There is no doubt in my mind that civil and religious liberty in Northern Ireland can only be guaranteed by widespread violence. Isn't that oxymoronic? I mean, since when has violence ANYTHING to do with liberty?
Well, that depends. Since 1997, and the establishment of the Government appointed quango - the Parades Commission - it is apparent that the right to process along certain roads and streets in Northern Ireland is established by whoever threatens the greatest level of violence. We saw this manifest at the Garvaghy Road in Portadown where republicans and nationalists threatened and real violence successfully managed to stop the Orange Order returning from a Church Service to mark the Battle of the Somme. Since then this depraved notion of "Whose violence prevails" has spread like a cancer across Northern Ireland.
I am disgusted by the violence that took place in Belfast last night and I think the hooligans responsible should be brought to justice. I note that the paramilitary groups that are linked to this mob rule are "still on cease-fore"! But the greater evil is the determination of Government to appease whichver group threatens the greater violence. Up until this point, in it's anxiety to appease the IRA, the rotten Parades Commission has usually decided that the Orange Order is less of a menace that all those "ever so concerned" nationalist residents groups. Hence the re-routing of Parades.
Suffice to say that I believe all Orange Order parades SHOULD be allowed so long as they are conducted in a respectful and dignified manner. The streets of Northern Ireland belong to us ALL - and one of the many malignancies of the "Good Friday Agreement" was to allocate ownership to various swathes of public highway to one group or another. Now we reap the harvest. Sir Hugh Orde's criticism of the Orange Order would mean a little more if he was not so enthusiastic to appease the IRA. Maybe those who complain about loyalist violence need to ask themselves: What fruits did Republican violence yield?