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It's hard to respect Orange triumphalism

Speaking at the annual Drumcree Orange Order parade, Edwin Poots MLA insisted the time had come for Sinn Fein to convince unionists that loyalist traditions should be respected.

If Mr Poots' interpretation of loyalist traditions includes triumphalist Orange Order marches, then residents everywhere have the right to object. This is not an issue for Sinn Fein, or any other political party. It is a matter for residents of areas which have been subjected to unwanted parades.

No one has a right to march where they are not wanted. Indeed, rarely has an organisation, acted more purposefully against its own interests than the Orange Order in its insistence of marching where they are not welcome.

For years, Johnny Adair and his gang of shaven-headed, tattooed thugs accompanied the Orange Order at Drumcree.

These unelected politico-religious supremacists continually remind nationalists of their subordinate role in the northern state. Neither the nationalist community nor the rule of law should acquiesce to their intimidation.

In 1992, Orangemen parading past a bookmakers in Belfast, where five Catholics had been shot dead by loyalists, ostentatiously gave a five-fingered salute in mockery of the murdered men.

The then Secretary of State Patrick Mayhew said their actions "would have disgraced a tribe of cannibals, let alone Protestants marching under a flag of the UK". Enough said, Mr Poots?

TOM COOPER

Dublin

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