Order prepares for biggest Irish march

Published Wednesday, 03 July 2013
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Final preparations are underway for the Orange Order's largest parade in the Republic of Ireland.

Order prepares for biggest Irish march
An Orange Hall in Donegal festooned with Union flags and portraits of the Queen. (© UTV)

Thousands of people are expected to flock to the seaside village of Rossnowlagh in Co Donegal for the demonstration this weekend.

It comes amid a recent resurgence of the Orange Order in the southern border counties.

Many within that section of the Ulster Protestant community say they felt trapped by history when they were left a few miles on the wrong side of the border by partition - but they kept their culture and traditions alive and now celebrate them with renewed confidence.

"Numbers-wise everything is on the increase in Donegal," said Alan Laird, Convoy Worshipful Master.

We have dual nationality and that's one thing we are very proud of - it's not something we hide from and our neighbours know in the locality and understands that there's also a Britishness to us

Alan Laird

"It's something that's hard to understand as actual Protestant numbers are probably falling, but we've gone from strength to strength.

"All the halls in the area are second to none. All the bands affiliated to us are doing well on the competition circuit. It's just good times to be an Orangeman in Donegal at the moment."

The Queen's visit to Dublin was seen by many Protestants as a statement that their culture is now accepted - and the Irish Government has also funded the building of new halls.

Sinn Féin TD Padraig MacLochlainn says it is important that the neighbouring communities strive to develop a better understanding of each other.

He added: "I never want to see a situation, as an Irish Republican and as a TD for Donegal, where those of the Protestant tradition, of the Ulster Scots tradition and of the Orange tradition, feel they have to keep their heads down.

"That's a key challenge for me, to always reassure them and reach out and I hope I've done that, I've tried to do it in the past and that's a key challenge for all of us."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Tommy Atkins in London, England wrote (482 days ago):
I am asking a straight forward and serious question. In Rossknowlagh, Do O.O. bandsmen urinate on the walls of Catholic churches as they have done in N Ireland?
Marty in Singapore wrote (483 days ago):
as a proud irish man I've absolutely no problem with this. Ireland is a great nation with a wide and range of citizens striving for a secular republic of equals.... One day we will all be united and free!
geography teacher in Belfast wrote (484 days ago):
Your sub-editor needs a geography lesson. Guess where the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland calls home?
Vee in Belfast wrote (484 days ago):
On 12 July in good weather Rossnowlagh is near to Paradise! If only the bands can keep the anti-Catholic attitudes out of it. If they do they will be welcome anywhere!
David in Belfast wrote (484 days ago):
I think the Protestant diaspora after partition might argue against Realistic/Anne's arguement for a new United Ireland, that plus that as far as I know the acceptance of the Ne Temere decrees have never been reversed does remain a concern. Now I maybe be wrong but church/state sponsored enforcment of child from mixed marriages being brought up as Catholic only is a lot more sectarian than some bunch of muppets with flutes. Realistic is right life is for living but it does getting boring when Protestants have to apolgise for existing, it may surprise a lot of people but most of us just want the normal things, paying our mortgages, going out, raising kids etc etc. Equality is a two way street just like respect.
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