Monday, June 05, 2006

First Steps Or Cynical Publicity Stunt?

The Orange Order has met with the leaders of the Catholic Church at Armagh. A similar such meeting took place recently when they met with the SDLP at Stormont.

A spokesman for the Orange Order group, which included representatives of the different factions, described the meeting as "a cordial, businesslike and useful exchange of views held in an atmosphere of concern for the coming months which all sides wish to see pass in an entirely peaceful manner."

Perhaps. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

The most telling fact is that they still won't meet with any residents' committees, the very people with whom they need to reach a rapprochement. It is not the Catholic Church or the SDLP they need to reach agreement with- it is the people living in areas such as the Garvaghy Road with whom they need to settle their differences. People still remember being barricaded into their own houses in order to let triumphalist Orangemen walk through their neighbourhood. And the Orangemen are the ones with the gall to refuse to meet the residents!

And then of course we had the ridiculous attempt to infiltrate the Parades Commission (a body they officially oppose) with the aid of the British Government.

Until the leaders of the loyal orders (to whom they are 'loyal' apart from themselves I have yet to work out) agree to sit down with residents, nationalists will continue to regard them with the antipathy they deserve.


Anonymous said...


I think that a large number of respectable and decent unionists have given up on the idea of the OOers/UDAers/UVFers forcing contentious marches through areas where they're not really welcome.

William said...

See above.

Canadian said...

Isn't one of the reasons why unionists "won't meet with any residents' committees," is because they think that these residents committees are set up by the IRA?

Some times I wonder aren't the people in NI tired of going around in circles.

El Matador said...

Yeah- they do think they are set up by provos. Perhaps some of them have republican elements in them. But that doesn't reduce their right to live in peace. Plus, it's a bit rich for the various loyal orders to take the moral highground given their links with loyalist terrorists and the behaviour displayed by them last September.

Indeed, most people are sick of it going round in circles. Normal people on both sides can't work out why they can't all just sit down and sort things out. What's the worst that could happen- they disagree? It's not as if the residents are going to attack the Orangemen or something!

It's about time some people started showing leadership and grew up. Dialogue is the only way forward.

Canadian said...

I wonder if the "Normal People" on both sides are as the saying goes "if your not part of the solution your a part of the problem". That might be a little harsh though.

El Matador said...


It is a little harsh. People such as myself are not Orangmen, residents' committee members, nor indded politicans, yet we lose out when such marches descend into anarchy. We can but implore those involved to come to a solution.