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Human Rights in Ireland >>
Orangeism - making triumphalist sectarianism respectable
rights, freedoms and repression |
Monday February 27, 2006 12:08 by James Reilly
Protest should be peaceful - and therefore effective
Information on the sectarian motives and background of the Orange Order and of supporters of Willie Frazer's FAIR needs to be put into the public domain. The character of last Saturday's violent protest against the Orange march makes that task more difficult. However, the criticism must be pursued in the interests of real tolerance and pluralism. It shoud be done openly and peacefully, and therefore effectively.
[In relation the (London) Independent picture caption:
The five nationalists were massacred in Grahams bookies shop on the Ormeau Road – it is one reason why the community rose up and determined that the Orange Order would not march down the Ormeau Road again, without the Orange order first meeting the residents of that road. The Orange order have refused consistently to meet them, as they have also consistently refused to meet the spokespersons of the Garvaghy Road residents in Portadown.]
From The Independent 11 July 1997. Caption: “Triumphalism: Ormeau Road 1992, an Orangeman holds up five fingers as a parade passes a spot where five Catholics were shot dead by loyalist terrorists.”
A main organiser of Saturday's 'Love Ulster', march was Willie Frazer who runs Families Acting for Innocent Victims (FAIR).
One of those Frazer and FAIR claim as a victim is Robert McConnell of the UDR (a regiment of the British Army) and the UVF (a unionist paramilitary organisations) who was involved in the killing of the Catholic Reavey brothers the day prior to the Kingsmill Massacre of 10 Protestants in 1975. McConnell had a long sectarian history outlined below.
Frazer's web site includes reference to a speech made by Ian Paisley in which Paisley said under parliamentary privilege that Eugene Reavey, another brother of the dead Reaveys, was responsible for the Kingsmill massacre. This is a lie that Frazer and Paisley refuse to either apologise for or to delete from their sites.
In the Belfast Telegraph January 4 2006 it was reported
“The attack on the brothers in their home at Whitecross, Co Armagh, on January 4, 1976 and the simultaneous murder of three members of the O'Dowd family near Gilford, Co Down are believed to have led the IRA - then officially on ceasefire - to massacre 10 Protestant workmen at Kingsmills, Co Armagh the next evening.
The attacks started the second worst annual death toll in the Troubles, with another 290 people dying before 1976 was finished.
No one has been convicted for any of the three attacks.
The 24-hour spasm of violence began with the attack on the Reavey home. Two of the brothers, John and Brian, died immediately. Their 17-year-old brother Anthony died three weeks later.
A Luger pistol and a 9mm sub-machinegun used in the murders were matched by ballistic traces to a gun and bomb attack on the Rock Bar, outside Keady, which took place five months later. One man was wounded in that attack when the bomb failed to explode.
Three police officers were convicted in 1980 for the Rock Bar attack. One - who was already serving a life sentence for sectarian murder - was given a jail sentence while the other two were given suspended sentences.
A fourth policeman was convicted of withholding information and also received a suspended sentence.
The judge who passed sentence, the then Lord Chief Justice Lord Lowry, said "powerful motives" had pushed the officers, including "the feeling that more than ordinary police work was needed and justified to rid the land of the pestilence which has been in existence".
The RUC did not reveal the ballistic link between the Reavey murders and the Rock Bar attack for almost 25 years.
William McCaughey, the constable jailed for the Rock Bar attack, said it was "perfectly natural" for loyalists to be in the UVF and the RUC.”
As Susan McKay [put it in the Irish Times last Saturday:
“Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (Fair) is to hold a rally in Dublin today to draw attention to the suffering of the victims of terrorism. However, this is an organisation which has effectively branded an innocent Catholic man the mass murderer of his Protestant neighbours, causing him intense anguish and, inevitably, putting his life at risk.”
Fair and the DUP insist the war is not over and that the enemy can still be defeated. A previous effort led by Drumcree stalwarts to rally Protestants around a new Ulster covenant was launched in Ballymena in 2001 with calls from one speaker for "B52 bombers over Dublin".
Willie Frazer is a hurt man. The IRA murdered his father and four of his relations. Michelle Williamson, whose parents were killed in the Shankill bomb, expressed the intensity of this pain when she said of the surviving bomber, Seán Kelly: "You are like a disease in my bones, and the only cure is justice. To say I hate you doesn't begin to describe how I feel."
Fair, Frazer admitted to a House of Commons select committee hearing last year, is controversial. "We are seen as the bad boys within the victims sector," he said.
This is largely because of its aggressive insistence that there are "innocent" and "genuine" and "real" victims, and there are others who have no right to call themselves victims at all.
According to Fair and the DUP, Eugene Reavey is in the latter category. It is an appalling lie.”
Frazer said of the notorious unionist paramilitary and sectarian killer, Billy Wright: “I have a lot of time for Billy Wright”, because he “called a spade a spade”. Presumably Wright called a taig a Fenian and vice versa, before he shot them.
At a protest against the release of republican prisoners under the Good Friday Agreement, Willie was asked about the release of loyalist unionist prisoners. Frazier said, “They should never have been locked up in the first place”. Frazier believes that the unionist paramilitaries were a necessary part of the ‘war’ against the IRA – which included hundreds of blatantly sectarian murders.
PEACEFUL PROTEST NEEDED
I don’t support the protest that took place last Saturday - the violence was counteproductive. I do support the possibility of criticism of these sectarian Orangemen. It should be done openly and peacefully – because that is far more effective.