalists and loyalists clashed. A spokesman for the Royal Black Institution said: “Around Northern Ireland on Saturday, approximately 18,000 members of the Royal Black Institution took part in their annual Last Saturday demonstrations. “Many thousands of turned out to enjoy the spectable which is an important part of our culture, (are they having a fucking laugh). “Although there will always be people opposed to our parades, we are pleased that our day passed off without any incident and we beleive this is a step forward.”
With many thanks to : Simon Cunningham, The Irish News.
- Priest hits out at marchers (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Parades and the Politics of Protest! (northbelfastjournal.wordpress.com)
- Restrictions on marches in bid to stem violence at flashpoints (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Loyalists Attack Police and Nationalist Homes (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)