Danny Kennedy, the Minister for Regional Development and Tom Elliot the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party are to go before a Loyal Orders disciplinary hearing due to their attendance at the funeral of Constable Ronan Kerr.
Few things to get clear first…
- I’m not a member of the Loyal Orders
- I support the Loyal Orders and would attend both the main 12th demonstration every year and also go to Scarva to see the Black Men on the 13th.
- I think this local decision is a mistake on a few levels.
The complaint alleges Mr Elliot and Mr Kennedy,
have sold their principles for political expediency
The gentlemen in question have not commented but a source close to the men said that they have
no regrets [in attending the funeral]
Ok firstly I think that these men were attending the funeral in an official capacity and also to reflect the outrage of our community at the murder.
Secondly if the Order wishes to survive and flourish it must be seen, not to be necessarily compromising its principals but as an organisation that is seeking to reflect the views, feelings and culture of, at least, the wider Unionist community and if these men are found guilty as charged it has indeed failed to do that. In fact I would build on that statement and suggest that the pageantry and spectacle of the 12th should be the aspects that are emphasised and any feeling / perception of triumphalism removed where possible. If the Order can move moderate Nationalists to being at least apathetic about the 12th rather than negative that would be a great step forward.
Thirdly the steps it has taken to become more of an Orangefest will be roundly undone if it indeed does discipline its own in this way. The flagship events are a step forward allowing the tourists who come to see ‘The Twelfth’ a more user friendly experience with translators and guides on hand to help. This ‘disciplinary hearing’ is retrograde – big style!
Ronan Kerr died serving the community of Northern Ireland, in a mindless attack by dissident terrorists. We are all too aware of this, and previous terrorist campaigns, to ‘discourage’ Roman Catholics from joining the police. It is my distinct hope that this campaign fails miserably.
From my reading of numerous texts on the Loyal Orders it is indeed a bottom up organisation as whilst I’m sure most Lodges would not agree with LOL 821 in its move to discipline the above members – there is little that ‘Grand Lodge Central’ can do to prevent such a charge being levied. It can however dismiss the charge and this is very much my hope.
fear that this thread will not simply be ‘Orange bashing’ but instead some considered commentary on the above.
Born and living in Northern Ireland, I’m a Lecturer by trade and a pragmatic Unionist by design. Interests include Middle Eastern / African politics, British cinema and sea fishing!