Catholics insulted by loyalists

In an attempt to distance himself from his initial robust defence of the remarks of the Belfast Protestant evangelical minister Pastor James McConnell who described Muslims as heathen, satanic and spawned evil, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson said he believed the pastor "has the right to freedom of speech" but that he "would never seek to cause any insult to any section of our community".

Catholics insulted by loyalists

Really. May I remind Ms Robinson that the Catholic faith and faithful have been mocked and insulted by many in the unionist/Protestant community over decades and it continues to be tolerated.

Papal flags, in addition to Catholic religious statues, are now being set alight atop Orange bonfires, Orange Order ‘bands’ play sectarian tunes as they pass Catholic churches, Harryville church and its congregation have been subjected to a vile sectarian onslaught for many years, Catholic children at Holy Cross school were victims of the worst excesses of loyalist degeneracy and some Orange Order bandsmen have even taken to urinating against Catholic churches.

If this behaviour was aimed at any other religion anywhere else in the UK there would be an international outcry. In 2005 at the annual blessing-of-the-graves ceremony at Carnmoney graveyard in Newtownabbey County Antrim during ‘Cemetery Sunday’, loyalist worthies from the Rathcoole estate threatened to dig up Catholic graves and urinate on the corpses in retaliation for the PSNI rerouting the Orange Order’s Whiterock parade in Belfast.

The nationalist enclave of the Short Strand is under constant loyalist siege as so-called Union flag protesters engage in a most vulgar public display of tribal territoriality and domination, chanting sectarian anti-Catholic bile at their nationalist neighbours. Shades of Holy Cross all over again.

A more overt display of political, civic and moral bankruptcy would be difficult to imagine. The news that Ms Anna Lo, the Alliance Party MLA who has lived in Northern Ireland for 40 years and has recently been subjected to racist abuse, is considering leaving the North over sectarian abuse is an appalling indictment of the North’s sectarianism.

Tom Cooper

Templeville Road

Templeogue

Dublin 6w

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