“An executive meeting on Tuesday should discuss the Parades Commission's decision on an Orange parade, the regional development minister has said.
On Thursday, the commission barred a 12th July Orange Order parade from returning along part of the Crumlin Road in north Belfast.
As a result, unionist parties pulled out of talks on parades, flags and the past.
Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy said he hoped Tuesday's meeting would go ahead.
Speaking on Sunday Politics, Mr Kennedy said while it should deal with normal business, he hoped it would also deal with the here and now, the issue of the day - the Ardoyne parade.”
I was away for a week and this is what I came home too. Does no one ever tell the Unionists that someday they are going to have to grow up and come into the 21st century?
By coincidence I was looking through a reference book that I have this evening and I found this: it made me laugh and almost cry, but unfortunately it is what many of our marching friends long for. It is an old newspaper cut out from the 1980s (I think) and tells us something very important about the Old Northern Ireland.
I quote it in full:
“Her Majesty’s Most gracious Speech, as it is known, made sweet music to me when it promised legislation against religious and political discrimination in Northern Ireland. In my final year at Queen’s, in the faculty of Civil Engineering, half my colleagues were from the ‘other side of the fence.’ Good friends as we all were, we parted sadly on graduation. I and the other alleged ‘Protestants’ (sic) went into the public sector, and no less than three of them are County Surveyors here today.
The Catholics knew that there could be no promotion for them, even if they are grudgingly given a junior job. So far as I have been able to check there has never been a Catholic County Surveyor in Northern Ireland.
It was taken for granted in my day that there never would be one, and my Catholic friends went into contracting or emigrated without complaint. Many of them had brilliant careers elsewhere.
‘What are you girning about?’ Mr Ulster asks me. ‘Weren’t you all right?’ Yes, I was more than all right. I got promotions before my time, with half the competition removed. But—and this is what Mr Ulster can never understand—I was never happy in them.”
This newspaper article is from an unknown paper whose year I can only guess to be in the ‘80s; there is not even a headline with it. But when you read it now, if you are under thirty, you will find it hard to believe that such a place ever existed as that Northern Ireland.
If we assume that this article was written in the 1980s and that the civil engineer’s career was coming to an end then it is reasonable to assume that he graduated in the early 1950s.
What changes he has seen in his lifetime if he is still alive today!
Now read this about a march in the Tunnel in 1972.
“In 1972, during the first years of the Troubles, residents of Portadown's mainly Catholic enclave formed the 'Portadown Resistance Council'. It called for the upcoming marches to be re-routed away from Obins Street, which was where most of the residents lived at the time. The Ulster Defence Association (a then-legal loyalist vigilante and paramilitary group) warned of consequences if anything was done to stop the march. On Saturday 1 July, Catholics set up barricades at all roads leading into their area.
On the morning of the march, Sunday 9 July, British troops and police moved in to clear the area. They bulldozed the barricades and used CS gas and rubber bullets on those protesting against the march. Once the area was secured, they allowed the Orangemen to march along the road, which was lined by at least fifty masked and uniformed UDA members.” (Wikipedia)
It is incredible when you read it; and still the Orangemen try to march where they are not wanted. But in twenty years’ time when someone else is writing about their attempts to walk somewhere, even Danny Kennedy’s intervention will appear totally uncalled for.
In a country that has mass unemployment and the highest levels of poverty in the UK, the unionists still cannot walk away from the backwoodsmen of the Orange Order.
And they are still missing the point: how many of the good decent Protestant people of Ulster feel the same way about the marching as our anonymous civil engineer from the 1950s felt?
Northern Ireland is never going back to those days and the politicians know this. They are doing no one any service by pretending that a march down a short stretch of road that no one cares about, is an important social issue.
In my mind, it says more about the quality of the politicians than it does about anything else. They have their head in the clouds.
On the subject of clouds, if like me you spend half your life sitting at a computer then you shall have heard about the Microsoft Cloud having encountered some turbulence lately. The Cloud is a new full proof way of storing information way out there somewhere over the rainbow.
“Microsoft has finally fixed an Exchange Online outage that left affected users without access to email for almost nine hours on Tuesday, prompting many to vent their frustration online as they struggled to get their work done.
The company hasn’t said how many customers were impacted, but judging by the volume of complaints posted in discussion forums and social media sites, it must have hit a substantial number of users.
Plus, the length of the outage, and the fact that it struck during U.S. work hours, makes it a significant and embarrassing one for Microsoft, which is locked in a fight with Google in the cloud communication and collaboration software market.” (PC World)
There have been many theories as to what went wrong. Here is the official one: “Investigation determined that a portion of the networking infrastructure entered into a degraded state. Engineers made configuration changes on the affected capacity to remediate end-user impact,” wrote the Microsoft support official, identified as David Zhang.
I bet that like me you have no idea as to what he is talking about.
Actually, what really happened was that the CIA, MI5, Mossad, and the Orange Order had conspired together to bring the whole system down so that they could have the internet to themselves for a day:
The CIA were tracking Muslim terrorists. MI5 are still trying to find out who robbed the Northern Bank (it was you know who). Mossad want to make sure Yasser Arafat is still dead and the Orange Order wanted a map of the Crumlin Road area; ‘when marching one does not want to get lost,’ an Orange spokesman told me!
But here is something a little more serious, something sad and heart-breaking:
“SALEM, Ore. (AP) — They were dubbed the "forgotten souls" — the cremated remains of thousands of people who came through the doors of Oregon's state mental hospital, died there and whose ashes were abandoned inside 3,500 copper urns.
Discovered a decade ago at the decrepit Oregon State Hospital, where "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" was filmed, the remains became a symbol of the state's — and the nation's — dark history of treating the mentally ill.” (US News and World Report)
Every state and country has it hidden secrets. For creatures of God, we have a remarkable capacity for good and an equally remarkable capacity for evil. If you were of a negative disposition you would think we were making no progress but we are; we have to believe and hope that we are gradually going forward and becoming more civilised as the years go on.
You would not think it by the way we are killing each other now but this time of wanton murder will pass if for no other reason than we will run out of people to kill.
At the moment in the West we have lost hope; we rightly do not trust our politicians, we owe no allegiance to the state because it is run in such a way as to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, but even this shall pass and hope shall return.
Unfortunately the final demise of our culture and the rise of a new, different Europe that we can’t even imagine, will take several generations.
Pope Benedict knew this and that is why he took the name Benedict. Let me explain.
From about the year AD 400 the Roman Empire was in decline and the rate of decline in society was accelerating just as it is today. In AD 480 St Benedict, who wrote the ‘Rule’ or way of life for monks, was born. All over Europe, especially in Ireland, men and women opted out of the Roman Empire type world and set up alternative communities called monasteries and convents.
In AD 595, when the Roman Empire had finally collapsed, Pope Gregory the Great wrote, ‘the end of civilisation does not mean the end of the world.’
Eventually, in AD 800, when Charlemagne became King of France, Europe began to rebuild herself. We are living during the rapid decline of our known Europe just as St Benedict experienced his Roman decline; Cardinal Ratzinger knew this and took the name Benedict to state that the Church shall once again hold the key to the renewal.
At the moment, we are living in the reign of the culture of death and barbarism, and it passes for civilisation. But the urns were found in Oregon and the truth was brought out into the open; the engineer from the 1980s knew that the Old Northern Ireland could not go on and he did not even want it too, in spite of the fact that he prospered from it. The Unionists of today will eventually be forced to learn this as well.
There are still good people in the world, people of faith who are quietly working away in the background, teaching the truth and bringing hope.
One such man is Fr Killian Byrne of the Foyer of Charity, a church grouping whose work is giving retreats and teaching sound Catholic doctrine.
That’s where I was last week, on a five day silent retreat looking for the truth in my life and trying to make contact with Truth himself. I think I made a bit of progress.
If you ever get a chance to join a Foyer of Charity retreat, do so, they are a wonderful experience. I shall put up the dates of some that are coming up in the next couple of weeks. They are good value and give a firm background knowledge of Church teaching.
You see, what the secularists can never understand is that God shall not be beaten, there are simply too many people who desire the truth and long for it in their hearts.
Don’t read the news; read under the news. As GK Chesterton once said, “everyone talks about the problem of evil, but no one talks about the problem of good.”
Where does all the good in the world come from? There is a lot more good about than there is evil but you have to look under the news to see it. If you took the media reports as the final word on the state of mankind you would think the world is about to end in disaster.
With twenty-four hour news channels having to fill minutes, news has morphed into entertainment.
We are living in a period in Ireland, both north and south, where we are getting the political leaders we deserve. In a similar way, to those who left the world of the Roman Empire, there are many people today choosing to opt out of the political debate; we don’t have leaders of the calibre of John Hume anymore.
Our country shall plod on with plastic leaders who shall do whatever the polls tell them and ignore any principles and real values. The downhill course shall continue for a long time yet.
But the seed of truth and the desire of people to build a real community shall re-emerge when the time is right—and only God knows that time.
Finally, for this week, your Uncle Turlough is living something of a double life. As you all know by now, Mrs Quinn hails originally from Argentina and she has become something of a football whizz in these past two weeks; before the world cup she thought Messi was the state of my office, but now she knows that when the wee ball goes into that net a team gets a ‘point.’
Anyway, I have a soft spot for Holland who have never quite won the world cup, and to think of the land of William of Orange playing in the World Cup over the 12th weekend fills me with glee, so on Wednesday evening I shall be rooting for them when they play Argentina in the semis.
Maybe those who would rather cause trouble would stay at home and watch the match!
I hope it doesn’t go to penalties: there will be war in Casa Turlough!
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