Hasta luego

I realise that I have not been posting as regular as I usually do but I am on top of my head at the moment with one thing or another. This is going to continue as I am heading off to Spain tomorrow for a well deserved holiday.

I am not going to say that I will see you all in two weeks because I dare say I will have the odd blog from Spain up.

When I get back I will be preparing my move to England to complete my LPC and become a fully fledged Solicitor.

I should be back to full blogging capacity at the start of September. My blogging comrades seem to have gone AWOL but I think that NR should be back soon enough.

Until next we meet



Republican parade in Ballymena

I see that the parades commission has placed restrictions on a Republican parade in Ballymena. The Commission has said that any bands in attendance would be restricted to a single drum beat and would not be allowed to go beyond Ballymena’s nationalist Fisherwick Crescent district.

Friends of William Orr spokesman Paddy Murray said his group would examine the Parades Commission determination.

“We will ask for an explanation. There are loyalist bands playing whatever they want past Catholic chapels and we can’t have a band parade in our own district. Nationalist representatives should press the commission rather than condemn us. Nationalists are still being treated as second-class citizens. This is not a Protestant town but a town for everyone, and everyone should have a say.”

I would just say this on the parade itself. While this parade does expose the hypocrisy of Unionist's position on parades and their assertion that everyone (so long as you are Protestant) should be allowed to walk the 'Queens highway' I don't think that parades just for the sake of it are a good idea.

Republicans should not lower themselves to the level of some Unionists in this regards. No one, Nationalist or Unionist, should feel discriminated against in their own homes. Naked triumphalism serves no one but those with an inferiority complex.

Republicanism is sure in its culture and place in society; we don't need the siege mentality of Unionism slipping into our community.

I would also like to praise local youths who took down several National flags from the Dunclug estate and replaced them with a single Tricolour flying from a flagpole.

Our National flag should be flown with respect and not used as a symbol of gettoisation in the way that Unionism does with the Butchers apron.

Zionists debate about troops

It seems that the Zionists don't have enough innocent blood on their hands as they are debating whether to send more troops into war torn Lebanon.

With Lebanese civilian casualties mounting Israel suffered its first bloody nose yesterday when up to 13 of their invading troops were killed by Hezbollah fighters.

It seems that the eyes of the West have awoken with the news that Israel directly target UNIFL staff which resulted in the deaths of four UN observers.

I don't buy any of this nonsense that it was an accident; they were warned six times that they were shelling the building.I do find this response from the West quite racist, its fine for Israel to butcher hundreds of innocent Lebanese civilians but once a Westerner is killed the shit hits the fan.

These Zionists will never learn with meekly worded statements, the West should hit Israel with tough economic sanctions and demand that it withdraws its war machine. If it refuses then the West should invade Israel and destroy its war machine.

Israel is the only country destabilising the Middle-East and this aggression towards innocent people, even if in the eyes of the West they are only Muslims, must stop!


Do not go gentle into that good night!

I know that we mostly talk about politics on this site but after reading David's very touching post on ATW I started to think about one of my favourite poems. 'Do not go gentle into that good night' by Dylan Thomas.

Now for many people this may seem like a very dark poem for a lad of 21 years but I find it an enormous source of comfort and inspiration and while it does deal with death I find that it has resonance outside that sphere as well.

It tells us not to go gentle into that good night, to rage against the dying of the light. For me that post applies to many circumstances. It tells me to never give up, stand up for what you believe in and if you are going to loose then go down with a fight.

A noble and honourable stance indeed and one which guides me in every thing that I do.

Poetry can puts situtations into perspective in ways that other forms just can't.

I would be interested in hearing about some of your favourite poems and why?


Protect the rights of the Unborn

I see that the issue of frozen embryos has arisen in the Irish courts. In a preliminary ruling, the Irish High Court found that a 44-year-old Dublin man had not given his consent for his estranged wife to use three embryos left over after the couple underwent IVF treatment.They had initally created 6 embryos that would one day become their children.

This case is similar to the Evans case which this Blog has already covered.

This case goes to the heart of the issue of the Unborn and the rights that Bunreacht na hÉireann has bestowed upon them.

He insisted in the High Court that it was his basic human right not to be forced to father another child with a woman from whom he had separated. I am afraid to say that I believe that this man is talking out of his behind.

No such right exists but Bunreacht na hÉireann does protect the rights of the Unborn under Article 40.3.3. These embroys are not just biological garbage, they are this mans unborn children.

The Judge made the wrong decision in this case in my opinion. This man consented to the creation of these embryos and after that he should not be allowed to change his mind once the creation of life has begun.

The High Court has no right to usurp the constitutional authority of Bunreacht na hÉireann. Upon review of the Supreme Court I have no doubt that this case will be overturned.

The Supreme Court needs to stand up for the rights of the Unborn and not allow this man to destroy the Unborns chance at life.

The drift to war?

It is with sadness that I note the detoriating situation in the Middle East. The region seems to be tettering on the brink of all our war and if the situation gets worse, the entire region could erupt with devestating consequences for human life.

There is little point in trying to make a case that either side is completly responsible or that the finger of blame should be pointed in only one direction. Hezebollah were entirely wrong to kidnap Israeli soldiers. However, it is an inescapable truth that the Israeli reaction to this incident has been completely disproportionate and has resulted in severe loss of life and caused grave instability throughout the Middle East. Those who have felt the brunt of Israel's actions have not been those responsible for the kidnaps but rather the civilian population of Lebanon. This kind of "collective punishment" is entirely morally reprehensible. While counting death tolls is a horribly gruesome and callous way of judging these matters, it should not go unnoted that Israel has killed over 200 Lebanonese in the past 6 days, while the Hezbollah rockets have killed 12.

Israel says it wishes to "disarm" Hezbollah. It verges on lunacy to suppose that Hezebollah can be disarmed with Israelo's current tactic. Only dialogue and cool heads on both sides can prevent any further escalation. I only hope that there can be a peaceful resolution and that the international community do not forego their duty to do all possible to ensure this is the case.

Hate FM

I see Robin Livingstone has given an interesting insight on the vile sectarian practices which are aaosciated with the "displays of culture" that are eleventh night bonfires and the manner in which the authorities seem unwilling to effectively deal with the bonfire issue. Most notable are the very interesting lyrics of songs played by the publically licensed Shankill FM who "treat" their listeners to lovely melodys incorporating lines like;

There are slogans painted in red, white and blue.
They tell the Pope where he can go and what he can do.
There’s one for Gerard Rice and that’s a different class.
Go take the Lower Ormeau Road and stick it up your ass.

Mr. Livingstone reports that Gerard Rice is to report this matter to Ofcom. Radio stations which are prepared to play this obviously sectarian filth should not be licensed. If they continue to be, it is a clear incitement to hatred. But then where would the 11th/12th celebrations be without hatred?!

Peter tells porkies!

I see that Peter Hain has been telling a few porkies in relation to policing. In a ridicilious attempt to get Sinn Féin to do an "sdlp" and tip their hats to RUC officers in PSNI uniforms Mr Hain seems to have tried to tell a few porkies along the way.

He claims that the RUC/PSNI "want to engage in this dialogue - indeed, increasingly are doing so, not least in County Derry and in south Armagh"

Now as most of you will know I am from South Armagh, I am just wondering who they are talking to in relation to this 'dialogue'?

Are they talking to themselves in the mirror? are they talking to Unionists or bigots like Willie Frazer? perhaps it is those stoop stooges who sit on local DPP's?

It is most certainly not the vast majority of the Nationalist and Republican people from South Armagh. Hain's attempt to tell lies, while not unexpected is indeed unhelpfull.

Sinn Féin are not forcing the majority of Nationalists and Republicans to withold their support from the RUC/PSNI, that is the people themselves.

Hain is well aware of what needs to happen before Sinn Féin will even consider holding a special Ard Fheis, he should address the outstanding issues. He should not be telling lies because only the gulliable and the naeive will believe that sort of nonsense.

The idea that the people of South Armagh support the RUC/PSNI is only a stoop wet dream!


Martin Hurson RIP

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the death of Martrin Hurson, the sixth hunger striker to die for the cause he so resolutely believed in. Martin came from the Republican area of Cappagh in East Tyrone.

On May 29th 1981, Martin joined the hunger strike, replacing South Derryman Brendan McLoughlin who was forced to drop out because of a burst stomach ulcer.

In the Free State general election in June, Martin was a candidate in Longford/Westmeath, and although missing election, obtained almost four-and-a-half thousand first preference votes, and over a thousand transfers, before being eliminated at the end of the sixth count, outlasting two Labour candidates and a Fine Gael contender.

Barely one month after election the Free State government's bolstering of Britain's barbaric intransigence led to the death of Martin Hurson, the sixth hunger striker, at that stage, to die.

Having seriously deteriorated after forty days on hunger strike, he was unable to hold down water and died a horrifically agonising death after only forty-four days on hunger strike, at 4.30 a m. on Monday, July 13th.

Martin's body was in Omagh. At 11:30 A.M., the RUC called the undertaker and told him that if the body was not picked up by noon, it would be dumped somewhere unannounced. Just as they told Patsy O'Hara's family.

A thousand people were lining the road when they arrived. The coffin was carried through the winding country roads from Cappagh to the family home a mile away. A piper lead the sad march.

Cardinal O'Fiaich came to the wake the next day. Cappagh was is in his diocese. Oddly, it took courage for the Cardinal to attend a hunger striker's funeral. He knew he would be hammered in the press and elsewhere.

Francie challenged the Cardinal, sitting together over tea in the Hurson living room, for not doing more to save Martin and the other young Irish men dying for their country one after another. But Francie and the family admired him for honoring Martin and the family by coming to the house.

The Cardinal said, "Francie, what can I do? I honor Martin. I've come here to the house to be with the Hurson family. But I have no power. England has the power."

Sean Lynch, Martin's election agent in the Dail election, gave the funeral ration: "I am sure that Oliver Plunkett who was hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn and Joan of Arc, the young French maiden who was burned at the stake, were among those who received Martin and place him beside Ireland's glorious dead."

Martin died an Irish martyr's death in Her Majesty's hell hole of Long Kesh. He may be gone, but like the rest of his comrades, his sacrafice will never be forgotten.


They even mock the dead...................

Another 12th July and few will be surprised by the number of displays of rampant sectarianism displayed already today. Hitting a new low was the disgraceful attempt by those attending the "traditional" (if its tradition it must be right, eh?) 11th night bonfires to burn a tricolour which mocked the murdered Ballymena teenager Michael McIlveen. Burning flags in themselves is bad enough but what sort of lowlife decides to up the ante by writing F*** Micky Bo on a flag and then presenting it to be burnt. These bonfires are not expressions of culture, they are expressions of hatred.

Watching the news earlier, viewers were treated to scenes of what is supposed to be the new, inclusive, "cuddly for Catholics" Orangefest. Its so inclusive and unthreatening that drums in the bands have the slogan "KAT" emblazoned on them. Given the new welcoming nature of "Orangefest" I can only assume this is some sort of welcoming message for Nationalists. Well either that or its expressing the desire that they all be killed. You can make your own mind up. Carrying on the welcoming theme were the flagbearers who showed their own inclusive nature by displaying Loyalist paramilitary flags.

However its not just Orange Order supporters who descend to the depths of sectarian hatred at this time of year. The bitter and hate-filled individuals who were responsible for the burning of an Orange Lodge in Laven must be condemned by all. Their actions were disgraceful and such sectarianism has no place in society.

Frazer watch

I recieved an e-mail from a reader in the Fews area of South Armagh this morning alerting me to an interview that Willie Frazer gave on an American radio station. I listened to the podcast and was disgusted by a lot of it. It is a raging Anti-Catholic station spewing nonsense about "Ulster" and South Armagh.

In the Podcast Willie and his host accuses the 'Church of Rome' of hiding weapons for the IRA and that the Pope encouraged the Hunger strikers to continue with the strike. According to Willie (14 mins) Priests threatned some of the prisnors that wished to come off the strike. They described the Catholic Church of "being up to its eyeballs".

The most startling and disgusting accusation from Frazer (23 mins) was that the ambulance driver who drove the ambulance out to the place where his father had been shot deliberately took his time to get to the scene. He says that he was a Republican and so knew it was his father and let him bleed to death.

This is an attack on the nursing and health care profession!

I have made a few discrete enquires and found out that the Union are furious and are demanding an apology and a retraction from Frazer.

This is a man who is standing for election and who comes out with this nonsense. I have already posted on this site before about the connection with the Gleanne gang and some of those who Willie claims are "innocent victims".

I wonder if they are inncoent because of the fact that all the people that the Gleanne Gang (UDR and UVF gang) killed and bombed were only Catholics in Dublin, Monaghan, Louth and South Armagh.

It is clear that Willie has entered a new phase of delusion and paranoia but that does not allow him to smear hardworking health care professionals.



Firstly, I'd like to say that I'm delighted that events surrounding the disputed Drumcree parade passed off peacefully yesterday. However I read an interesting comment from the spokesman for the Portadown Orangemen, David Jones who said that the smaller numbers of Orangemen at Drumcree this year was a "return to the district parades of old".

What exactly does this mean? The Orangemen have asserted their "right" to march where they want regardless of the feelings of others using the defence that their parades are traditional. But it seems that Mr. Jones has let the cat out of the bag. In recent years, how could Orangemen claim that it is tradition to have thousands parading down the Garvaghy road, when they admit themselves that much smaller numbers have historically marched? The only possible conclusion is that the increased numbers at Drumcree during the late 90s had nothing to do with tradition but instead were an attempt by the Orangemen to ratchet up the pressure in an attempt to bully, threaten, bribe and intimidate in order that they get what they want.

I did a little study on the Orange Order while revising for a politics exam on identity in Ireland and I was surprised to find that the numbers of Orange Order parades increased throughout the 80s and 90s. Obviously new parade routes were being established. Are these also tradional? How long does it take to start a tradition? Or are they simply what we suspected they were all along- attempts to establish communal dominance and superiority?

Oh, what a beautiful day!

What a great weekend! I must say I thoroughly enjoyed last week. I had an excellent day graduating on Wednesday and int hr process managed to acquire letters after my name. But the weekend really topped it off! I was celebrating a double sporting success last night.

Firstly, Armagh completed their 3-in a row Ulster title victories with a clinical performance to defeat the Donegal challenge. Armagh never really found top gear but they did more than enough to merit an excellent victory in front of over 50,000 spectators. Best on the day for Armagh were Francie "The Rock" Bellew, Kieran "Geezer" McGeeney, as well as Paul "Captain Fantastic" McGrane and Ronan Clarke who scored 3 excellent points from play. The celebrations were definately more low key than in previous years. All Ulster titles are a great achievement but this team has its eyes on the greater prize in September and personally, I believe they have every chance of winning Sam. Certainly it'll take a damned good team to stop them.

My sporting joy was then compounded by the victory of Italy over France in the World Cup final. It was a profitable evening as I'd backed the Italians to win the tournament before their first match so the generous odds of 10/1 mean I'm smiling today! I even shared my hunch with all loyal Balrog readers so don't say we don't provide a valuable service. I'm fairly proud of my World Cup predictions since I foresaw not only that Italy would win, but also that Ghana would be the best of the Africans and that England would fall short.

All in all, an enjoyable and profitable day. To paraphrase Meatloaf "Six outta Eight ain't bad!"


Orange army head for the capital

What a sporting weekend we have. With both Wimbledon finals, the World Cup final, Gaa qualifiers and the Munster final on, there is a feast for all sports fans. But of course, centre stage is the battle at Croke Park for the Anglo-Celt Cup as Donegal take on Armagh. I'll be heading off for Dublin early tomorrow morning and hopefully, like I have been 5 times in the last 7 years, I'll be a happy man tomorrow evening as Armagh collect what will be their thirteenth Ulster title which would put them into joint second place in the Ulster roll of honour, level with Down and Monaghan and behind only Cavan.

The big shock of the weekend GAA wise has been the defeat of All Ireland champions Tyrone who lost 0-9 to 0-6 to Laois earlier this evening. The race for the All Ireland appears to be wide open this year. Laois will fancy their chances now while Kerry, Armagh, Dublin, Mayo and Galway will all feel they could have what it takes. But before Armagh can think about Sam Maguire, they have a tough asignment tomorrow facing a young and improving Donegal side. Even though Armagh have needed two replays to reach this stage, the most positive thing about their performances has been the form of their elder statesmen. Fellas like Kieran McGeeney, Paul McGrane and Oisin McConville have been producing excellent performances. While the media continue to produce the lazy half-truth that Armagh have "too many miles on the clock" and are past it, the performances of the players who are supposedly "over the hill" prove the ignorance of this accusation.

I know I'm biased, but I think Armagh will have a bit too much guile for Donegal tomorrow. In the past 4 years, Armagh have reserved their best performances for Croke Park. Hopefully Stevie McDonnell can find the form he's been struggling for all season. It won't be as easy as it was at the same stage at the same venue last year but if Armagh perform to their capabilities I'm confident we can win another Ulster title and hopefully the success won't stop there!

There's one fair county in Ireland...................................


IRA insists she was an informer

The IRA has strongly refuted claims by the Police Ombudsman that Jean McConville was not an infomer. According to an Army statement a "thorough investigation" confirmed that Mrs McConville "was working as an informer for the British army". It said the conclusion had been reported to her son, Michael.

"The IRA accepts that he rejects this conclusion," it added. "The IRA regrets the suffering of all the families whose loved ones were killed and buried by the IRA."

This is a hard issue for me, I believe the IRA when it says that it has carried out an investigation and found that Ms McConville was indeed an informer. That however is not the crux of the issue for me.

The IRA killed infomers during the conflict, it happenned and had to happen in order to save other lives and volunteers from jail. Everyone who became an informer for the British knew the consequences that could follow from their actions.

What I find hard to accept/justify is the actions afterwards and the subsequent burials that have added further pain to their loved ones.

I am reminded of the quote from the Easter Proclamation of 1916.

"we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called."

In my opinion the IRA should do all in their power to ensure that all the bodies of the 'Disappeared' are returned to their loved ones so that they can begin to grieve properly.

The IRA should set higher standards for itself than this, I am not critising any Volunteer for what decisions were made in the past as it is not my place.

I am only concerned about the decisions that should be made in the future.

Joe McDonnell 25th Anniversary

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the death of Hunger Striker Joe McDonnell. Joe was the fifth man to die on Hunger Striker, Thatcher already having the blood of his four comrades before him on her hands.

Most Republicans hold the Fenian view that Ecclesiastics have no place in politics, this view however could not take into account the good work of Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich, a South Armagh man and primate of all Ireland.

He was gravely affected by the deaths of the men. He had blown the whistle on the Brits about conditions in the Kesh. He made powerful statements and worked behind the scenes, but he blamed himself for not doing enough.

What else he could have done, he wasn't sure, but he cried when Raymond McCreesh, one from his own diocese of Armagh, and Patsy O'Hara died.

He was in London to attend a commemoration for St. Oliver Plunkett, himself martyred by the British. He spoke at the open-air commemorative mass of the penal days in Ireland and of the priests ordained by Oliver Plunkett who defied the British by bringing the people through those terrible Cromwellian times: "Golden priests with wooden chalices" they were called.

He then met Thatcher.

She had no idea of the current situation or even the rudiments of Irish history. At one point she declared that the 6 county state had been set up to begin with to "save" the Catholics from civil war. O'Fiaich was compelled to give her a history lesson and finished by expressing his belief that the "Irish question" would only be solved when there was a 32 county, independent Irish state of some kind, of any kind, as long as the Irish people themselves could determine their own political fate without interference.

She complained: why must the Irish always have a problem? She even explained haughtily that "we" fought the Germans and now we are friends. What about that?

The Cardinal looked her hard in her hardly human eyes: "Because, Madame, if you want a simple answer, you're no longer in occupation of the Ruhr."

Joe McDonnell was a thirty-year-old married man with two children, from the Lenadoon housing estate in West Belfast. It illustrates well the feeling of bitter determination prevailing in the H-Blocks that Joe McDonnell, who did not volunteer for the hunger strike last year because, he said, "I have too much to live for", should have become so frustrated and angered by British perfidy as to embark on hunger strike on Sunday, May 9th, 1981.

In June, Joe was a candidate during the Free State general election, in the Sligo/Leitrim constituency, in which he narrowly missed election by 315 votes.

At 5.11 a.m., on July 8th, Joe McDonnell, who - believeably, for those who know his wife Goretti, his children Bernadette and Joseph and his family - "had too much to live for" died after sixty one days of agonising hunger strike, rather than be criminalised.

Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends



As previously mentioned, Willie Frazer has announced his intention to stand for election in the Fews area. This unreconstructed bigot has received the support of the DUP and UUP who have stood down in his favour with what has caught my eye is a comment on Frazer’s web-site which claims that “victims from both sides of the community in South Armagh wish him every success in the upcoming by-election.”

It isn’t exactly clear whether this statement came from the Unionist parties or whether it is another of Frazer’s delusional ego trips but whoever the comment came from, the sheer bare faced cheek of it must be challenged.

Willie Frazer does not receive support from both sides of the community. He has shown on many occasions that he simply incapable of balance. His group exists only for one side of the community and is little other than a extremist Unionist pressure group. Nationalists are hardly likely to support a man who is happy to be stand alongside Loyalist paramilitaries as Frazer did when launching the Love Ulster campaign. As well as this, he attempts to procure the phrase “innocent” for one set of victims only and refuses to pay any attention to victims of Loyalist and State violence.

Frazer will certainly receive some support in the upcoming election. But it will come from one side of the community only and anybody who thinks any different is living in a fantasy land.


Taking the scraps from the British table

I see that Eileen Paisley, whose contribution to public life was as a councillor many years ago, has been made a 'Baroness' in the British House of Lords. Her new name in this glorified talking shop will be Baroness Paisley of St George's, after the ward which elected her to Belfast City Council in 1967.

Nepotism has been a long established feature within that 'political party' but I suppose if the DUP are prepared to let family members of prominent DUP figures take the scraps from the British table then who am I to argue.

I do however find the DUP's new 'Orphan boy Oliver' approach to politics amusing.

Gone are the days of NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!!!

It has been replaced by Please Tony, may we have some more?


The more things change, the more they stay the same?

Another month, another opinion poll but it seems the jumps in support aren't exactly earth shattering. A difficult month for Fianna Fáil has resulted in a loss of support of 1% with Ahern's party now on 34%, ahead of Fine Gael who remain unchanged on 28%. The major losers are Labour who drop 2%, their lost support seems to have gone to the other parties of the left in the Dáil as both Sinn Féin and the Greens have gone up a percentage point, SF with 9% while the Greens have 7%. The PDs, leadership crisis or not, continue to attract minimal support with only 3%.

The interesting issue is that the fact that Fine Gael and Labour are to table a motion looking for an early election. Given that this is unlikely to win support in the Dáil, its hard to know how serious the opposition actually are. Fine Gael and Labour may be getting increasingly desperate. This month couldn't have been much worse for the government with the statutory rape crisis, backbench dissent and the clash of the egos between Harney and McDowell yet FG and Labour still hold only a narrow lead of 1% over the government parties. Considering the fact that FF may well recover in the next few months, it seems that all may not be rosy in the garden for the "alternative coalition". It should be noted however that if they were able to forge an alliance with the Greens, their position would be greatly strengthened. In such a situation Fianna Fáil may well feel that their only option is to shed the dead weight which the PDs have become.

On another topic, the opinion polls also revealed interesting statistics of what the Irish people thought of Charlie Haughey following his death last month. Despite the fact that many seem to believe that history will judge him harshly, in fact more Irish people have a positive opinion of Charlie's legacy than expressed a negative view. It seems the Irish people recognise that, despite his flaws, the country is better for having been led by C.J.

Frazer in line for electoral hiding

I see arch-bigot and village idiot Willie Frazer is to dip his toes into electoral waters by challenging Sinn Féin for the council seat in the Fews vacated due to the resignation of Brendan Lewis from Newry & Mourne Council. Of course there is no need for this election to even take place. It is only necessary because of the intransigence of the DUP and UUP who refused to allow a co-option which could have saved unnecessary expense. Twelve months ago, the people of the Fews democratically expressed their wish for 3 SF councillors and 1 each from the SDLP, UUP and DUP and Mr. Lewis’ resignation should not change this democratic mandate.

But instead of allowing a co-option to re-instate this democratic outcome, instead the Unionists are determined to support Willie Frazer, the so-called victims campaigner with a sectarian agenda who sees no victimhood outside of his own religion and is perfectly happy to stand alongside Loyalist paramilitaries when it comes to launching the sectarian “Love Ulster” campaign. Given that only Frazer and Turlough Murphy of SF, brother of M.P. Conor, are standing, a Sinn Féin victory is almost certain since Nationalist parties received over 70% of the vote in the Fews in 2005. While it might be nice to see Willie’s inflated ego knocked down a peg or two by the trouncing he will receive, it is unfortunate that thousands of pounds of rate-payers money will have to be spent in the exercise.


Orangemen rightly banned from Garvaghy Road

I was not surprised to learn that Portadown Orangemen have been banned from walking down the Garvaghy Road yet again this year.

The Orangemen in this area have made no attempt to speak to the residents of this area and so they can hardly complain when they are not awarded for their intransigence.

Unionists are quick to talk about the 'Queens highway' and their right to march but I wonder what would happen if a Republican parade filled to walk along the Shankill road?

Would they be so accomodating then?

Parading in Ireland is a very controversial issue with rights and responsibilities on both sides. What remains very clear is that the only way to seek a lasting accomodation like in Derry is to engage in dialogue.

Until the Orange order accepts that Nationalists are human beings with the same rights as everyone else we will not get a resolution to this issue.