Wednesday 29 January 2020

Halt parades in nationalist areas

I write in relation to Maurice Fitzgerald's letter (July 21, Letters) on the Twelfth parades.

Maurice, to quote you, I would say that you are one of "the immature and bloody-minded" people that have no understanding of our history, let alone the foundations of the troubles up North, and yet you publicly comment as you did in this paper, with such vigour.

For a start, Maurice, it was with "bricks, bottles, stones, sectarian slurs, injuries, hate, provocation, and petrol bombs" that we managed to get independence for the 26 counties. It certainly was not through any major military might that we managed to extricate ourselves from the British Empire.

Some, like yourself no doubt, will point to the armaments used but have little, if any, idea how few of these were relevant during the fight for independence.

The Orange brigade's insistence of its 'right' to march down the nationalist areas is divisive as well as totally inappropriate. Their actions are purely an attempt to demonstrate that they (the loyalists) remain the 'masters', while nationalists continue to be the subservient.

I will add that not all loyalists hold strong to this view -- but there is not a member of the Orange Order that doesn't, and they demonstrate this annually by forcing their 'commemoration' down the throats of those who do not share their values.

Considering the fact that the Orange Order celebrates an event that happened centuries ago, but yet we here in the Republic do not celebrate our event that happened in the 20th century, an event that ultimately led to our independence, because it might cause offence to our Orange brethren in the North, should demonstrate, to you in particular, that there should be no antagonism in these marches and that the Orange Order should never ever ask to go anywhere near a nationalist area 'out of respect' for that nationalist community. That indeed would be a mature action!

May I end by saying that any person who feels the same as Maurice would do well to educate themselves on the reality of life for nationalists in the communities up north.

To be clear -- Maurice, I did not take part in the activities last week, nor would I, but I do empathise with the locals regarding their plight.

Patrick Doherty
Ratoath, Co Meath

Irish Independent

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