Orange Order calls emergency meeting

Published Saturday, 05 July 2014
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The most senior member of the Orange Order has called an emergency meeting of all County Grand and District Masters in Northern Ireland to decide how they will respond to the restricting of a parade in north Belfast.

Edward Stevenson, Grand Master of the Orange Lodge of Ireland, was speaking at the annual Twelfth gathering at Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal.

"This will take place over the coming days," he said.

"I would also reiterate my appeal, and that of the Institution, for any associated protests to be both lawful and peaceful. Violence should not prevail."

He also said: "As we look forward to the 17 Twelfth demonstrations across Northern Ireland next weekend, we are also mindful of recent political developments following another disastrous decision by the Parades Commission regarding our brethren in Ligoniel, Belfast.

"This followed on from the shambolic and ludicrous determination preventing Orangemen from dedicating an arch in memory of an esteemed past member in Portadown."

Grand Lodge is fully supportive of the united graduated response by unionism to this latest constraint on our legitimate cultural expression and traditions.

Edward Stevenson, Ireland Grand Master

"Numerous other parades across Northern Ireland, as we know, also face continuing intransigent and deliberate opposition by republicans.

"We cannot underestimate the seriousness of the situation but there is no doubt that unionism is stronger when it is united and speaking with one voice."

Mr Stevenson also invited the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins to next year's Twelfth demonstration in Co Donegal.

"You will be made most welcome here in Rossnowlagh, President Higgins, and I trust you will accept the genuine invitation in the spirit of good will and neighbourliness in which it is intended.

"In your inaugural speech, you spoke of a "common shared future built on the spirit of co-operation", about "equality" and "respect for all".

"What better way to make such words a reality by reaching out in a hand of friendship to the minority Protestant community in the Republic; the symbolism of which would have positive ramifications beyond the boundaries of County Donegal."

Thousands attended the Twelfth celebrations on the north-west coast on Saturday with around 50 Orange lodges and their supporters taking part.

Bands from all over Ulster, Ireland and further afield participating in the annual gathering at Rossnowlagh.

The Twelfth has been held in Co Donegal since the 1900s and has taken place in Rossnowlagh every year since 1978.

The event is significant in that it is the only Twelfth parade held in the Republic of Ireland.

There are 44 Orange halls in the border counties of Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan and Leitrim.

However, the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has members in nine counties in the Republic.

© UTV News
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36 Comments
DM in Belfast wrote (54 days ago):
@John in Glengormly. "No hate rid in your comments"..... and clearly no spell check either! shocking!!
Meself in 1634 wrote (55 days ago):
Very nice of the Orange Order to invite the President of Ireland to Ireland ... did they forget that they left Donegal behind when the country was partitioned? The decision of the Parades Commission is in place (and is law) only because there is no dialogue between the parties. Put on your big boy pants and go and talk about it!
Colin G in Ballynahinch wrote (55 days ago):
Here's a thought for the OO and bear in mind a precedent has been set (so You have someone to blame). Do a Gareth Brooks two parades cancelled therefore we cancel all parades - then we have a happy Norn Iron
JJ in Belfast wrote (55 days ago):
@me You sound like a real fool with your stupid personal comments on here.
annie in newtownabbey wrote (55 days ago):
I respect FM and OO only people in Britain right now sticking up for loyalists rights the 12th of July is our heritage it happens once a year and people in this country r chipping away at it every year my kids walk in the orange lodge every year they love it. The 12th of July is a family tradition a great day out for all the family everyone is welcome i dont no y some people r trying to ruin a day were thousands of people enjoy?!
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