Supremacists gear up
Speaking on the equality agenda at the weekend, Sinn Féin Assembly member Michelle Gildernew cited the ``marching issue'', as the most contentious and divisive issue that faces the people of the Six Counties at present.
While mindful of the present impasse in the political process (since the British government collapsed the Executive), Gildernew said that the cycle of Orange demands to parade through nationalist areas has brought us yearly to the ``edge of the abyss''.
When we should have moving forward, the Orange Order have continually pulled us back to the brink.
In this week's issue, we report on the renewed efforts of loyalists to tramp through nationalist areas of the North. The UDA were the prime movers behind attempts by three loyalist bands to parade through an area of North Belfast that has seen more than 80 Catholic families driven from their homes over the past two years by loyalists. Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly has publicly accused the UDA of involvement in these very attacks.
In Lurgan, a previously unheard of group, The Apprentice Boys Historical Research Committee, have applied to march along William Street past the office of assassinated solicitor Rosemary Nelson, a provocative gesture which, if given the go-ahead, will be held on Saturday 18 March, three days after the first anniversary of Nelson's killing.
As in previous years, the loyal orders are demanding their right to march, an inalienable right, as they see it. This attitude makes dialogue and compromise an impossibility. Indeed, according to newspaper reports at the weekend, Brendan McAllister of the Mediation Network has asserted that the issue of contentious parades will not be resolved through dialogue.
It is, therefore, the responsibiltity of the British government to look at this problem as one of a supremacist group, the Orange Order, demanding an unreasonable right to abuse people in vulnerable nationalist areas.
The myth of the ``right to march'' should be rubbished once and for all.