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Irish tricolour burning condemned

Police investigate video incident outside Orange Order HQ in Everton

Written by . Published on June 25th 2013.


Irish tricolour burning condemned

MERSEYSIDE Police are investigating the burning of an Irish tricolour flag, apparently outside the Orange Lodge HQ in Everton. 

The incident, which took place earlier this month, has sparked fury in Liverpool's Irish community with calls for it to be investigated as a hate crime. 

Merseyside Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy has condemned "acts which damage community cohesion" as deplorable and one local councillor described it as “totally alien” to the views the vast majority of people in Liverpool hold. 

On the liverpoolirishblog site the video at the end of this was posted with the blurb “Members of the Orange Order in Liverpool reached a new low when they burned the Irish Tricolour flag on the grounds of the Provincial Orange Hall on Everton Road. This was preceded by a march by the Apprentice Boys of Derry through Liverpool city centre earlier.”

Christ-like

It goes on for five minutes – but viewers are given the gist of it in the first – and appears to show a mob of young men singing sectarian songs and repeatedly attempting to torch the Irish national flag with lighters.

However, the Liverpool Province Orange Order says that it is neither racist nor sectarian. On its own website,  to which visitors are greeted to non-stop refrains of The Sash, it claims “racism and bigotry would not be a Christ-like characteristic”. It adds: “We encourage tolerance and goodwill towards members of different beliefs.”

Neil Doolin, organiser of Liverpool's pro-Republican Irish group, Cairde na Eireann, called for the local Orange Order to denounce the actions, which, he said, had no place in a city like Liverpool.

“The Orange Order really needs to get its act together as a result of this incident and see it in the context of its members continually being involved in a level of anti-Irish sentiment that has no place in a modern European city such as Liverpool.”

'Disrespectful'

He added: “Acts like this as shown in the video, damage community relations and we call on the Orange Order in Liverpool to condemn this incident, which happened on their property and involved their members, and state unequivocally its opposition to any further acts directed against the Irish community in Liverpool and beyond.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “I deplore any acts that undermine community cohesion.”

Clubmoor Labour Councillor Jim Noakes, who works with irish communities in Liverpool, commented: The burning of any nation's flag, let alone one with which this city has such a strong affinity, is immensely disrespectful and totally alien to the welcoming, outward-looking, and peaceful views the vast majority of people hold.”

Liverpool Confidential asked The Liverpool Province Loyal Orange Lodge for a comment on the actions the video shows but so far none has been forthcoming. 

Merseyside Police said: “Officers from our specialist Sigma team are examining the footage from the blog and making enquiries to establish what offences have been committed and who uploaded the images.”

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Liverpool North Sigma Team on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

'The actions of a few hooligans must not detract from Liverpool's welcoming and tolerant spirit'

THE flag-burning incident has greatly surprised local people, as some 50-75% of the city population has some Irish roots, writes Declan McSweeney.

However, Liverpool is the main centre of the Orange Order in England, while groups like Cairde na Eireann, with strong republican views, have a presence, and organised this year's St Patrick's Day parade in Vauxhall. 

Liverpool is the only English city ever to have elected an Irish Nationalist MP, Thomas P O'Connor. The Athlone man represented Scotland Road from 1885 to 1929.

On the other hand, the Liverpool Protestant Party long had a presence in local politics, winning its last seat in 1973. 

But while the history of sectarian conflict is outlined in the Museum of Liverpool, this is largely ancient history. As an Irish Catholic who spent nearly two years in Liverpool till moving to Manchester recently, I found nothing but a warm welcome from local people, of all creeds and none. 

The pioneering work of RC Archbishop Derek Worlock and CofE Bishop David Sheppard in bringing communities together was continued by successors Patrick Kelly and James Jones and inter-church links are shown in joint schools like St Francis of Assisi Academy.

Indeed, last year saw both men joined by Methodist, Baptist, United Reformed and Salvation Army representatives at services in the two cathedrals to mark the Queen's Jubilee.

Last November, the Remembrance Day ceremony involved not only representatives of the main Christian groups, but also of the Baha'i, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities. 

The actions of a few hooligans must not detract from Liverpool's welcoming and tolerant spirit.

The city where over one million Irish came during the Famine of  the 1840s continues to welcome the Irish.

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16 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Stephen McGrathJune 25th 2013.

i don't hear the catholic community condemning the so called larkin marches that commemorate dead terrorists and cost the tax payers of Liverpool thousands of pounds

1 Response: Reply To This...
RockyJune 25th 2013.

I didn't hear any moans when the union jack was burnt theses councillors need to stop being one sided

Stephen McGrathJune 25th 2013.

the people who complain have there allegiances to a foreign country if they like it that much why dont they go and live there not likely theres to many benefits here

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 25th 2013.

Were you off school the day they did there, their and they're?

AnonymousJune 26th 2013.

The pedants are revolting!

AnonymousJune 25th 2013.

Why burn an Irish flag? What have the Irish ever done to Britain apart from refusing to be a British colony and being starved to death while their land was used to grow Maze for the British army? There was a very large group of these funny Irish people who believe that they are English staying at the International Inn on South Hunter Street the other week. They stay there every year. Maybe someone should ask them about it?

AnonymousJune 25th 2013.

Why the contribution of Jim Noakes? I mean he's not even from the area. Is there some personal affiliation with orange/green issues here? Just askin.

Jim NoakesJune 26th 2013.

Hi 'anonymous'. I suspect was asked to comment on the issue as someone who has worked with local Irish community groups, coming as I do from an Irish family. I decided to because I don't feel incidents such as this reflect the majority of people from any community at all and it is important to say that. I am happy to leave it to the Police to investigate the incident and allegations and decide on the best course of action. As I have said previously - all communities should be free to celebrate their cultures and histories without denigrating those of others. Rocky - as I said, burning ANY nation's flag is wrong. Jim.

AnonymousJune 26th 2013.

What is this Orangutan Order thing all about anyway? It looks like all they're interested in is hatred.

mickeydrippin'June 26th 2013.

There are still some groups in Northern Ireland, both Loyalist and Republican, who seem intent on continuing the "Troubles". It is therefore sad that some idiotic (possibly drunk) elements of the Orange Order have decided to drive a wedge in community relations in this city.

AnonymousJune 27th 2013.

This is disgraceful.

Reader DewhurstJune 29th 2013.

wouldn't expect anything different from a organisation built on bigotry.

Boyne again ChristianJuly 3rd 2013.

So, who's off to Southport next week?

Ian RobertsJuly 7th 2013.

can I remind these so called irish the famine was not just one sided it wasn't just catholics who suffered the famine it affected protestants aswell I will say that again it affected PROTESTANTS as well you can say burning the flag was wrong but its ok to burn the union flag my my how things upset people we the prostestants need to stand up and voice our opinions lets not be silent anymore we have voices too use them

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyJuly 7th 2013.

Wrong though. What relief there was was provided by the Church of Ireland but only to it's members. In an attempt to get people to convert. The structure of the land holding, which was done for the benefit of the protestant ascendancy also contributed a lot as well as many other regulation that affected Catholics only.

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