The Orange Order and its Catholic counterparts

Submitted by Matthew on 10 January, 2011 - 3:46

Rioting has ceased in Belfast, but cases of intimidation of workers by Orange hooligans are still occurring. In the shipyards and docks Catholic workers are still being driven out.

Non-Catholic clergy are making strenuous efforts to restrain such intimidation. They visit areas where intimidation occurs and seek to restore tolerance.

In the South the pogroms have also ceased. Labour and other bodies have passed strong protest resolutions.

Three hundred families burn out and from 500 to 700 workers deprived of employment - those are the nett results of the Belfast pogroms. Rioting has ceased and the courts are busy trying cases arising out of the disturbances. Sentences are lenient and may be further reduced if there is no renewal of trouble. Dockers who are Catholics have lost their jobs. Every Catholic out of 400 in the Shipyards, has lost his job. The Unions are taking up the matter with the Shipping Companies. Strong resolutions of protest against pogroms, North and South, have been passed by various Labour bodies. The National Executive of the Irish Trade Union Congress "deprecated in the strongest terms the attacks on life and property recently witnessed throughout the country engendered by sectarian bitterness and animosity; point out that these sectarian feuds by perpetuating the memories of past dissensions weaken and divide the power of the working class; call on all trade unionists to close up the ranks and end these dissensions by the promotion of friendly and fraternal relations, substituting co-operation and charitable toleration in the cause of Labour, instead of hatred in the interest of exploitation and reaction."

Similar resolutions were passed by many labour bodies. The EC of the Irish National Union of Woodworkers requests, in addition, that:

"Any acts or reprisals on the religious minority in the Twenty-Six Counties should meet with the greatest condemnation from the organised trade union movement in the country, even to the point of taking organisational measures against any member or Union taking part in such activities."

Now that the rioting is over, the bigots on both sides are trying to exploit the situation. In a letter to the public press (July 30), Mr. Francis O'Reilly, Knights of Columbanus leader, attacks Protestants for their responsibility for the pogrom. The Knights of Colombanus, of which Mr. O'Reilly is a leader, are the Catholic counterpart of the Masonic Order. If Orangemen victimise Catholics, they can point to the Knights of Colombanus as a body that victimises Protestants. (Surely Mr. O'Reilly has not forgotten the case of Mr. Bradshaw of Sligo.) A return to peace is hampered, not helped, by the interference of those who thrive on sectarian differences.

From Republican Congress, [the paper of the Stalinist-influenced segment of the Republican movement], 3 August 1935.

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