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14 July 2005 Edition

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TV fantasy of 'The Twelfth'


This year, like every other, television viewers throughout Ireland have witnessed the ludicrous spectacle of the BBC and ITV attempting to present an entirely surreal image of the Orange Order as it struts it sectarian stuff around the Six Counties offering offence at every opportunity.

Whatever about ITV, the BBC is a publicly funded organisation and the fact that taxpayers money should be wasted on promoting the antics of such a blatantly sectarian outfit is becoming increasingly anachronistic.

Both stations offer up live coverage of Orange Tweltfh marches where, to the hilarity of some and the anger of others, these coat-trailing exercises are presented as some sort of 'cultural event'- lots of soft-focus shots of children licking ice-creams and close-ups of inoffensive Bilbilcal scenes on banners. Only if you look very closely might you cathch a glimpse the flags of unionist murder gangs being displayed, and never will the camera dwell on the more obviously threatening skin-headed, heavily tatooed and beer swilling hangers-on which would immediately puncture the mythical 'festival' image being promoted.

The fact is that nobody in the North and few in the South actually believe the Alice in Wonderland version of reality as presented on these ridiculous programmes. Orangemen know what they are doing and why they are doing it. They know that this is all about sectarianism, elitism, power and the attempt to maintain unionist and Protestant hegemony. Nationalists know that the displays exclude them and they are only too well aware of the much uglier side of the Twelfth 'celebrations' as extensively reportd in this week's An Phoblacht. In the 26 Counties the images shown on programmes such as The Twelfth contrast sharply with the news reports of tension, antagonism and violence associated with the marches on the televsion news. The BBC and ITV are not fooling anyone with this charade and are merely tarnishing their own reputations.

Kathy Stanton is a Sinn Féin Councillor who represents Ardoyne, a community which has endured a siege for the past two years as a result of the an unwanted Orange march being forced through part of the nationalist area and an areawhich has borne the brunt of the sectarian murders, meted out by the organisations whose banners are flown on the Twelfth. This week she hit out at the BBC in paticlar: "Each year the BBC spend the publics money presenting live coverage of the annual Twelfth parades. In this programme the parades are presented as some sort cultural festival. No mention is made of the sectarian nature of the event and the paramilitary displays by the many of the bands present are conveniently ignored by the commentators.

"No amount of window dressing by the BBC can alter the fact that the Orange Order is an anti-Catholic organisation who this summer have deliberately set out to damage the political atmosphere through an insistence on marching through nationalist areas where they are not wanted.

"The BBC needs to get real. TV license money should not be spent promoting Orange parades in an unbalanced fashion. If they are going to present live coverage of the Twelfth then they should ensure that for the first time it is at least balanced and impartial."

An Phoblacht Magazine


  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

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