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NORTHERN IRELAND 12 Jul 2013 Protestants Commemorate Battle of the Boyne

Northern Ireland’s 2013 marching season gets underway in early July, ending with a national holiday that commemorates the Batt

July 12, 2013 - NULL

NORTHERN IRELAND 12 Jul 2013 Protestants Commemorate Battle of the Boyne

Northern Ireland's 2013 marching season gets underway in early July, ending with a national holiday that commemorates the Battle of the Boyne. Thousands of Protestant Orangemen will parade in and around Belfast, an event which never fails to provoke resentment in the barricaded Catholic quarters of the city. This year's marches are of particular concern due to widespread Irish Republican sentiment that the Good Friday peace agreement is failing, and that their political representatives are incapable of restoring Ulster to Ireland. Unionists are equally disillusioned, and rioted for days

NORTHERN IRELAND 12 Jul 2013 Protestants Commemorate Battle of the Boyne

Northern Ireland's 2013 marching season gets underway in early July, ending with a national holiday that commemorates the Battle of the Boyne. Thousands of Protestant Orangemen will parade in and around Belfast, an event which never fails to provoke resentment in the barricaded Catholic quarters of the city. This year's marches are of particular concern due to widespread Irish Republican sentiment that the Good Friday peace agreement is failing, and that their political representatives are incapable of restoring Ulster to Ireland. Unionists are equally disillusioned, and rioted for days this year when Belfast's government decided against flying the British flag every day of the week.

Traditionally, the protestant Prince of Orange's defeat of the catholic James II in 1690 has been one of the most famous battles in Irish history. Bonfires are lit the night before "the Twelfth", and the aim is to make them as large and intimidating as possible. These fires are not complete without an Irish flag, a Glasgow Celtic football shirt or an effigy of the Pope on the top for a ceremonial burning.

Since the Good Friday Agreement was signed 13 years ago, Northern Ireland has been relatively calm. This year, however, the bonfires may prove to be more than symbolic. A new generation of Irish Republicans are emerging, who feel they've been sold out by the IRA and Sinn Fein's involvement in the peace agreement. There's been a recent surge in sectarian attacks, especially on the streets of Belfast, where barricades still divide two communities whose children won't talk to each other. (WRITTEN MAR 2013 BY NEWSAHEAD CORRESPONDENT LAWRENCE SMALLMAN)

KEYWORDS: Northern Ireland marching season, July 2013, Battle of the Boyne, Protestant Orangemen, Republicans, Good Friday Agreement, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Europe, Irish Republicans, peace agreement, IRA, Sinn Fein, Irish history, Glasgow Celtic

RELATED READING: Troubles Ahead (The Spectator - 12 Jan 2013) http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-week/leading-article/8814051/troubles-ahead/

Northern Ireland police hail 'major coup' after foiled IRA mortar plot (The Guardian - 4 Mar 2013) http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/mar/04/northern-ireland-police-ira-mortar

NI's dissident groups to unite under IRA banner (BBC 27 Jul 2012) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-19009272

Northern Ireland Parades Commission imposes restrictions on loyalist march (Guardian 26 Sep 2012) http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/sep/26/northern-ireland-parades-commission-march

Date written/update: 2013-07-12