What is this Marching Season?
It is a sombre festival of colonial domination and sovereign right performed by marching established routes which have become scenes of contest between both the Protestant Loyalists,
the Catholic Nationalist and the authority of the state wearing a policeman’s hat but holding a riot shield and armed with Taser.
How many parades are there?
In 2012 the Loyal Orders and broad Unionist tradition organised 2,493 parades. In 2013 550 parades were held on the 12th of July alone.
What was the big parade like in Belfast?
Everywhere in the crowd people were openly drinking cans of beer and gangs of youths wandered about carrying open bottles of cheap wine, often passing groups of police officers who did nothing to stop them.
Tourists complained of “an intimidatory atmosphere”
and “louts roaming around drunk.”
In a short time the streets were a mess of crushed cans and plastic bags.
and foul language were in good supply,even though there were plenty of young children in the crowd.
Businesses reported “an increase in tensions,” with the perception that it had put people off coming into Belfast.
Just over 80% of shops that opened reported trade below expectations.
I can confirm that 12th July is absent a positive atmosphere. It’s militaristic, nasty, sometimes vulgar, and not much fun.”
Social Development Ninister Nelson McCausland
spent £40,000 public money on a report that found the Loyal Orders and band parades generated almost £55 million in economic and social benefits for the North each year.
That’s like the KKK telling everyone that sales of bedsheets have gone through the roof
because of their activities and so they are a positive expression of culture in the USA.
The report did not include
1)the cost of policing these parades.
In 2011 £5.2 million was spent on security around loyalist marches during the summer, while £255,000 was spent around republican parades
In 2012 Parades Commission Chairman Peter Osborne said over £7m was spent .
2013 The PSNI has spent more than £15 million (€17.8 million) since April of this year
Loyalist Flag Protests
2012-2013: “The cost of policing the union flag protests exceeded £15m” confirmed the PSNI chief constable .
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) estimated that the flag protests had cost Belfast businesses up to £15m in lost revenue.
Twadell Peace camp
£300,000 weekly to police nightly loyalist protests in north Belfast. These protests have been continuing each night since July 12th when Orangemen were banned from parading past the shops at Ardoyne.
2)Loss of tourist revenue during the height of the ‘marching season’
due to the mass exodus of people from the North
and the people who were put off from coming to Northern Ireland
Indeed the NI tourist board states that most of our “tourists” are people visiting family and friends
They are not real tourists
3) Damage to the Northern Ireland Image
Continued unrest in Northern Ireland is deterring investment and hampering the growth of the economy,
4) Social costs
Police resources could have been deployed to target other crimes.
The violence damages police relations with communities and
Causes tension between communities and fuels sectarianism.
But Orangemen absolutely have to march on
Northern Ireland should act in its own best interests, not indulge its obsessions