Out of Order…

REV Brian Kennaway has been a senior member of the Orange Order for over 40 years. In an extract from his new book – The Orange Order: a tradition betrayed – in today’s Tele, he reveals how the Order in recent years has sheltered loyalist terrorists in its ranks and failed to discipline them. It’s an embarrassing catalogue of failure that has left those who still believe in the Order’s core values wondering what the organisation now stands for.

  • George

    I always found it interesting that it was the Orange Order which provided the scab labour for Captain Boycott in County Mayo during the Land Wars.

  • David Michael

    Darth Rumsfeld

    I should really like to know your reasoning behind this unprovoked attack:

    “your contemptible comment exposes your true perspective”

    Any chance of your responding? Why was my comment “contemptible” and what do you imagine my “true perspective” to be?

  • Rory


    Unfortunately the problem with citing the figure of 5,500 members expelled for “conduct unbecoming” is that without knowing the nature of the unbecoming conduct in these cases we mmay well end up with either a laundiced or rose-tinted view of the Order’s disciplinary policies.

    It is easy to imagine, for example, a member being expelled for such unbecoming conduct as attending a Catholic funeral or giving employment to a Catholic, or perhaps engaging in trade union activities, all utterly repellent to the tenets of the Order (the latter to its boss-class higher functionaries).

  • missfitz

    Actually Rory, the offence is apparently also documented on the record of expulsion. I hadnt been interested in this particular feature until this thread, so hadnt been looking out for it too much, but it quite an interesting area.

    I fear I am beginning to sound a little like Ruth Dudley Edwards on this subject, a really scary thought. I have no doubt that an Orangeman out there is more qualified than an Irish American female to tell us more about this.

    One other thing Rory, again it was all very local, so you would have had instances of drunkeness or indeed insubordination to a local master that would have resulted in an expulsion. More automatic was marrying a catholic, but we must remember that this did no more than mirror the catholic stance on the same issue.

  • Orangeman

    It sounds like your research isn’t too far off the mark. In Total Abstenance lodges they would obviously have expelled members for drunkeness etc – those seem to have relaxed somewhat over the years.

    I dont think any ‘red’ conspiracy theories are anywhere near the truth. No-one would ever have been expelled for trade union membership – the OO had far too many working class members for that to happen – even if the upper echelons may have been dominated for many years by the landed gentry.

  • missfitz

    Thats interesting Orangeman, as it took so long in the first place for the admission of the gentry. After the foundation of the order in 1795, it was mostly confined to artisans and labourers. Of course this changed in the later part of the 18th century, and membership is now spread throughout all classes.

    I’m not too sure about the red thing, I dont see how its that big an issue. Most historians appear to dismiss the Labour movement in NI, and ironically because of the OO

  • Orangeman

    I’ll be the first to admit that my history wouldnt be first class – even Orange history. I am probably talking more of the 18th C, the early days wouldnt be a strong point.

    Would definately be interested in the final document when its finished.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    I’m not a historian, although I look like one, but was the 18th C not the early days? Are we talking about the Orange Order here or the Peep O Day Boys?

  • missfitz

    Oh I’m having so much fun!

    The Peep o’ Days boys were a protestant defence group that were involved in a skirmish in Loughall Co Armagh on September 21st 1795. Following the skirmish they “formed a circle, joined hands and declared their brotherhood in loyalty to the Crown, the country and the Reformed religion.” And so the Orange Institution was born and was “set for the defence of Protestantism.”
    Sorry, doing a little copying there from my paper.

    So, in short shuggie, the OO derives from the Peep o’days boys and for the same essential purposes, Protestant defense.

  • missfitz

    I’ve said many times before on this thread, I am the least qualified person here on this subject, so if anyone wants to correct or amend my information, go right ahead.

  • Shuggie McSporran


    One thought occurs to me – set up some kind of historical re-enactment society.

    During the summer we could have clashes between the Peep o Day boys and the Defenders on somewhere like the Crumlin Road.

    Instead of rioters in baseball caps and hoodies they could dress up in 17th C fashions, with the army in redcoats and tricorn hats.

    Just a thought.

  • missfitz

    They do that down here in Rostrevor you know. Well, its a United Irishman’s thing, the Tom Dunne society and every year everyone gets dressed up in period costume and attends a gala dinner. I turned up one year as a French whore in a low cut bodice, got drunk and never got invited back. Never figured out why.

    I think your idea is good craic though, isnt it? An event to rival the battle of the boyne?

  • Belfast Gonzo


    It’s called the Sham fight of Scarva, and happens every year.

    Last year, King James nearly won, for the first time ever. Speaking afterwards, King Billy paid tribute to his worthy opponent, telling him: “Don’t worry. In a couple of weeks, no-one will remember any of this.”

    (Just kidding.)

  • missfitz

    If I read shuggie right, he was suggesting that we start a re-enactment of the Battle of the Diamond with the Peep o’days boys and the catholic defenders.

    As I have no doubt you will agree, that would probably be the answer to all of our problems, a nice new pageant in Loughall, with new banners and parades and a wee bash to celebrate.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I should really like to know your reasoning behind this unprovoked attack:

    “your contemptible comment exposes your true perspective”

    Any chance of your responding? Why was my comment “contemptible” and what do you imagine my “true perspective” to be?

    Posted by David Michael on Apr 27, 2006 @ 05:52 PM”

    Well, let’s see. You accuse Orangemen of lacking humanity for the victims of the Omagh bomb because they didn’t act in the way you would want them to. You ignore any other possible interpretation of their actions in favour of defining them as being incapable of basic human standards of respect for the dead. You’ve swallowed every prejudiced anti-Orange posting on this thread more eagerly than a dog wolfing down a biscuit without excercising the cognitive gift of objective analysis that God gave you. If it’s only gullibility I apologise, but I can’t allow it to be unchallenged

    And all of that is contemptible and provocative. You don’t really want to be as shallow and biased as greg, now do you?

  • greg

    “You ignore any other possible interpretation of their actions”

    Like what exactly.

    Young kids murdered and the orange order couldn’t bring themselves to aknowledge or show sympathy to the grieving families.

    If only the orange order had such strong beliefs regarding the number of loyalists killers within its ranks.

    The loyal orders did not show the same reluctance when they provided a guard of honour at the funeral of uvf killer Brian Robinson or uda leader Bobby Mahood.

    If you are going to throw round words like shallow and biased, you would be better directing them towards the leadership of the orange institution.

    Robert Saulters comments, when speaking on Tony Blair’s choice of wife springs to mind, when trying to get into the heads of those who censured Trimble for attending the funerals of the kids murdered in the Omagh bombing

    “He sold his birthright by marrying a Romanist and serving communion in a Roman Catholic Church. He would sell his soul to the devil himself. He is not loyal to his religion, he is a turncoat.”

  • David Michael

    Darth Rumsfeld,

    I refer you to what I posted earlier re the problems facing foreign peacemakers to NI, among which is the habit of Ulstermen going into attack mode at the slightest perceived slight.

    This you have done and it’s unfortunate. My purpose in posting what I did was to offer an alternative to the unnatural response shown to the death of children. Can you not see that it is unnatural to set boundaries on such grief?

    My “perspective” is that of a humanist who genuinely has the welfare of the people of this benighted province at heart. If the response to criticism is to attack the critic and insult him then there is still a long way for NI to go.

    I’m sorry but there it is. I wish it were otherwise. Only when the OO come to see their actions through the eyes of disinterested people like myself will there be healing here.

  • Master

    The Orange Oder willingly created and advanced a situation that lead to the deaths of the Quinn children.

    Despte the arguments in defence of the Order..

    This incident has ensured their decline.

    Decent people don’t put up with those that excuse child killing.

    The OO excuse or ignore it. (mainly)

    They’ll never be a force again.

    (its that Christianity thing, most that believe have certain standards. The Loyal Orders rejected Chritistianity for Unionism a long time ago)

  • David Michael


    I don’t believe there’s anything to be gained by going over old ground like this. Only the perpetrators of the Quinn atrocity can say that it was “advanced” by the actions of the OO.

    We must move on, even though the relatives of the children must find this more difficult than anybody else. Festering bitterness will only generate more such violence.

    But yes, you’re quite right: “Decent people don’t put up with those that excuse child killing.” This is what I was getting at.

    “Principle” is all very well but the common laws of humanness must override it. If they don’t then the OO is lost. They must see this and take steps to change.

  • missfitz

    I think that you are empowering the OO beyond the scope that it operates. It is not a political party or a union or even a Friendly or mutual society.

    It was formed “set for defence” and has a deep Christian ethos. Membership is voluntary and decisions are made at grass root level.

    You must understand this to start undestanding the Order.

    I am minded of some of the “Lodge” groups in America that you would hear about occasionally, like the Grand Order of Beaver or whatever. In a similar way, these people get together on a routine basis in the name of brotherhood and perfom male rituals of bonding.

    The other point we need to keep in mind is one I made earlier. Refusal to enter churches of an opposite denomination is not exclusively Protestant. It was a sin of excommunication in the Catholic Church in Ireland up to the 1980s.

    If you are talking about the response following the fire, those things are significant. The lead up to the sectarian tension at the time was certainly something that should have been managed differently.

    Again though, we are looking at centuries of perceived threat and seige. The challenge to us as a Society is to share the land we live in. I was really impressed by Peter Robinsons use of lnaguage in Kerry and see it as a new and genuine buidling block for future relationships if we are all big enough to let it be so.

  • David Michael


    “Refusal to enter churches of an opposite denomination is not exclusively Protestant.”

    I’m not saying it is. I’m saying that it’s time for such idiocy to be confined to the latrine of history.

    “The challenge to us as a Society is to share the land we live in.”

    Let’s by all means share the land; let’s share the churches too.

  • missfitz

    But why? Why cant people choose to worship in an exclusive fashion where they want?

    I no longer attend any church, so I have no agenda here, but I would continue to defend the rights of those who wish to believe in single and exclusive forms of worship. Surely that religious freedom of choice is an underpinning value in an open and free society?
    This is part of the OO’s charter, and you may find it interesting:
    We proclaim “Civil and religious liberty for all : special privileges for none”. We do not deny to others their civil and religious liberties; we expect the same tolerance from them. We shall be strong for truth, for peace, for the making of a good, fair and just society to which we shall contribute liberally as good citizens.

  • David Michael

    “Surely that religious freedom of choice is an underpinning value in an open and free society?”

    Sure. But aren’t we deviating? Why isn’t/wasn’t Trimble free to pay his religious respects where and when he wishes?

    To dead children? (I can’t believe this is actually up for debate.)

  • missfitz


    Sorry David, I agree this seems a trivial thing to be contested, but the facts were not that Trimble refused to condemn or commiserate. He could not enter the church due to his religious convictions.

    Maybe cos of the way I was brought up, and having witnessed such deeply held beliefs in my family, but I can understand this position. In other religions, as a catholic woman, I would not be welcomed at certain funerals also. This was the case in New York where the rituals of the dead are observed strictly by many people.

    If there had been a refusal to speak out, or visit the family, I would have seen that as hateful, but I must respect the dictat of someones church.

    I must say though, since I got involved in certain aspects of life in Northern Ireland I have given up all religious belief. As I’ve said before, i have attended hundreds of parades for research purposes, and I have seen the face of naked hatred and violence. The first summer I attended parades, I was quite badly shaken and seriously considered leaving the North. I guess now I have become used to it, but each summer I am newly convinced that religion is not a good thing.

  • David Michael

    ” I must respect the dictat of someones church.”

    You’ll understand, I hope, when I say I don’t – not when they are plainly wrong, divisive and unworthy.

  • missfitz

    Well, pick me a church that isnt wrong, divisive and unworthy?

    Maybe Bahai, as far as I know that would be about the only faith group I know of that doesnt piss me off in as far as their core doctrine is concerned.

    I have often thought of joining them except for two fatal flaw.

    They do not allow the ocnsumption of alcoholic beverages and their is a prohibition on gossip.

    After those two are gone, what else would there be in life?

  • David Michael


    I’ll let you pick your own Church, Missy.

    Me, if I were a believer I’d say: “Gimme Jesus but hold the ballocks.”

    That would nicely rule out every flavour of Christianity as practised today.

  • missfitz

    That, I presume is why you consider yourself a Humanist.

    I will look it up one day, as I suspect that is what I am too. I try to practice what Christ taught, and have spent the past 10 years working in a charity that helps people in less well off circumstances. I do my civic bits as well as I feel the need to give back to society what gifts talents or annoyances that I can.

    Honestly though, the closer you come to the real face of Northern Ireland in July, the less you would ever ever want to have to do with organised religion.

  • David Michael

    Yes, with that charitiy work Jesus would be proud of you!

    If you leave aside the mumbo-jumbo if scripture, Christ preached humanism, i.e. respect for the human being. That includes people of all races, sexes, ages and stage of evolution.

    It amuses me when so-called Christians accuse us agnostics of lacking ethics. I take my ethics and morality from Jesus, unlike most Christians 🙂

  • missfitz

    Well, it has struck me for some time now that there is a thread of hypocrisy that runs like an artery through practiced modern christianity.

    When my husband left me several years ago, I was quietly dropped from doing readings at the local church. As your social capital decreases so too does your church capital.

    I have read a little about the early chrisitan church, and have decided I dont want to live in a sackcloth or give up my home to live in a commune. I am quite happy living a reasonable standard of life, but making sure every day that I facilitate others in helping themselves too.

    When I came here first, I couldnt fathom how 2 christian groups that sprang from the same root could possibly be so divided. Of course, I know more now and accept the ethnicity argument as being central as opposed to the purely religious one, but it is still hard to swallow such antipathy and hatred between such groups.

  • David Michael

    Hmm, very interesting stuff there, missy! Going out for a stroll now to clear the head. Working too hard today. We’ll talk later.

    It’s gone awfully quiet on this thread though 🙂

  • darth rumsfeld

    greg the moral judge- when he still hides from any challenge to condemn other organisations with paramilitary memebrship. Perhaps he’ sorry that there are only 303 graves of Orangemen killed in the past thirty years by terrorists. he hasn’t even the integrity to b a proper troll- just in with a smear and run away from the debate- obviously a devoted Shinner

    David Michael
    its not a “perceived slight” when you accuse orangemenof being unable to apply basic hukman standards. It’s a nasty attack, and it’ll not be allowed to go unanswered. I provided a reasoned explanation of the various aspects of the incident. Incidentally I forebore from pointing out that neither Trimble nor Rogan were disciplined.

  • David Michael

    Sweet Jesus, Darth, don’t you ever give up?! I did not “accuse orangemen of being unable to apply basic human standards.”

    Here’s my post again:

    That is pretty chilling stuff, Greg. What possible reason did they have for this motion? Do they hate children? Do they not understand the human concept of respect for the dead?

    Most disturbing. There must be some remedy for this sort of thing. It benefits nobody.

    It did NOT refer to an inability. That’s your inference. The only attack here was the one you launched at me. This is the tragedy I alluded to earlier: the Ulsterman’s Pavlovian attack response when somebody’s trying to help.

    Now, put your bloody house in order instead of abusing the health and safety inspector. That’s the “remedy” I referred to.

    Over and out.

  • greg

    “when he still hides from any challenge to condemn other organisations with paramilitary memebrship.”


    The problem being that other organisations with a paramilitary membership don’t feel they have the god given right to march through areas were the families of their victims reside.

    uvf gunman & orangeman Brian Robinson pumped eleven bullets into a catholic man outsde the shop fronts in Ardoyne in 1989.Robinson is commemorated by the orange order at parades in Belfast every year.

    One banner commemorating Robinson (and other orange order/uvf members) has been carried at the contentious Whiterock Parade for the last number of years by convicted ‘Shankill butcher’ and orangeman, Eddie McIlwaine.

    Victims, relatives and friends of those murdered and butchered by the uvf murderers commemorated by the orange order and their bands have every right to object to a paramilitary parade passing an area.

  • Rory

    For all of you good humanists who are yet more ardent disciples of Christ than any Christian; and eschewing any religion yet perhaps yearning for a church of their own I would direct them to the Church of Christ Without Christ as described in the pages of Flannery O’Connor’s novella “Wise Blood” (also filmed by John Huston, for those who prefer their references cinematic).

    Alas this little church had its own travails. But no doubt with the adherence of such goodly souls as yourselves, if revived, it might yet prove to be the salvation of mankind.

  • David Michael

    There you are, Missy. I think he means you.

    Speaking for myself, O’Connor always bored the pants off me. She was very overrated I thought.

  • Rory

    Actually, David Michael, I was not at all thinking of MissFitz, when I drafted my above comment. I was inspired rather by self proclaimed “humanists” who take their “ethics and morality from Jesus, unlike most Christians” – whoever they may be.

    It just seems to me that there is a self satisfied atheistic humanist smugness abroad that is evey bit as despicable as the nasty, prissy puritanism of yore. I often feel that with the death of religion those who would formerly have found their outlet in zealotry or prim self satisfaction now gravitate not only towards vegetarianism, health fascism, cuddly furry creatures and all that but also that there are those who despise every view except their own clear cold certainty, much like the the Church fathers who showed Galileo the error of his ways.

  • David Michael

    Yeah, I agree with you, Rory. What should we do about them?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “The problem being that other organisations with a paramilitary membership don’t feel they have the god given right to march through areas were the families of their victims reside.”

    So the only thing wrong with paramilitaries in greg’s view is when they want to parade. No problem with them smuggling fuel, kneecapping people, dealing drugs, the odd spot of murdering people, defrauding motability schemes- nah, that’s fine for ol’ greg.

    David Michael
    You pick up a feed line from the above amoral poster, swallow it as as gospel and then sweetly ask rhetorically ” Do they hate chldren?”. A position from which you still seem unwilling to withdraw. You’re no health and safety inspector, pal. You haven’t got the breadth of vision.

  • David Michael


  • missfitz

    Rory, David

    The IPA in Dublin has done a lot of research on values and attitudes. One of the things that struck me as interesting was that while reasonably large percentages of people are coming away from church attendance, very few will actually state that they are atheist or agnostic.

    So, many of the folks out there are hedging their bets?

    I guess Rory has a point in a way too, but from the human point of view, if you are disillusioned with religion, it is fairly natural to want to replace it with something else.

    Personally, I am considering tree hugging. It’s the next big thing in Rostrevor

  • David Michael


    “One of the things that struck me as interesting was that while reasonably large percentages of people are coming away from church attendance, very few will actually state that they are atheist or agnostic.”

    I see no discrepancy here. Just because folks don’t attend church of a Sunday doesn’t mean they’re agnostic or *gasp, shudder* atheist.

    I know lots of people who believe in God but shun the kirk. They have their own spirituality and that’s fine. Clergy won’t get fat on that though. Come to think of it, many are fat enough already 🙂

  • missfitz

    Well David, the point (and I accept I didnt make it) is that this is at variance with the European experience. There is a much higher level of atheist/agnostic respondents. In other words once they leave the Church they also leave that part of their identity, whereas North and South here, people still use religion as part of their identifier.

    Curiously though, when given 5 things to choose from when being asked how they would determine their ethnicity (religion, flag, passport, language, anthem,) religion came at the bottom.

  • David Michael

    Hmmm, interesting stuff. What about the European Enlightenment, was that an issue?

  • David Michael

    What I should have asked was:

    The Enlightenment, was that a factor, i.e. how did those nations touched most by the Enlightenment respond?

  • missfitz

    Shouldnt think so, this was not an historical survey, just a values and attitudes, so would be a snapshot, without looking into causation

  • greg

    “So the only thing wrong with paramilitaries in greg’s view is when they want to parade. No problem with them smuggling fuel, kneecapping people, dealing drugs, the odd spot of murdering people, defrauding motability schemes- nah, that’s fine for ol’ greg.”


    All paramiliaries should disappear, and in some cases that process is well under way.The sooner the better.

    Would you like to address my previous point regarding paramilitary supporting parades, and they legitimacy of those taking part to march where and when they want.

    Any comment

  • David Michael

    I see. I can understand why religion is a big deal in the north, but down south? Why do you reckon this is?

  • missfitz

    Well, the South became a very religious place after 1927. Devalera parctically made it a catholic state for a catholic people, and there were rafts of measures brought in to ensure it stayed that way, eg censorship, banning of contraception, special place of the church in the 37 constitution etc etc.

    Ireland became a protectionist, isolationist state with very little chinks of light. Some postulate that dev’s obsession came about as a result of his illegitimacy and frustrated ambitions to be a priest. As an illegitimate, he could not take Holy Orders and it is said that this was a major factor in his decisions in life.

    Things started to change in the 1970’s, and the control of the church started to loosen. The church lost much more status and power as a result of the abuse scandals into the 80’s and is now levelling off.

    Ireland has been labelled a ‘confessional’ state, and the relationship with the church has been the critical point in the identity of Ireland until recently

  • David Michael

    Yes, there you have it with those last two words: “until recently.”

    I don’t understand why religion is STILL such a big deal. I thought Mammon was the new Irish god? Or was that Bono? 🙂

  • Rory

    MisFitz, tree-hugging is all well and good. But be warned, in Ulster you are surely bound, sooner or later, to be accused of barking up the wrong tree by those who hug “only the one true tree”.

    To daily delight in the pleasures of Rostrevor must surely be a form of prayer in itself and enough to make one content.