Parade row began in 2012 when dissident riots were rewarded

Morning View
Morning View

Again and again, unionists need to explain calmly to anyone who will listen the sequence that brought them to the current impasse over marches.

In 2012 the Parades Commission (presumably through incompetence rather than design) rewarded severe, annual and guaranteed dissident republican rioting in the Ardoyne.

That year, in response to Orangemen briefly walking past the neutral Ardoyne shops interface, the commission suddenly facilitated a wholly manufactured dissident republican parade at at a time that made impossible the traditional Orange return from the Field.

Even Gerry Kelly of Sinn Fein thought that the provocative dissident parade a bad idea.

Despite this mad ruling, on July 12 2012 Orangemen bussed themselves to the Ardoyne, to comply with its impossible terms.

In light of the commission’s failure to ban fully the Orange walk, republicans turned on the violence, as they traditionally do until they get their way — which they did last year, when the commission granted the full ban. As at Drumcree, facilitating dissident intransigence became a permanent accommodation.

Regrettably, though, loyalist frustration and rage last year spilled into violence.

It is welcome therefore that the united unionist response to the commission’s decision to maintain the ban, and to continue to appease dissident violence, emphasised the importance of non-violence.

Much of Irish nationalism is good at talking in reasonable terms about parity of esteem and respect for the two traditions while acting in a way that shows little such respect.

The loyal orders and their supporters have to keep the spotlight on such hypocrisy. A non-violent approach, including the proposed six-minute at demonstrations that will highlight nationalist intolerance, is the way to do that.