IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS
Friday-Thursday, 13-19 July, 2012
1. SECTARIANISM ON SHOW
2. PSNI arrests continue
3. SF challenges British on prisoner issues
4. Loyalists extend bonfire message of hate
5. IMF demands more cuts as protest councillor jailed
6. Opposition walkout over anti-democratic action
7. Feature: The Howth gun-running
8. Analysis: The Twelfth
>>>>>> SECTARIANISM ON SHOW
A member of Sinn Fein has described how he was set upon as he videoed a
loyalist 'kick the Pope' band deliberately circling and playing
sectarian tunes outside a Catholic church during the Orange Order's
main Belfast 'Twelfth' parade.
Belfast community worker JJ Magee later released the video [see below]
which shows the band playing the so-called Famine Song, which contains
notoriously anti-Catholic and anti-Irish lyrics. A second video clip,
which has not been released, shows the band playing 'the Sash', another
The Shankill Road-based YCV Flute Band, which is dedicated to the memory
of a UVF paramilitary, marched in ritualistic circles for up to 30
minutes in front of St Patrick's Church on Donegall Street. A large
crowd of loyalists cheered them on.
Mr Magee said he had been part of a group of community workers
monitoring the parade in the nationalist Carrick Hill area.
"A couple of people in the band came over to me and threatened me and
told me to clear off. Then they started swiping at me and one man was
trying to hit me with a stick," he said. "Then some Orangemen broke
ranks and came over and started throwing kicks at me as well."
The Orange Order's parades celebrate a historic Protestant victory over
Catholics on July 12th every year. Sectarian provocations are a routine
element of such parades, but are typically ignored or censored by the
mainstream media in the North.
"I went over and began to record what was happening," said Mr Magee. "At
that stage I didn't feel under threat and was just standing on the
"Obviously I knew what they were doing was inflammatory and they were
only doing it because they were stopped outside a Catholic church."
One man can be heard on the video threatening Mr Magee, while another
holds a club in his direction.
The New Lodge man described the episode as "frightening".
"I knew I was under pressure and I thought: Should I defend myself here?
I knew I was in a sticky situation but it wasn't until it was over that
I realised how lucky I actually was to get away."
The Shankill Road-based YCV band had been making their way from nearby
Clifton Street Orange Hall to the main Belfast Twelfth demonstration.
The group was formed in 2007 for the "preservation and promotion" of the
memory of Thomas Kinner -- a former member of the Young Citizen
Volunteers, the youth wing of the UVF death squads, who died in 2003.
The second clip, recorded by a local resident, shows two members of the
PSNI police standing beside the church, apparently facilitating the
provocation. Two nationalist residents are seen to remonstrate with the
PSNI about the display, but are ignored.
Sinn Fein councillor Conor Maskey said two prominent unionists, North
Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds and Assembly Member Nelson McCausland had
also been near the band at the time.
"Nigel Dodds and Nelson McCausland were in close proximity yet did
nothing to intervene," he said.
"It is time for the Orange Order to show leadership, step into the 21st
century and get rid of the organisation's anti-Catholic, sectarian
"Until that happens, then clearly this bigoted side of the organisation
will continue to manifest itself in incidents like this."
The release of the video into the public domain led to an outcry on
social media sites.
In an extraordinary response, the flute band claimed they were
harmlessly playing a tune by the Beach Boys.
The band said: "The singing of words that some supporters associated
with the tune the band was playing at the time was perhaps unfortunate
and may have just been a by-product of the exuberance of the day of
celebration of our culture and history."
Nelson McCausland supported the band this week with an equally absurd
"The band could equally have been stopped outside a paper shop or a chip
shop", he said. "It simply was by coincidence that they were outside
North Belfast Sinn Fein councillor Conor Maskey said Mr McCausland's
comments were "an utter disgrace".
"The DUP politician should hang his head in shame. Instead of attempting
to gloss over and excuse such sickening and offensive behaviour he
should be condemning it," he said.
"Not only has he done himself a diservice with this load of nonsense but
he has also further discredited the Orange Order and the DUP in the eyes
of the wider public."
>>>>>> PSNI arrests continue
The fallout from the decision to force an anti-Catholic parade through
Catholic north Belfast on July 12th continued this week with a series
The PSNI police has been accused of exploiting the annual disorder in
Ardoyne to intern and imprison republicans caught up in the trouble. So
far there have been six arrests, all of them from the nationalist
community. Four have been ordered to be remanded without bail.
The initial policing operation during the riot of last Thursday saw two
arrests, one of whom was publicly stripped and beaten in the course of
his detention. The PSNI is currently reported to be engaged in a
'trawling' operation of the greater Ardoyne area in a bid to effect
One of those arrested in connection with the riot so far is Alan Lundy,
who was a marshal of a protest by the nationalist Greater Ardoyne
Residents Collective (GARC). The PSNI astonished courtroom observers
this week when they presented what they said was video evidence of Mr
Lundy engaged in rioting -- but which actually dated from a previous
Ardoyne riot, seven years ago. Mr Lundy was refused bail.
The Lundy family have issued a statement to express their belief that
their "father, son and brother" Alan is a victim of political policing.
"Alan is an unrepentant republican, and does not hide his perfectly
legitimate beliefs from anyone," they said.
"He is involved in numerous republican projects such as commemorations
and prisoner welfare, and also takes part in community initiatives
including anti-drug projects and opposing sectarian parades.
"The two charges that Alan is facing have been brought in order to
remove him from the streets, no other reason. Not because he has
committed any offence, but purely to imprison him in a foolish attempt
to break his belief in the republican struggle.
They said his arrest was a "further example" of the harassment that Mr
Lundy has faced from the PSNI, the RUC and the British Army since his
"He has been the subject of numerous stop-and-searches... over the
years, and has had his home raided on a number of occasions. However,
all of this only served to strengthen his resolve and determination to
achieve positive change in our country, and the response of the State
has been to intern him by remand to try and end the valuable work he
does in our community."
Alan's father, also named Alan, was a republican activist, Sinn Fein
member and a former political prisoner. In 1993 he was murdered by a
loyalist death squad after working in the home of his friend, Sinn
Fein's Alex Maskey.
Members of the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective held white-line
protests on the Crumlin Road in condemnation of the arrest, as well as
that of another Ardoyne man, Ta McWilliams. Mr McWilliams is being
considered for potential internment by British Direct Ruler Owen
Paterson, according to media reports.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has called for a meeting with the
Orange Order over the organisation's insistence on marching through
He said the openly anti-Catholic organisation must open up dialogue
with his party and nationalist residents opposed to Orangemen parading
through their communities.
"The Orange Order needs to step forward and make their contribution to
the peace process," Mr Adams said at the weekend. "That means dialogue
with residents. It also means dialogue with Sinn Fein.
"I have written to the Orange Order many times over the years seeking a
meeting. I repeat that call again today. The work to prevent a repeat
of this week's violence must begin now."
Meanwhile, the Sinn Fein Mayor of Derry Kevin Campbell has demanded an
apology from the PSNI after seven hours of raids in the city on the
same night of the Twelfth.
Mr Campbell's own home was one of several pulled apart during the
overnight operation by the PSNI in the nationalist Creggan area.
The Mayor called on the PSNI to return two laptop computers belonging
to Derry City Council and his 10-year-old daughter as well as three
A former member of the Derry district policing partnership, the
targeting of Mr Campbell's home has fuelled claims that the PSNI has
become increasingly hostile to Sinn Fein.
"I was in the house on my own around 10.30 on Thursday night when I
heard the Land Rover doors slamming," he said.
"I looked out and saw police coming into the house. One officer
recognised me and asked if I was living there.
Mr Campbell said they wore white suits and told him they'd been sent
from Upper Queen Street in Belfast for the search.
"They told me they were looking for someone. I told them there was
no-one in the house but me and as Mayor of Derry my integrity was on
The PSNI remained both at the front and back of the mayor's home until
after 4am the following morning when reinforcements arrived to carry
out a search of Mr Campbell's house, before finally leaving around
>>>>>> SF challenges British on prisoner issues
Sinn Fein's party leader Gerry Adams has challenged the British Direct
Ruler, Owen Paterson during a meeting at the Dublin parliament over
political prisoners in the North, including the continued imprisonment
of Marian Price and Martin Corey.
Mr Adams said the main focus of the meeting on Thursday afternoon was
the continued imprisonment of Marian Price and the decision by Paterson
to appeal the recent court decision to release Martin Corey, both of
which the Sinn Fein leader described as "unjust".
"Marian Price is not well," he said. "Martin Corey was released by the
courts. Both of these citizens are entitled to due process which they
have been denied. They should be released and I put it very strongly to
Mr Paterson that this should be done."
Sinn Fein has increasingly focused on the issue of internment without
trial in recent weeks.
At another event in Dublin attended by Paterson, a protest was
organised by the party to demand the release of Marian Price and Martin
As Paterson left the building he was met with chants of "shame on you"
and "justice for political prisoners" by Sinn Fein protesters who also
called for Paterson to "let the peace process move forward".
Party veterans also were present as a picket was organised by the Free
Marian Price Dublin Campaign at Dublin City Hall earlier this month.
City councillors were discussing Marian Price's case at the council
meeting and debated a motion calling for the release of Marian Price.
The protest was attended by up to fifty people. The council passed a
motion demanding the immediate release of Marian Price on humanitarian
The motion, submitted by eirigi councillor Louise Minihan and
independent councillor Ciaran Perry on behalf of the Free Marian Price
Dublin Committee, passed almost unanimously. Only Councillor Paul
McAuliffe of Fianna Fail voted against the motion.
All town, city and county councils in the 26 Counties will now receive
an official copy of the motion highlighting Price's case. Official
letters from Dublin City Council will also be sent to Owen Paterson,
Six County Justice Minister David Ford, the North's First and Deputy
First Ministers and 26-County Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore requesting an
explanation for the continued incarceration of Marian Price and
demanding her immediate release.
The text of the motion passed by Dublin City Council reads:
'That Dublin City Council calls for the release of Marian Price on
health and humanitarian grounds and requests an explanation for the
incarceration of Marian Price from the Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Minister for Justice in Northern Ireland and First and Deputy First
Ministers in Northern Ireland.'
The following is the text of the speech made by eirigi's Louise
Minihan, when proposing the motion in Dublin City Council:
"As we sit in the comfort of this chamber tonight, a sick frail woman
is in hospital, under arrest after enduring solitary confinement for
over a year, with 9 months of it spent in an all male prison.
"This woman has committed no crime and has been convicted of no charge.
Marian Price is in gaol on the whim of a British Secretary of state,
and is being interned without trial.
"Marian Price is a 58-year-old mother. The question here is not whether
you agree with Marian's political beliefs or with the aims of the
organisation she is a member of. The question is will you stand up
against human rights abuses committed in this country by the British
"Marian's case is a gross miscarriage of justice and as severe a
violation of a person's human rights that has ever been discussed by
"Fourteen months ago Marian was arrested for her part in a 1916
commemoration in Derry. Marian appeared before a court and was released
on bail. However the British secretary of state disagreed with this
decision and stepped in and had her arrested and committed to prison.
Since then all charges against Marian has been dropped.
"For the next 9 months Marian was held in complete isolation on a wing
in an all male prison. This we must remember was without crime or
"Due to the deterioration of Marian's health, she was transferred to a
so called medical facility at Hydebank Prison were she continued to be
held in complete isolation, unable to get the proper medical care she
"Expert medical opinion has recommended her immediate release, along
with a number of prominent civil and human rights campaigners such as
Monsignor Raymond Murray, who is running the Free Marian Price
Campaign, Bernadette McAliskey and Eamonn McCann, TDs, trade unionists
and academics including Maureen O Sullivan, Thomas Pringle, Eamon O
Cuiv, Frank Keoghan, and actress Margaretta D'Arcy, Juan Mendez, UN
Special Rapporteur on Torture, the SDLP and many, many more.
"As I said, this case is not about whether you agree with Marian or
not. It is about, whether you are willing to stand up against human
rights abuses. Internment under any other name is still internment.
Internment was wrong in the 70s and it is still wrong today.
"This council has a great record for standing up for people's civil and
human rights around the world. This motion allows us to send a clear
message on behalf of the people of Dublin that human rights abuses will
not be tolerated anywhere on this island, and that the elected
representatives of the people of Dublin will stand up against any
infringement of the civil and human rights of Irish Citizens.
"I am asking councillors to support this motion in calling for the
release of Marian Price on humanitarian grounds."
* Activists have been urged to support to sign online petitions calling
for the release of both Marian Price and Martin Corey. The petitions
are available at http://bit.ly/Q9i60l and http://bit.ly/Ke3Olt
>>>>>> Loyalists extend bonfire message of hate
The Polish community in the North have reacted angrily after it emerged
that Polish national flags were placed on loyalist bonfires alongside
Irish tricolour flags in a public display of racism and bigotry.
The PSNI said they were investigating two incidents of Polish flags
being burned on 'Eleventh Night' bonfires in east Belfast last week.
Loyalists have frequently targeted foreign nationals in the North for
race attacks, particularly those who are likely to be Catholic. While
Irish tricolour flags are ritually and habitually burned by loyalists,
it is believed to be the first time Polish flags have been burned on
their Eleventh Night bonfires.
Maciek Bator, director of the Polish Association of Northern Ireland,
said it was a "totally appalling and offensive" act and said his
organisation had received several complaints.
"As a community, we are against a society where to affirm one identity,
others are denied respect and dignity," he said.
Mr Bator called on "all political and community leaders" to take "urgent
action to stop hatred and bigotry".
Among the other items burned last week was an election poster for the
SDLP's Polish candidate, Magdalena Wolska.
SDLP councillor Claire Hanna said the burning was "yet another worrying
symptom of the fact that we stili have people in the north who cannot
Meanwhile, loyalists have hacked down goalposts for the second time in a
month at a County Down Gaelic sports pitch used by children. The latest
attack on the newly installed posts at council-owned playing fields in
Kilkeel saw the uprights cut completely to the ground.
Nationalists reacted angrily last month when the uprights at Carginagh
Road were hacked down to the size of soccer goals by loyalists using
heavy cutting gear. The word 'British' was also stencilled into the
posts, days after a Union Jack flag had also been flown from one of the
And a 14-year-old boy was grabbed by the throat and punched in the face by
loyalist band members after he attempted to cross the road while a
parade was taking place, it has emerged.
The teenager was seized by one male band member and attacked by another
during the parade on Wednesday June 30 in Magherafelt, County Derry.
>>>>>> IMF demands more cuts as protest councillor jailed
The International Monetary Fund has ordered the Dublin government to
slash dole payments, cut child benefit, and take medical cards away from
more old age pensioners.
As part of the conditions of its bailout loans, the IMF also demanded
the government increase the household charge. There was no call for a
tax on wealth or on high earners.
Responding to the report, Sinn Fein finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty
TD, said advice from the IMF on how Ireland should fix its deficit had
so far resulted in a lengthening of the Irish recession. He said the
latest suggestions of further cuts and flat taxes, if implemented, would
cause more damage.
"From the beginning, Sinn Fein advocated separating bank debt from
sovereign debt, burning bondholders, stimulating the economy, reforming
the taxation system and eliminating spending waste.
"The Troika, including the IMF, and along with the Government, has
pursued a policy of bailing out banks, taxing lower earners, cutting
frontline service spending and refusing first to acknowledge and then to
deal with the jobs crisis. A crisis that began in 2007 is as bad as it
ever was now in 2012, and we have many hard years ahead to reach the
reduced deficit target."
Mr Doherty said the measures recommended by the IMF had the potential to
undermine a recovery.
"A flat rate, high property tax, levied at everybody, would seriously
impact on the ability of low and middle income earners to continue
consuming in this economy. This is not to mention what it will do their
standard of living.
"The abolition of universal payments such as childcare and pensions
would similarly target low and middle income earners
Meanwhile, Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan has been imprisoned as
punishment for her 'red paint' protest against health service cutbacks
by the former 26-County Minister for Health, Mary Harney.
The eirigi councillor was arrested at Ballyfermot Garda barracks at
lunchtime Wednesday before being transported to the notorious Mountjoy
Prison complex. Minihan is expected serve up to seven days imprisonment
as a result of her refusal to pay the 1,500 euro fine the courts imposed
upon her in February 2011.
Over sixty people joined a spontaneous protest on Wednesday calling for
Speaking at the protest outside of the jail, eirigi Cathaoirleach
[chairperson] Brian Leeson said his colleague's jailing was "yet another
example of the two-tier justice system that operates within this state.
It is now abundantly clear that there is one law for the rich and
powerful and another, far more severe, law for the rest of us.
"We should all remember that this is the state that has yet to jail the
corrupt Taoiseach who explained away his vast sums of unaccounted for
income by claiming he won it on the horses; this is the state that has
yet to jail the media tycoon who bribed a minister to win a broadcasting
licence; this is the state that has failed to jail a single banker or
financier for bringing the economy to the point of ruin; this is a state
that has failed to jail anyone for the blood transfusion scandal which
cost the lives of hundreds of people. And the list goes on and on."
Leeson concluded by encouraging people to join further protests outside
of Mountjoy over the coming days. He said protests would take place each
evening at 8pm until Councillor Minihan was released.
"The difference between Louise Minihan and all of those who have escaped
punishment is simple. Louise is not part of the golden circle that runs
this state and she is therefore not entitled to the immunity from
punishment that members of that circle enjoy. By directly challenging
Harney, Louise was in fact directly challenging the entire ruling class
in this state and for that she must be seen to be punished.
"The tiny minority that control this state fear people who are willing
to challenge them, because they know how tenuous their grip on power
>>>>>> Opposition walkout over anti-democratic action
All Opposition members of the Dublin parliament walked out of the Dail
chamber on the last day of parliamentary session in a rare protest at the
government's handling of legislation on Gaeltacht (Irish language
Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and the Technical Group of independents walked
out in unity in protest at anti-democratic legislation being rushed
through the parliament by the coalition government before the two-month
The legislation will abolish elections to Udaras na Gaeltachta, the
local authority that represents Irish language speaking areas, and
almost halve its size, from 20 members to 12.
Thirty four opposition TDs were in the chamber and left as committee
stage of the Bill, scheduled to take three hours, began with none of the
150 amendments accepted by the government.
Just seven government TDs, all Fine Gael, were left in the chamber.
The Irish language is in crisis, with research showing that the language
has between fifteen and twenty years left as a spoken tongue in the
Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Dinny McGinley claimed the decision
to axe direct public representation on Udaras na Gaeltachta was being
taken because just one in four Gaeltacht residents spoke Irish on a
daily basis, but did not draw connection between the two.
Sinn Fein's Peader Toibin said the first Gaeltacht Bill in 60 years had
been "forced and guillotined" through the parliament on the last day.
"Despite this bill containing some positive changes its overall effect
will be negative. All Irish language groups are calling for it to be
suspended to allow amendments to fix the problems," he said.
"The government has reduced the power of the Coimisineir Teanga
[Language Commissioner] and a large number of its departments are
breaking the law with regards to Irish language provision without
He also pointed to decisions to downgrade three areas on the authority,
the Meath Gaeltachtai, Rathcairn and Baile Gibb.
The survival and the growth of the language can be achieved, but Irish
"needs more that empty platitudes", said Mr Toibin.
"Minority languages have been strengthened in the Catalonia, Wales and
the Basque Country, through strategic planning, modest resources but
most importantly political will.
"Is leir nach bhfuil suim da laghad ag an Roinn no ag an rialtas ple
oscailte daonlathas a chuir ar siuil anseo inniu. Mar sin diultaim leis
an proiseas in a iomlan. Nilimid sasta fanacht agus taim chun siuil
amach chun mo deistin a thaispeaint ar an coras seo."
[It is clear that neither the Department nor the government is the least
interested in having an open democratic debate here today. Because of
that, I reject the process in its totality. We are not content to
remain and I will walk out to show my disgust at this system.]
Irish-language advocacy groups Conradh na Gaeilge and Guth na Gaeltachta
welcomed the Opposition walk-out.
The parliamentary Committee on Gaeltacht Affairs "wasn't given the
opportunity to even discuss the Gaeltacht Bill 2012", Julian de Spainn,
Conradh na Gaeilge general secretary, said yesterday.
"The most important legislation pertaining to the Gaeltacht and the
Irish language in almost 60 years was pushed through the Oireachtas
before the summer break."
>>>>>> Feature: The Howth gun-running
In response to the Larne gun-running in arming the Ulster Volunteers,
the Howth gun running was intended to redress the balance by providing
arms to the Irish Volunteers. It took place in Ireland on 26 July 1914,
98 years ago this week. An article by Aengus O Snodaigh.
Republican leaders in 1913 decided that it was an opportune time to
challenge England's illegal occupation of Ireland through force of arms
or threat of armed revolt. Following their establishment to the Irish
Volunteers in the Rotunda Rink, Dublin, on 25 November 1913 they set
about arming and equipping the new force.
The order prohibiting the importation of arms was making it difficult to
obtain rifles, revolvers and heavy weaponry. Seeing unionists import
huge quantities of arms unhindered into Ulster, they undertook to follow
Darrell Figgis accompanied Erskine Childers to Hamburg in Germany where
they purchased 1,500 second-hand Mauser rifles and 49,000 rounds of
ammunition. In a ruse Childers let it be known that an Irish trawler was
transporting the cargo to Ireland. English warships spent their time
intercepting all Irish trawlers in the area while in fact it was
Childers' yacht Asgard and Conor O'Brien's Kelpie which carried the
precious cargo to Ireland, having been loaded from a tug in the North
At home preparations were put in place to receive the weapons. The
Volunteers organised regular route marches and parades so when the day
came they wouldn't appear out of place or alert police attention.
Unknown to most Volunteers and Fianna the march scheduled for 26 July
1914 had a secondary purpose. Just prior to the arms landing the
officers were appraised of what was occurring, phonelines were cut, the
Fianna trek-cart was emptied of its 150 oak batons, guards were put on
coastguard and police stations.
Unlike the unionists' Larne gun-running episode the Volunteer leaders
predicted that British forces would make a move against the arms landing
and so only Childers' boat was detailed to land its cargo in full view
in daylight in Howth, County Dublin. Nearly half of the shipment was
destined for Kilcoole, County Wicklow aboard Sir Thomas Myles' Chotah
which had relieved the Kelpie of its load. These were landed a week
after the Howth landing due to a storm.
Howth republican Pearse McLoughlin who died last year, was the first to
reveal the role played by Howth fishermen in the Kilcoole gun-running.
"Eoin MacNeill - a prominent member of the Irish Volunteers - lived in
Howth at that time and the task of collecting the arms from the yacht
Chota was assigned to MacNeill to organise. MacNeill appraoched the
owner of a local fishing boat - Peter McLoughlin - and requested his
co-operation. Enthusiastic co-operation was assured by Peter, who owned
a 35-foot fishing boat called the Nugget. This vessel was the first
Howth fishing boat to be fitted with an engine.
"On the night the Chota was due at a pre-arranged position outside the
Kish Bank, the Nugget sailed from Howth crewed by three brothers of
Peter, James who was skipper, Nicholas and William, and Michael Moore.
Also on board were a number of MacNeill's men to supervise the transfer
of weapons. On the votage to the Kish Bank a stowaway was discovered. He
was a young schoolboy whose name was Edward Moore.
"The arms were safely transferred to the Nugget by the fishermen and
landed on Kilcoole Strand before dawn, where they were taken in charge
by Cathal Bruagha and Sean T.O'Kelly with a unit of Volunteers. The boat
was taken out to sea then and a day's fishing was done before it
returned to Howth."
Meanwhile lying off Lambay Island outside Howth in the Asgard Childers
and his companions Mary Spring Rice and Mary Osgood had awaited Darrell
Figgis' `all ready' signal. With no sign of it and having passed through
a naval review in Spithead and encountered the British warship HMS
Froward Childers decided to proceed regardless.
As the Asgard came alongside within a minute of its planned time the
main body of Volunteers came down to the pier at the double. Not a
moment was wasted. The O'Rahilly said:
`Twenty minutes sufficed to discharge her cargo; as many motor-cars flew
with the ammunition to pre-arranged caches; and for the first time in a
century 1,000 Irishmen with guns on their shoulders marched on Dublin
The police and coastguard attempted to interfere, but the sight of
rifles made them back off. They weren't to know that they weren't
The Volunteers and Fianna headed back into Dublin in military formation,
passing armed policemen in Raheny, bypassing a military blockade against
them in Clontarf. The military, Kings Own Scottish Borderers and Dublin
Metropolitan Police under Assistant Commissioner Harrel rushed in front
of them again. With bayonets drawn they declared the march "an illegal
Bulmer Hobson at the head of the Volunteers confronted them and said
they couldn't have the weapons they were demanding and that they would
continue to march. Harrel ordered his men to disarm the Volunteers and a
number charge the Volunteer ranks. A hand-to-hand fight followed and a
number of shots were fired. A few Volunteers received bayonet wounds
before order was restored on the pretext of a parley with Harrel.
While Thomas McDonagh and Darrell Figgis remonstrated with him Hobson
gave the order to disperse from the rear, and each to bring their rifle
home with them. Thus the parade dissolved before Harrel realised what
He marched his men towards the city and made several vain attempts to
intercept the homeward bound Volunteers. A hostile crowd gathered behind
them and jeered and threw stones at them all the way to Bachelor's Walk.
Here Major Haig ordered his soldiers to fire at the crowd. Four died and
38 were injured despite what a later Royal Commission said: "that no
occasion had actually arisen for using loaded firearms."
Public indignation at the firing on an unarmed crowd was increased by
the British prime minister's statement that he was sure that the
military would be found blameless. At the massive funerals for the dead
of Batchelor's Walk the Volunteers in full military attire and armed,
marched to the graveyard and a salute was fired over the graves.
>>>>>> Analysis: The Twelfth
A resident's analysis of events in Ardoyne this week.
Greater Ardoyne has once again experienced the negative and violent
Twelfth when the RUC/PSNI invade the entire area in their thousands to
enable two Anti-Catholic, Anti-Nationalist and Anti-Republican Orange
Order marches through our community. The night before witnessed the
'traditional' 11th of July Bonfires in Protestant/Unionist and Loyalist
areas across North Belfast in which the Irish national flag, effigies of
Republican Patriots, White Coffins and even a large Statue of the Virgin
Mary were placed in prominent view and set fire to commemorate the
'Glorious Twelfth'. At the corner of the Upper Crumlin Road, between the
Nationalist/Republican Ardoyne and Ligoniel areas this year. A large
bonfire menacingly sits adorned with a chilling sign; 'Fuck Ardoyne -
The Parades Commission had already announced it's determinations in
respect of granting the two Orange parades permission to march through
Ardoyne on the Twelfth. One in the morning and another in the afternoon.
'The afternoon parade would have to march back up the Crumlin Road
before 4pm, or not march at all'. In response to the determination, the
North/West Belfast Parades Forum, applied for a Judicial Review of the
determination, which they lost. The Orange Order and a number of
Unionist Politicians issued media statements; threatening trouble and
violence if their march time was not changed.
The North Belfast MP, Nigel Dodds said the Parades Commission had put
the Police in an "extraordinarily difficult" position. "They [Parades
Commission] issue their determinations and they issue calls for calm but
they don't explain anywhere why they did what they did. North Belfast
MLA Nelson McCausland said: "We will have to wait to find out if we have
enough time left for a full judicial review given the parade is taking
place on Thursday." DUP Policing Board member Jonathan Craig said the
ruling from the Commission would further stretch the PSNI.
"I am aware that senior officers are concerned about enforcing the
latest ridiculous judgments of the Parades Commission. The Orange Order
said; 'the determination would not give them enough time to take part in
festivities in the south of the city'.
Around 100 Loyalists protested at the junction of the Woodvale Rd and
Twaddell Avenue against the determination. The effect of the statements
and protests seriously increased tensions in Greater Ardoyne and
surrounding areas, people began fearing another Drumcree-Style standoff.
The focus of the media in the run-up to the Twelfth had been on the
apparent inconvenience to the Orange Order by having to be back through
Ardoyne, Mountainview and the Dales by 4pm. Were was the concern about
the serious inconvenience that local residents would have to face as a
result of unwanted Loyal Order parades?
The huge number of heavily-armed RUC/PSNI Personnel and armoured
Land-Rovers surrounding and in the Greater Ardoyne area throughout the
day creates it's own problems because not only has the Unionist Police
been directly and indirectly responsible for a number of deaths of
Ardoyne residents. They were also behind orchestrating decades of
oppression, arrests, internments, beatings and political imprisonment of
hundreds of local people. The fact that they continue to 'Police' in the
same political manner, in spite of the so-called Peace Process gives
most residents serious causes for concern. Issues which cannot be
separated from over 8,000 residents being hemmed into their
homes/community by a Military-Style Curfews forcing unwanted sectarian
marches through Ardoyne six times each year. The other massive problem
is that the Twelfth is a Public Holiday, when everyone in the Greater
Ardoyne area is off Work, Training Schemes, Colleges and Schools. With
holidaying Teenagers, Students, Workers and Younger Residents enjoying
long-deserved breaks and chilling. Those who can afford to usually leave
the area to holiday elsewhere. These secterian parades cause untold
damage to the local populace who for much of the other 364 days of the
year who are peaceful.
Within seconds of arriving at the junction of the Woodvale Rd/Twaddle
Avenue, dozens of Loyalist well-wishers greeted jubilant Orangemen and
Bandsmen. The parade continued to the West Belfast Orange Hall, prior to
joining the main Belfast demonstration travelling to the field at
Barnett's Demesne for a wider celebration of Protestant/Unionist and
Loyalist culture. To commemorates the victory of Dutch King,
(Protestant) William III over the English Monarch, (Catholic) James II
in 1690, a battle fought on Irish soil which decided the future of
Britain, Ireland and most of Europe for centuries to come. Even after
the Orange parade had left, the heavy presence of the RUC/PSNI remained
in and around Ardoyne. Apparently, the above battle had accomplished
'Civil and Religious Liberty For All'. but in the context of the Greater
Ardoyne community, we didn't warrant it!
Between 3 and 4pm, around 15 Orangemen from the Ballysillan and Ligoniel
Lodges left the field and were bussed the five miles back to the
Woodvale. Where they disembarked to hundreds of cheering Loyalists to
walk the contentious part of the Crumlin Road and through the Ardoyne
community. As the parade passed through Ardoyne, the RUC/PSNI mobilised
a huge security operation, which closed the road to everyone apart from
them and the Orange marchers, effectively hemming in local people. This
particular parade proved yet again to the people of Ardoyne and beyond
that the Order and Political Police wanted to antagonise local
residents. Sadly, a number of young people began stoning the Cops and
burnt a car belonging to a local man.
Within an hour, over two thousand local residents and supporters
attended a brief Rally organised by the Greater Ardoyne Residents
Collective (GARC) in Ardoyne Avenue. Where they were notified that GARC
intended to march around Ardoyne and onto the contested part of the
Upper Crumlin Rd before re-entering Brompton Pk and dispersing in
Ardoyne Avenue. The march was to demonstrate opposition to the unwelcome
parades and to assert local rights and freedoms. In numerous statements
and leaflets including a Public Meeting held the week before, GARC had
appealed for calm, no rioting and a peaceful march.
A number of GARC representatives then went to the scene and with a
megaphone appealed for the violence to cease, in order that our planned
peaceful protest could proceed.
The Parades Commission had ruled that GARC could march on the Crumlin
Road but when the parade reached the junction of Estorial Park and the
Ardoyne Rd, a large line of RUC/PSNI personnel and armoured Land-Rovers
blocked the way. A senior member of the British Police informed GARC
that his members could not guarantee the safety of the marches. A local
Solicitor and key GARC members remonstrated about the need to march and
the Commission's determination.
After legal arguments, the GARC march was 'allowed' to proceed
unhindered on its planned route. During the confusion, some local and
West Belfast criminals including, some State Agents and Informers who
regularly ruin their own communities sneaked into the march as it made
its way down the Ardoyne Road from Estorial Park. The RUC/PSNI then
notified GARC that the march would be 'fully protected' from Loylists
gathered at the Twaddell/Woodvale junction. However, it soon became
clear that was not to be as the Policing Operation was totally
inadequate to defend marchers from the hundreds, if not thousands, of
Loyalists who had gathered. As the head of the parade entered Brompton
Park, it's middle was attacked with missiles as varied as Sticks,
Bottles, Fireworks, Scaffolding Poles and even a set of step ladders
taken from a Photographer.
To their credit, GARC's stewards and others managed to get marchers, the
majority of who behaved with dignity in the face of a premeditated
attack orchestrated by visible UDA and UVF members. Some local hoods
retaliated in kind, which is really regrettable but given their hatred
towards community activism was not surprising. The same group repeatedly
attacked RUC/PSNI lines long after GARC appealed to everyone to follow
them to the arranged dispersal point in Ardoyne Avenue, half a mile
away. Predictably, the small number of rioters grew at the top of
Brompton Park until a large crowd engaged in serious trouble against the
unchanged RUC, who responded with Plastic Bullets, Water Cannon and
Baton Charges to snatch those rioting. Republicans also fired a number
of live rounds at the RUC/PSNI towards midnight and no-one was was hurt.
I cannot condemn the rioting as when a teenager myself, I regularly got
involved in the same type of behaviour, however I will say that most of
it was unwarranted and should have ended when asked to do so by
Community Activists. As rioting only takes the focus away from the real
issue that causes the problem, those who insist on marching where they
are clearly not welcome. Likewise, as a former Combatant I can't be
hypocritical and challenge whoever fired at the British Police. As they
can speak for themselves and usually do, suffice to say that armed
attacks such as these are inevitable given the huge RUC/PSNI operation
mounted in Ardoyne. They are also predictable as Partition and British
Occupation remains in Ireland.
Over the past few days, the Greater Ardoyne community has returned to
it's normal peaceful self. Although, the RUC/PSNI have raided a number
of homes and arrested some residents in connection with the riots and
shooting incident. Strange how Loyalists attacked Republicans on Black
Mountain recently with hammers, iron bars and hatchets. Incredibly,
those responsible photographed themselves immediately afterwards and
posted the photo on a number of Social Media Websites, but weeks later
none have had their homes raided, property seized or charged and
appeared in Court? Large numbers of RUC/PSNI are still evident on the
streets as they attempt to lift those responsible.
The challenge for everyone in Greater Ardoyne and neighbouring Loyalist
areas is to end the annual manifestation of sectarianism and violence.
From my point of view, only an end to the six remaining Loyal Order
parades through Ardoyne will help it stop. However, I am more than
willing to meet, talk and debate with anyone including the Loyal Orders,
Unionists, Loyalists, Community Leaders, Clergy and Politicians at any
time to find a way forward. The question is, will they take this offer
up, as the Orange Order did in Crumlin Village or will they hide away,
hoping that a 'resolution' can be found without the approval of the
Greater Ardoyne community...Only time will tell?