Twaddell camp began after dissident rioters were appeased

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

Loyalists have now manned a camp at Twaddell in north Belfast for 1,000 days.

The dispute has its origins in the refusal to allow Orangemen to pass the Ardoyne shopfronts on their return from the Field on July 12.

The ban was fully implemented in 2013 in a Parades Commission that had the unintended effect of appeasing dissident rioting.

It is hard to reach any other conclusion about the Ardoyne ban than that it ended up rewarding the severe and disgraceful rioting in 2012 by dissidents in the Ardoyne. The violence followed the lawful Orange compliance with an absurd July 12 adjudication that year which facilitated a provocative dissident republican parade in the Ardoyne.

The 2012 episode showed two things. It showed how dissidents (be it in the Ardoyne or on the Garvaghy Road) are both provocative and obdurate.

And it suggested that the authorities are terrified of seeming to want in any way to penalise hardline republicans.

They sense, rightly, than anything other than lying low will enrage republicans, be it in Lurgan, Coalisland, Portadown, Londonderry or Belfast. Such guaranteed rage is what happens when a grievance culture is indulged without end.

It is important also to note that the Ardoyne shopfronts are indeed an interface but they are not a nationalist area. No nationalist housing backs directly on to the interface.

It is a great pity that some loyalists have misbehaved on the return leg. Frustration at the ban is appropriate, but such conduct, notably last year and the year before on July 12, is often alcohol fuelled and has done grave damage to the cause of the Orangemen and is seized upon to justify such bans.

It also alienates the moderates in republican areas. It is, for example, encouraging to learn that the well known parish priest in the Ardoyne Father Gary Donegan is saying that the “moderate voice” of nationalism in the area is prepared to countenance compromise.