Adams: Orange parades will have role in united Ireland
By Noel McAdam - The Belfast Telegraph
Orange Order marches would have a place in a new united Ireland, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said today.
In an speech to the British Irish Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, meeting in Wales, he insisted republicans had no desire to conquer or humiliate unionists.
The veteran party leader, who recently appealed through the Belfast Telegraph for the Order to open talks with Sinn Fein, said the genuine fears and concerns of unionists — including their sense of Britishness — needed to be explored in a meaningful way.
And he also told the gathering in Swansea, made up of MPs, members of the regional Assemblies as well as elected representatives from the Isle of Man and Channel Islands, that the people of Britain have a duty “to themselves, to unionists in particular, to the Irish in general and even to the world” to give their opinion on Irish reunification.
“We need to look at ways in which the unionist people can find their place in a new Ireland. In other words it needs to be their united Ireland,” the West Belfast MP said.
Sinn Fein’s vision of a new Ireland was where unionists have “equal ownership” with respect for cultural diversity, and political, social, economic and cultural equality because nationalists and republicans did not seek to deny the rights of others.
“The real distinction that we have always drawn is between justice and privilege. Justice for all and privilege for none. This means, for example, that Orange marches will have their place in a new Ireland, albeit on the basis of respect and co-operation,” he said.
With the main focus of the two-day event on the recession, Mr Adams argued that in economic terms the border is more than just an inconvenience — it is an obstacle to progress.
“While its adverse affects are most clearly felt in the communities that straddle the border, it also impacts negatively throughout the island. The reality is that the economy of the North is too small to exist in isolation.
“There are some who suggest that because we live in a period of severe economic difficulty that Irish reunification should be put off for the foreseeable future. In fact the opposite is the case,” Mr Adams went on.
“There is now a need, more than ever, for the island economy to be brought into being in the fullest sense, and for the political and administrative structures to be instituted with that in mind.”
I wonder if this new enlightened point of view has been discussed with the residents of the Garvaghy Road or the Lower Ormeau Road and other areas where these obnoxious displays of Loyalist triumphalism have caused grief and mayhem for generations. I would venture to guess that the Catholic Nationalist residents in these areas would have quite a different opinion about acceptance of these parades and the anti-Catholic, anti-Irish bigots who conduct and participate in them. There is certainly reason to question the wisdom of accepting these parades without drastic changes in the manner in which they are presently conducted or, for that matter, allowing them at all.
McGuinness slams Orange Order parades
By Staff reporter – Belfast Telegraph
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has accused the Orange Order of refusing to make a contribution to the peace process.
In a stinging attack on the Orange Order, delivered at the annual Wolfe Tone commemoration at Bodenstown on Sunday, the Sinn Féin leader said the Order must deal with the issue of contested parades.
“In the course of the past 15 years there have been many important contributions to the peace process. The IRA made significant contributions. So too the loyalists. So have many political parties and governments. However the Orange Order, the cement which for decades held the unionist regime together, has refused to make a contribution. That has to end. The leadership of the Orange Order can no longer abdicate its responsibilities,” he said.
Mr McGuinness also suggested that republicans would no longer be prepared to act as stewards during parades at flashpoint areas while the Orange Order refuses to negotiate with residents.
“Now is the time for the Orange Order to step forward. There are hundreds of Orange Parades each year. Only a few cause controversy. The days of republicans stretching ourselves and our communities to maintain calm in the face of sectarian provocation cannot last forever. It is now time for the issue of contested parades to be dealt with once and for all.
“That means the Orange Order making its contribution to peace. It means a declaration from the Orange Order that in future they will no longer seek to force parades through catholic areas and risk bringing violence onto our streets,” he said.
Mr McGuinness said if the Orange Order do not engage with local communities it will be regarded as “an abdication of their responsibilities.” He also called on unionist political leaders to confront what he described as “its own ideology of inequality.”
Responding to Mr McGuinness’s speech, an Orange spokesperson said; “The Orange Order is working very hard to make its parades more family-friendly and welcoming, particularly to tourists, and these remarks from the deputy first minister are extremely unhelpful."
Elsewhere in the speech, Mr McGuinness also criticised armed dissident republican groups.
“Activity by small militarist factions will not advance the cause of Irish freedom. It is worth remembering that the United Irishmen did not choose armed revolt as their option of first resort. 'Thinking' republicans have always sought alternatives to armed revolt to achieve freedom. And so it is today. Whatever their motivation they offer no realistic alternative to the strategy pursued by Sinn Féin,” he said.
Orange Order Membership Oath
The Orange Order - even though it has influence in many parts of the world - is in reality a Northern Ireland phenomenon. Part of the phenomenon is that there is a belief deeply rooted within it that it is an instrument in God's hands for the preservation of His Kingdom. An instrument in God's Hands to keep 'popery' at bay and to maintain religious liberty. The advertised qualities of an Orangeman make very impressive reading..
"An Orangeman should have a sincere love and veneration for his Heavenly Father; a humble and steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, believing in Him as the only Mediator between God and man He should cultivate truth and justice, brotherly kindness and charity, devotion and piety, concord and unity, and obedience to the laws; his deportment should be gentle and compassionate, kind and courteous; he should seek the society of the virtuous, and avoid that of the evil, he should honour and diligently study the Holy Scriptures, and make them the rule of his faith and practice; he should love, uphold, and defend the Protestant religion, and sincerely desire and endeavour to propagate its doctrines and precepts; he should strenuously oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome, and scrupulously avoid countenancing (by his presence or otherwise) any act or ceremony of Popish worship; he should, by all lawful means, resist the ascendancy of that Church, its encroachments, and the extension of its power, ever abstaining from all uncharitable words, actions, or sentiments, towards his Roman Catholic brethren; he should remember to keep holy the Sabbath day, and attend the public worship of God, and diligently train up his offspring, and all under his control, in the fear of God, and in the Protestant faith; he should never take the name of God in vain, but abstain from all cursing and profane language, and use every opportunity of discouraging these, and all other sinful practices, in others; his conduct should be guided by wisdom and prudence, and marked by honesty, temperance, and sobriety; the glory of God and the welfare of man, the honour of his Sovereign, and the good of his country, should be the motive of his actions"
Please see the comment on this page from Gerry Adams regarding Orange Order parades. Also, it would appear as though the Deputy First Minister of the Stormont Government’s attitude toward the Orange Order bigots has certainly changed significantly since the Smithsonian “love-in” on the National Mall in Washington, DC in 2007. Perhaps Mr. McGuinness and Mr. Adams should come to some kind of agreement to clarify their positions and end the confusion that these opposing points of view project to the Nationalist community. “Are the Orange Order “good guys or bad guys”?
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America