Lord Laird to head Orange Order?

The Sunday Life reported yesterday that Lord Laird is being tipped to succeed Robert Saulters at the helm of the Orange Order. Laird, who took part in a public debate as part of the West Belfast Feile this year, has for long been a colourful figure.

In May 2005, Laird used parliamentary privilege to make allegations against Dundalk-based former BOSI Chairman Phil Flynn. Laird has himself been subjected to media scrutiny, facing criticism for expenses he claimed when chairman of the Ulster Scots Agency, not least for his famous kilt taxi trips.

Laird lodged a complaint with the Equality Commission in November 2002 in an attempt to get a case against the Irish News for incitement to hatred after columnist Tom Kelly had branded the ulster-scots language as “gibberish.” The column was written following an advertisement for the then £45,000 a year post which began with the line ‘Tha Boord o Ulster Scots is lukin fir a Heid Faictor…’

Laird was, at the time, chairman of the Ulster Scots Agency. He resigned as chair of the Ulster Scots Agency in April 2004.