(Fun photo from The Sunday News, Belfast c 1994)

Yesterday the County Antrim Orangemen held their annual March in my home town of Larne.

Several times recently people have talked to me about turning THE TWELFTH into a cultural and family friendly event.

But for people like myself there are a number of problems about that. And I am by no means a traditional Republican or Nationalist. Nor indeed am I a Unionist.

First of all I dont like the overuse of the Union Jack. It is certainly the national flag of the UK and Northern Ireland is, politically part of the UK.

But even tourists from the rest of the UK are shocked by its overuse here. There is no need to have it on every lamppost. And many Unionists take pleasure in placing that flag outside Catholic churches, schools and homes. They do this to rub Catholics noses in red, white and blue. This is blatant intimidation.

Secondly, as far as I know the Orange Order rule book has not changed when it comes to going into Catholic churches or attending Mass.

When I first came to Larne I celebrated the funeral of the Deputy Mayor, a Catholic who had served Larne for decades. The Unionist mayor, councillors and council staff stood across the road during the funeral ceremony.

We also have regular incidents of March followers urinating against Catholuc churches or draining paint on them or causing damage.

In retaliation for this a small number of “Republicans” damage Orange halls. This is equally as wrong as what the Orange men do.

The only way to turn THE TWELFTH into a cultural and family event is for the orange Order to use flags differently and to rid itself of its anti Catholic beliefs, practices and rhetoric.

Can I see that happening any time soon?


I can see some readers rushing to call me anti Catholic 😊

I am a catholic. I’m not anti myself and my own beliefs.

But I am anti the corrupt Roman Catholis institution

And, in fact, that institution itself has given, and still gives, Orangemen and others, plenty of ammunition to use against it.

42 replies on “ORANGE ORDER AND 12 TH JULY”

I wish we could see ourselves as fellow Northern Irelanders, of whatever hue.


The 12th I think is like a traffic light. Ya stop at red caus that is what ya do hi. Like the 17th of March much of the religious content is part of history. Shure wouldn’t some of these politically correct types be afraid to mention Jesus in case they offended any wan Hi. There is more hassle between the cat licks and the prod Istans in Ireland than between the yanks and commies in thauld days. Laugh is all Christians are in the same league like city and united. Sure it’s all part of the bigger game. Keep the 12th and the 17th but at this stage leave the crap behind but.


I thought this comment would be off topic but actually I find it is on the topic. I have just read the comments yesterday and wanted to say that this blog serves a valuable purpose because it brings the way people talk in private out into the open. This blog is probably the only place on the Internet where you can see Catholics’ attitudes and behaviour relatively unfiltered, and that is an important way of revealing the truth. I will make no bones about my own position, which is that the Catholic church is rotten to the core, and while other bodies may be the same, I don’t have a beef with them because I haven’t been abused by, say, a Methodist minister.
This blog also accurately shows the response of church people – for example my comments above may elicit a many responses but the common theme will always be that I should I should forgive etc, and the actual effect would be to let the church off the hook.
This blog also accurately shows the coping mechanisms that people use – denial and defensiveness is the most common. I am interested in one or more clerics who have the attitude that they can’t do anything about it so just focus on working on their parish – which is exactly the way to ensure corruption and abuse continue!
Your Internet ministry is very valuable Pat, in exposing all sorts of bad behaviour which is common behind presbytery doors. I still think it would be a good idea to publish a censored selection of the abusive mail you get because… The truth may be revolting!


Thank you. I will think about publishing a selection of the abuse and filth I get from good Catholics and good Catholic priests.


There is some interesting movement on the whole NI thing, particularly given the Brexit troubles.

1. The DUP have behaved outrageously during the whole process. Remember NI as a whole voted to stay in the EU. But the DUP has blatantly used the situation for its own ends, blackmailing the UK Govt for its support. Over in the UK, people notice this, and resent it, the fact that a small offshoot group with dubious history and credentials predicated on a rather odd understanding of who they are, are able to exercise such influence. They will not forgive it. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and when the time comes the DUP will find themselves shafted. And nobody will shed a tear for them.

2. In addition to 1., and in part because of it, people in the UK increasingly find themselves disbelieving the cries of the DUP and other unionist crowds that they are British. People don’t think of them as British, they don’t sound like the British, they don’t behave like the British, they are bigoted and partisan and sectarian. At best they are Northern Irish, but most think of them as simply Irish. Given the debates about the break up of the current Union, with a distinct possibility that Scotland could vote for independence, it is not without possibility that NI could be cast off too, either to an independent status, or unified with the Irish Republic. That would be poetic justice for the DUP et al, although I suspect the Irish Republic would not want them, so troublesome are they.

3. The UK has enough problems on its plate without the DUP and co making things even more difficult, and patience is beginning to wear thin. So, it is very possible that the British will get fed up with NI and try to find ways of dispossessing itself of any responsibility and letting NI sink or swim. Then we would not have to listen to the agriculture bovine face of Arlene or be lectured to by the wagging finger of Sammy.

4. All of this would mean the Ian Jnr could spend more time sporting his budgie smugglers on Indian Ocean islands. At someone else’s expense.



Don’t be disingenuous. The UK voted on Brexit as a political and sovereign whole, NOT through its constituent parts.

You know this very well.

So please stop peddling the silly lie that Northern Ireland voted on its own terms.

The DUP is correct, politically and morally, to use the situation to benefit Northern Ireland’s place within the UK: it has every right to do so under the Belfast Agreement, the political foundation of the peace we all now enjoy.


I am a “better-together” kind of Scot, Bp Pat, and I always like to see both flags, Union Jack and Saltire, flying side by side. They still do on buildings in Edinburgh, e.g., art galleries, museums, banks, hotels etc., but less so since the SNP took over. I hope all four countries stay together after Brexit.


Better and stronger on our own as friends and equal partners. Staying together is for the benefit of England and the Tories. Disgusting vile partnership.


After what? Brexit?? So it is important that England leaves Europe because it is important to her but Scotland, Ireland or Wales cant leave the English dominated UK because we are better together! You see any contradiction? I suppose English views and aspirations to self-determination are much more important – better together! MAkes one feel good at Proms in the Park!!


It’s important that all sections of this divided community are allowed to celebrate their culture but with caveats
1. It should be lawful
2. It should not be designed or carried out in a way to cause offence to others
The whole issue of bonfires irritates the life out of me (regardless of which “side” is organising them). Public space is ruined by the burning of materials and then we the taxpayers have to pay to get the areas cleaned up. Sandy Row and Shaftesbury square looked like dumps yesterday after this “cultural” event. If communities want to celebrate their culture in such a way they should have to clean up themselves. My own view is that the orange order is an antiquated organisation out of touch with reality. It attracts too many hangers on who see it as a way of displaying hatred. Pageantry it certainly is but at what cost?


The Union Flag is the flag for this part if Ireland? Really? Wow! Says who? Stay in Larne, you fit in – in every way! I could see you dragging your knuckles with the rest, waving your wee fleg, then round to the docs for your prescriptions (very ill of course). Ruth D Edwards says she likes you very much.


I am not a Unionist. But for nearly 100 years N Ireland has been in the UK. That’s the position in international law. We knew they occupied us for 800 years and took the North to pacify the Unionists. A peaceful solution needs the consent of a majority in the North.


This statelet was set up under the threat of violence contrary to the democratic wishes of the people of Ireland. It was maintained under the threat of violence with the orange order pulling the strings. It’s ironic how they are selective in their interpretation of democracy. First of all they refused to accept the democratic wishes of the population and pressed for their own statelet which was given to them. Then they oppose the democratic wishes of those in the statelet when a majority voted against Brexit. The Orange Order is NOT a religious organisation. It is a bigoted intransigent outfit which harkens back to bygone days of yore. The orange order is a dying institution. Sooner it faces reality the better for all of us



The Northern Ireland state was set up ‘under the threat of violence’? So what? Is your knowledge of history here really so ideologically skewed? Do you think that the Irish Free State (later ‘the Republic of Ireland’) was established under different, entirely benign circumstances? What of the Irish so-called ‘War of Independence’ (1919-1921) , with its bitter, and increasingly ruthless, violence on either side? This ‘war’ resulted in the partition of Ireland in 1922, from which emerged the Irish Free Sate, and its counterpart, Northern Ireland. To suggest that that the threat or use of violence in Northern Ireland’s foundation somehow renders it politically null and void is utterly preposterous, and clearly goes against the grain of history here, since the use of violence was a seminal factor on either side. (And it continued long after Partition, with loyalist and republican guerrilla-style fighting.)

And if (to use your simplistic yardstick), the remainers of their time (Ulster unionists) sought to preserve the integrity of the United Kingdom against the wishes of most people in Ireland, they clearly failed to do so, since twenty-six counties of it were, through negotiation with the British Governnent, able to break away and form their own state with limited autonomy under the Crown. There was no practical, never mind moral, alternative to the establishment of the Northern Ireland state in these highly volatile circumstances. You speak with incredible naivety (born of equally incredible, self-blinding fanaticism), as if everyone on the island of Ireland at the time had a single and common concept of Irish nationhood, underlying and uniting ALL political ideologies on the island. Absolute nonsense! To speak in these terms is highly premature for the time, and downright wrong: it is like describing, before the unifying influnce of King Alfred, the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Danes in Britain as an actual and identifiable nation.

Don’t be naive. Nationhood isn’t determined and defined by shared living space: it’s marginally more sophisticated than that.

The only realistic solution in Ireland in 1922 was to separate, politically and territorially, two implaccably divided peoples, who, by any reasonable academic yardstick, were most emphatically not a self-divided nation, anymore than were the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Danes before Alfred.

As I’ve already schooled another poster today (perhaps you, given the degree of ignorance expressed in both comments), Northern Ireland voted on Brexit as part of the United Kingdom, not as an independent state. And the result of the vote was clear: the majority of British subjects expressed their democrtaically exercised wish to leave the European Union.

The fact that you clearly hate this outcome is neither here nor there.



I see that Leo Varadkar is predicting decades of economic decline for the UK post Brexit.


Your at your best here Magna. An excellent analysis:…..despite my regretting the outcome. But I’m obliged to accept the realities.
Another comment today rubbished anything/everything you say. Not so. Despite your “warts and all “, +Pat does right to continue allowing “those with eyes to see” to learn from your comments.


Not a criticism or an argument more a question but the fact that the bitterness and the need to identify to your belief and side is so strong between the nationalists and unionists comes from the troubles that started in the 60s and less connected to the Easter uprising Irish war of indipendance


The Unionists, particularly the DUP, and the Republicans, particularly SF, need to get their fingers out and get the Assembly back up and running. If they do not, we have seen that the UK Parliament will step in and take decisions for them, as we saw last week with the votes on abortion and same sex marriage provision in NI. It is an irony that in spite of the protestation of the DUP and other Protestant hardliners in NI that they are British, they refuse to give to their own people the same rights and protections in law that are in place in the rest of the UK. It’s definitely a case of having one’s cake and eating it for these people, being able to pick and choose according to their prejudices (most of which are unseemly, bigoted, evangelical, rightwing) and ensuring that other parts of the community are deprived of fundamental basic human rights, like for example the right to have some control over their reproductive rights or relationship rights. I do not argue for wholesale abortion, by any means, but in a democratic and multi-faceted community it is important that there is some reasonable and sensible provision for people who might in certain difficult circumstances require access to the possibility of termination. We have seen in Ireland that the majority of people understand this, and voted for a change in the Republic’s law on abortion, although I do think the Govt there then went beyond their brief and gave rather too liberal access to abortion. NI does not present itself as a forward looking, liberal, fair and just society, but rather as a bigoted, restricted, and sectarian society, in which the moral and political extremists like the DUP are able to inflict their rather warped world view on everybody else. That is not democracy, and it is not being British (which they insist they are – yeah ?!). They seem more like the far right people we see in Hungary at present. Oh well, I suppose give it a few more decades and the Catholics will have outbred them and the votes will turn the other way. We can only go on hoping.


Yes Anon @ 10 :53, you make many valid points. But outnumbering will not resolve the core problem of the insular, bigoted, belligerent Norn Ire hard liners, nor alter the stance of politicians of the ilk of Sammy, Gregory or Wee Ian.
Demographic change indicates the inevitability of an eventual majority for nationalist/republican minded N Ire voters. But imposition of unity by a simple majority referendum will bring about strife unless and until sufficient efforts have been made to peacefully win over the Unionist hard liners. And that’s where Sinn Fein in particular need to focus. The ROI politicians too need likewise.
Nevertheless I am optimistic that the dying off of the current crop of politicians sees them replaced by a more broadminded liberally educated and competent breed less reliant on sabre rattling rhetoric.


He is at The Oratory every Sunday and ministers to the disabled, to cancer suffers and works with a street ministry in Belfast at the weekends. Paul is a very good, quiet man who gets on with his life and mi history.


My ! Well, there are a number of racist, discriminatory, prejudicial, and offensive remarks in that comment ! The P word. The V word. Anonymous of 2:20 needs to go back to civilization and courtesy school. If that is the cesspit of his mind, outlook and understanding, then I think I would prefer the Ps to be living next door to me, as well as the boys with Vaseline, rather than some prejudiced, racist ignoramus like 2:20 pm. By the way, without trying too hard 2:20 pm’s comment could be considered contrary to the law in Ireland, NI and the UK.


No freedom of speech anymore, not unlike the days in Ireland when it was taboo to criticise the RC Church, study the groups in society you aren’t allowed to criticise and you will learn something instead of trying to crush free speech and free expression.


Freedom of speech comes with the responsibility to exercise respect and to observe the law of the land, which does not allow for hate filled, racist language. Put quite simply, it is against the law. And if somebody wants to live in our society then they have an obligation to respect the law, otherwise the law with take action against them. There is no freedom of speech to just say what you want if it involves disrespecting, abusing, and racially targeting people. Simple fact !


2.20: What a screwed up mind you have. Get a brain first of all, then go to school for knowledge and common sense. This is a contemptible comment: racist, bigoted, ignorant. Would be interesting to know what the PSNI think of it. Pat might express his view on this unacceptable comment.


No mention of homelessness just label a commenter and get someone to call the police for a book burning session. Do you want to bring back the index of forbidden books ?


Magna. I suspected that you would post this drivel. Au contraire I am not politically
Naive . You are quite correct in relation to the Brexit vote. However, and you have missed this point, Unionists did not accept the democratic will of the majority of the people in Ireland in 1918. A bit hypocritical don’t you think?Perhaps it is you who need to be schooled on facts instead of your own thoughts and ideas. The state known as Northern Ireland WAS set up under threat of violence and maintained under threat of violence. Do You call me a fanatic? If you do you are deluded. I am not a fanatic in any shape or form nor do I condone violence regardless of which faction carries or threatens to carry it out


It would save time and energy in needless reschooling of posters if only they would learn to pay attention in the first place.
Your perspective on this is premised on the assumption that the people in Ireland of that time were united in any meaningful sense of the word, a unity that would have been an indisputable prerequisite for successful home rule rather than a war even more bloody and ruthless than the civil war in the Irish Free State that followed Partition. Such a fundamental, even revolutionary, change in Ireland’s political landscape required more, much more, than the naive and simplistic cry: It was the will of the people!
The nonsense that Ireland was a nation, then and before, is part of the pantheon of Irish republican/nationalist mythology (otherwise known as utter and collective self-delusion) that provided the sham moral and political rationale of the demand for home rule. It made as much sense then as it does now, in other words, ‘absolutely none’, because it was historically and objectively untrue.
Unionists back then did not accept the will of the people (since there was no such thing as a people, ‘a nation’, in other words), but of people who were republicans/nationalists. And, oddly enough, unionists did not accept THEIR democratically expressed political preference…anymore than these accepted unionists’.
Here’s a historical clue: before there can be national self-determination, there must first be a recognisable nation that can determine anything. And this absolute requirement wasn’t present in Ireland at the time; moreover, it still isn’t.
Irish republicans/nationalists have been so fixated historically on land (territory) that they’ve forgotten (if ever they knew in the first place) that independence and unity is ultimately, primarily, and almost exclusively about people.
Will you ever, truly, learn?


I have a house. I invited 4 guests in 3 hours ago and now I’m getting a bit fed up with the behaviour of one of them who has obviously had way too much to drink, is behaving obnoxiously and is wanting a fight with the neighbours next door. The other 3 at the party clearly want rid of the troublesome guest but he’s refusing to leave, telling us that he’s our best friend forever while guzzling my most expensive whiskey and eating the choice tidbits. What should I do Pat?


9.18: What should you do?….Simple: put your head in a bucket of water for an hour or so….you imbecilic fool. Get lost – forever!


12:13 demonstrates his or her inability to think or understand metaphor. A rather sad indictment of the general levels of education today and dumbing down of standards I guess.


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