Masked flag-bearer appeals conviction

‘This classically is a case which calls for an answer from the person who knows whether he was on that march or not – Sir Declan Morgan.

A DERRY man given a suspended jail sentence for being the masked flag bearer in a republican parade was never properly identified, the Court of Appeal has heard. Lawyers for Patrick John McDaid argued that experts in facial mapping and image comparison techniques were not certain he had been the man pictured in a balaclava.


As well as the photographs and facial mapping evidence, the judge in the non-jury trail in Belfast Crown Court heard how police later seized a document which purported to be minutes of a meeting to organise the march. It included the reference: ‘Colour party – McDaid to get people sorted’. But judges in the Court of Appeal were told on Tuesday that nothing more than a surname was found. Kieran Mallon QC, for McDaid, also challenged the strength of the evidence from an expert who noted striking similarities in the lips and eyes of his client and Man X. “It’s our contention there was not established any form of meaningful identification,” he said. “On balance he cannot say the accused and Mr X were one and the same person, primarily because there was no statistical database against which he could test an individual with that type of eye colour or lip shape.” Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan, sitting with Lords Justice Girvan and Coghlin, drew his attention to two other strands of the prosecution case: McDaids name being on the organising document and his participation in previous events. Mr Mallon accepted there would have been clear suspicions, but contended this fell short of proof. Sir Declan then alluded to McDaid’s failure to give any evidence at trial. “This classically is a case which calls for an answer from the person who knows whether he was on that march or not,” he said. Judgment in the appeal was reserved.

With thanks to: The Irish News


ANALYSIS – Connla Young.

WHILE many will take part in Friday’s parade to highlight claims of “internment by remand”, some will also see it as a platform to reclaim a significant date in the republican calendar.


The introduction of internment on August 9 1971 saw the detention without trial of thousands of young Catholics across the north. A watershed moment in the early Troubles, which made headlines around the world,  it had unintended effect of converting morderate nationalists to the republican cause. Traditionally rRepublicans marked the anniversary witht the lighting of bonbone fires in nationalist areas, which often resulted in violent clashes with police. In recent years Sinn Fein has aa banded the bonfire tradition and attempted to remove tensions by creating the Fleadh around the August date. Opponents have claimed this was part of a process of steering its traditional support away from street politics. In that context, some anti-agreement republicans see Friday’s parade as an opportunity to showcase opposition to Sinn Fein’s strategy, both to the party leadership and wider political establishment.

However, the parade is also being used as an outlet for anger by loyalists involved in flag and other protests this year. Two of the five protests planned at Royal Avenue involve groups set up by leading figures from the Union Flag protests. Despite the parade not directly passing any loyalist areas in North Belfast. Orangemen in the area are also planning to travel to the city centre for a demonstration. Coming after strong police criticism of protests held against restrictions placed on a July 12 parade at Ardoyne, this represents a departure for the organization. Until now it is not thought to have organised any protests at republican parades. Given the serious disruption caused to city centre traders and commuters by the flag protests, and the violence seen on July 12 when loyalists gathered to protest at Ardoyne, the prospect of thousands of republicans and loyalists gathering in the city centre on Friday will be a source of obvious concern for police in the coming days.

With many thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.

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INTERNMENT MARCH ORGANISERS ‘willing to meet unionists’

This is not a republican parade or a dissident parade, it’s a human rights parade…. If any former loyalist ex-internees want to come along to oppose the continued use of internment they are more than welcome – Dee Fennell.

THE organisers of an anti-internment parade in Belfast involving republican groups say they are willing to meet Unionists concerned about the event. Two previously unknown groups have applied to the Parades Commission to hold protests when the parade passers through the city centre on August 9.


Unionist politicians have also expressed concerns about the parade. The Anti-Internment League (AIL) says its event has been arranged to highlight the “internment” of some republicans facing paramilitary-related charges. The march is scheduled to take place on August 9 – the 42nd anniversary of the introduction of internment – and will start in Ardoyne, North Belfast, before eventually making its way down Royal Avenue in the city centre. It will pass along Falls Road to Andersontown, in the west of the city, for a rally. Organisations and political parties taking part include Eirgi, the Republican Network for Unity, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, the 1916 Societies and the Irish Republican Socialist Party. Organisers say human rights groups, trade unions and GAA clubs from across the north have also been invited to take part in the parade which could attract up to 5,000 people.

Greater Concerned Residents Group Belfast and Concerned Residents Group – Shankill Belfast, have applied to the Parades Commission to hold separate protests at Royal Avenue involving up to 150 people at each. Organiser Dee Fennell said the parade will focus on the internment issue and insisted the parade route was chosen to avoid potential flashpoints. “It’s a human rights parade,” he said. “This is not a republican parade or a dissident parade, it’s a human rights parade that republicans are taking part in. “We have invited trade unions and ex-prisoner groups, including Sinn Fein aligned ones, to take part. “If any loyalist ex-internees want to come along to oppose the continued use of internment they are more than welcome.”

Mr Fennell said there is some confusion over the two groups planning to hold protests. “They are not residents groups because the parade is not passing any Protestant areas and as far as I know nobody lives in Castlecourt,” he said. He added that parade organisers are willing to meet any group or elected representatives that “have any concerns relating to this parade”. DUP assembly member Robin Newton, who had been critical of the planned parade, dismissed any suggestion of a meeting saying some of the “organisations taking part that day will be beyond talking to”. The Parades Commission is expected to issue a determination in relation to the parade and associated protests this week.

With many thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.

The Following Statement was issued by the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC)

Corbett Pat

The decision to Halt the Hate filled display of Sectarian Coat Trailing Bigotry up the Crumlin Road on the Evening of the 12th July is long overdue. The constant pressure by GARC and the community of Ardoyne has forced the Parades Commission to capitulate from their position of facilitating unwanted outdated provocative acts of sectarian triumphalism.

All futile attempts to inject an irrelevant and unrepresentative micro-group with a discredited agenda around a facilitation process into talks with loyalists will fail as the residents of Ardoyne will only accept one genuine settlement which is that all Loyal Order marches through our area must cease forthwith and our community be allowed to live in peace free from unwanted Sectarian Parades.

The people of Ardoyne have shown by their resilience that they will not be beaten or brutalised into submission as our proud community has shown it can defend its self against any adversity. GARC appreciate their continued support and unflinching determination to stop all unwanted Parades.

The loyal Orders should now consider the alternative route suggested by GARC several years ago through Glenside Park for all future Parades and remove all future contention.

As unwanted morning Parades are every bit as insulting and unacceptable to nationalist residents as the evening Parades are, so the Orange Orders should consider cancelling their morning Parade in the interest of creating a peaceful and harmonious environment on the 12th of July.

Issued by GARC Steering Committee 10/07/2013.

End of Statement


SHAME FEIN has said any attempt to disrupt loyal order parades in Derry will be “opposed” by the people in the city. The comments by Foyle assembly member Raymonp)Cartney came after a new umbrella group rrepresenting nationalist residents across the north said it was considering holding Union-flag-type protests at loyal order parades.


Derry is set to host the Orange Order‘s flagship Twelfth demonstration this year with up to 10,000 supporters expected to flood into the majority nationalist city for the event. Communities Against Sectarian Parades (Casp), which is not aligned to Shame Fein, was launched last week to oppose disputed marches. The group warned it may “mobilise and disrupt” loyal order parades in the city. A deal hatched with the Apprentice Boys in Derry is held up as a model for other areas to follow. Casp chairman Sean Hanna said nationalists were angered at events in the Carrick Hill district of north Belfast after last Friday’s Tour of the North during which Parades Commission determinations were broken by loyalist bands. Mr McCartny said the new group was “unelected” and “has no long-term strategy” to resolve parading disputes. “A threat to bring flag-style protests to the city will be opposed by the people of Derry who have worked hard to promote the city in a good light and will not have an agenda dictated to by people who do not have the good intentions of the city at heart,” he said.

With many thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.


‘We want to give a voice back to the people on the ground’ says Casp spokes man.

NATIONALIST residents from areas across the North of Ireland with contentious Orange Order parades have joined forces to form an umbrella group to oppose sectarian loyalist marches. Communities Against Sectarian Parades (CASP) iinvolves people from the Short Strand in East Belfast, Springfield Road in West Belfast and the North Belfast flashpoint Ardoyne.


There is also representation from rural areas such as Rasharkin in Co Antrim and Newtownbutler in Co Fermanagh. The group said it had support from an alternative Carrick Hill residents group set up in recent weeks to oppose marches past St Patrick’s Church in Donegal Street, although there was no-one from the area present at the meeting held in the Ardoyne community centre. Its membership is made of groups who have formed in areas where there were already residents associations. It argues that the exsisting groups have been rendered “ineffective due to political interferance”. “They are controlled by a political party and we want to give a voice back to the people on the ground,” spokesman Sean Hanna from the Rasharkin Residents Collective said. Mr Hanna said the decisions on whether to meet with the police or hold talks with the Orange Order or Parades Commission would remain up to the individual groups.

He said the strength of the collective was its unified supportive role. “Our coalition will aim to highlight and confront the denial of our human rights to live free from sectarian harassment that is associated with sectarian marches,” he said. “We beleive in a holistic approach to confront these marches. Mr Hanna would not say if the collective has planned any joint protests in the run-up to the Twelfth saying that was “yet to be decided”. While Casp was announcing its formation to a panel of journalists, a meeting was taking place in a separate room of the community centre involving Galway Fianna Fail TD Eamon O’Cuiv, residents and members of the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective. Aidan Ferguson was one of the people who meet with the justice committee member. He said that they discussed a number of issues connected to loyalist parades which pass the nationalst interface. “It was a very positive meeting and we will be formally inviting him to act as an independant observer during the July marches,” Mr Ferguson said. The Irish News contacted Mr O’Cuiv’s office about the meeting but did not receive a response.

Collective attempt to usurp Sinn Fein.

THE formation of a new umbrella group to oppose loyalist parades may on the surface seem fairly run-of-the-mill but it could have political ramifications. Communities Against Sectarian Parades (CASP) involves residents who have broken away from existing groups – groups that contain members or supporters of Sinn Fein. The party has traditionally acted as the voice of communites dirctly impacted by loyalist marches. This new collective is an attempt to usurp Sinn Fein.

The residents groups in the collective involve a range of people, including republicans who would be considered dissident and actively opposed to Sinn Fein’s political strategy. Until now these grops have done little to upset the status quo, with numbers small and protests haphazard. However, an organised collective brings with it strength in numbers and some members who advocate a more hardline approach to opposing parades, Casp could have a destablising influnance. With tensions already high this marching season following a winter of loyalist violence and unrest linked to the Union Flag dispute at Belfast City Hall, Casp’s impact will bear close observation in the coming weeks.

With many thanks to : Allison Morris, Irish News.


 DISSIDENT republicans are attempting to whip up tensions around the marching season in a bid to attract a new generation of recruits, a senior Orange Order figure has claimed. Grand Lodge of Ireland grand secretary Drew Nelson said extremists were using protests against parades as a means of attracting young people away from mainstream republicanism and into their ranks.


With community tensions high heading into the summer marching season, exacerbated by a winter of unrest linked tcreating inon Flag controversy, Mr Nelson called for more tolerance to be shown to loyal order events. “My hopes are that there will be more to our traditional parades,” he said. “We never go and seek new parades in contentious areas. We have not done that right throughout this last 20 or 30 years. “In fact we have done the opposite, we have restricted our parades in areas we think there may be contention. “I am not trying to avoid the fact that there are still several contentious areas. They are very heavily focused on by people in what I beleive is organised opposition to our parades.

“I have a slight concern in that I do see the opposition to our parades being partly influenced by internal competition between mainstream republicans and dissident republicans.” “In particular dissident republicans are now whipping up more of the opposition to our parades as some attempt, I think, to gain the loyalty of young republicans away from the mainstream republican movement.” Mr Nelson urged loyal order members not to “fall into the trap” laid by people who were interested in creating instability. He also said the orders were “continually” working to ease tentions, including those created by the recent erection of hundreads of flags accross parts of Belfast.

With many thanks to : Irish News.


‘ It is the very first time that we have got firm independent information on on the contrinformationt the loyal orders and the bands make to society in the North of Ireland – Nelson McCausland.


SOCIAL development minister Nelson McCausland. aas defended a £40,000 report funded by his department into the economic benefits of loyal order and band parades. Compiled by accountants RSM McClure Waters, the report claimed that the loyal orders and bands generate almost £55 million in economic and social benefits for the North each year.

However, the ‘report on the Socio-econmic impact of the traditional Protestant parading sector in Northern Ireland‘, published yesterday, did not include the cost of policing these parades, which last year ran into millions of pounds. Speaking to The Irish NewsMr McCausland, a member of the Orange Order, defended the independence of the research. “The report was produced by an independent consultancy firm – a very well and highly regarded firm,” he said. “There was input from the Institute of Irish studies at Queen’s. niversity. “That shows the validity and the strength of the information. “This is solid, credible information and I sincerely hope that in the media it will receive the same levels of coverage that some newspapers might give to other events.” The £55m figure includes an estimated £39m contribution per annum through the provision of facilities – around 750 Orange Halls – the undertaking of community and volunteer work and fundraising.

English: Nelson McCausland (on right), Ministe...

Researchers claim parades boost the economy by another £15m a year through spending on goods and services, including regalia, uniforms, instruments and bus hire. The potential tourism revenue generated by those travelling to the North to watch or take part in the marching season, was not factored in the research. Mr McCausland described the research as “significant”. “It is the very first time that we have got firm independent information on the contribution that the loyal orders and the bands make to society in Northern Ireland,” he said. Drew Nelson, the grand secretary said : “The loyal orders and bands are an integral part of the fabric and make-up of the Protestant community and it is appropriate that their social and economic contribution to the wider society is now highlighted,” he said. SDLP assembly member Patsy McGlone said the economic benefits of parades should be balanced against the cost of policing them. He added there should be a report into the economic and social benefits of the GAA. While not equating the two I beleive a similar study into the economic and social impact of the GAA across the North must be commissioned by the DSD as well as the cultural benifits fully factored in through the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure.”

With many thanks to : Connia Young, Irish News.


‘ The Orange Order have shown an amazing willingness to reroute – not to facilitate a better atmosphere but to make the parading issue in Portadown worse – Gemma McKenna.


A CCONTROVERSIAL Orange Order march through Portadown has been redesignated as “sensitive” by the Parades Commission tensions in the Co Armagh town have been high since Orangemen revealed plans to hold a prayer service in the People’s Park which is close to nationalist homes and the Garvaghy Road.

The event is to take place before a major ‘mini-Twelfth‘ parade in Portadown on Saturday June 8, which is expected to involve 2,000 participants and 2,000 supporters. Initially the parade was considered non-sensitive by the PSNI, which has since provided a “revised assessment” categorising it as contentious. It is understood the Garvaghy Road Residents Colition (GRRC) contacted commission chiefs last week to voice its concerns about the march, while the issue was also raised during a meeting between Sinn Fein and police. Unlike previous years when the annual mini-Twelfth parade set off from the town’s Carlton Street Orange Hall, organisers have applied to the commission to start from Wilson Street this year – which is close to the People’s Park and nationalist homes on the Garvaghy Road and Orbin Street. Both areas have been at the centre of bitter parade disputes in the past with Orangemen banned from walking along the Garvaghy Road since 1998 and Orbin Street since 1985.

The decision to allow the Orange Order to use the People’s Park was taken by Craigavon Borough Council despite police warnings that hundreads of Orangemen making their way to and from the area could raise tensions locally. GRRC spokesman Breandan Mac Cionnaith said the prayer service and parade are linked and the prospect of both events taking place has raised tensions in the area. “There is a lot of nervousness here,” he said.”Some of those houses backing onto the park don’t have a fence. “Are they going access the park from Obin Street or the Garvaghy Road? Nobody knows – it has not been made clear. “There is a lot of anxiety about what is happening.” Craigavon Sinn Fein councillor Gemma McKenna said people in the area have no appetite for a fresh parades dispute. “The Orange Order have shown an amazing willingness to reroute – unfortunately it is not to facilitate a better atmosphere but to make the parading issue in Portadown worse,” she said. Portadown district master Darryl Hewitt described the decision to redesignate the parade as “absolute nonsence”. “It’s dissappointing and I would condemn any decision to make a Portadown district parade ‘sensitive’, he said. “But nothing surprises me with the Parades Commission. “I am surprised at the local police. We had a meeting with them last week and they didn’t intimate it was contentious.”

A spokesman for the Parades Commission confirmed it received a “revised assessment” from the PSNI. A spokesman from the PSNI said : ” Police have submitted a form 11/4 to the Parades Commission that we beleive this parade to be sensitive this year in view of a number of changes to the traditional event that have been mooted. “We have had discussions with the organisers and will be meeting local representives of local community in relation to the proposed event.” News that the mini-Twelfth parade is now considered contentious came after Ms McKenna described a debate on the proposed prayer service at Craigavon Borough Council as a “shambles”. “Sinn Fein is not concerned that this event is not in fact a religious service but an attempt by the Orange Order to hold a march under a different guise,” she said.

With many thanks to : Connia Young, Irish News.


‘They are going to solve nothing by going over there. It’s going to be solved in the areas affected by theCalifornia. – Frank Dempsey.

REPRESENTATIVES of some nationalist residents groups at parade flashpoints have criticised a PSNI/RUC initiative to reduce tensions ahead of the main marching season. Police officers, political representatives and community workers are in Cardiff to discuss ways of reducing tensions in the run up to the main marching season.


However, a number of nationalist residents groups at several key flashpoints, which are not aligned to Sinn Fein, were not invited to those talks. Carrick Hill residents spokesman Frank Dempsey, whose group is opposed to loyal order marches past the area and nearby St Patrick’s Church, expects little to come out of the talks. “Even if we had been invited we would not have gone,” he said. “They are going to solve nothing by going over there. “It’s going to be solved in the areas affected by these parades. “We don’t have to go anywhere else to talk, we can go to an orange hall or the front room of someone’s house to talk.” Sean Hanna, chairman of Rasharkin Residents Collective, which is opposed to loyal order and loyalist parades through the mainly nationalist Co An trim village, also criticised the event.”They have used the process so they could choose the right people to deliver in Wales their pre-planned political message,” he said.

Mr Hanna revealed last week that his group has been involved in direct talks with the Orange Order in Rasharkin, although the order has denied the claim. A spokesman for Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective, which objects to loyal order parades going past the nationalist district in north Belfast, said : “They must take a bold step up to the mark and desist from treating our communities as second class citizens and let’s build together a real and genuine island of equals in which a shared further can exist, one in which we and all our children deserve.” “Then and only then, can we together realistically considerer looking at bringing walls and barriers that device our communities down, once and for all.” A police spokeswoman said the event was “planned to enable us to have an open and frank conversation about policing in Belfast”. “Given the critical role played by the police in our communities, our discussion will focus on the issues facing policing in Belfast and on identifying ways of building and sustaining a broad base of support for policing and strengthening community-based approaches,” she said.

With many thanks to : Connia Young, Irish News.

Discussions ‘to reduce tensions’

THE PSNI-organised talks at a four-star Cardiff hotel which began yesterday are being attended by all the north’s main parties, along with republican and loyalist community leaders. However, none of the loyal orders or the Parades Commission is taking part. Headed by Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton, the 34 participants include six senior police officers. Police have insisted the talks are not about trying to resolve parades disputes but are designed to reduce tensions and address complaints about how police have responded to unrest over recent months.

The discussions are being chaired by facilitators from the Universty of Ulster and Stanford University in Califorina. Delegates include senior republican Sean Murray, UDA leader Jackie McDonald and Winston Irvine of the UVF-allgned PUP. Other delegates include the former moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Rev Norman Hamilton. The event is expected to cost the public up to £26,000 with the cost split between the PSNI and the NIO.

John Manley.

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