What Unionists Should Strive For

This week, we’re featuring submissions from readers on the theme of ‘Future Ireland: Alternative Conversations about Unity and the Union’. Competition winners will be published on Saturday. Alan Robinson is an Orangeman hailing from Carrickfergus. I’m an Orangeman, play in a flute band and support the Northern Ireland football team. If you only knew those three things about me, the stereotype of a loyalist skinhead would probably be conjured from the subconscious.  Dig a little deeper and see what you find: … Read more

My first trip to the Museum of Orange Heritage

Yesterday I ventured over to the Museum of Orange Heritage for the first time with Christopher Stalford. I have gone past this building many times without ever really desiring to go inside. Last week, Christopher very kindly expressed an offer to me to experience some parts of the culture of the Orange Order and we were able to get some time yesterday afternoon to visit the museum. Growing up, the Orange Order was something I was afraid of. I still … Read more

Arlene’s Valentines Day Massacre

Today could not have turned out any bigger a mess for the incumbent DUP Leader and would-be First Minister. If sources are to be believed the Fermanagh MLA was ready to sign off on a deal which would have seen 3 Bills introduced : An Irish Language Bill An Ulster Scots Bill A Joint Respect Bill What has happened since the weekend to put the Stormont train off the rails? A DUP Group meeting on Monday morning, 3 days of … Read more

“We cannot complain about the Irish State or its Constitution. It protects our rights.”

From the Irish Times which is worth reading about the Orange Order and how they operate in the South. The entire article is worth a read but this comment about the Irish constitution is worth highlighting A past master and current chaplain of the lodge, he says he could not ask for more protection from the State for his freedom of expression. “It’s fantastic. See the Irish Constitution, article 40.6.2: free assembly under the law without bearing arms. We can assemble … Read more

Orange Order; We believe it is in Northern Ireland’s vital interests for as many Unionist MPs as possible be returned to our mother Parliament

The Orange Order has issue a statement today urging the Unionist parties to show “unity of purpose” The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland recognises the critical importance and huge significance of the forthcoming General Election. As the United Kingdom commences the process of exiting the European Union it is essential a purposeful and stable Government is elected to act on behalf of, and deliver the best possible deal, for its citizens. Equally, it is of the utmost importance that Northern … Read more

Orange Order rates relief: £8.12m. (Twaddell policing costs: £24m, and counting… )

At the NI Assembly on Monday, Christopher Stalford received an answer to an assembly question directed at Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, the Finance Minister, as to the rates relief statistics for Orange Halls. The response tells us that since April 2006, the Orange institution has saved an estimated £8.12 million by being exempt from paying rates. During this time, of course, the DUP used the much criticised ‘Petition of Concern’ mechanism to block a Sínn Fein bill which would have enabled amateur sports clubs (such … Read more

Unionism needs to play the Loyal Order card again

An Orange Forum is needed to cement the Loyal Orders and the unionist parties together again. The Loyal Orders – the Orange, Black and Apprentice Boys – must begin formal negotiations, not just with nationalist residents groups, but also with the leaderships of the various unionist parties to discover precisely where they stand in relation to the Loyal Orders bloc vote.    The precise problem is that the Loyal Orders no longer enjoy the same support in the unionist parties … Read more

Somme: May Trench Raid – death of a great great uncle

Tonight is the one hundreth anniversary of the death of my great great uncle during a German bombardment of the trenches after a succesful trench raid by the Ulstermen – a talk was recently held in the Masonic Hall (the old Tamlaght  / St Lukes Church of Ireland Church Hall), Coagh on Private Robert Sands and other men from Coagh who died in the Great War. In this centenary year of the Battle of the Somme the tragic and brutal slaughter of the Great … Read more

Backing the police means using accountability mechanisms, not grandstanding to constituents…

I meant to get this up yesteday. It’s a clip from UTV’s exclusive report on the Ballynafeigh kurfuffle last week. It’s not comprehensive by any means, but it does suggest the PSNI might have some operational questions to answer. The process has been kicked up the Police Ombudsman, and the Policing Board should probably have an inquiry of its own into it too. The local SDLP MLA Claire Hannah was quick to note how DUP politicians were rather too quick … Read more

Fairness and Fear in the alternate universe of the Orange Order…

I’ve heard some bizarre things on the Nolan show but the recent interview with Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, has got to be in the top five. The discussion centered round a recent Orange Order report, ‘Fairness and Fear’ that outlined the horrors Protestants face in the workplace. As an atheist I object to being called a Protestant’ but I suppose I could be termed part of the wider PUL community the Orange Order frequently claims to … Read more

A possible solution to the parading issue in Northern Ireland?

Lee Reynolds in transit at Belfast's Orange Parade, 12 July 2011

Alex Johnson writes for us on how he thinks the parading issue could be solved in Northern Ireland In my experience all problems have a solution. What is so often lacking in this part of the world is the understanding and guts to bring solutions into operation. I would like to suggest solutions to two of our favourite subjects (the rest of the world must laugh their heads off when they see this) – bonfires and bands – the two … Read more

‘People are not clubbable any more’: A South Yorkshire Orangeman speaks

You don’t often hear much these days from the Orange Order in England. It is there, though – there are lodges all over the country, and not just in Liverpool. There is even one in my native city of Sheffield: the John E Bingham Loyal Orange Lodge 844 (established 1913). Richard Harvey has been a member of the Lodge for 36 years, and is the Grand Orange Lodge of England’s Grand Chaplain. It was only with some difficulty that I … Read more

Orange Order open new museum without the Tricolour.

A big deal or a storm in a tea cup? As journalists went to the opening of a new museum to commeorate important events involving Orange culture they noticed something missing on the outside of the building USA, Canada, Togo.. so why no Irish tricolour? Orange Order defends flag omission from museum display @irish_news pic.twitter.com/8K9cQ10Vpw — Brendan Hughes (@brendanhughes64) June 24, 2015 But the Orange Order had an explanation; Senior Orange Order official says Irish tricolour is omitted from flags … Read more

So, was Hancock right? (!)

There really is nothing like a classic comedy sketch to highlight confusion and/or ignorance over important historical events. Such is the case with this outburst by Tony Hancock in an edition of his semi-eponymous sitcom. As the foreman of an immovable jury, seemingly mystified as to why his fellow jurors cannot agree with him about the defendant’s innocence (‘Well, he’s got such a lovely face…‘), he bellows at them: Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in … Read more

“Shopkeepers were being killed, only sons were being killed, isolated farmers were being killed…”

I haven’t seen this film, which was commissioned and produced by the Orange Order, but I am told it is very quiet and very powerful. This trailer contains just a few stories that are being told of the loss of a community, that might otherwise go untold… Lest we be too careful to hear some stories and too careless to hear others… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on … Read more

Brian Kennaway: “[The Grand Master’s speech] achieved one purpose only: it made Gerry Adams sound good”

Brian Kennaway isn’t someone from whom the Orange Order will appreciate advice. On his blog he’s issued a response to Grand Master Edward Stephenson’s statement at Saturday’s Twaddell Avenue rally: … encourage Orange brethren and our supporters to demonstrate their displeasure at the current situation by holding peaceful and legal protests across Northern Ireland, at times and locations of their choosing, over the coming weeks. (Grand Master Edward Stephenson) The former member of the Parades Commission asks: Have the Grand … Read more

Attack on Orange Hall in Convoy, Co. Donegal

Over the last decade or so there has been a modest revival in the Orange Order and associated bands in parts of the RoI. This has been seen in parts of Donegal as well as the other border counties. Many events in Fermanagh will now see small but growing bands from the RoI. This modest revival is purely religious and cultural: whatever one may think of the political positions of the Orange Order, these are not manifested in the RoI. … Read more

#Indyref and the Orange demonstration: some quick notes

With the actual poll looming, this weekend sees the Orange Order make its on-street intervention into the #Indyref debate in Scotland. What will add an extra dimension to this is keeping an eye on how the media deal with events on the day, since, as Kilsally points out, #Indyref has created some unusual bedfellows. The last few days have given a couple of stand out media moments of the campaign. At a wider level, Nick Robinson’s reporting yesterday was astonishing, not … Read more

Edinburgh Orange Order pro Union parade illegal?

Interesting one from `Cybernat` (his term) Craig Murray regarding the proposed Orange Order demo in Edinburgh shortly before the Independence referendum. The proposed Orange for No march appears plainly to be in contravention of the Public Order Act 1936. This act makes it illegal to wear a uniform to promote a political cause: Section 1 (i) Subject as hereinafter provided, any person who in any public place or at any public meeting wears uniform signifying his association with any political organisation or with, the … Read more

It’s not the Orange Order “coming down the street, shouting and yelling and waving rifles and pistols”

So, I was going to let this one run til the PCC had its say, but for the record here’s Colin Freeman’s offending dispatch from Baghdad in the Telegraph last week… “Ever since last week, not a day has gone past without them coming down the street, shouting and yelling and waving rifles and pistols,” said Imad Ahmed, a shopkeeper in the Sunni district of Adel in west Baghdad. “They say they will crush the Isis terrorists and anyone who … Read more