What if you held a parade and rioters came? Does love really mean never having to say you're sorry? What about Love Ulster? Ah, they're a sorry lot, but they'll not be apologizing.
This summer, Dublin could once again be treated to the Love Ulster parade, a marching celebration of all things sectarian. Last year, Willy Frazer organized a parade so that the Protestant victims of The Troubles could strut their stuff in Dublin, beating drums and waving the Union Jack, wearing Orange Order sashes as a reminder that Ireland is still divided and Love Ulster wants to keep it that way. Sinn Fein begged to differ, and the parade never quite took that first step. A riot broke out, shops were looted, bits of construction materials were thrown through windows, and forty-two protestors were arrested. Businesses saw trouble coming and they shut their doors. By the time it was over, they claimed EU10 million in lost sales and physical damages.
Why is Mr. Frazer trying again? Because Sinn Fein got trounced in the recent elections. In his mind, that means that the people of Ireland don't like Sinn Fein any more than he does, so they should also be in favor of his parade, just like he is. Flawless logic, there.
He has spoken to Garda representatives, who have told him that he can parade. The problem is, it's going to take a massive amount of manpower to police the parade. The bands and paraders will probably end up marching between cordons of gardai, which is not quite what the Love Ulster people had in mind. No one could see them, and what's the point of a parade if you've no audience?
The Love Ulster parade committee is going to think it over, in light of the advice from An Garda Siochana. They might want to think over something else while they're at it. Just because Sinn Fein lost seats in the last election doesn't mean that the people of Ireland have come to love the Orange Order and sectarianism. It doesn't mean that everyone in the Republic is happy about the partition of 1922, or that they don't want a united Ireland. Sinn Fein isn't particularly welcome, but that doesn't mean Love Ulster is about to be welcomed with open arms. Sorry.