As Vanguard Bears has staunch links to Northern Ireland, we recently undertook investigation into the band scene there, and through the assistance and local knowledge of one of our Ulster-based members, Thomas Mathers from Ardoyne, uncovered what can best be described as one-sided & biased policing, vastly imbalanced governmental grants – with Loyalist bands and Unionist organisations seeing just a fraction of the monies Republican/Nationalist bands and groups receive – as well as an ignorant dearth of understanding of Loyalist/Unionist culture throughout.
Thomas is a member of Ligoniel Walker Club Apprentice Boys Of Derry, Registrar of Royal Black Preceptory 210 and is also Secretary of Ardoyne Rangers Supporters Club – all of which are situated in North Belfast. His understanding and knowledge of these issues is invaluable and we thank him for taking the time and effort to gather the information shown below.
Most people in the mainland are aware of the “marching” scene in Northern Ireland yet the main news bulletins only show problems arising from events, rather than broadcasting the vast majority of good natured and peaceful parades which are all so prevalent. In this article we explain the structure of Loyalist bands and the Loyal Orders, and explain some of the problems Loyalists and Unionists have encountered both with the Parades Commission and with black propaganda spread by Republican/Nationalist supporters.
There are over 3000 Loyalist parades in Northern Ireland annually, with only three or four of them being considered controversial – parades passing Ardoyne shops being some of the most contentious.
Local businesses benefit greatly from these parades; Bus Company’s, Hotels, Restaurants, Fast-Food Outlets, Pubs & Clubs, Shops etc all show a significant increase in turnover.
There are six so-called ‘big’ parades in Northern Ireland; hosted by The Orange Order, Royal Black Preceptory and Apprentice Boys of Derry. A recent financial report showed that these six parades alone bring in over £18m into the local economy.
As well as the thousands of parades, there are also many band competitions & culture days that brings even money into hundreds of towns and villages throughout the Province.
There are more than 650 Union-friendly bands in Northern Ireland. Band membership numbers ranges from between 10 to upwards of 80. By taking an average figure of 45 members, there are 30,000 people ACTIVELY involved. This figure does not inlcude the thousands of spectators and supporters, making this one of the largest voluntary movements in the UK.
Using the figures above, upwards of 30,000 loyalist people week in and week out travel the country. Taking it simplistically, if those 30,000 people paid £1 a week band membership dues, and maybe spend £10 a time on buses travelling to just 30 parades, that amounts to approximately £350 per person per annum x 30,000. A quick calculation tells us that £10.5million is being ploughed back into the local economy – and that’s just a conservative estimate! Many bands do a lot more than 30 parades and command more than £1 a week for membership. As well as the cost of travelling, the money band’s spend on uniforms, instruments and regalia etc would see that figure increase dramatically – it’s worth considering that this figure is determined without the inclusion of monies contributed to local towns and villages on the day or night of a parade, via fast food outlets, shop, pubs etc…..
***** Funding *****
Bands survived for years without it and will undoubtedly continue to do so due to financial support from well-wishers. Look at what the bands give out, yet they receive little or nothing in return. Contrast that to other comparable sized bodies.
In the last 5 years the IFA and Soccer clubs received funding of £17,150,044.
The Ulster Council GAA and Gaelic Clubs received £19,911,475.
The marching band scene received a paltry £878,949.
GAA in Northern Ireland are receiving 22 TIMES the funding Loyalist/Unionist bands are!
Pretty damning statistics, I’m sure you’ll agree?
The charity work bands do should not be forgotten; hundreds of functions/parades held each year in aid of many charities; events which are very well supported by the Loyalist/Unionist community with all bandsmen and women giving up their time free of charge.
***** Musical standards *****
Ulster has the best voluntary musicians in the world. No Question. Ulster, British, All-Ireland World Champions – in all genres; Flute, Accordion, Pipe and even solo drumming. Perhaps this is not the best example, but at the 2009 World Pipe Band Championships in Scotland, exactly HALF of the prizes awarded went home to Ulster.
***** Membership *****
Membership covers the entire spectrum of gender and class – from the ‘professional’ to the unemployed. A study by the UBA showed that 50-75% of membership is under 25 and male, which is considered the single most difficult demographic sector to cater for. The fact is they are being taken off the street, taught music (free of charge), taught social skills, taught decorum, set behavioural standards, encouraged in self-development & confidence, taught history and are involved in their local community. Bands almost universally have a strict anti-drugs policy. Any other country in the world would be using this sector as model for others. The government should be praising bands to the high heavens rather disregarding & often ignoring the excellent community work that is ongoing.
Look at the community cohesion that bands facilitate; the family ties, the friendships – all made and sustained by bands. On countless occasions bands have taken their youthful members into old folk’s homes to entertain the older generation. This link through the generations should not be understated. The historical traditions and memories that Ulstermen & women proudly maintain will be there for their children, and their children’s children. All purely because of band’s and their commitment. Rather than praised, they get lambasted from all sides – including our own politicians. They get denigrated for the slightest mistake. They get disparaged for a commitment to Ulster’s history, and belittled for involvement in the band scene.
***** Band Perceptions……the Myths and Reality *****
There are numerous myths & perceptions surrounding marching bands in Northern Ireland. For the non-participant often the only time marching bands are mentioned in the media is negative, very rarely are the positive or wide-ranging aspects of the sector highlighted. The challenge for those involved is explaining how far removed these perceptions are from the reality and day-to-day membership of a marching band.
Let us look at what being in a marching band involves……
Contrary to popular myth you don’t just turn up on the Twelfth of July and decide you want to walk. Bands tend to practise 11-12 months of the year, normally once per week, often twice. Most band Captains have the simple rule ‘if you’re not up to scratch, you don’t get walking’. As well as attending band practice, there will also be considerable practicing done at home in your own time.
The band provides you with an instrument and the music to learn from, as well as providing free of charge the tuition required to master your instrument of choice. This is a significant outlay on the band’s behalf in terms of time as well as finance, as it can on occasion take more than a year before a ‘new member’ is deemed ready to participate in parades. When you consider flutes can range in price from a minimum £100 each, accordions £1600, bagpipes £1500 and drums £500, this is viewed as a long-term investment by the band.
Separate drill practises are held to ensure that you not only sound good but you look good too. Bands have their drill perfected to military standards with halts, marking time etc. all crucial elements of their performance. This is reflected by the standard displayed by many.
Members take great pride before parades in ensuring their uniform is immaculate, shoes are polished to a high shine and their hat peaks smear free. Much attention to detail is paid to a bands appearance with sometimes tens of thousands of pounds spent on uniforms and many bands are now bulk-buying footwear to ensure uniformity on parade.
The media sometimes refer to July as the ‘marching season’, but for bands and their members there really is no definable time of the year where activities ease. Band processions take place from early March right through to October, with many indoor events also occurring during the months in between. Participating in 50-70 parades annually is not uncommon for many bands, along with perhaps 20-30 indoor events.
All of this involves commitment from the member, and even more so from band officers who assist in the running of the band. Accurate record-keeping, accounts and policies are all required to make the band run smoothly, with many band Captains comparing running a band to operating a small business rather than a hobby.
So who are the people prepared to dedicate so much of their free-time to this activity?
A recent Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure study revealed that there are 29,000+ people directly participating in regular music practice and parading through marching bands. This doesn’t take into account their families, friends and followers. Separate studies have shown that the membership covers the entire spectrum of gender, age and class – from the ‘professionals’ to the unemployed, from 3 years old to those 70+ years young.
The strong sense of community cohesion that a band facilitates lends itself to a strong social element, with many life-long friendships and indeed quite a few marriages occurring solely down to meeting through bands.
Many family ties are represented in bands with members able to trace their family back several generations in the same band. And it’s not uncommon for three generations of one family to be parading with grandparents, parents and children all represented.
This link through the generations is furthered by many bands when they perform for the residents in care homes, and the sense of being part of the local community is fortified by participating in many local charity concerts and church events.
Many bands will donate the entire proceeds of their annual parade to local charities, and one band alone, Pride of the Raven, have donated over £87,000 in the past 20 years. Annually bands will contribute approx £40,000 to charity, raised through parades, concerts, sponsored events, and the backing for these comes from their local towns and villages.
Bands are providing a pivotal social and community role by helping to keep young people off the streets and provide a focus for their energy.
The local band is sometimes the only form of community involvement for teenagers, and are not only ‘holding their own’ in terms of numbers, but many are growing in size. This is in stark contrast to the demise of youth clubs, the decline in other youth organisations and falling attendances at Churches. As well as teaching them music, bands also help to instil social skills, behavioural standards, decorum, self-development, confidence and help raise self-esteem.
For many bandsmen and women reading this, they’ll recognise all these positives and find nothing new or startling in them, but therein lays the challenge for everyone involved in the marching band sector. There’s a growing realisation that myths and perceptions need dispelled. The only way to do that is to promote the positives and benefits to all those willing to listen. Sitting back relying on others to do that is no longer an option. Loyalists/Unionists have to take responsibility and inform the world of their concerns.
If that responsibility is faced head on, perhaps one day the perceptions might reflect the realities.
Note: All of the information above reflects only the loyalist and union friendly bands. It does not include Orange Lodges, Royal Black Preceptory’s and Apprentice Boys of Derry clubs. The figures are more than 5 times higher when they are included.
The following are some of the problems encountered at present:
Over recent years there has been a concerted campaign of hate shown to our Culture by Republicans and the Northern Ireland Parades Commission.
Contrary to media reports and Republican propaganda, Loyalists have been meeting with Republicans and Nationalist residents to thrash out parading issues.
In particular, The North and West Belfast Parades and Cultural Forum which represents The Orange Order, Royal Black Preceptory and Apprentice Boys of Derry, have met with Every Republican Residents groups in Ardoyne.
Since the introduction of The N.I Parades Commission, there has been a litany of disgraceful and biased decisions and restrictions put upon loyalist parades which disgustingly result in the Parades Commission rewarding Republican violence.
In recent months the rise of G.A.R.C, a Dissident Republican group in North Belfast with the help of the Parades Commission and their ludicrous decisions, the loyalist negotiating position has been made virtually impossible, due to what appears to be an obvious agenda by the Parades Commission.
Two recent decisions by the Parades Commission where they allowed upwards of a 1500 strong mob of Republican Dissidents and their supporters to have a parade at Ardoyne on the 12th July and a decision to allow a Republican protest right outside a Roman Catholic Church on the last Saturday in August have astonished not only our own community but even the police and Nationalist Politicians.
There were two incidents on the 12th July near Roman Catholic Churches. One was in East Belfast where an Orangewoman and a child were hospitalised, when Republicans attacked the parade with bricks and bottles. The other was a loyalist band playing music outside a closed and empty Chapel.
Only in Northern Ireland would playing music be deemed more of a story than people being injured.
The band that courted all the controversy were walking with scores of other bands in a parade that is over a mile long, so if there is any break at all there will be at least one Band or Lodge outside this particular Chapel.
The apparently distasteful tune the band played was that famous Beach Boys number, Sloop John-B.
When words are added to the tune it can be classed as “The Famine Song” or Rangers FC favourite “4 Boys Had A Dream/Barcelona 72″.
When this video was sent to the press by Sinn Fein, the Band released a statement apologising for any offence caused and on hindsight they should have been more sensitive.
This has completely fell on deaf ears with the band being vilified by the black propagandists.
On the last Saturday in August parade the Bands and Preceptory’s decided to break the Parades Commission determination by playing music.
Yes, playing music; not rioting, or hijacking cars, or shooting at PSNI Officers, but playing music.
They did it without masks on and in front of Police and media in an open, peaceful protest. This met with another disgraceful decision where they were not even allowed to play outside their own Orange Hall at Clifton street.
The 12th July Republican Parade resulted in rioting and the attempted murder of PSNI Officers with multiple gunshots being fired.
A so-called Republican protest:
Here you can contrast the difference between the Orange Parade going past Ardoyne compared to G.A.R.C’s:
One of the G.A.R.C Stewards was also arrested for rioting:
Now, after seeing what happened with G.A.R.C you would think the Parades Commission would refuse them another protest in August due to the breaking of the ruling and subsequent violence in July.
But what happened? The Parades Commission punished the Apprentice Boys of Derry by refusing them an accompanying Accordian band and allowing G.A.R.C ANOTHER protest, at which 3 G.A.R.C Members were arrested for offences against the Police – more than 45 minutes after the parade was passed.
The Republican protest at the Roman Catholic Church resulted in Republicans attacking the parade, seen here 2 minutes into the following video:
On the same day as the bands protested by playing music and as reported in The Sunday Life 2/09/12, A loyalist bandsman was pulled from his car, beaten with hammers and his car set alight.
This was before the parade had started at Clifton Street.
Even after reporting this immediately to media, the story was only published eight days after the incident in The Sunday Life.
What is clear is The Parades Commission have an agenda against the Protestant culture and have consistently punished both Loyalist Bands and Loyal Orders because of Republican violence.
Loyalist Bands are not allowed to have paramilitary trappings, paramilitary regalia and a local loyalist band, The Pride of Ardoyne, have even been banned from carrying their banner which ironically carries the names of some murdered by Republicans which are as follows;
John Baillie – A young Pride of Ardoyne band member shot dead by Republicans at a Gospel Hall in North Belfast.
Billy Hannah – Pride of Ardoyne member shot dead by the S.A.S by mistake when walking home from Pride Of Ardoyne’s band practice. Billy was returning home and unwittingly got caught up in a shoot-out between British forces and the IRA. The IRA in Ardoyne had planned to blow up a British Telecom station in the middle of a Protestant housing estate which would have resulted in countless deaths and devastation but this was thwarted by the Security services, but sadly Billy was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Billy McLure – Pride of Ardoyne member shot dead in front of his wife by Republicans in North Belfast.
Sam Rockett – A young Pride of Ardoyne member shot dead by Loyalists.
This is an ABOD Parade as it passed Ardoyne in August 2012
As you can see it was trouble free as it had been for the past 20 years.
ABOD were not allowed an all Girls Accordian Band as a result of the Parades Commission rewarding the rioters and gunmen on the 12th July.
45 Minutes AFTER the Parade had passed, 3 Republicans were arrested as a result of a confrontation with Police, although there were no riots.
The Media reported the next day “3 Arrests at Contentious Apprentice Boys Parade at Ardoyne”
Dissidents and the Parades Commission have brought us back to this.
In this video, top IRA members are on the right with dissident Republicans on the left.
This is another Apprentice Boys video from 2011.
As you can see, there are no Republicans, and just two Policemen and a couple of Land Rovers.
This is the way parades at Ardoyne have been for at least 20 years until recently…..
Royal Black Preceptory 210 also walked down past Ardoyne in The Last Saturday in August Parade and they were also punished by the Parades Commission for Republican violence on the 12th July, as they were banned from having a band to accompany them.
What you see in the next few videos and photographs are examples of Republican parades which the Parades Commission find acceptable, in contrast to Loyalist parades which get extreme restrictions.
Here you see a Republican band parading on St Patrick’s Day in Cookstown:
The Parades Commission state:
Where the majority population of the vicinity are of a different tradition, and in interface areas;
- Behaviour should be respectful.
- There should be no excessively loud drumming.
- Participants should refrain from conduct, words, music or behaviour which could reasonably be perceived as intentionally sectarian, provocative, threatening, abusive, insulting or lewd.
- Marching should be dignified.
The following is a Republican parade in Dungiven which shows the band playing outside a Protestant Church. Paramilitary Regalia is on show, but most disturbingly there are guns on the streets with the sickening site of children holding these weapons of hate.
It cannot be verified if these guns are real or replica’s, however, the law doesn’t differentiate when someone attempts to rob a bank with a fake weapon to a real one, so surely the police should be making effort to find out if these weapons are real or not?
Here you will see Republican Flute Bands stopping outside an Orange Hall.
You can actually see the Marshall stopping the bands to play outside it.
These bands are walking about the streets of Northern Ireland whilst the Police and Parades Commission Monitors watch.
Below are some Republican Band Uniforms and Drum Skins which are not only a complete breach of Parades Commission guidelines but are illegal.
As is evident, IRA terrorist regalia plays a huge part in Republican Bands
And as you can see – NO RESTRICTIONS!
***** Uniforms *****
It’s clear the terror look is in fashion in Republican circles, with several bands opting for replica uniforms of illegal organisations such as the PIRA and the INLA It is also common for their colour parties to wear balaclavas whilst on parade – whether it’s covering their faces or relaxed around the neck (pictures of both are included below).
All this despite a law in place to stop anyone wearing paramilitary-styled clothing whilst on parade throughout the United Kingdom.
Below is a video to accompany some of the pictures above.
Astonishingly illegal banners & drumskins are on show and, again, there are even armed gunmen walking about!
***** Drums. *****
The Parades Commission clearly states that, “Each band must clearly display its name. No musical instrument will bear any inscription or mark of a proscribed organisation”. Well, how do Republican bands continue to freely march with the following?
***** Banners *****
The parade commission states, “Flags and other displays often have a legitimate historical significance, but in no circumstances should such items relating to a proscribed organisation be displayed.” Again, it’s clear to see pro-terror banners at various Republican parades. Anything said?
Masked men and various firearms hardly celebrates a historical event – it’s what the electorate would call pro-IRA banners glorifying an illegal organisation!
***** Firearms *****
The following needs little explanation – youngsters shown the way of the gun from an early age:
Below is a video of one of the IRA commemorations that Northern Ireland’s Republican Politicians attend on a regular basis with NO interest shown by the media. It shows IRA Brigades laying wreaths whilst Ministers of Parliament look on paying their respects in agreement.
Also in the Video, making statements, are Sinn Fein’s Rosie McCorley MLA, Councillor Caoimhin Mac Giolla Mhin, Jennifer Mcann MLA, Paul Maskey MP.
The Colour Party is named after IRA murderer Mairead Farrel.
Imagine the uproar if Unionist Politicians attended a UFF or UVF commemoration?
This video of an IRA commemoration and parade shows Sinn Fein Councillor Gerard O’Neill and Raymond McCartney MLA.
Again, what would be the media outcry if Unionist Politicians attended UFF or UVF commemorative parades?
There are hundreds of similar videos to these which can easily be found on the internet if journalists cared to look.
Not only do Republican MPs and MLA’s etc commemorate and glorify IRA and INLA terrorists with impunity, the biggest sporting organisation in Ireland does too; The G.A.A. regularly host IRA/INLA bands.
Incredulously, they also have Teams, Clubs, Stadia & Trophies named after IRA and INLA terrorists!
Their “sporting” grounds regularly host sectarian Republican bands which are more often than not attended by Sinn Fein MPs and MLA’s.
This website http://ranger1640.blogspot.com/2006/09/gaa-and-their-sectarianism-and.html has plenty information on G.A.A and its sectarianism. It’s a real eye-opener and worth a visit.
Below are examples of what GAA clubs are all about:
The GAA hurling club in Dungiven, Co Londonderry, is named after INLA member and former player Lynch.
He was the seventh of the 10 hunger strikers to die in 1981, after being sentenced to 10 years for stealing shotguns and conspiring to disarm the security forces. Lynch was captain of the 1972 All-Ireland-winning under-16 Derry team.
An under-12s football contest is played at Cardinal O’Donnell Park, west Belfast, in honour of the IRA veteran who died in 2004.
Cahill joined the IRA aged 18 and was convicted for his part in killing Catholic cop and dad-of-ten, Patrick Murphy, in 1942. He also was a key figure in founding the Provisional IRA in 1969.
The Cumann na Fuiseoige GAA club honours IRA hunger striker Sands, who grew up near its base in Twinbrook, west Belfast.
The club’s badge shows a lark, barb wire and a capital ‘H’ representing the H-block in the Maze prison where Sands — who was convicted of arms offences — was the first IRA hunger striker to die.
There is also a Bobby Sands Memorial soccer cup contest, held during the Feile an Phobail festival in west Belfast.
A girls’ camogie championship played in Tullysaran, Co Armagh, was named after IRA woman Farrell.
She spent 10 years in jail for bombing the Conway Hotel, Dunmurry, and was killed by the SAS in Gibraltar with fellow IRA members Sean Savage and Daniel McCann in 1988 with whom she allegedly planned to bomb an Army band.
A commemorative Martin Hurson Memorial cup final is played every year at Galbally Pearses Football Field near Dungannon in Co Tyrone.
The fifth of the H-block hunger strikers to die, Hurson was arrested in 1976 and quizzed over the attempted murder of UDR soldiers in a bomb attack.
The charge was dropped but he was convicted in relation to several other charges.
The first member of the IRA in south Armagh to be killed in the Troubles, McVerry was shot by soldiers in 1973 after placing a 100lb bomb at Keady RUC station, helped by five men who fought a running battle with cops after the device exploded.
The Michael McVerry cup is played for in Cullyhanna, Co Armagh, each year.
Gerard and Martin Harte
These East Tyrone IRA brothers were killed in a carefully-planned SAS ambush at Drumnakilly in 1988. Many branded it revenge for the Ballygawley bus attack 10 days earlier, which killed eight soldiers and injured 27 others.
Played at Loughmacrory, the Gerard and Martin Harte Memorial cup is now one of Tyrone’s foremost under-12 Gaelic football tournaments.
Louis Leonard Memorial Park
The ground in Donagh, Fermanagh, was named after IRA man Louis, who was killed by loyalists in 1972 while working late in his shop in the village of Derrylin.
The Paddy Kelly cup was played in Dungannon, Co Tyrone as part of commemorations for the IRA Loughgall “martyrs”. A heavily-armed IRA unit including Kelly and O’Callaghan was trying to blow up a part-time police station in Loughgall, Co Tyrone, with a 200lb bomb when they were gunned down by the SAS.
The home ground of the St Teresa’s GAA club in west Belfast is named after hunger strikers and former players Joe McDonnell and Kieran Doherty.
McDonnell had been arrested in 1976 with Bobby Sands following a bomb attack on a furniture store in Dunmurry and Doherty was convicted for possession of firearms, explosives and hijacking.
Jim Lochrie and Sean Campbell
Lochrie/Campbell GAA Park in Dromintee, south Armagh is named after IRA members Jim Lochrie and Sean Campbell who were killed when a land mine exploded prematurely at Kelly’s Road, Killeen in
A number of questions need to be asked about the activities of Republicans and the Parades Commission, whilst our culture and our Bands, Lodges, ABOD Clubs, Preceptories and Protestantism in general is run into the ground.
1. Why did the Parades Commission allow a dissident Republican Parade at Ardoyne shopfronts on the 12th July 2012 against the wishes of Loyalists, Sinn Fein, PSNI and Nationalist residents?
2. Why do Loyalist bands and Loyal Orders get restrictions placed on them because of violence perpetrated by Republicans?
3. Why did the Parades Commission place a Republican Protest right outside a Catholic Church against the wishes of Carrickhill Residents Group who had 3 other protest points rejected?
4. Why do Republican politicians go unchallenged when attending IRA/INLA parades and commemorations, while most agree that if a Unionist Politician attended a UFF or UVF commemoration they would be slaughtered by the media and Republican propagandists?
5. Why is a sporting organisation in Northern Ireland allowed to host IRA/INLA events, name Teams, Stadia, Trophies etc after IRA/INLA terrorists and welcome IRA/INLA bands, whilst if it was football or any other sport naming things after UFF/UVF, they would be breaking Anti-Terror Laws?
Could you imagine the furore if Linfield or Windsor Park hosted an event commemorating The Shankill Butchers, Billy Wright or UFF/UVF etc?
Questions also need asked of the Roman Catholic Church and Sinn Fein.
1. Does the Roman Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor or his trustees give his or their permission for the use of Miltown cemetery for terrorist veneration and political rallies? And with that permission does Noel Treanor or the trustees approve and condone the use of Roman Catholic Church property for acts of sectarian paramilitary displays, terrorist glorification, terrorist memorials and political speeches?
2. Is Roman Catholic Church property the correct and a fitting place for memorials to IRA/INLA and other Irish republican terrorists, memorials that glorify the murderous acts of sectarian Irish Republican terrorist killers?
3. Does the Roman Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor condone the use of Miltown cemetery as a fitting place for political parties namely Sinn Fein and other Irish republican para-political groupings that are aligned to Irish republican terrorist organizations to hold political rallies?
4. And does Sinn Fein feel this is an appropriate use of Roman Catholic Church property?
5. And do Sinn Fein consider their actions in Miltown as non-offensive, and do they not think the Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist community view these sectarian paramilitary and glorification displays on Roman Catholic Church property offensive?
6. And any and all other Roman Catholic Church property that is similarly used for the glorification of sectarian Irish republican terrorist killers throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland?
Miltown cemetery on the Falls Road which is owned and administrated by the Roman Catholic dioceses of Down and Connor.
We would further ask the Roman Catholic Bishop of Derry to confirm if he approves and condones the use of Roman Catholic Church property for Irish republican bands, to practice in? In particular Irish republican bands named after Irish republican sectarian murdering terrorists. The republican band in this instance is the Kevin Lynch memorial flute band, named in honour of an INLA terrorist. His terrorist group were responsible for the Darkly massacre where they burst into a small isolated Protestant Mission Hall while the congregation of defenceless men, women and children were singing hymns. Three of the congregation were killed and seven injured.
This INLA branded republican band uses St. Canice’s Church Hall, Dungiven. Again we must ask is this an appropriate venue for the INLA terrorist supporting republican band to practice their sectarian, anti-Unionist, Protestant, Loyalist music, and does the Roman Catholic Church consider this a non-offensive use of Roman Catholic Church buildings?
Here is a sectarian if not illegal part of the INLA Kevin Lynch band’s website. It asks the visitor which Irish republican paramilitary grouping would you join?The IRA, INLA, CIRA or the RIRA? All of these terrorist organisations have perpetrated many sectarian murders of Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist men, women and children.
If the Roman Catholic Church is consistent in their condemnation and revulsion at all displays of sectarianism then surely the Roman Catholic authorities must act with immediate effect to remove any and all displays and stop the use of their property for sectarian purposes? These must include all Irish republican parades be they paramilitary or political that assemble at any Roman Catholic church property.
We have seen Roman Catholic Church property used on many occasions as the assembly or finishing point for republican marchers. Men and women in paramilitary style uniforms, some with their faces covered and wearing dark glasses (in effect hiding their identity) and others who carry weapons of murder.
Has the Roman Catholic Church ever considered that the Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist community would find these paramilitary terrorist displays and activities on Roman Catholic Church property sectarian and offensive? The same offence they allegedly took at a band playing allegedly offensive tunes outside one of their closed and empty churches?
Offence is not a one-way street – it is not the exclusive preserve of Roman Catholic’s, Republicans or Nationalists.
In the video below members of the Republican Sinn Fein grouping can be seen marching around Dublin in full view of the Irish police the Garda, in paramilitary uniforms and with masks and dark classes, in an attempt to hide their identities.
The intention of this article is to primarily highlight problems with the Parades Commission and the incessant erosion of Loyalist/Unionist culture in Ulster and on the mainland, whilst Republicans use black propaganda at every opportunity in attempt at removing every trace of loyalism and unionism from these shores. It also alerts the reader to the hypocritical stance of the Roman Catholic Church which happily allows the glorification of Irish terrorist murder groups
Make no mistake, dissident Republican support is rising at an alarming fashion, especially within militant Republican areas such as Ardoyne, New Lodge, Short Strand, Lurgan, Londonderry etc…..
It is our culture that is the main target of these so called dissidents – recent events have confirmed that in no uncertain terms……and even more worryingly, clear evidence points to the Northern Ireland Parades Commission being only too eager to help them on their way!
As well as an increase in support for dissidents in Northern Ireland, there has also been a sinister rise in Irish terrorist parades in Scotland, with campaigns by Celtiic FC fan group the Green Brigade and Friends of Ireland (Cairde Na Heireann) at the forefront of the many parades and events that are occuring almost on a weekly basis.
These bands, parades and events are allowed to continue almost unchallenged by local authorities who are mostly afraid of the “Irish Racism” card being brandished, yet law-abiding Protestant and Loyalist parades are being scrutinised at every opportunity with some on occasion being denied their right to walk the Queens’s Highway by agenda-driven national and local authoritarians.
Republican groups carrying the names of mass murderers, who brought nothing but terror to our land have no place in the United Kingdom 2012. The glorification of the IRA continues via the Republican bands, as does their armed campaign. We name them below.
***** The Scottish Band Scene *****
(i) West of Scotland Band Alliance (Dissidents)
• Erin Go Bragh Independent Flute Band, Hamilton.
• Parkhead Republican Flute Band.
(ii) Cairde na hÉireann (Provisionals)
• Vol. Martin “Doco” Doherty Republican Flute Band, Govan.
Note, Martin Docherty was a member in Dublin’s Provisional IRA Brigade.
• Vol. Sean “Maxi” McIlvenna Republican Flute Band, Calton.
Note: Sean McIlvenna was a member of the 2nd Battalion, North Armagh Brigade of the Provisional IRA.
• Vol. Billy Reid Republican Flute Band, Parkhead.
Note, Billy Reid was a Staff Officer in C Company, Third Battalion of the Belfast Brigade of the Provisional IRA.
• Coatbridge Republican Flute Band.
• James Connolly 1st Republican Flute Band, Garngad.
• Plains Republican Flute Band.
• Garngad Republican Flute Band.
In addition to their bands they also have the following political divisions;
• Central Scotland
• West Dumbarton
• Pollok and Thornliebank Republican Flute Band.
• Kevin Barry Republican Flute Band, Calton.
Note, Kevin Barry was a member in Dublins C Company 1st Battalion IRA.
• Oglaigh Patricia Black & Frankie Ryan Memorial Flute Band, Glasgow.
Note, both were members of the of the Provisional IRA Belfast Brigade.
• Vol. Brendan Hughes Republican Flute Band, Craigneuk.
Note, Brendan Hughes was the Officer Commanding of the Belfast Brigade of the Provisional IRA.
***** The Ulster Band Scene *****
• Phoenix 1916 Republican Flute Band.
• Henry Joy McCracken Republican Flute Band, Belfast.
• Bobby Sands Memorial Republican Flute Band, Enniskillen.
Note, Robert Sands was a member of the Provisional IRA.
• Pride of Erieann Republican Flute Band, Portadown.
• James Connolly Republican Flute Band, Carnlough.
• Eire Nua Republican Flute Band, West Belfast.
• Dan Darragh Republican Flute Band, Ballycastle.
• Kevin Lynch Memorial Flute Band, Dungiven.
Note, Kevin Lynch was a member of the Irish National Liberation Army.
• Sons of Ireland Republican Flute Band, Rasharkin.
• Young Irelanders Republican Flute Band, Newry.
• Jim O’Neill and Robert Allsopp Memorial Flute Band, North Belfast.
Note, both men were members of the IRA.
• South Derry Martyrs Republican Flute Band, Maghera.
• North Armagh Martyrs Republican Flute Band, Lurgan.
• Burns and Moley Memorial Flute Band, Crossmaglen.
Note, both Brendan Moley and Brendan Burns were members of the South Armagh Provisional IRA.
• Banna Fliuit Naomh Padraig Republican Flute Band, Kilkeel.
• Joe McDonnell Memorial Flute Band.
Note, Joe McDonnell was a member of the Provisional IRA.
• Spirit Of Freedom Republican Flute Band, Derry City.
• Belfast Martyrs Republican Flute Band.
• St Patricks Accordian Youth Band, Cullyhanna.
• Dunloy Fallen Comrades Republican Flute Band.
• Carrick-On-Suir Republican Flute Band.
• Strabane Memorial Flute Band.
***** English Band Scene *****
• Liverpool Irish Patriots Republican Flute Band.
• James Larkin Republican Flute Band, Liverpool
The information in this article has been collated in response to the constant battering taken by the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist community throughout the United Kingdom whilst on parade. Many are quick to stick the boot in to us Unionist/Loyalists; be it by the Parades Commission, Police, MP’s, MSP’s, Governing bodies and local residents – we’ve been victimised by them all.
By highlighting the blatant double standards throughout the United Kingdom – especially as it affects a loyal community parading on its Queen’s Highway – it exposes the leniency towards the Republican community as they continue to glorify terror on our streets, and the hard-line stance taken against law-abiding, Union-friendly Protestants.
There are numerous photographs above, broken into different categories of glorification. Most are recent, some are a couple of years old. The video footage was taken by PUL community in the last two years, and was added as proof that this year’s trouble was not a one-off incident: it’s occurring, day afer day, month after month, year after year. In all sub-sections we have included bands from both Ulster and mainland Britain to emphasise that the Republican community have the same mindset regardless of their geographic location.
The time has long past to put a stop to those who continually break the law of the land. It’s time for the police to do their job efficiently, without targeting one community in favour of another. It’s time for politicians to stand up to these criminals. It’s time for the same politicians to give answers to our questions.
Be clear though, we do not seek special treatment – we demand equality!
With thanks to Hilti and Ross…..
Vanguard Bears – Defending OUR Traditions!
This article first appeared in September 2012 on www.vanguardbears.co.uk