It’s unfortunate that the problems in NI can be attributed to a much later period than “King Billy’s”" little war.
It has to be remembered that “Unionism” under some form or other has been the ruling elite in NI since partition the 1920’s. The cracks began to appear in the late 1980’s with the civil rights movement and the Unionist reactions at such places as Burntollet. All the “Troubles” as they are reffered to, are a result of the Unionist resistance to a form of civil rights common in the rest of the UK. The past system in NI was so ludicrous that my wife, living on the mainland had the vote before her father living in NI.
All the times of the troubles, Unionism was having a fairly easy ride, it was seen as upholding the original intention of partition, keeping NI within the British influence. All the time the IRA was trying to pull NI away from that position Unionism was in the ascendancy.
With the new situation and the peace process being seen to work, despite all the press “fortune telling” and the doom and gloom expressed by some, the current situation is a million times better than it was but, it has allowed police and the general population to focus on the actions of some on the fringes of Unionism. It is this focusing and the percieved loss of authority of the Orange Order that has resulted in the riots of recent days. Unionist have always been able to rely on their support by demonising the opposition, but, now the opposition has been “legitimised” and people; even some Unionists, are beginning to question the basis of this demonisation. The enevitable result is a loss of authority and, heaven forbid, the eventual possibility that somebody else may some day exercise rule over NI instead of them!
Overall you are witnessing the death throws of an anachranistic dynasty struggling to hold onto whatever degree of dwindling power it may have. The hold that Mr. (I refuse to call him reverend because that’s the one thing he isn’t) Paisley has will die with him. His is an organisation built on his own personal prejudice and, like many of its type will wither on the vine after his death. The Orange Order itself has outlived its time, similar to the KKK in America it will eventually become nothing more than a hiding place for the few idiots who still beleive in one sector of society being superior to another but it will be viewed by the vast majority of the public as a joke. The remainder, those that at present have a vested interest in territorial gains in the inner city will melt into the background to control the criminal activities, the drugs trade and other illegal money making schemes. They will simply become the gangsters of the modern day.
Eventually Ireland will return to the peaceful and wonderful island it really is and its people will live their lives as they should and as THEY want, either still as part of the UK or as part of Eire or even as an independant country in its own right.