Mac Coitir said, “It should be abundantly clear to any independent or impartial observer of the Orange Order’s annual coat-trailing exercises that there is no valid or legitimate reason why marches by an overtly sectarian organisation should be permitted to proceed through overwhelmingly nationalist towns such as Newry or Crumlin or to go past areas such as Ardoyne in north Belfast.
“It is also striking that in north Belfast, a sinister alliance between the Orange Order, unionist parties (including Stormont ministers such as Nigel Dodds and Peter Robinson) and unionist paramilitaries is re-emerging to ensure that the Order is permitted to trample over the rights of the people in Ardoyne.
“Although the Parades Commission only imposed minimal restrictions on the Orange Order’s march past Ardoyne, any move by the Commission to make further concessions to the Order at the behest of this unholy alliance will be viewed by many as cave-in to the bully-boys and cudgel carriers.”
Mac Coitir continued, “Indeed, any further concessions by the Parades Commission to demands by this unionist triumvirate in respect of Ardoyne would be viewed by nationalist opinion across the Six Counties as the equivalent of similar u-turns which occurred in relation to the Garvaghy Road in Portadown and Ormeau Road in Belfast during the 1990s in the face of similar threats at that time made by Orangemen, unionist politicians and paramilitaries.
“It is also noticeable that there has been a complete failure by the British government and its agencies, including the Parades Commission, to treat sectarianism and sectarian parades in the same manner as racism and racist assemblies have been treated elsewhere within the British jurisdiction. Indeed, one has only to look at examples of where complete bans have been placed on racist and neo-fascist assemblies in various towns and cities in England as evidence of such disparity.”
The éirígí representative also pointed out that, “It is very striking that, last year, the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities found that the British government’s approach of treating sectarianism in the Six Counties as a distinct issue rather than as a form of racism to be problematic, as it allows sectarianism to fall outside the scope of accepted anti-discrimination and human rights protection standards.
“Were a proper approach to be taken against sectarianism, then far greater protection would be afforded to communities in Ardoyne, Newry, Crumlin, Rasharkin and many other areas affected by these annual coat-trailing rituals.”