Orange Order rates relief: £8.12m. (Twaddell policing costs: £24m, and counting… )

At the NI Assembly on Monday, Christopher Stalford received an answer to an assembly question directed at Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, the Finance Minister, as to the rates relief statistics for Orange Halls.

The response tells us that since April 2006, the Orange institution has saved an estimated £8.12 million by being exempt from paying rates.

OO Rates

During this time, of course, the DUP used the much criticised ‘Petition of Concern’ mechanism to block a Sínn Fein bill which would have enabled amateur sports clubs (such as Football, Rugby, GAA and others) to be exempt from paying rates.

While many of the signatures on the DUP PoC were tippexed and replaced with others; this did, in fact, stop any chance of this exemption becoming possible.

 

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  • Ciaran74

    I’d like to see the proposal and acceptance of that relief agreement. Extraordinary.

  • Skibo

    My thoughts exactly. The organiser of a parade to take place on the public highway should have to place a bond with the DRD (similar to that of contractors when they carry out any works on the road). This bond could be claimed back less any costs for policing or cleaning or replacing any articles damaged. This should include any damages to private property emanating form the parade or their followers.
    One year is all it would take to stop all divisive parades. The reduction in policing costs would allow the PSNI to provide a higher level of policing for all.

  • Granni Trixie

    I’m only guessing but is it possible that the OO has charitable status? If so they would be exempt from paying taxes on any profits, what I’m not sure of is this a requirement for rates exemption.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    I understand that in Scotland the OO has to pay towards the policing costs its event incur. Perhaps the OO in NI is just too sacred and the repercussions of applying regularity to them are too frightening to consider. Or maybe we’re just too scared of the OO.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    And another question is whether charitable status exempts it from any policing costs incurred.

  • Msiegnaro

    Another anti Orange thread where the sluggerites can get aroused and soak up in an orgy of hatred towards all things related to the Loyal Orders.

  • eireanne3

    on what grounds would the orange order have charitable status?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    In Msiegnaro’s world any questioning of his shibboleths are guarantees of hatred.

  • Gopher

    Orange Order rates exemption should end.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    That will be a matter for the Charity Commission. Their articles & constitution will be the deciding factor but not their fundraising and donating activities.

  • ted hagan

    Mentally challenged organisation?

  • ted hagan

    Never mind that. The cost to the taxpayer is scandalous.

  • Skibo

    I wonder how the rates relief will continue after the report on the bars operated within Orange halls that do not have licences?

  • Thomas Girvan

    This post has come just in time to coincide with the annual Orange Hall burning down season.
    Maybe republicans should consider having the Orange removed from the national flag.
    It was supposed to represent reconciliation along with white representing peace.
    It could be replaced with grey to symbolise the ashes of the destroyed halls.

  • chrisjones2

    I agree…along with the exemption for all the bogus SF front charities, Friends Of Organisations, Historical Groups etc and the grants to those groups paid from public monies

  • chrisjones2

    It does have and other lodges and districts are deemed as charitries

  • chrisjones2

    Great. Stick it in a manifesto and get elected then persuade Stormont to pass an Act and get cross community support

  • Before anyone thinks that it is only the OO that saves money under this exemption, the exemption also saves money for the Masons and Hibernian clubs. Should someone propose to end it for the OO they must also accept that other offshoots of the Desperate Dan Clubs will also lose out. As to Ernekid’s idea I would be thoroughly behind it (as long as all events are treated the same, whether it be Saint Patrick’s Day in Belfast or the Halloween parade in Derry).

  • Ciaran74

    When were the last 2 Orange hall’s destroyed?

  • Msiegnaro

    Haha, that actually did make me laugh 🙂

  • Msiegnaro

    Lets be sensible here Ted, it takes two to tango.

  • Ciaran74

    Agree. Bona fides support only. Bonfire ‘grants’? All we’re doing there is keeping a Chinese flag producer in business.

  • Msiegnaro

    5th and 14th of June as well as a suspicious device being planted at one hall on 28th May.

  • Msiegnaro

    Should St. Patrick events also be invoiced, what is the net or deficit amount at present from Orange events across NI? Most are profitable is my understanding.

  • Ciaran74

    Grand Lodge website says October 2014 and prior, Inver, 2011. Do you mean damaged as ‘planting’ a device and/or partial damage is not destruction?

  • Msiegnaro

    Come on Mr. you’re from Fermanagh – when has that ever happened there at the Twelfths?

  • Msiegnaro

    Are there now acceptable levels of violence against Orange halls?

  • Msiegnaro

    The Orange have done nothing wrong here, what price for liberty?

  • Jollyraj

    Interesting idea re the invoicing for costs incurred.

    Do you have a formula to calculate the allocation of costs among the OO, the particular Concerned Residents Collectives, and the SF activists who agitate for confrontations?

  • Ciaran74

    No. Absolutely not. It’s an activity for morons. And your suggestion that I may be reads like a distractive counter rather than a direct answer to my initial question about a season of burning halls. Although it may be seasonal, most activity does happen during the summer for obvious reasons, whether positive or negative. Your answers point to loose exaggeration for effect.

  • Ciaran74

    Could we start with rates??

  • Skibo

    So you are quite happy to continue the spending vast amounts on policing parades when 90% are for one community. Jees why am I even asking this? Sure i know you think any amount of money is worth spending to show Protestant ascendancy.

  • Skibo

    Well if there was no parade, there would be no protest. Its not a case here of which came first, the chicken or the egg!

  • Skibo

    Being a charitable organisation would open their books to the Charity Commission. Would that cover loans to prevent Protestant land falling into Nationalist hands?

  • babyface finlayson

    According to the Charity Commission Belfast Orangefest is a registered charity and one of the groups it helps is ethnic minorities.
    I did not know that.

  • Msiegnaro

    What is your point?

  • eireanne3

    according to the charities commission the “Charity” has to satisfy one of a series of criteria and must be of public benefit.

    Here’s one example of The “public benefit” test
    “In determining whether an institution provides or intends to provide public benefit, regard must be had to⎯ (a) how any⎯ (i) benefit gained or likely to be gained by members of the institution or any other persons (other than as members of the public), and (ii) detriment incurred or likely to be incurred by the public”,
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nia/2008/12/pdfs/nia_20080012_en.pdf
    It looks as though expenses incurred policing Twadell Orangeham Common could be construed as detriment incurred by the public.
    Is there a lawyer in the house?

  • eireanne3

    are you quite sure the orange have squeaky clean hands over twadell orangeham common? Or have they incurred policing costs that are a detriment to the public?

  • eireanne3

    indeed the matter was even raised in Stormont a couple of years ago. Mr Robinson accused Mr Allister of “secretly” selling land to republicans in Co Fermanagh.
    https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/no-pope-here-never-ever-ever/

  • Ciaran74

    Were there 2 OH’a destroyed this month?

  • Surveyor

    Would it be anywhere near £8.12 million pounds, or if you factor in Twaddell as well, £32.12 million pounds?

  • Paddy Reilly

    I looked this up some time ago. I seem to remember that the Orange Order is not a Charity (How could something so overtly political be charitable?) but that some of its activities are charitable, and are assessed separately.

  • Jarl Ulfreksfjordr

    Football clubs pay for any policing inside their grounds. That is why clubs have moved to stewarding within the grounds, thus reducing the numbers of police that were once called upon.

    Policing outside is a public purse responsibility. It is a dangerous precedent to set to charge members of the public to use the public space, both individually, and in the case you suggest, collectively.

    Where would you start/stop?

    Concerts at Titanic Quarter require police to manage traffic flow in and out: should concert promotors be charged? The Belfast Marathon requires policing: should the Council pay? Should Stormont have billed the Giro: a charge per bike perhaps?

    Gay Pride, Belsonic, etc etc: all to dig deep into their pockets?

    What about groups that don’t have the resources to pay? Are they to be denied the right to make their case in a public space? Perhaps you believe in ‘don’t pay, no say’? A rather nasty step for a liberal democracy to take.

    Of maybe it’s just the OO you want to target? That’d be nice. Hand it an easy propaganda win as the target for a change to accessing the public square. Play to all its perceptions of being hard done by. That should go well.

  • Granni Trixie

    I posted one if not two comments which have ‘disappeared’. How can I find out why this has happened – otherwise how can I learn from my mistakes……or understand censorship, sluggerstyle?

  • chrisjones2

    Even morons have rights …including not to be labelled as moron s

  • chrisjones2

    or have the residents who stop them marching? the parades commission?

  • chrisjones2

    Do the Counils pay the police then?

  • chrisjones2

    Great. Stick it in a manifesto and get elected then persuade Stormont to pass an Act and get cross community support

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I don’t think he’s talking about the well behaved rural twelfths.

    The people in places like Belfast and Glasgow would love for those parades to be like the respectful rural parades, but they’re not, are they?

    What’s the point in answering ‘Fermanagh’ when the accusation is clearly ‘Belfast’?

    Apples and Oranges.

  • Glenn

    Amateur sports clubs which include the GAA get 80% exemption. How does this stand with the millions the GAA makes in profit each year and the tens of millions it will get of public money when they get Casement built, of ever???

    “Rates (NI) Order 1977. At present, amateur sports clubs can avail themselves of rates relief of 80%. To qualify for the relief, an amateur sports club must comply with the requirements of article 31 and, in particular, fall within the definition of a prescribed recreation, as outlined in legislation”.

  • Brendan Heading

    I do not agree with this, not least because it would be widely seen for what it is – an attempt to suppress Orange parades by the back door.

    It would also punish the vast majority of Orange parades which are peaceful and pass off without any problems. Furthermore, it would punish the organisers of other events in the city centre, such as the Pride parade, Amnesty’s parades, cycling/sports events etc. where the policing is generally provided for free.

    Premiership football clubs are different, as these are large, profit making bodies.

    This problem can be solved in other ways, but it’s going to take time.

  • Sherdy

    Is it really charity when the Orangefests help minority communities to leave the country?

  • Skibo

    Anyone remember a business man recently challenging the Charity Commission for seizing his two property businesses where he had changed the rules to allow his businesses to be considered as charities and not pay tax.

  • Skibo

    I thought it was the clubs that received the exemption and as they are non-profit organisations that would make sense. Alot of it is tied into providing youth clubs.

  • Skibo

    And Churches attacked. What about the Catholic Church that has to accept the flying of sectarian flags within its grounds?

  • Skibo

    I would expect a POC would be used to stop anything like that. Did the DUP not use a POC to prevent the rates relief being extended to sports groups?

  • ted hagan

    Tango? Is that an Orange in joke?

  • Thomas Barber

    “It would also punish the vast majority of Orange parades which are
    peaceful and pass off without any problems. Furthermore, it would punish the organisers of other events in the city centre, such as the Pride parade, Amnesty’s parades, cycling/sports events etc. where the policing is generally provided for free”

    No-one other than the loyal orders parade over three thousand times a year and they dont seem to care what you I or anyone else thinks of that over excessive number. I know the vast majority of parades pass off peacefully but they still need policed and they do still cause disruption to everyone else. Why should this be allowed to continue.

  • Ciaran74

    Just for clarity my mentioned moron’s are the arsonists.

  • Ciaran74

    Attacks on anyone or anything is wrong. Agitating with flags is wrong. I work with a selection of parade/12th participants and they are happy for a rethink on flags – 2 weeks on lamp posts, removed, and only private property any other time. 200 metre exclusion to churches, clubs, schools.

  • Jarl Ulfreksfjordr

    I’d be interested to see evidence that the police charge local public bodies to provide cover for events. I don’t recall ever seeing financial receipts appearing within the published annual police reports.

    Ek appears to have that evidence though, he confidently states that “local council or DCAL” would “factor in the policing costs in the planning of events”.

  • eireanne3

    the parafes commission are a legal entity and make their resolutions accordingly. if the orange order refuse to abide by them . . . . . .

  • Skibo

    Ciaran, that would be acceptable to all I believe. In some villages in the country a 200m exclusion would be a problem as the villages are not long enough lol. The two weeks time span should actually solve all problems. We can all bear it for that long.

  • Ciaran74

    Hadn’t thought of the rural implications – what a selfish city slicker! The debate was in Portadown so there is hope. They were particularly amused that my 200m exclusion zone was based on what the Amsterdam city council did when reorganising the coffee shop trade. We’re exploring a cross community field trip……

  • Skibo

    Have you got your name down for it? In the country, in most places the amount of flags and the time span has reduced west of the Bann. Not so sure on the East. I can put up with them but cannot stand the dishcloth rags by the end of August.

  • ted hagan

    Funny handshakes time, I suppose.

  • Ciaran74

    Amsterdam? Sure it would be rude not to go. I was in Portadown this morning. More flags than a Tibetan hill village. White Knight flags too, whatever they are. Yeah, the rotting flag debris by October is an eyesore.

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    Thank you ROI for your generous charitable donation ( tax free ) to Orange Heritage Museum.

  • Jollyraj

    Not sure you’ve understood me.

    My point is not really what the total cost is, but how that total cost would be applied to the various stakeholders. If a parade is deemed a ‘controversial’ assembly because someone else tries to block it, then if the policing cost were passed on it would be passed on to both parties.

  • Jollyraj

    Sure. But I don’t like GAA -does that give me the right to picket the stadium with several hundred like-minded activists to block the spectators entry and/or occupy the pitch- and when you call the police, to have them invoice you for the cost of my removal? No GAA match, no protest after all.

  • Skibo

    What an utterly stupid comparison to make! GAA does not hold matches on the main road. They do not insist that that can block access to local residents’ properties while they play their matches on the road. For many many years, the police never provided policing for supporters to attend matches. It was done by stewards.
    If however the GAA organises a parade on the public highway, they have to apply to the parades commission and they have to abide by their decision.

  • Jollyraj

    I think the concerned residents of West Belfast protesting over the development of Casement Park would disagree with you.

  • kensei

    I have a slightly better version. We give a pot of public money to the OO, the GAA, football teams, community events etc. For events above a certain size, we should extend this money but make the organisers liable for the policing costs. This will make the extent of the true costs apparent, and place the choices were they belong. The OO can have a particularly awesome party, or they try to force a parade through areas that will sap their cash. Their choice. The principle should be extended to bonfires and damage of public property.

    This proposal would need some work, since it gives an incentive for people to cause trouble at events they don’t like. Caps on costs, an appeals process and credits for having a positive ROI should help mitigate this.

  • Skibo

    I think if you asked them, you would get an answer similar to mine. The GAA carry out their games on playing fields. If they organise a parade on the public highway they apply to the Parades Commission and obey their ruling.
    Now if the Orange Order and others who love to parade our cities, towns and villages were to organise their parades on private fields, there would be no need of the Parades commission and they could be as Loyal as they wanted but they do not and will not as who would see them? NOBODY!

  • Jollyraj

    “I think if you asked them, you would get an answer similar to mine. The GAA carry out their games on playing fields. ” why then were the residents trying to block the development of the stadium?

    As for fields, you do realize that most parades proceed to ‘the field’?

  • Jollyraj

    “For many many years, the police never provided policing for supporters to attend matches. It was done by stewards.”

    The police provide policing for supporters now?

  • Skibo

    If it wasn’t required then, it shouldn’t be required now. The last time I was at a match at Casement, the Police were directing traffic on the Andersonstown Road. Never seen them there before the acceptance of the police by SF.

  • Skibo

    JR the residents are objecting to the stadium for two reasons mainly.
    1) the height of the stadium resulting in some of the backs of the houses in constant shade.
    2) the number of supporters that the stadium. This links into the height of the stadium and the fact that it makes it more economical for holding concerts.
    As for your comment on them heading to the field, get the bus. It will cause less delays and if they speak nicely to the buss driver, they can drink all they want on it! Some even come with toilets!

  • Jollyraj

    Get the bus? I think you are missing the point that a parade generally includes a bit of a walk. Might as well say that the GAA players should get around the pitch in golf buggies.

    As for the objections of residents, they seem to mainly be that the increased volume of supporters would lead to occasional traffic jams, and yes that the sky would be obscured. Do you think that the concerns of those particular concerned residents are reasonable, and thus no development should be allowed?

  • Jollyraj

    Are you saying here that SF and GAA are the same thing? Or that the former tell the latter what to think?

  • Skibo

    No, never said anything of the sort. I said that the police were not around the Andersonstown road on previous visits to Casement but I noticed them after that at one match I was at. I had assumed it was after SF accepted the police.
    I also assume that the move by SF on the policing front probably had more to do with the fact that the PSNI seemed more prominent in Nationalist areas after it.
    Where did I say anything about SF and GAA being the same thing?
    You tried equating OO marches with GAA matches when they are two utterly different things and two completely different organisations. One is a sectarian organisation intent on flamboyantly expressing their dominance and the other plays Gaelic games.

  • Skibo

    A bit of a walk, a BIT of a walk, A BIT OF A WALK! An over exaggeration or what? 3000 bits of walks through all the main cities, towns and villages in NI blocking up the full of the road.
    Hardly the same as a GAA match taking place on a private pitch.
    Be under no illusions, the residents know that when the stadium reaches a certain size, they become perfect for holding concerts. That is the crux of the issue. Everything else is smoke and mirrors.
    Before there were regulations on the numbers using stadia, there would have been more that 38000 attending matches.
    As for development, if idiots who did not want shared grounds on the Maze complex had kept quiet, we would have had a 40,000 stadium in use for the past couple of years.
    If the decision was mine, I would take it out of West Belfast completely and erect it on clean ground with good access.
    Casement could be used for social housing or a couple of blocks of flats.

  • Jollyraj

    Is it walking per se that you have a problem with?

  • Skibo

    I never thought I had a problem with parading, lets call it what it is, but what I cannot stand is this incessant demand to walk the Queens highway regardless of how it effects anyone else. With rights comes responsibilities.
    Had there been consideration of other peoples thoughts and rights there would probably not be a problem.
    The OO seems to believe that they have given so much and can give no more, forgetting that they come form a very protected status to start with.
    The OO was a very powerful organisation with nearly every Priminister in NI a member but that position has waned and with every disturbance at a parade, it wanes further.
    Time to see the light and come to agreement on the minor areas of controversy which are mainly in Belfast where the two communities live cheek to jowl.