8 July 1999 Edition
Springfield residents betrayed again
By Roisin Cox
Residents of Belfast's Springfield Road are furious that the Parades Commission has decided to allow a second contentious Orange parade in less than a month to go through their area, virtually unrestricted, on 12 July. They are now calling for a mass mobilisation of nationalists in a show of strength against the Orange Order. Residents spokesperson John McGovern has appealed to the nationalist community to support the protests which will take place at Kashmir corner at 9am and 6pm on 12 July.
The residents are also angry that the Parades Commission has approved an application for two other Orange Lodges to join the Twelfth parade along the Springfield Road.
The Springfield Road Orange parade is particularly sensitive as a `peace wall' at Workman Avenue, a link road at the nationalist Springfield Road which leads into the loyalist Shankill, is opened to allow the Orangemen to parade along an area of West Belfast that is now more than 90% nationalist.
On 26 June this year, the Parades Commission allowed a parade to go along the Springfield Road, imposing no restrictions, yet Parades Commission conditions that govern every parade were flaunted by the Orange marchers.
At the contentious June parade, strongly opposed by the local nationalist community, a colour party carried a banner bearing the name of UVF killer Brian Robinson and bands stopped and played sectarian tunes outside the homes of nationalist residents.
``There is no doubt about it, the Orange Order were walking hand in hand up the Springfield Road with the UVF'', said residents' spokesperson Frances McAuley.
She added: ``What was supposed to be a local district march turned into an Orange free for all with up to 2,000 Orangemen from Glenavy, Carnmoney, Shankill Road, Ballymacarett, Ballynafeigh and Bangor taking part in another show of Orange aggression and loyalist intimidation.''
Speaking on the issue of the conditions set down for the parade, McAuley told An Phoblacht ``that the Parades Commission's conditions on marches were blatantly flouted, so if the ruling is supposedly made with the weight of `the rule of law' then the `rule of law' should be applied''.
McAuley added that Springfield Residents are ``sick and tired'' of the Orange Order being constantly rewarded for their sectarian antics while nationalist residents were treated with ``contempt and hostility'' by the RUC and the Parades Commission.
The Springfield Residents Action Group have now decided to review their policy of talking to the Parades Commission, claiming that it pursues a policy of appeasement towards the Orange Order and that dialogue in those circumstances is merely a ``cosmetic exercise''.
Bully-boy bigotry in Crumlin
Nationalist residents protesting on 2 July against the erection of an Orange Arch in the County Antrim village of Crumlin were assaulted by the RUC.
According to Martin Meehan, Sinn Féin's representative in the area, the residents were assaulted as they protested peacefully against the opening of the Arch and an Orange parade in what is a 75 percent nationalist town.
Prior to the march, held to coincide with the opening of the Arch, RUC members kitted out in full riot gear moved in to remove a number of tricolours which had been put up on the main street. The RUC drew their batons and a number of residents were assaulted. A man who was filming the protest had his camcorder seized before he too was assaulted.
Said Meehan: ``Over 200 residents holding placards maintained a dignified protest as the Orange procession, its numbers swelled by Orangemen from outside the village, passed through the main thoroughfare. The residents of Crumlin must be spared this type of bigotry. He added: ``The RUC came out in their true colours by allowing this Orange Arch to be erected in an overwhelmingly nationalist village. The sectarian bias displayed by the removal of tricolours and the assault on local residents epitomises the need for a new, acceptable police force.''