It’s that time of year again and the traditional burning of the Irish flag would appear to be as popular as ever with our friends up north as thousands of loyalists try to intimidate their neighbours and convince themselves that they still run things north of the border.
Of course if thousands of people south of the border gathered nationwide every year to burn Northern Ireland flags there would be universal condemnation and outrage (mainly from the British government and Charlie Flanagan) but the other way round is perfectly fine.
We travelled up to Belfast to sample the festive atmosphere and asked leading local Orangeman Norman Winterbottom if he didn’t think that maybe the whole burning flags thing was an outdated and unpleasant reminder of dark days gone by and if the Orange Order might consider asking members and supporters within their community to discontinue the practice in the spirit of peace and reconciliation. He told us “Get the fuck home you dirty fenian bastards.”
Under strict archaic rules, members of the Orange Order are not only banned from marrying Catholics, they’re also not allowed to enter a Catholic Church anywhere in the world. Anyone caught committing such an outrageous act is kicked out of the organisation immediately and forced to spend the rest of their lives living in the 21st century with the rest of civilization.
Despite all this, Derry loyalist Nelson McSwiggan told us the 12th of July is simply about celebrating Protestant culture in Northern Ireland and said it’s not fair to label the Orange Order as bigots.
“That’s just republican propaganda. Look at the crowds and the smiles on people’s faces. This is a celebration of our heritage and our culture. And not a catholic, darkie or queer in sight.”