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)

July 12, 2006

12th Begins Peacefully

07/12/06 08:19 EST

A controversial Orange Order march through the mainly
nationalist Ardoyne in north Belfast passed off peacefully
this morning.

No music was played as more than 100 Orangemen and bandsmen
paraded along the Ardoyne Road.

Around 60 nationalist protesters stood in silence as the
march passed, led by three police officers. Only one police
Land Rover was visible and security had been greatly scaled
down from previous years.

Marchers were greeted by around 200 supporters at the
junction of the Crumlin and Woodvale roads.

The area was the scene of serious rioting last year even
though the march passed the Ardoyne shops without major
incident. Serious violence erupted when about 300 young
nationalists started attacking police. A number of blast
bombs were thrown at the police lines and a number of
journalists were injured, one seriously. The PSNI said at
least 40 officers were injured, one of them seriously.

Thousands of Orangemen are marching across the North today
for the July 12th commemorations. The British army will not
be used, for the first time since 1970, and police intend to
handle any public order incidents.

Flashpoints are expected at Dunloy in Co Antrim and in the
Ardoyne when the march returns this evening.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service received more
than 300 emergency calls in the hour after midnight on the
eleventh night. Crews were responding to reports every 41
seconds at one point after the lighting of bonfires.

In Dublin, Irish President Mary McAleese is hosting a
reception in Áras an Uachtaráin this evening to mark the
anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

The Twelvth commemorates the victory of Protestant King
William III over his Catholic father-in-law, King James II.
The battle was fought on a site near the river Boyne,
outside Drogheda, Co Louth in 1690. It marked the
ascendancy of Protestantism late 17th century Ireland.

As thousands of Orange Order members march across Northern
Ireland and some parts of the Republic today, Mrs McAleese
will holst 350 guests in the Aras.

The guests come from all parts of the island will have an
opportunity to visit a living history display recreating a
battle camp typical of the 1690s.

Entertainment will also be provided by the Drogheda Brass
Band, renowned flute player, Reverend Gary Hastings,
traditiontal singer, Brian Mullen and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí
Éireann. Today's is the ninth such reception hosted by Mrs
McAleese on July 12th.

Meanwhile, a tricolour insulting a Cathlic murder victim was
placed on top of a bonfire in Co Antrim last night.

The name of 15-year-old Catholic murder victim Michael
McIlveen was on a flag due to be burned at the Eleventh
night loyalist bonfire in Ahoghill. He was kicked to death
by a loyalist mob in Ballymena last month in a purely
sectarian attack.

The message said: "F*** Mickey Bo," the dead teenager's

Police and Sinn Fein North Antrim Assemblyman Philip
McGuigan branded the display a disgrace.

Mr McGuigan said: "The family of this young man have gone
through enough this year already without having to hear
about these sectarian displays of hatred directed toward
their son."

"How could these flags have been permitted to be put up in
the Ballymena area?"

Michael's murder sparked heightened community tensions and
saw sectarian taunts posted on Internet site as
well as death threats against two of five Ballymena
teenagers charged with his murder.

A police spokesman said they had liaised with community
representatives in an effort to have the flag at Ahoghill
taken down.

"Police and others in Ballymena District Command Unit are
working to reduce sectarianism in the community. This type
of disgraceful display only undermines the good work that is
being done."

Hundreds attended Michael's funeral and there have been
appeals for calm as the marching season reaches its height

Co Antrim Orange Grand Master Robert McIlroy said: "Within
the institution of Co Antrim we have a situation where we
want tolerance and we want respect of each other's cultures
and traditions. Certainly for the Orange Order in Co Antrim
there's no place for sectarianism or bigotry."

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