A recent outbreak of violence in Belfast has me pondering parading.  My husband and I visited Belfast just a few days before the riots, and the streets were calm and peaceful.  It seems that the majority of the incidents in recent years have occurred at or around a Loyalist or Republican parade.  The non-parading faction usually takes umbrage at the chosen route, stages a protest, and tempers escalate.

The president of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus, Father Sean McManus, has offered a solution: "Stop being stupid."

Here is his statement in full :

"First, full disclosure: I have no personal interest in, or existential need for parading.
Although I have been almost forty-one years in the United State, I've never marched in the New York or Washington St. Patrick's Day parades. (Although in 1973 and 1974 I led the 45-mile Irish Freedom March from Baltimore to Washington, to the White House and British Embassy respectively).

That being confessed, here is my suggestion: Stop the stupid marching in Northern Ireland. I say stupid with all due respect, because if one keeps doing the same thing over and over again, with bad and sad results, then surely it is stupid.

Why should grown ups -- indeed, middle age men and women keep doing this?
Does it really need to waste the time of the excellent Richard Haas? Does it need a professional diplomat to resolve it?

All parties should suspend parading indefinitely, or accept parades being banned.

Stop being stupid."

Sean Mc Manus
President
Irish National Caucus

So what do ye think, fellow Wild Geese?  Should the parades be banned to limit the violence, or are they an important expression of free-speech?

Tags: Belfast, Northern Ireland,, Parades, Riots, Troubles

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UPDATE: Temporary parades ban ‘unworkable’ in Northern Ireland http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/temporary-parades-ban-unworkab...

Interesting...such a contentious issue.  I wonder what people in the North feel about American diplomats like Haas and Mitchell coming in to sort out their difficulties.  Is it condescending? Appreciated?

The right of freedom of Assembly is guaranteed under many Constitutions and I would hope that the politicians adhere to that basic human right.  The key word here is ‘peaceful’ assembly.  That is where the legislation is needed.  Are the Diplomats welcome?  Only time will tell.

Controversial loyalist band to lead a parade past St Patrick’s Church

Connla Young. Irish News (Belfast). Thursday, July 16, 2015

A controversial loyalist band which has previously played the Famine Song[that mocks the Irish Famine; lyrics below] close to St Patrick’s Church will lead a fresh parade in the area next month.

Bangor Protestant Boys Flute Band caused controversy on Easter Monday when members played the sectarian tune just yards from the church.

The Co Down-based band is expected to lead up to 55 members of the Clifton Branch of the Apprentice Boys past St Patrick’s and nearby nationalist Carrick Hill district on August 8.

They will then travel to Derry for their annual ending of the siege celebrations.

In the past the band, which wears UVF-style insignia, has been pictured carrying paramilitary linked flags.

Prominent flag protester Jamie Bryson is a leading member of the band.

Although the offensive tune was played outside a music free zone designated by the Parades Commission, it later said the band had contravened its code of conduct.

In a subsequent determination relating to an Orange Order parade past the church the commission said that “community tensions around parades in this area have been considerably heightened by the most recent loyalist/unionist parade on 6 April, 2015”.

They said that the playing of the Famine Song was a “contravention of the commission’s code of conduct which states that ‘participants should refrain from conduct, words, music or behaviour which could reasonably by perceived as intentionally sectarian’”.

Earlier this month the nationalist Carrick Hill Concerned Residents’ Group disbanded after the Parades Commission ordered Orangemen not to play music while passing St Patrick’s and Carrick Hill on July 12.

The group came to prominence after Shankill Road based Young Conway Volunteers was filmed walking in circles while playing the Famine Song in July 2012.

Carrick Hill residents’ spokesman Frank Dempsey voiced concern at the planned involvement of Bangor Protestant Boys.

“Is this not a case of history repeating itself, it’s the same band.Is this going to be the same result again?

“When is this going to be taken seriously, they can’t allow the same band to come down with the fingers up to everybody.”

Clifton Branch spokesman Chris McGimpsey said members of the group have yet to discuss the upcoming parade.

He added that during the April parade branch members would not have been aware of what music the band intended to play.

“Our branch will again obey the determination as we have on any other parade over the past 10 years,” he said.

“Hopefully it will be a peaceful, quiet day and none of our members will cause offence to anyone.”

The Parades Commission is set to rule on the parade later this month.

A controversial loyalist band which has previously played the Famine Song close to St Patrick’s Church will lead a fresh parade in the area next month.

Bangor Protestant Boys Flute Band caused controversy on Easter Monday when members played the sectarian tune just yards from the church.

The Co Down-based band is expected to lead up to 55 members of the Clifton Branch of the Apprentice Boys past St Patrick’s and nearby nationalist Carrick Hill district on August 8.

They will then travel to Derry for their annual ending of the siege 

celebrations.

In the past the band, which wears UVF-style insignia, has been pictured carrying paramilitary linked flags.

Prominent flag protester Jamie Bryson is a leading member of the band.

Although the offensive tune was played outside a music free zone designated by the Parades Commission, it later said the band had contravened its code of conduct.

In a subsequent determination relating to an Orange Order parade past the church the commission said that “community tensions around parades in this area have been considerably heightened by the most recent loyalist/unionist parade on 6 April, 2015”.

They said that the playing of the Famine Song was a “contravention of the commission’s code of conduct which states that ‘participants should refrain from conduct, words, music or behaviour which could reasonably by perceived as intentionally sectarian’”.

Earlier this month the nationalist Carrick Hill Concerned Residents’ Group disbanded after the Parades Commission ordered Orangemen not to play music while passing St Patrick’s and Carrick Hill on July 12.

The group came to prominence after Shankill Road based Young Conway Volunteers was filmed walking in circles while playing the Famine Song in July 2012.

Carrick Hill residents’ spokesman Frank Dempsey voiced concern at the planned involvement of Bangor Protestant Boys.

“Is this not a case of history repeating itself, it’s the same band.Is this going to be the same result again?

“When is this going to be taken seriously, they can’t allow the same band to come down with the fingers up to everybody.”

Clifton Branch spokesman Chris McGimpsey said members of the group have yet to discuss the upcoming parade.

He added that during the April parade branch members would not have been aware of what music the band intended to play.

“Our branch will again obey the determination as we have on any other parade over the past 10 years,” he said.

“Hopefully it will be a peaceful, quiet day and none of our members will cause offence to anyone.”

The Parades Commission is set to rule on the parade later this month.
*********
Lyrics of the racist, anti-Irish  Famine Song "Why don't you go home"?
 
I often wonder where they would have been
If we hadn't have taken them in
Fed them and washed them
Thousands in Glasgow alone
From Ireland they came
Brought us nothing but trouble and shame
Well the famine is over
Why don't they go home?

Now Athenry Mike was a thief
And Large John he was fully briefed
And that wee traitor from Castlemilk
Turned his back on his own
They've all their Papists in Rome
They have U2 and Bono
Well the famine is over
Why don't they go home?

INSTRUMENTAL

Now they raped and fondled their kids
That's what those perverts from the darkside did
And they swept it under the carpet
and Large John he hid
Their evils seeds have been sown
Cause they're not of our own
Well the famine is over
Why don't you go home?

Now Timmy don't take it from me
Cause if you know your history
You've persecuted thousands of people
In Ireland alone
You turned on the lights
Fuelled U boats by night
That's how you repay us
It's time to go home.

Fr. Sean Mc Manus
President
Holy Land Principles,Inc.
P.O. BOX 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, DC 20003-0849
Tel. 202-488-0107
Fax. 202-488-7537
Sean@HolyLandPrinciples.org



Fr. Sean Mc Manus
President
Irish National Caucus
P.O. BOX 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, DC 20003-0849
Tel. 202-544-0568
Fax. 202-488-7537
sean@irishnationalcaucus.org

The "parades" delineate sides--prejudices v. understanding, differences v. similarities, hostility v.peace. They incite hard "party line" adherences and violence. There is nothing at all positive and nothing at all to be gained by continuing the parades in Northern Ireland. BTW: We all know the meaning and the intent of the "Orange Order". No one following this kind of in-your-face provocation and this elaborate staging has lost touch with reality.

Niamh, have you any direct experience of them? I've long been fascinated by the remnants of Unionism in the 26 counties, e.g., in Sligo and Donegal. I wonder if those lodges are still in place.

Kelly ; you have started a debate  that has been a long time coming . However, it does need to be taken up by a wider forum , i.e. Politicians on both sides .

I have contributed to a few of the dialogues ; some have made some valid point; others have brought in the Roman Catholic  abuse  by its clergy. This is not appropriate in a debate about the Parades ..............

It is a debate that could certainly go on forever......... judging by all the comments .....  well done for bringing this to teh forefront on The Wilde Geese  

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