Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Fury at loyalist band's musical taunts outside Catholic church

The Orange Order has been asked to explain why a loyalist band played sectarian music outside a Catholic church in Belfast on the Twelfth.

Members of a flute band, wearing Shankill YCV uniforms, were recorded walking round in circles outside St Patrick’s Church on Donegall Street in the city centre.

Two separate videos were posted on YouTube.

At one point the band, who stalled for 15 minutes outside the church, played the The Famine Song, an anti-Catholic tune which originated in Glasgow.

At the end of one of the videos, the man recording it — Sinn Fein activist JJ Magee (49) — is threatened by men wearing Orange sashes. One man brandishing a wooden walking stick said: “You f***ing take yourself off. I am warning you. I’ll knock your b******s off.”

Mr Magee, from north Belfast, said he had filmed the band with his mobile phone as he thought they were being provocative.

“I noticed out of the side of my eye two guys approaching me.

“They verbally abused me, then started to throw punches and tried to kick me,” he said.

Mr Magee was not injured in the attack. However, a police officer who was nearby had to draw his baton to defuse the situation.

Sinn Fein councillor for north Belfast Conor Maskey said the Orange Order had questions to answer.

“It is time for the Orange Order to show leadership, step into the 21st century and get rid of the organisation’s anti-Catholic, sectarian ethos,” he said

“Until that happens, then clearly this bigoted side of the organisation will continue to manifest itself in (such) incidents.”

A spokesman for the Belfast County Grand Orange Lodge said that the band had stopped outside the church because of a delay in the main procession.

However, he added: “The institution reviews all parades and will take any issues raised into account as part of that review.”

A PSNI spokesman said: “Throughout this incident police worked closely with stewards and organisers to resolve the situation peacefully. The recorded footage will be studied closely. If any criminal offences are detected a full and thorough investigation will be carried out.”

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