Community Experiences of Sectarianism

This study explored community experiences and perceptions of sectarianism, based on in-depth qualitative research within five case study communities across Scotland. The insights obtained provide depth and context to other research about sectarianism, including quantitative survey and national criminal offending data.

12. Loyalist and Irish Republican processions (marches and parades)

12.1 We will say little about Loyalist and Irish Republican marches and parades[23] because these have been explored in one of the sister projects (Hamilton-Smith et al 2015). There was however a great deal of animosity expressed towards these events among our participants. A widely shared view was that community marches and parades that have the potential to be conflictual should have financial penalties imposed on their host organisations, be banned outright, or be moved away from busy public spaces. Some participants however commented that the parades themselves were not problematic: rather the more serious problem was those who tag along for the purpose of creating trouble. This has also been mentioned in previous research (NFO Social Research (2003: 13)).

12.2 Several participants suggested that Loyalist or Republican parades should be banned altogether, but some added that they would not feel the same way about, for instance, Boys Brigade, Gala Day parades or 'Heroes Return' parades. So, the feeling was confined largely to the processions that are perceived as traditional flash points for sectarian conflict.

12.3 One Edinburgh participant, asked why he felt that the conditions for sectarianism did not appear to exist in his community, said:

I think in our community as well we don't have the flash points every year, we don't have the parades either, so there is not that catalyst to make people build up to it, to build up any sort of awareness, hatred, aggression or anything.
(Man, Interview 3, Edinburgh)

12.4 A woman in the North Lanarkshire case study said, talking about both Republican and Loyalist parades:

It's because we have a youth club that's brimming at the seams, you can't crick [squeeze] people in. And then come up to March they just start disappearing because they all go to band practice and it's like it, you know, its encouraged in the area. Fuelled in the area.

You know, we work as a big group and they disappear so they're letting half the team down to do this ... and it isn't just Catholics it's the other part of the people who are not involved in the Order. It's, there's like people who will, you know, that are just in that area whose families are traditionally been involved in that and they'll never get out of it, regardless of whether they want to go or not they are going.
(Woman, Focus Group 1, Glasgow)

12.5 One participant, however, described his wish that the parades could be inclusive and celebratory, even if at the moment 'we are so far, far, far off from it':

But these things that appear on streets, whether it's a Hibs walk, or it's an Orange walk, I would love one day for an Orange walk to be almost like a Mardi Gras.
(Man, Interview 5, Glasgow)


Email: Linzie Liddell

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