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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: February 12, 2010 @ 11:52 am

    ‘Cultural apartheid’

    Pól Ó Muirí

    Stephen Moutray, DUP MLA and mentioned in dispatches yesterday, is quoted again in the local Northern press. Moutray, one of the DUP/Sinn Féin working group on parades, is critical of what he calls “cultural apartheid”, ie, the refusal of Portadown nationalists to allow the Orange Order to parade down the Garvaghy Road (Garbhachadh!). The DUP’s Nelson McCausland, the North’s Culture Minister, is also quoted in local press using the same phrase, “cultural apartheid”.

    Of course, Moutray, during the recent Irish-language row in Craigavon Borough Council – which includes Portadown – said:  “Where do we draw the lines in equality with such a diverse migrant population? Do we include languages like Portuguese, Polish, Lithuanian, Chinese or whatever? We’d need street signs the size of sandwich boards. It would be a total waste of ratepayers’ money.”

    Where indeed do we draw the lines in equality? If the DUP play a zero-sum game in terms of language, then why are they surprised when nationalists return the favour in terms of marches? And I am not suggesting that it is right that both should be matched up in some kind of cultural wrestling match.

    (I should mention that I taught an Irish class on the Garvaghy Road for a couple of years a long time ago. It is a small residential route and not exactly O’Connell Street. Using the main road into Portadown would actually make more sense for the Orange Order, given that it is larger.)

    • To accuse those who oppose the Drumcree parade of promoting ‘cultural apartheid’ is a gross and insulting distortion of the facts. The International Criminal Court defined apartheid as being inhumane acts ‘committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime’.
      The true origins of the apartheid regime in Northern Ireland can be traced at least as far back as June of 1795 when a Rev. George Maunsell called on his congregation ‘to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne in the true spirit of the institution’ by attending a sermon to be given by a Rev. Devine of the Established Church at Drumcree on Sunday the 1st of July. To see what happened next go to the orangecitadel.blogspot.com

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