Irish community parades in Liverpool: Destroying the myth of sectarianism


I enjoyed another day out on Saturday just gone when members of the Irish community honoured the memory of the approx 200 volunteers from the Merseyside area, many of them Liverpool Irish, who joined the International Brigades to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War. A good crowd of up 500 people together with Republican Flute Bands from Liverpool, Scotland and Wales ensured that the event successfully made its way through Liverpool City Centre and  remembered with dignity and pride the sacrifices made by those volunteers so long ago. They inspire us to this day and remind us of the continued need to fight against intolerance and fascists politics.

As what now seems to be customary, the event drew out the combined efforts of both paramilitary fascists (National Front, Combined Ex-Forces and Infidels of Britain) and members of Liverpool’s Orange/Loyalist community. Although smaller in numbers, the fascists/loyalists were happy again to challenge marchers with racist and sectarian abuse, sing sectarian songs and behave like like characters off the Jeremy Kyle Show! They really do have no shame….in fact they are quite shameless and an embarrassment to this great city and its people.

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Liverpool – Saturday 13th October 2012

But more seriously, Saturday’s events highlight the cementing of relationships between fascists nationally and local Liverpool Orange/Loyalists. This year has seen CXF regularly attend loyalist band parades, and Orange and Apprentice Boys parades in the city, with CXF proudly boasting this through social media. This is clearly an attempt by the far Right to broaden its support base and quite naturally, the bigots of English Loyalism and Orangeism with their historical racist hatred of Irish Catholics, Irish nationalism and republicanism is a fertile place to propagate their fascist views and gain support. The fascists have been quite clever in gaining support by classing every Irish community street event in Liverpool this year as being ‘IRA Marches’ and of course Loyalists/Orange Order have taken it hook, line and sinker. Fascists, while acknowledging their limited leadership skills,  have found it easy to pull the strings of local loyalists into swelling their numbers on Liverpool protests against Irish community events in Liverpool. Both the July March Against Fascism and last Saturdays events saw the majority of those opposing the march coming from Liverpool’s loyalist/Orange community. The far right have had precious little to campaign about in Liverpool for several years, failed in local electioneering and the idea of demonising Irish community events as somehow being associated with the now defunct IRA has proved an easy way of making links and networking with potential recruits. In the end these fascists are attacking everything they perceive to be ‘unBritish’ and as the Irish community would largely not describe itself in terms of ‘Britishness’ we are an obvious target, despite the relatively peaceful environment that Irish community parades experienced in Liverpool since the late 1990’s.

CXF member with Loyalist band member July 2012, Derry Club Liverpool

From what I’ve ever experienced of Irish community parades in Liverpool, they have neither been sectarian or racist in nature. In fact, any Irish parades I’ve ever witnessed have either been of a cultural nature (St Patrick’s Day etc) or Commemorative/campaigning. For instance Irish flute bands in Liverpool over the years have the led the Striking Dockers march in Liverpool 1997, annually led the Merseyside May Day March, countless marches supporting Irish Unity, remembering the Irish Hunger Strikers of 1981, or supporting anti racist (Anthony Walker March) and antifascists demonstrations. Of course, Irish flute bands have been to the fore over the last 15 years in ensuring the legacy of James Larkin, Liverpool Irish Trade Unionist, is remembered to this day. So it would seem ironic that given the dedication of members of the Irish community in supporting all progressive events in Liverpool over the years and Irish community street presence being the focus of attempted attacks by racists and fascists, I am now embarrased to say, that sections of the broader Labour/Left  in Liverpool are hinting that the actual victims of racist and fascist abuse are somehow to blame for their own predicament? No you heard it right, the Labour/Left is not expressing concern about a minority community in this city that has been targeted for racist and sectarian abuse by fascists and the loyalist/Orange community, but instead  blaming the presence of peaceful and legal Irish community parades/marches for stoking up sectarianism and the old ‘orange vs green’ battle. I’m flabbergasted to say the least and I’m sure you are too.

But this is not new to us as members of the Irish community in Liverpool. A section of the Liverpool Labour Movement has always had protestant/orange roots that it never really managed to shake off, for example, exemplified  by Liverpool Militant during the 1980’s which would avoid discussing the ‘Irish Question’ for fear of alienating some its supporters and activists and more surprisingly, the actor Ricky Tomlinson often seen as being left wing, is a prime example of one coming from a Protestant/Orange working class  background who always supported Loyalism/Ulster Unionism and remains so to this day. I really do feel embarrassed for having to highlight this whispers and information that I am now hearing and that has been confirmed to me by emails.

In simple terms, those in the labour/left  in Liverpool involved in this way of thinking should really be ashamed of themselves. They really do need to be outed for what they are i.e bedfellows of fascists and racists by default, and by not showing support for members of the Irish community who have been the victims of fascists and loyalists they can neither call themselves anti-racists or antifascists. It is quite clear as I’ve outlined above that the  experience of Irish community parades/marches has been one of  racist attacks by fascists and members of the Loyalist/Orange community and not sectarian. How clear does this need to be stated? Historically, James Connolly, James Larkin and other great leaders of the Irish Labour Movement have been exasperated by the failure of the British Labour Movement to properly support Ireland. Sadly, today it seems that the Irish community in Liverpool can expect the same lack of support and that the British Labour Movement is well and truly integrated with the British State and its institutions.

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20 Responses to Irish community parades in Liverpool: Destroying the myth of sectarianism

  1. Uilliam Ó Muirgheasa says:

    I don’t know how much longer this will go on now, being from Liverpool myself and seeing Fascists make attacks on peaceful Irish Republican parades (which they have the absolute right to carry out) i think it wont be long before we see a backlash on the Orange marchers. (Rightly so, you can’t expect the Irish community to be pushed off the streets. It is not in the Irish nature and never has been. They are a dignified and defensive race and they have nothing but my full respect.) Also i am curious on whether Joe Anderson will cave in to all this, already the CXF, NWI and all other Fascist have planned to protest in Liverpool on the 3rd of November due to what they see as Joe Anderson allowed ‘IRA sympathisers were once again allowed the freedom to march through Liverpool’. Give me your thoughts, as they say one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter.

  2. theex says:

    Well said. If people don’t stand in solidarity with the marchers and instead let the fascists dictate who can march when, then you’ll soon find that those ‘non-sectarian’ things like anti-cuts protests, picket lines and occupations will be facing attacks and harrassment from fascists, as has happened in the recent past.

    Let’s not pretend the people attacking these marches are concerned law-abiding citizens of Liverpool, they are organised fascists and Loyalists with links to paramilitary groups. If people say that a march with flute bands is divisive, or will allow fascists to link up with people from the Lodge, then how about taking a political lead on things, changing the composition of the marches or reaching out to wider forces? Give ’em an inch…

  3. Miss1690 says:

    I GET LOADS OF THESE BUT THIS ONE MADE ME LAUGH 🙂 Liverpool Irish Blogger….

    Firstly, I would like to say I am
    Not
    Racist, homophobic! But I do not want IRA sympathisers walking in my city! You are all bringing history into it, and us demonstrating against them, what about years ago when we were getting, eggs, pepper, paint, glasses, glass bottles thrown at us, getting spat at! And yes our children who were walking also!!! And on our church parades, not just the 12th!! So before you all feel sorry for them, this is nothing to what we used to get! Getting locked in moorfields station so we wouldn’t get attacked!! Oh and just to let you know!! I DON’T WATCH JEREMY KYLE, I HAVE 2 jobs, like most who are in the orange institution! calling us scruffy, we didn’t come from the bogside, throwing piss out over the varander!! Some were dragged up! We were BROUGHT UP!!! Look at the old Netherfield road pics, nobody scruffy there! Can’t say much for the other side!!! You didn’t come from our city, but feel the need to call us scruffy! Look closer to home knobhead.

    • Sean Chaislean says:

      Ha ha ha ha what a pile of shite from miss sixty nine. Belfast in the 1960’s, catholic churches attacked by loyalists, catholics petrol bombed in their own homes by loyalists. In the 1990’s, Pupils from Notre Dame catholic college Liverpool spat at and insulted with anti catholic remarks by big tough hard men, and the letters UVF painted on the schools walls. A catholic woman in Belfast in 1998 has her 3 sons murdered, the loyalists didn’t give a shit that her boyfriend was protestant. 2 jobs? got to be on the fiddle. Nothing wrong with coming from the bogside, I would rather wake up to the fresh smell of cowshit every morning instead of you lot waking up to the smell of wacky backy and Merseyside Police raiding yer homes that yer rent, helped by the tax contributions from us hard working irish. Don’t feel sorry for us! hah, don’t feel sorry for you lot, yer shower of benefit spongers.

      • STACEY HALL says:

        “she keeps me amused no end lol!……Liverpool Irish Blogger”

        Go and get a bath you scruff!!!! Bogside gob on you an all!! Bet your under a false name aswell, cause none of you want to show your true identities! Your lot killed more than anyone, don’t try and hide it only makes you look more of a dick than you already are! Go back to Ireland then and work, you love it so much, fuck off back. THIS IS ENGLAND DIVVY A PRODESTANT COUNTRY!!!! GID SAVE OUR QUEEN!!! You will never have what we have, and that kills the lot of you, you all hide behind it, but it fuckin kills you all….. NO SURRENDER

      • STACEY HALL says:

        “she keeps me amused no end lol!……Liverpool Irish Blogger”

        Go and get a bath you scruff!!!! Bogside gob on you an all!! Bet your under a false name aswell, cause none of you want to show your true identities! Your lot killed more than anyone, don’t try and hide it only makes you look more of a dick than you already are! Go back to Ireland then and work, you love it so much, fuck off back. THIS IS ENGLAND DIVVY A PRODESTANT COUNTRY!!!! GOD SAVE OUR QUEEN!!! You will never have what we have, and that kills the lot of you, you all hide behind it, but it fuckin kills you all….. NO SURRENDER

  4. TOM BELL says:

    At the end of the day boys and girls, its as simple as this. If the orange lodge with their many UFV supporters (the uvf who also murdered innocent people) can march through the streets of Liverpool, then as a Liverpool born person of Irish Immigrant parents, then I can march through the streets of Liverpool as well. Its got sod all to do with 1690 or history, its the lodge as usual tryin to control who marches in Liverpool and who doesn’t. And as usual, when us irish try to march for whatever reason, we’re accused of being terrorists. If i’m a terrorist supporter, then I would love to see the proof. Manchester, bombed by the IRA, but has a St Patricks Day Parade every year. Liverpool, a city that has links with Ireland stretching back over 200 yrs, but can we march through the streets of Liverpool, NO, WHY, because in Liverpool we’re supposed to be terrorist supporters. How many people in Liverpool do you see walking around visibly showing an IRA Tattoo, now, how many people do you see visibly displaying a UVF Tattoo, how many, PLENTY. Toxteth was mentioned by someone, yes, the Combined Ex Forces and North West Infidels trying to get people of ethnic minorities to back them up against us Irish, but 2 days after the recent irish march in Liverpool, the North West Infidels were calling Toxteth “the boil on merseysides arse”, (check their facebook account). As for us irish bringing in busloads of people from other cities, well, the lodge have been doing it for yrs in Liverpool. Yes, we would need more than 2 bus loads of people to take on the lodges, ha ha ha but the lodge would need plenty more to stop me and others marching through the streets of Liverpool because its as simple as this. I was born in Liverpool, i’m of irish decent and proud of it and if I want to march through the streets of Liverpool with other irish people, I will do so and no one will stop me.

  5. Macca says:

    Sean why don’t you learn English you tosser! And we do work actually, we were not dragged up like you, calling us scruffy go and look at yourself you fuckin mongrel. We wernt brought up scruffy either, not like your bogside family throwing piss out the windows on Gerard st years ago. I pay my taxes as do many, as people say, you can fuckin smell your lot a mile away and it’s true, all map of Ireland faces, scruffy flip flop wearing beer bellys, greasy hair and no style you all look like extras on jezza! see that fella playing the base drum! head and shoulders needed on that! This is Liverpool England not Ireland! Do your speeches back there and FUCK OFF!! The famines over!!!!!

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