Drumcree Orangeman: ‘Grassroots loyalists feel no-one is sticking up for them’

A former senior Orangeman has said that politicians telling people on the streets to go home will only take care of the problem “for a very short time”.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 7:00 am
David Jones at Drumcree

David Jones told the News Letter that what really needs to happen is a resolution of the “underlying feeling” of disaffection among loyalist communities.

He was speaking after a trio of un-notified loyalist parades took place, understood to be in protest at the Bobby Storey funeral decision (and also likely to be linked to the NI Protocol).

Formerly Portadown district secretary – a post he held for about 14 years, including at the time of the late 1990s Drumcree standoffs – today Mr Jones is an ordinary rank-and-file member of the institution.

“As most people will realise, it’s just the feeling of the groundswell of unionist opinion at the minute,” he said of the street disorder.

“As I’ve said to people before, it’s not entirely surprising.

“The people themselves on the ground feel they no longer have representation at the Assembly – nobody’s listening to them.

“The very sad thing is whenever people on the ground feel that, then they really have no alternative but to put their feet on the ground...

“I know there’s a lot of resentment to do with the chief constable at the minute.

“The grassroots unionists, loyalists, don’t feel there’s anybody else really sticking up for them.”

Meanwhile a marching bands activist, whose name the News Letter is witholding, said that the bandsmen at each of the three locations (Markethill, Portadown, Ballykeel) were drawn from a variety of outfits, rather than being from a single flute band.

As to whether there will be further such demonstrations, he told the News Letter: “Yes – there are going to be more un-notified parades.

“This is organic, there’s no centralised leadership here, and it’s growing organically.

“People want to go out and express and show how they feel.

“I’ve no doubt whatsoever that as these parades do happen, the police are going to try and make an example of it.

“They are going to come in and try and arrest people – and that is going to fuel the fire.”

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