According to the report, compiled by the New York-based Irish Parades Emergency Committee and the Brehon Law Society, contested Orange parades in North and East Belfast in July 2005 were “characterized by grotesque anti-Catholic displays and the promotion of loyalist paramilitary groups.”
Copies of the report, entitled “Sectarianism on Parade: Orange Parades in Northern Ireland, Summer 2005 International Observers Report,” are being sent to the Irish, British and U.S. governments, political parties and community groups in the North.
The anti-Catholic displays, according to the report, included Orange supporters dressed as nuns who marched triumphantly through Ardoyne the morning of July 12 as well as the playing of anti-Catholic and anti-Irish sectarian songs while passing Catholic churches and communities.
“For the third time in four years we documented anti-Catholic political theater in Ardoyne,” said IPEC/Brehon spokesman Sean Cahill.
“Once again we documented brazen displays of support for loyalist paramilitary groups in Orange parades through, or past, Catholic nationalist communities in Belfast.
“These displays clearly violate Parades Commission guidelines, the 1998 Good Friday agreement and other laws. The British and Irish governments must uphold the Good Friday agreement’s basic guarantee of freedom from sectarian harassment,” Cahill stated.
He said the “brazen” promotion of loyalist terror groups in parades past the Short Strand and through Ardoyne had become so pervasive that the observer group had taken to calling these marches “Orange/loyalist parades.”
The observers, he said, had also noted positive developments, including the “relative restraint” shown by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, nationalist residents, and most Orange march stewards in East Belfast on July
The report also praised the restraint shown in Ardoyne by residents and police until late in the evening of July 12th.
This despite “the sectarian abuse inflicted on Ardoyne residents” during both the morning and evening marches that day.
The observers said they were “hopeful” that the progress shown in Ardoyne “most of the day last July 12th” will be built upon this year.
IPEC and Brehon members from several countries have observed contested Orange Order parades since 1996. A copy of the their report can be viewed at www.ipecobservers.org.
SMUGGLE ACCUSED IN COURT
One of three men sought in connection with an alleged immigrant smuggling ring centered in Buffalo has surrendered himself to U.S. authorities.
Phillip Reilly appeared in court Wednesday May 31, was released on bail and has a second hearing July 31.
Meanwhile, a status conference in the case remains on the calendar for June 20, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen Wylegala.
The hearing will primarily involve lawyers as most of the accused asked to be excused, Wylegala indicated.
Nine people are named on the arraignment. Seven have been detained or have appeared in court to plead not guilty. Two are still being sought by U.S. authorities.
The nine face potential prison terms of five years and two years depending on specific charges.
However, defense attorneys believe that the cases can be resolved without prison terms for those charged with assisting three undocumented Irish immigrants who, according to the arraignment, entered the U.S. across the Canadian border.
This view rests heavily on the fact that the accused who aided the three did not do so for monetary gain.
The three Irish nationals who crossed the border face likely deportation, however.
LIFE ON THE OCEAN WEB
It’s red sails in the sunset — and sunrise — as five Irish sailors this week make their way across the Atlantic in a Galway Hooker, the Naomh Barbara.
The voyage, which originated in Chicago late April and began with a sail through the Great Lakes, is due to end in Galway later this month.
Galway Hookers are traditional sailing vessels used for fishing or cargo. They are broad-beamed and usually carry red sails.
The five sailors, all Galwaymen, stopped over in New York and were feted at a reception at the Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel in Manhattan before setting off on their transatlantic voyage, one that will first take the Naomh (Saint) Barbara to the Azores.
From there, the Hooker, which was named in a ceremony by Chicago mayor Richard Daley, will undertake the last leg of the voyage non-stop to the coast of County Galway. The scheduled arrival date is June 24.
The skipper of the boat is Patrick Joyce and the crew is comprised of his brother Tom, Steve Mulkerrins, Barney Flaherty and Coley Newell.
The Naomh Barbara’s progress across the Atlantic can be monitored on the website www.sailingtoireland.com.