OO 'will work to prevent violence'

Published Wednesday, 09 July 2014
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The Orange Order has said it can't guarantee protests over the Parades Commission's ruling will be free from violence, but that it will work to do all in its power to prevent disorder.

OO 'will work to prevent violence'
Senior Orange members held an emergency meeting on Wednesday night. (© UTV)

Senior Orangemen from across Northern Ireland held an emergency meeting to discuss the Parades Commission's Ardoyne ruling and its plans for the "graduated response".

The meeting comes after unionist politicians pulled out of talks held to find a solution to the parading issue over the determination.

In response to the decision to restrict three Ligoniel lodges from marching past the Ardoyne shops on the Twelfth, unionist, loyalist and Orange leaders pledged a "graduated response".

So far they have refused to disclose what that response entails.

Around 100 district masters of the order gathered in Tamnamore Orange Hall on Wednesday night to discuss the details of that response.

Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, Drew Nelson said: "This is being held to explain, discuss and agree a course of action with our members over the coming weeks and months.

"We are not revealing the details, but it will involve protests which will be legal and peaceful and no one in the community needs to have any apprehension about what's going to happen.

"The graduated response is something that will involve the wider unionist family and this meeting is about the part the Orange institution will play in highlighting the inequalities and iniquities of the present system of regulating parades."

Any protest that we organise will be controlled by us and if anyone has an idea of violence, law-breaking or disorder in their mind they need to stay away from our protests, because we don't want you at them. It will undermine our cause if there is disorder.

Drew Nelson, Orange Order

Asked what guarantees he could give that there will be no violence, he responded: "The Secretary of State can't guarantee that, the Chief Constable can't guarantee that and the Orange institution can not guarantee there will be no violence.

"But we will play our part in creating the conditions where the possibility of violence is absolutely minimised and we will do everything in our power to prevent it.

"What I will say - particularly to any young Protestants - if it is in your mind to go out and lift a stone or a bottle, or engage in any type of disorderly conduct, don't do it.

"Because you will be falling into a republican trap.

"If you want to play a part in the struggle for the Protestant community in Northern Ireland go and join an Orange lodge, a political party or a band, but don't get engaged in violence or illegality."

He added: "There is a point of principle at stake here, we believe the Parades Commission is a body which is ruling continually against loyal orders and reacting to the threat of violence from republicanism and we have to protest against that."

Unionist leaders and the Orange Order are expected to reveal what their plans for their graduated response are on Thursday.

The meeting comes after the order met with Secretary of State Theresa Villiers in which they requested a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the parading issue.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Marc in Dublin wrote (200 days ago):
@Nonbigot, why do you think you wouldn't be treated equal? Of course you would. We don't discriminate because of religion. It doesn't matter what religion you are here. Citizens of Ireland are all treated equal. Christians, Muslims and Jewish. You will be represented in the Dail. An all ireland is best for us all on this island.
John in Newtownabbey wrote (201 days ago):
Read this headline and wondered if if was April Fool's Day.
Frustrated in Ex pat America wrote (201 days ago):
Graduated response ? A veiled threat , if you dont want voilence dont protest , work it out with residents , year after year after year , grow up
Brian in Belfast wrote (201 days ago):
And then they'll wash their hands of it and walk way when it starts like they always do.
Nonbigot in Lurgan wrote (201 days ago):
No one can garantee there will be no violence, neither loyalist or nationalist, the members of the OO will do what they are ask, as will the R/groups, it's the hanger on's on both sides that cause most of the trouble, I'm a Unionist and sometimes I wonder why, the British would get rid of us tomorrow and I don't trust the Irish goverment to treat as equal partners in an All Ireland, so I vote to stay in a Union that doesn't really want us.
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