At last – a victory for common-sense. And, of course, a victory for the Orange brethren who haven’t been able to find their way home for over two years and whose homelessness has cost the public purse over £20 million. The Ardoyne residents may have thought they could tell the Orangeman where they’re entitled to walk, but today they’ve been proved wrong. Chalk one up for the Orange Order.
Or should we? The quid pro quo of this deal with the residents is that the Orange Order will not march along this route in future years without the agreement of the residents. So just one short march this morning and it’s over. Never again. Chalk one up for the residents.
So has everybody won? Take the perspective of Paragraph One and the Orange Order has won , take that of the second paragraph and it’s the residents who have got the better deal; and of course then there’s the we’re-all-winners perspective.
It’s an interesting as well as very expensive case, this. The march is considered offensive and there’s lots of background to support that belief. The Orange Order is an anti-Catholic organization- always has been, always will be. For them to march in a ‘Catholic area’ is found offensive by most if not all Ardoyne residents. And while it’s good to focus on the future which, presumably, will be march-free (or not – time, as they say, will tell), it is a fact that the offensive act the residents have always opposed they are now accepting. Won’t the Orange Order have a case when they say that if you were able to thole us in 2016, why can’t you thole us in 2017?
Interesting conundrum. Nobody has told us if, next year, the Orange Order will apply to walk the same route as today. Likewise, nobody has told us if, next year, the residents will reject any such application to march as may be made. Maybe the residents will say to themselves “Sure we agreed to it last year and it was no big deal, so we’ll do the same this year”.
I applaud the residents and the Orange Order for coming to an agreement this year that will remove the possibility of conflict for all the coming years; but I’m not sure this isn’t a case of the end justifying the means. Should we agree to a triumphalist act now in order to prevent future triumphalist acts? Or is allowing even one triumphalist act deplorable?
Personally, I don’t think this morning’s march should have taken place. But then I don’t think any of the thousands of parades that infect our city and town streets should be allowed. The notion that an organization opposed to the religious beliefs of a faith held by many people here should be acceptable, should receive public funding, should be allowed to parade again and again and again every summer, or march in circles or urinate against Catholic churches (no, Virginia, to attempt marching and urinating at the same time would be silly) – such a notion is absurd.
Do the thousands of Orange Order marches each year enhance reconciliation? No. Does the Orange Order as an institution encourage respect for those who differ from it? If so, it’s been meeting with little success this past 200 + years. Should those who cannot see the inherent sectarianism in the Orange Order head for Specsavers? As quickly as possible.