Published Wednesday, 29 August 2012
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The motion put forward at Tuesday night's council meeting was opposed by Sinn Féin, the Alliance Party and an independent councillor - the SDLP were absent, but have also hit out at the plans.
The party's Brian Heading described the plans as "an under-hand gesture to undermine the Parades Commission" and added that it had the potential to increase tensions in the community.
But Sinn Féin's David Bell subsequently branded the SDLP "lazy" in their representation of nationalists in Lisburn.
"In their statement, they state that the SDLP will 'oppose this motion at all stages of council' which is clearly nonsense as they failed to turn up at the very first stage," he said.
"Given their absence from last night's full council meeting where this contentious motion was debated, many people are asking where were the SDLP council members?"
Mr Bell added: "There is only one full council meeting a month, yet they can't attend. Instead, they think it is acceptable to issue a press statement on the issue debated and decisions that were made.
"This is a lazy way to conduct politics and in no way passes for real representation."
According to the SDLP, all three representatives were away due to family commitments and were only told of the proposal about honouring the Orange Order at short notice.
There is extensive fundraising by the Orange Order and we believe that they would be worthy recipients of this award.
Paul Givan, DUP
Alliance group leader Brian Dornan insisted on his right to speak during the council meeting, as he claimed the DUP attempted to send the motion to committee without discussion on its merits.
"Seeking to confer the freedom of the city on the Orange Order is not justified at this time," he said.
"While the Order remains politically active with a restricted membership not enjoying widespread community support, it is inappropriate for Lisburn City Council to bestow our highest civic honour on them."
Paul Givan of the DUP said the party wanted to bring the issue forward as it believes the Orange Order to be an "invaluable" part of society in Northern Ireland.
"We recognise there will be some people that may have particular issues with this," the Lagan Valley MLA told UTV, highlighting that there are over 60 Orange halls in Lisburn.
"But we are bringing this motion forward because we recognise that the Orange Order are an invaluable part of our community - they are integral to it.
"We are building a shared future and the Orange Order, and those of that tradition, have a key role to play in that."