Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Nuala McKeever and the 'Orange band'

Earlier I posted about an article written by the actress and broadcaster Nuala McKeever in the Belfast Telegraph (16 July).  In it she described the Orange Order as 'triumphalist'.  Indeed she went further and said: 'For the Orange Order and their followers, the whole basis of their existence is triumphalism.'

In the same article she also criticised the YCV flute band and it is worth noting what she said about them:
On Facebook someone posted video he'd taken with his phone of an Orange band.  They stopped outside St Patrick's Catholic Church in Belfast and rather than marching on, proceeded to march in a circle, banging the drums and playing flutes, cheered on by the crowd.
When some of the heavies realised they were being filmed, they attacked the guy with the phone.  Respect eh?

On my previous post I dealt with the fact that the band could not 'march on' because the whole parade had halted.  Nuala McKeever also complained that they were drumming and playing flutes - well, surprise, surprise, Nuala, that is what bands do, they play musical instruments!

Therefore I am grateful to a friend for drawing to my attention an interesting insight into Nuala McKeever's article.

The video clip had been taken by J J Magee, a senior Irish republican and member of Sinn Fein.  He posted it on his Facebook page at 00.05 on 13 July and various comments were posted over the next few hours but the most interesting appeared at 9.46 am and it was from Nuala McKeever, yes the very same Nuala McKeever.  She commented: 'Have you sent this to any news media?'

Now I suspect a media-savvy member of Sinn Fein did not need much encouragement to do that but it does let us know that Nuala McKeever was less than forthcoming in her article.  She referred to the person who took the video clip as 'someone' and 'the guy' but in fact it was one of her Facebook 'friends'.  She knew his name, J J Magee, but didn't mention it and she knew he worked for Sinn Fein, but again she didn't mention it.  Ms McKeever was certainly being a little coy.


  1. Dear Mr McCausland,

    Unfortunately, it's seems to be the case that Sinn Fein are winning, year in year out, with their propaganda campaign to demonise the Orange Order (OO).

    They are blackening the name of the OO - and with good success! (sadly I personally know of some guillable and naive protestants who agree with SF's view in respect of the OO).

    Various news media outlets, be it UTV or BBC or Belfast Telegraph or whatever, all seem to be singing from the same hymnsheet as SF, giving them much coverage for their cause to see the demise of the culture of Orangism from NI.

    I think it's time that the Orange Order do some stategic thinking and take the initiative and be proactive (throughout the whole year!)with putting forward a new, positve and fresh campaign to show that the OO is not a bitter and sectarian organisation that SF (with the help of the media!!!!) are always portraying it to be. They really new some good spokespersons with Media savvy and a bit of expertise in handling criticism/being interviewed.


  2. First off i have to say I like Nuala McKeever but i think she has overstepped the mark here & should apologise. Hundreds of thousands of people line the streets for the annual 12th July parade from all walks of life. People without a sectarian or political bone in their body turn out to cheer on the bands & lodges. To them it's simply a great day out or perhaps a traditional celebration of their faith . Legendary blues guitarist Henry McCullough was spotted enjoying the 12th parade just last week, do we now call him a triumphalist bigot? I think the problem is that maybe most Catholics, & the outside world, form their views on the Orange Order from the media's coverage of the flashpoint areas and isolated incidents while not taking in the reality of the 99% of parades that pass off totally peacefully and without tension or triumphalism. Sinn Fein, as they do every year, were out in force 'observing' and filming the parades all over Northern Ireland on the 12th. Unfortunately there was one undesirable incident that got all the headlines and the much bigger picture of a fun day out enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people was totally overshadowed. In 2006 Mitchel McLaughlin practically admitted that it was a policy of Sinn Fein to destroy the confidence of the Unionist community and i believe demonising & mis-representing the Orange Order is part of that. It seems they are winning that battle judging by some of the commentators in the mainstream media. So i believe it is up to the Orange Order to strongly police their lodges and bands and instil greater discipline to try and remove any chance of an unwanted incident that we know will be exploited & mis-represented to Sinn Fein's advantage.

  3. And what might I ask has our culture minister been doing to diffuse the situation in North Belfast?
    Has he been showing leadership in encouraging the Orange Order to come off it's pedestal and talk to residents?
    Worse than doing nothing at all Mr Causland, you have inflamed the situation by actually encouraging sectarianism and hatred in excusing the incident at St Patrick's church.
    There's not much hope for this place when even the leaders can't see beyond their own trench. But can we expect a broad-minded approach from someone who thinks the world was created 6,000 years ago or that we should all be confined to our houses on Sundays?

  4. Well Clare, you really are out of touch with the facts of the situation. First of all the North & West Belfast Parades Forum, which includes the Orange Order and other loyal orders, has been talking to nationalist and republican residents, as represented by the Ardoyne Parades Dialogue Group and Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association, and has been doing so for many years. The DUP has also met with CARA. You don't seem to know that but yet you feel able to lecture people erroneously and from a position of total ignorance.
    Secondly, I love and respect the Lord's Day as God has given it to us but have never suggested that people be confined to their houses. Apart from illness I am out of my house every Sunday.

    Perhaps you will now admit that you got it wrong on both fronts, but then maybe not.

    As I said on another post, prejudice is a great time-saver; it enables you to form opinions without taking the time and trouble to find out the facts. Your problem seems to be one of prejudice.

  5. Thank you for your reply.
    I doubt very much that the Orange Order is directly involved in any sort of talks or compromise in North Belfast. Be honest about it, you believe that the OO has the right to walk wherever it likes. The National Front wouldn't be expected to get away with walking through Brixton, so the OO needs to get real about where it expects to walk. Populations do shift.
    I was exaggeraging somewhat on the Sunday issue but I would be interested to know if you would support closure still of leisure centres and shops, despite the fact that the majority of people support it. I suspect you would support making homosexuality illegal again too.
    But then it's me that's prejudiced.
    I really do find it amusing that someone who is an intolerant religious fundamentalist and a member of the OO is calling someone else prejudiced. It really is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

  6. I forgot to add. No response to my assertion that you have not helped the situation by your comments on the St Patricks incident.
    Whether or not the band deliberately stopped or whether or not the building was empty is irrelevant. This illustrates the bigotry which you appear to be condoning.
    I have seen a similar incident in East Belfast where there is a tradition on the 'mini-twelfth' every year of showing disrepect to the Catholic church in Ballyhackamore and Short Strand. I witnessed it myself where they change tunes, play louder, and many in the bands use finger signals.
    Should I expect more excuses or a genuinely unprejudiced view?

  7. The North & West Belfast Parades Forum is representative of the PUL community and includes members of the Orange Order as well as the other loyal orders. It has been involved in talks about parades for a number of years with the APDG and CARA. You may 'very much doubt it' but it is a fact. Indeed your attitude says a lot about your own prejudice towards the Orange Order. Over the years the Order has reduced the number of parades on the Crumlin Road and has also altered the times of morning and evening parades. These changes came after talks but sadly that generosity has not been reciprocated. Instead this year we had a dissident republican gunman from Ardoyne trying to murder police officers in Ardoyne as well as hours of serious republican rioting and violence.