Wednesday, January 11, 2006

What the love Ulster parade means for Ireland.

If you look at the main Blog listing site technorati. You will find that The Dossing Times is listed top of the Most Authority list for Northern Ireland. While I'm flattered and do talk about the North sometimes I am no Slugger. But with this in mind.

So Willie Frazier is coming down to march in Dublin for victims of Violence. This is a noble cause and does deserve our full support. However Willy Frazier’s organisation is not for victims of Violence.

The organisation is a sectarian organisation. The march is going to be headed by a Union Jack with Orange Bands. And of the 1000 marchers about 5 will be Catholic this is not about victims it is about IRA victims. If it was a victim’s organisation it would not have Orange Bands and it would have both Union Jacks and Tri-Colours. What we need is true a victims group one who represents all victims North, South and in Britain. Not a sectarian organisation masquerading as one. This is basically a Love Ulster parade. An organisation with suspected links to Loyalist paramilitaries.

First of all. The Orange Order under the constitution are Irish Citizens. So they are as entitled to march down O’Connell Street as anyone. I totally agree that they should be allowed to and welcome them. However why do they want to march in Dublin?

On the Big bite on RTE Willie Frazier said that the march was the first test for people down south. This struck me as very strange. Why were we being tested, and if this is the first what is the next test?

The North is struggling. Where once Unionist prided themselves that they were the hard workers and the true economic power house of the Island (which was utterly true). The north is now an economic basket case and the south is not just the economic power house on the Island it is one of the strongest in the World. Where down South ministers open massive IT and pharmaceutical plants, Northern ministers open Tesco’s.

The next leader of the U.K will be Gordon Browne while many unionist are happy about this thinking he will be more pro-Union then Tony. However he is if anything a fiscally conservative guy. Will he see as justifiable the £5 billion the British treasury gives to Northern Ireland ever year? Which is more then the EU gave to Ireland. Where the EU’s money in Ireland help build an economy which will soon be a net contributor to the EU economy. Northern Ireland is unlikely to contribute to the British exchequer any time soon.

Unionists see that Britain doesn’t want them any more. Unionism is realising this especial in the young. The Portadown News parodied the Ulster Unionist poster Decent people vote Ulster Unionist saying decent people leave Ulster. This is increasingly true. Young people now by and large don’t care for sectarian policy. They worry about education, economy, environment, child care everything that Southern and British people worry about. But they don’t have any option in the political spectrum. They can’t vote left they can’t vote right yet. The question is how long before this happens how long till the disenfranchised youth start creating and voting Northern Labour, Northern Conservatives, Northern Green parties (not connected to either British or Irish parties). Parties with no sectarian policy. They see the South has moved away from the United Ireland politics and has boomed. They too want to be well off. The first aim of the Love Ulster campaign is "LoveUlster is a campaign for Unionist unity ". This suggests to me the campaign is all about stopping people moving away from sectarian voting. The love Ulster Web site has also been linked to the organisation of the rioting last summer.

So what is the point of this Love Ulster parade. Is it an attempt to get a response out of us? Do they want a violent response to go back to the North and say they are all bigots still down there. You must vote to preserve the union less you be destroyed. This could cut any possibility of normal politics in the North. With the Southern booming economy they have lost their greatest argument that the South can’t run a country. And the booming economy has strengthened the Union many down South don't want to pay the cost of the North. So they need another argument to bolster the unionist cause. An attack or a massive protest against this march would be just what the doctor ordered. They could go back and say see they haven’t changed they are still intolerant to Unionists. Maybe that is the first test. A test to see how much pressure is needed to rise Irish sectarian hatred.

On the other hand Sinn Fein is on the rise in the South. It is feasible to suggest they might be in power in the South. This may really increase anti-Unionist sentiment in this country. Many people down here think that Bloody Sunday was diabolical yet the Enniskillen bombing was less so. They readily accept British Army collusion in the Dublin and Monahan bombings but dismiss as ludicrous Garda collusion in IRA violence. Even amongst does who despise the IRA some see the crimes against Protestants as less legitimate some how. In this country Unionist get the least fair hearing in the media and in pubs. Anything Ian Paisley says is immediately deemed wrong. This attitude needs to change we have to be as sympathetic to the plight of ordinary unionist as we are to ordinary nationalists. Some people keep going on about how Orange culture is represented in the Irish Flag and Protestants should realise it is inclusive of them. And they should but those people should also realise it is a two way thing we have to include them to truly embrace the Irish flag's meaning.

So what is the point of this organisation and parade. Is it an attempt to solidify Unionist support by getting a bad response in Dublin or is it to show us that Unionist were victims to or some show of strength of support against a United Ireland. We in Ireland are coming more and more accepting of multiculturalism the majority of us are proud how we are easily (and most are) accepting them into our society. But maybe what Willie Frazier meant by test was that. The biggest and hardest test for Irish society is not seeing can we accept Poles or Nigerians but can we accept Unionists.

Update: The aftermath of the riots that stopped the parade. riots and consequences

5 comments:

click here said...

My own feelings on this is that, once the Love Ulster/Orange Order brigade (for that is what this is, let's not pretend otherwise), march down O'Connell Street, they'll return to Northern Ireland and pronounce: that they have been granted the right to march down the main street of the capital of a foreign state - the South - and yet, are not granted the "civil right" to march down the Garvaghey Road.

What are the bets?

Beth Bond said...

Victims issue aside for a moment - I have always thought that a true, god-fearing Orange man would want to follow the route of bonny prince Billy, who walked the road to Dublin for a service in St Patrick's Cathedral when the battle was won. Maybe it's just a stretch too far for the largely octogenarian brethren of the Orange Order?


As a northerner I am indeed sympathetic and tolerant of unionism, but not of this parade which for me is further representative of the tokenistic politicking that still lies at the core of northern politics.

Anonymous said...

a point was brought up in the post about which side is better for northern ireland. To stick with Britain or move to the irish side of the border. This is a perverable can of worms. Even though the south is strong would the extra financial burdon of the north be dangerous to the souths financial position ?? beth Bond as a northerner which do you think would be the best option for the north

Beth Bond said...

there can be no 'best option' for the North; romantically and politically I would wish to see a united Ireland in my lifetime, but this will invariably come at a significant price to all inhabitants of this island - never mind price tag.

Maintaining a union with Britain is a costly affair currently, but my visits homeward and conversations with journos, professors, doctors et al tellingly reveal the fact that less and less STGs are being spent in the six counties. Funding for education, infrastructure, health etc are in the decline and significantly so, which makes me suspicious for the future.
But let's not speculate until the state secrets for the last decade are released.

phdbird said...

It would be great to see some debate about Irish Identity in the media coming up to the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. It could be a good starting point for coming to terms with the more uncomfortable aspects of Irishness such as Unionism and the violent birth of the state.