FIRST we had the pink pound, now we have the Orange one (perhaps worth a ‘crown’?). The institution’s charm offensive continues by highlighting the economic benefits the ‘biggest folk festival in Europe’ brings to NI. The Order claims that members and supporters spend £6.3 million on the Twelfth.Wonder if that figure would cover the PSNI overtime and council clean-ups afterwards?
Meanwhile, Ciaran Barnes points out in Daily Ireland that while the DUP’s Nelson McCausland, whose Orange Lodge may be marching in Cork this St Patrick’s Day, opposes funding for the Belfast St Pat’s carnival, his lodge will be applying to his council for a grant.
Both the Orange Institution and the St Patrick’s Day committee appear to be making progress in their attempts to make their events more inclusive. While they both are moving forward, I don’t feel that either is there yet, but it might not be long before the changes become noticable.
My fear is that all these good efforts could be wrecked if, for example, either ‘side’ felt their best interests were served by an unstable marching season. Years of work could go out the window because of the political limbo we’re in.