NORTHERN IRELAND’S Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has labelled the Orange Order a ‘disgrace’ as violence continues following the annual July 12celebrations, which saw some 550 parades take place across the North.
The politician has laid the blame firmly at the door of the organisation for provoking the disturbances, tweeting the day after the parades: “Responsibility for tonight’s violent attacks on police and the community rests with the leadership of the Orange Order, they are a disgrace.”
He made the statement after British MP Nigel Dodds was hurt in his North Belfast constituency on Friday night, and police maintained they were attacked by youths with ceremonial swords. Dodds needed hospital treatment after he was struck on the head with a missile hurled at police lines by a loyalist rioter.
Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson made an appeal for calm, adding that violence is “undermining a just cause and runs totally against the wishes of the Orange Order for protest to be entirely peaceful”, one which has since been reiterated by politicians and police chiefs and senior members of the Orange Order.
A police officer was injured in Belfast on Sunday – the fortieth since the trouble began- in what was the third night of rioting, despite warnings that anyone involved would face the courts in a matter of hours. It happened as loyalists and Orangemen protested a decision to ban a section of its commemorative walk, near a set of nationalist-owned shops in the Ardoyne area.
On the same day, Belfast Magistrates’ Court held a special sitting to deal with anyone arrested during the troubles. Police said after they review video footage they expected the number taken into custody to be far higher than the current 35.
Belfast-based journalist Tina Calder, 34, told the Irish World: “I grew up in a Protestant background and I’m very proud of Northern Ireland – I love this place I call home. However, after watching a 7 minute cut together video of so-called “Protestants” rioting I have never been so ashamed, disgraced and horrified. These people are dragging the name of our city through the mud and telling the world we are nothing but barbarians and violent scum.
“I think I speak for the majority of people in Northern Ireland when I say these people do not behave or act on my behalf, they do not act on behalf of the good people in my family and they by no means show the people of Northern Ireland for who we really are. It’s about time people, both Protestant and Catholic, stood up and told these people that this type of behaviour is unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, the clean-up operation continues in areas where towering bonfire stacks were set ablaze on the night of July 11. One of these, the so-called ‘Ballyduff ‘Beast’ in a Newtownabbey housing estate stood at 66-feet high, and was so big and close to houses that on July 5 it was moved to another location as it was deemed a safety risk.
The loyalist celebrations commemorate the Battle of the Boyne, which saw the Catholic King James defeated by King William of Orange in 1690.