Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

The Twelfth: village's shame over the flag-flyers who went too far

The hoisting of a Union flag in the grounds of a Catholic church in Dervock, Co Antrim, has added a sour note to the Twelfth celebrations for many locals in the mainly loyalist village

Independent nationalist councillor Padriag McShane
Independent nationalist councillor Padriag McShane

Bedecked in red, white and blue, Dervock is an unashamedly loyalist village. Union flags fly on entrance signs, while bunting and painted kerbstones of the same colours line the entire main road through the north Antrim village.

But it was the erection of one of those flags in the grounds of a Catholic church in the area that thrust Dervock into the media spotlight this week.

It was placed on top of an electricity pole near Our Lady and St John the Evangelist Church, and remained in place yesterday, despite widespread anger and condemnation, including from Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister.

A sense of revulsion was also felt by many of those in Dervock, who said the move was not done in their name, but by a group of young hardline loyalists.

The presence of paramilitaries in the area is clearly demonstrated by numerous flags carrying the emblem of the Ulster Defence Association, as well as murals to the group.

"I've no idea why they put a flag up there, it's not as if there aren't enough already," an elderly man in the main street told the Belfast Telegraph. "They should leave the church alone."

Another said the vast majority in Dervock did not support the move.

"This is known as loyalist Dervock, but what is loyalist about that?" he said.

"Live and let live. Look at that bonfire, there are six tricolours on it. What's that got to do with loyalism? It's embarrassing."

Scores of young families took part in a fun day yesterday organised to celebrate the Twelfth.

North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.  Amy and Charlie Que with Molly Jupp from Holywood. Pic Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye
North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Amy and Charlie Que with Molly Jupp from Holywood. Pic Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye
Orange Order parades pictured marching through Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Allen Ford from Nevada, USA, pictured during the Twelfth of July demonstration in Limavady which is one of the Orange Orders flagship parades. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.14
Roses Lane Ends Temperance Flute Band pictured leading the praise during the platform proceedings at the Twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Georgina Davis pictured with her brother Christopher and her father Clark (members of Ballymacash LOL No 317) at Lisburn Orange Hall as brethren from Lisburn District LOL No 6 get ready to leave for the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Adele Bogle and Michelle Price get a selfie with the First Minister Peter Robinson at the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Caitlin Adams, Hailey Adams and Jessica Harper pictured at the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Wor Bro Norman Bell (Worshipful District Master of Ballinderry District LOL No 3) pictured with Bro Paul McCullough (Worshipful Master) and members of Ballinderry Black Reds LOL No 148 pictured prior to leaving Ballinderry War Memorial Hall for the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. North Down First Flute
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Claire Thompson
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Kenzie and Kyla Richard with Bethany McMillan fro Newtownards
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. LOL 1758
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. LOL 1592
Ballinderry District LOL No 3 colour party pictured prior to leaving Ballinderry War Memorial Hall for the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry. L to R: Bros - Alan Barnes, Stephen Farr, Graham McDonald, Raymond Thompson and Neil Gilmore.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Gerald Solinas speaks to the PSNI at this evenings 12th July return parade at Twaddell Avenue in Ardoyne north Belfast
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Gerald Solinas, left, and James Small pictured at Camp Twaddell at Ardoyne in North Belfast with other protestors. Tens of thousands of Orangemen and women are taking part in 12 July celebrations across Northern Ireland. The 12 July is traditionally the biggest day in the Protestant marching season - running from April to August - and 17 parades are due to take place. They mark King William III's victory over Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Christian peace campaigners pictured at this evenings 12th July return parade at Twaddell Avenue in Ardoyne north Belfast There was a heavy police presence in the Ardoyne area. No resident protest groups held demonstrations. It comes after the Parades Commission ruled that the outward parade could proceed, however the evening return leg past the interface has been banned.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Ulsters Pride WLOL 110: Effie Butler, Jean Rodgers, Marion White and Margaret Jackson
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. LOL 164
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Courtney Palmer - Ballyhalbert Flute Band
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. WLOL 110
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Upper Ards District 11Laura Gorman of Donaghadee
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Dempsey Courtney Ballentine pictured with Mum Lynn and Sister Jody at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Orange Brethren from Sandy Row arrive at the field first aat Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Cat Thompson and Patricia Doherty from Belfast Members pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Junior Minister Jonathan Bell pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Arthur Campbell and David and Eric Hay pictured at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 MLA Peter Weir pictured at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
12/07/2014: Crowds line the streets of Belfast city centre to watch the annual twelfth of July orange parades. Photograph: Stephen Kilkenny/Photocall Ireland
12/07/2014: Crowds line the streets of Belfast city centre to watch the annual twelfth of July orange parades. Photograph: Stephen Kilkenny/Photocall Ireland
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Jimmy Lee - North Down First Flute
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Kenzie and Kyla Richard with Bethany McMillan fro Newtownards
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. George Smyth LOL1919
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Nationalist protesters outside St Patrick's Church as Bands and Orangemen take part during the 12th of July celebrations in Belfast. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Nationalist protesters outside St Patrick's Church as Bands and Orangemen take part during the 12th of July celebrations in Belfast. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: Orangemen march past Ardoyne this morning before the start of Northern Ireland's annual 12th of July march in Belfast city centre on July 12, 2014 in Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: Orangeman band members play their drums during the annual 12th of July march as it made it's way through Belfast city centre on July 12, 2014. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: A female band supporter runs past a shop front on her way to watch the start of the annual 12th of July march in Belfast city centre on July 12, 2014 in Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: An Orange bandsman catches his baton during the 12th of July annual march through Belfast city centre on July 12, 2014. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
A Loyalist supporter challenges police officers after an Orange Order parade made it's way down Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) leader Billy Hutchinson (second right in black top) watches on as an Orange Order parade makes it's way down Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
A loyalist supporter dressed as a riot police officer approaches police as they await an Orange Order parade on Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
An Orange Order parade on Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
A loyalist supporter dressed as a riot police officer approaches police as they await an Orange Order parade on Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
Loyalist protesters and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist protesters and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Residents and police pictured after Orangemen, bands and supporters march past Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Orangemen, bands and supporters march past Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
The police presence at Twaddell Avenue as Orangemen, bands and supporters march pass Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
A Twaddell avenue protester dressed as a PSNI officer is pictured as Orangemen, bands and supporters march past Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly speaking after Orangemen, bands and supporters march past Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Nelson McCausland MLA (centre) joins loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist protesters and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist protesters and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
New PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton talks to officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Phtograph by Kelvin Boyes/Presseye

The laughter and cheering of local children could be heard from the grounds of the small chapel on the outskirts of the village that is at the heart of the ugly dispute.

Despite the outcry over the flag, it has yet to be taken down.

Feet away from the lamppost, kerbstones leading into the church had also been daubed with red, white and blue paint.

Senior unionist politicians said those responsible must rectify the damage done.

This week's controversy came two years after loyalists in Dervock were praised for scaling back on flags and emblems ahead of the arrival of the Olympic torch.

The village was selected as a venue for the event due to the success of its most famous son, Kennedy Kane McArthur, who took gold in the marathon 100 years previously.

Then, fluttering alongside the Union and Ulster flags were those of South Africa and Sweden.

The innovative move received the backing of the community, including a local flute band, Dervock Young Defenders.

As well as the flags, multi-coloured bunting was also put up, along with banners bearing the 2012 Olympic logo.

A similar spirit of compromise has been urged towards Catholic parishioners practising their faith in Dervock.

The DUP mayor of Ballymoney, Bill Kennedy, a member of the Orange Order, said it was "totally wrong" to put the flag up in the church grounds.

"There's many other places in Dervock where they could put their flags and they have done," he said.

"It doesn't help anybody's cause."

Ulster Unionist North Antrim MLA Robin Swann also called for the flag to be taken down.

"All places of worship of whatever denomination are entitled to be shown respect," he said.

"By entering the grounds of this church to erect a flag, those responsible are showing a lack of respect for both the church and for the Union flag itself."

Independent nationalist councillor Padriag McShane added: "Unless there is a paradigm shift in the attitudes of the police and political unionism, the scourge of sectarianism in north Antrim villages like Dervock will continue to go unchallenged."

Police said the removal of flags was not their responsibility, adding they would work with communities to address issues.

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