Orange Order Changes Discussion Policy

The Orange Order has changed its institutional policy on discourse with residents’ groups regarding contentious parades.

A senior figure in the Order has announced its members are no longer forbidden from discussing parading issues with residents' associations.

"Flexibility" has been the key word today, as the Orange Order prepares for Saturday’s parade through Belfast to mark the centenary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland decided formally in March that "flexibility be allowed over engagement at a local level".

Recently, the Order had refused to engage with the Carrick Hill residents’ group, following tensions which flared up between unionists and nationalists over the summer.

Yesterday, Mervyn Gibson, the county grand chaplain of the Orange Order, said in future issues regarding parade routes could be openly discussed with nationalist residents groups.

David McNarry, who is a former assistant grand master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said: "The grand lodge has empowered any district, putting forward a reasonable case to enter into discussions on a localised basis on local issues, to do so if it feels comfortable."

The independent MLA added: "The best people to do this are the people on the ground."

The announcement follows problems which arised during the summer, when a loyalist band marched and played music outside St Patrick’s Church in north Belfast’s Donegal Street.

The Parades Commission has ruled that, during Saturday’s parade, only hymns are to be played as while bands pass the Catholic church.

The Commission has also ordered that no loyalist supporters shall be allowed on that section of the route. The number of nationalist protestors permitted has been limited to 150.

Reverend Mervyn Gibson said making sure the parade passed off peacefully was the priority.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

29 April 2019
Business Groups Welcome New Talks To Restore Institutions
Business groups in Northern Ireland have welcomed the new political talks process due to begin next week to restore the Assembly and government institutions.
31 October 2018
Secretary Of State To Meet With NI Parties On Thursday
The Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley has confirmed she will meet with political parties to discuss a possible return to the power-sharing Executive on Thursday 01 November.
21 September 2018
Ulster Bank Resolves Online And Mobile Accounts 'Technical Glitch'
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has apologised after thousands of Ulster Bank customers were locked out of their online and mobile bank accounts this morning due to a "technical glitch". In the early hours of Friday, customers reported trouble attempting to access their online banking services.
13 October 2017
Met Office Issues Yellow Warning For Wind
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for wind in Northern Ireland. The warning has been put in place on Monday, 16 October, and Tuesday, 17 October. Gusts of up to 60mph are expected some areas and heavy rain is also expected which may cause delays on the roads. Driver are being urged to take care.
08 May 2019
Rise In Number Of NI GPs
The number of GPs per head of population in Northern Ireland is reportedly on the rise, despite figures falling elsewhere in the UK. Findings from the Nuffield Trust, which looked at GPs working both full and part-time in the region, revealed there are almost six more doctors per 100,000 people than 10 years ago, as first reported by the BBC.