Published Wednesday, 09 July 2014
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