AFTER Ian Paisley’s belated-but-welcome stand against the loyalist sectarian campaign of violence against Catholics in his constituency, it should be noted that there have been quite a number of attacks on Orange halls recently too. However, this attack seemed particularly cowardly, and while I know most republicans who detest the Order will nonetheless condemn these attacks, perhaps it goes some way to explaining why the DUP gained the political concession of de-rating for Orange halls, as the insurance is often prohibitive. There is some stick attached to the carrot – the financial incentive is contingent upon the halls being open to all the community. An opportunity for bridge-building?
It could be – even in Paisley’s constituency.
Thinking out loud…
It’s entirely possible that Orange halls could be used for child day care, for example. For the hall it makes economic sense. I remember clearly (albeit some time ago) the success of the creche in Rasharkin, a largle Catholic village in Paisley country. The creche was in the Presbyterian church, and was well used by all, and probably helped – in some small way – to enhance community relations.
Of course, if others – such as the relatively small AOH – want to avail of the same financial breaks, they have to do the same. But I really think the ball is in the Orange Order’s court on this issue…
The whole thing feeds into the argument that the only thing that unites republicans and unionists is self-interest. See water charges and tax incentives for further details – SF and the DUP are virtually singing from the same hymn sheet.
Creating situations where both have a self-interest may be one – pathetically selfish – way to promote common cause between the political extremes here.
But it all else fails…!