News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

May 24, 2006

Int'l Observers Denounce Sectarian Displays at Orange Marches

Intl Observers Denounce Anti-Catholic, Loyalist Displays At 2005
Orange Marches


International observers denounce anti-Catholic and loyalist
paramilitary displays at 2005 Orange marches, call on British,
Irish gov'ts to uphold Good Friday Agreement guarantees

Contact: Sean Cahill, 917-972-4965 (U.S.)

New York, May 24, 2006 -- Contested Orange parades in North and
East Belfast in July 2005 were once again characterized by
grotesque anti-Catholic displays and the promotion of loyalist
paramilitary groups. This is the conclusion of "Sectarianism on
Parade: Orange Parades in Northern Ireland, Summer 2005
International Observers' Report," the latest report by the New
York-based Irish Parades Emergency Committee (IPEC) and the
Brehon Law Society. The report was released and posted on IPEC's
website ( on May 24, 2006. Copies are being
printed and will be sent to members of the British, Irish, and
United States governments, as well as to political parties,
government bodies, and community groups in the north of Ireland.

The anti-Catholic displays included Orange supporters dressed as
Roman Catholic nuns who marched triumphantly through Ardoyne the
morning of July 12, 2005, as well as the playing of anti-Catholic
and anti-Irish sectarian songs while passing Catholic churches
and communities. The loyalist displays were myriad, both at
marches past the nationalist/Catholic Short Strand neighborhood
and through the nationalist/Catholic Ardoyne community. They
included flags, emblems, and uniforms promoting several outlawed
loyalist terror groups, including the Ulster Volunteer Force, the
Ulster Defence Association, and the Red Hand Commando.

"For the third time in four years we documented anti-Catholic
political theater in Ardoyne," said Sean Cahill, a spokesman for
the IPEC/Brehon observers. "Once again we documented brazen
displays of support for loyalist paramilitary groups in Orange
parades through or past Catholic, nationalist communities in
Belfast. These displays clearly violate Parades Commission
guidelines, the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and other laws. The
British and Irish governments must uphold the Good Friday
Agreement's basic guarantee of 'freedom from sectarian

"In years past we have been careful to portray these events as
'Orange parades with loyalist participation,'" Cahill continued.
"But the brazen promotion of loyalist terror groups in parades
past the Short Strand and through Ardoyne has become so pervasive
that we have taken to calling these 'Orange/loyalist parades.'"

The IPEC/Brehon report also noted positive developments,
including the relative restraint shown by the Police Service of
Northern Ireland, nationalist residents, and most Orange march
stewards in East Belfast July 1st, 2005. The report also praised
the restraint shown in Ardoyne by residents and police. "Until
late in the evening of July 12th, 2005, the residents of Ardoyne
acted with restraint, as did the police," said Cahill. "This
despite the sectarian abuse inflicted on Ardoyne residents at
both the morning and evening marches July 12th. We are hopeful
that the progress shown in Ardoyne most of the day last July 12th
will be built on this year."

Still, tensions were raised by the killing of two men by loyalist
paramilitaries near the Short Strand and Ardoyne on the eve of
contested parades there, as well as by the firebombing of a
Catholic home in Ardoyne the weekend before the Orange marches.
IPEC and Brehon Law Society observers were surprised to learn
that the Belfast City Council funds eight loyalist 11th night
bonfires—at which machine gun-toting loyalist paramilitaries
predictably appear—to the tune of £2500 per bonfire.

"We were amazed, frankly, to read the Belfast City Council state
that it couldn't control the discharge of illegal firearms by
outlawed loyalist groups at illegal bonfires that it subsidizes,"
said Stephen McCabe, another IPEC/Brehon spokesman. "We can't
imagine the city council of Dublin, London, or New York making
such a statement of political impotence."

International observers from IPEC and Brehon have observed
contested loyal order parades across Northern Ireland since 1996.
Last year's delegation included residents of Italy and the United
States. In previous years observers from Guatemala, France, and
the U.S. have observed contested Orange parades in Derry, Dunloy,
Bellaghy, Lurgan and elsewhere.

"The riots of September 2005, in which both Orangemen and
loyalists attacked the police after being kept out of an
interface area, as well as our photos documenting the
Orange/loyalist parades in North and East Belfast last July,
should put to rest any belief in the fiction that the Orange
Order is completely distinct from loyalist paramilitary groups,"
said McCabe. "We call on the PSNI to uphold the rule of law and
enforce the ban on sectarian displays at Orange/loyalist parades.
We also call on Orange and unionist leaders to end loyalist and
anti-Catholic displays at Orange Order parades through
nationalist and Catholic areas," McCabe said. "This is, after
all, the 21st Century."

"Sectarianism on Parade" also includes an assessment of policing
of contested loyal order parades, an analysis of media coverage,
an examination of the meaning of the July 1st Battle of the Somme
parades for unionists, the different meanings Orange parades have
for unionists and nationalists, and an analysis of the loyalist
and Orange riots of September 2005.

For more information and to view a copy of the IPEC/Brehon report
on the 2005 Orange marches, as well as previous reports, go to

To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News
To May 2006 Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?