Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Martin McGuinness accuses unionists of bowing to 'extreme loyalist agenda'

Members of the Shankill Star Band parades down the Crumlin Road
Members of the Shankill Star Band parades down the Crumlin Road

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has accused unionists of allowing "extreme loyalism" to set their agenda during the Haass negotiations.

One of the main stumbling blocks during the negotiations was understood to be the proposal for a code of conduct on parades which would have banned loyalist bands named after paramilitaries.

A number of loyalist marching bands display paramilitary trappings during parades.

The Freeman Memorial Flute Band in Coleraine are named after a teenage UVF member Andrew Freeman (17) who blew himself up in 1975.

The Shankill Star Flute Band in Belfast carry a Lambeg drum dedicated to the memory of Brian Robinson, a UVF terrorist who shot Paddy McKenna dead at Ardoyne in 1989.

 There is also a Brian Robinson memorial parade in Belfast in September.

In yesterday's Belfast Telegraph prominent flags protester Jamie Bryson said the failure of the Haass process was a victory for loyalism.

He also claimed that he had been shown negotiation documents in order to get his opinion during the talks. Talking about the DUP and UUP he said: "I think they are petrified, really scared."

This has led to accusations that electoral considerations were a factor for unionist parties during the Haass negotiations.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness spoke out yesterday about his concern that unionist parties were having their agenda on Haass "set by negative elements in the Orange Order" and "extreme loyalism who do not want to see progress".

The Order dismissed these claims and said it had "engaged positively with the Haass process".

Further reading

UUP rejects Haass proposals as unviable and unworkable

Unionists afraid to ratify a Haass deal without us, claim hardliners 

Haass talks: Proposals are dead in the water until after elections 

How Haass talks got stuck in the political mud: Wordplay, toxic issues, arguments and despair

New parades code of conduct would criminalise Orange culture, Order chiefs told DUP

Richard Haass talks: Blame game gets under way in earnest

Disdain of voters looks set to grow after Haass talks fiasco

Richard Haass and Meghan O'Sullivan went that extra mile, but ran out of road 

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