The Orangist marches in Northern Ireland and the right to march.
The recent history of Northern Ireland has been dominated by sectarian violence. This violence has been particulary associated with the Orange Order (an exclusively Protestant organisation) and their determination, each July, to march through a Catholic area in the small town of Drumcree in County Armagh. The annual conflict over the march at Drumcree has become a microcosm of some of the wider political problems facing Ireland. This article examines the history of the Orange Order and their use of marches to assert political supremacy over Catholics. It demonstrates that the use of marches – as a way of both intimidating and provoking Catholics – is not new, but has its origins in the late eighteenth century. Moreover, the recent conflict over the right to march shows that many of the problems facing the people of Northern Ireland are not new.