11 August 2012
DUP and Sinn Féin clash over loyalist band's sectarian parade on Twelfth
'Everybody else in the world knows that the song is a sectarian song. Gregory must be very naive if he doesn't know what was being played'
EAST DERRY Democratic Unionist Party MLA Gregory Campbell's refusal to admit that the the now-infamous sectarian display by a unionist band outside a north Belfast Catholic church on The Twelfth led to a clash with north Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly at the 'West Belfast Talks Back' forum this week during Féile an Phobail.
Campbell attempted to defend the actions of the loyalist Young Conway Volunteers (YCV) band when they marched in circles outside St. Patrick's Church on Donegall Street. Gerry Kelly said the failure of DUP members to condemn the incident shows a lack of leadership from within unionism.
Speaking at the event on Wednesday, Gregory Campbell said the band “just happened to be halted” outside a Catholic church and claimed that the band were playing 'Sloop John B' by The Beach Boys and not the notorious, anti-Catholic 'Famine Song' which is played to the same tune.
Gerry Kelly said:
"Everybody else in the world knows that the song is a sectarian song. Gregory must be very naive if he doesn't know what was being played."
Kelly also pointed out that two elected representatives from the DUP were watching the event and said that if he had witnessed a republican band behaving in a similar manner then he would have immediately intervened and told them to “catch themselves on”.
Kelly went on to say that the situation highlighted how the “leadership is not there within unionism” to tackle the issue of parades.
During the debate, the community activist who filmed the display confirmed that he had been attacked by both Orange Order and band members and said that the band had indeed played 'The Famine Song' while supporters chanted sectarian slogans.
He then told Campbell “not to try and make feeble attempts to excuse” the actions of those involved, and noted that “not one member of your party [DUP] has condemned that attack, you have all tried to justify it”.
Gregory Campbell again refused to condemn the incident, claiming the cameraman was “partisan” because he was a member of Sinn Féin.
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