30 July 2008

Saintfield Festival THIS WEEKEND!

Brethren In Arms
Saintfield Liberty Days
Community Festival
York Island Arts and Heritage Association

Friday 1st August @ 7.30 pm

Concert of Traditional Folk Music by
The Little Family Folk Group
Supported by
The Ballynahinch Highland Dancers
And Wilson Burgess, Poet and Storyteller

Admission £5.00
Under 10’s free

Followed by an evening of Folk Music and Craic in
The White Horse Hotel 9.30 PM Till Late

Saturday 2nd August from 12 noon

Family fun Day.

Main Street Saintfield

Concert Featuring

Rising Stour Folk Group
The Johnstone School of Highland Dance
Irish Dance Demonstrations
Cahard Flute Band


Military Demonstrations by
The 52nd Oxfordshire Light Infantry
The York Fencible Regiment
The Saintfield United Irishmen

Traditional Crafts Demonstrations
Childrens Entertainers

4.30PM
Parade and Wreath laying Ceremony
Followed By Re-enactment of Battle of Saintfield
At
Gerry Lowe’s Farm Windmill Road.

14 July 2008

Royal York in the Newsletter Supplement

Orangefest draws the crowds in Belfast

The Twelfth of July burst back on to the streets of Belfast this year in a bright symphony of colour, music and enthusiasm. More than 1200 lodges and 700 bands took part in the festivities across the Province marking the 318th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

A blend of lodge and band members young and old, male and female congregated at Carlisle Circus to set off.

The early grey skies and mizzley rain in the morning soon gave way to glorious sunshine baking the thousands who turned out along the route
to the field at Barnett's Demense.

While the Twelfth is currently undergoing an image revival, one of the founding ideals of the order - to bring together Protestants from all walks, was evident both among those parading and those watching with elected representatives taking a break from the Big House to don their collarettes.

Among the politicians on parade were Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey, North Belfast DUP Assembly Member Nelson McCausland, North Down DUP Assembly Member Peter Weir and Belfast DUP City Councillor Christopher Stalford.

Even politicians from across the water were among the crowd including former Conservative shadow Home Secretary Ann Widdecombe, who was spotted talking to television cameras while drawing curious looks from passers-by.

A variety of languages mingled with local voices among the spectators with TV crew taking full advantage interviewing tourists from mainland Britain, the US, Europe and Africa.

One American woman told the News Letter that while she had heard of the Twelfth before, she hadn't realised the significance of the date when she booked her trip.

"I'm having a great time at it though and I'd definitely think about coming back again for it," she said.

The main parade left Carlisle Circus at 10am for a wreath-laying ceremony at the City Hall before winding its way through the city centre streets to Barnett's Demense.

Traditional hymns and marching tunes such as The Sash were joined by modern classics such as Yellow Submarine by the Beatles on the playlist of the bands.

Departing from the typically male stereotype which dogs the order, an exclusively female band and lodge from Glasgow raised a cheer as they paraded past resplendent in all pink uniforms.

The News Letter followed the progress of one of Belfast's oldest lodges, the Royal York 145 from Carlisle Circus to Barnett's Demense.

Their distinguished membership includes Ulster Unionist Lords Laird and Rogan.

Despite being one of the oldest lodges in the city, they can also boast one of the youngest Worshipful Masters in Ireland, Graham Barton (23).

The Royal York were accompanied by a float depicting the history of "Brethren in Arms" with members in costume representing fallen Brothers in the Williamite Wars, the 1798 rebellion, the First World War, World War Two, the RUC, the UDR and the "modern Orange Soldier".

Worshipful Master Brother Graham Barton said while some may see the display as provocative, the lodge wanted to remember the sacrifice made by past members.

"We felt it was very important to remember our fallen brethren," he said.

At the field the lodge members took the opportunity to rest tired feet and refuel with an impressive buffet style lunch prepared by the ladies of the lodge

Entertainment included a piper, songs and Ulster-Scots poetry and readings.

Veteran lodge member Brother John Harcourt got a special cheer as he collected his medal after 50 years service.

Outside the Royal York tent spectators were treated to a carnival like atmosphere in the field with live music as friends and family caught up with lodge and band members for a well deserved lunch.

A more sombre tone prevailed during the service of thanksgiving at the main platform when the 90th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice - which silenced the heavy guns of the First World War after four years of fighting - was acknowledged.

After walking almost ten miles to the field and back, a weary procession made their way back to Belfast Orange Hall at Carlisle Circus.

Despite a scattering of protesters at the latter stages of the return journey, the 2008 was a more colourful, peaceful and multi-cultural Twelfth than ever before.

First published in the Newsletter Twelfth Supplement Monday 14th July 2008

12 July 2008

Belfast Demonstration Main Speech


Speaking at Belfast on 12th July 2008, Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, described Unionist disunity as the Achilles’ Heel of Unionism.

"We all understand how difficult it can seem to achieve Unionist unity.

Politics naturally attracts very committed people with genuinely strongly held views - people with definite opinions and who are prepared to expend a great deal of personal effort working towards the change that is required to achieve their political goals.

We understand, and it is democratically healthy, that many people in the Unionist Family will have had differences of opinion on a number of issues and that they will have crossed political swords many times over the years.

However, everyone in the Unionist Family is committed to maintaining the Union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland – and the advantages which that Union clearly brings.

Unionist disunity is not a new problem.

Since Stormont collapsed in 1972 the Unionist people of Northern Ireland have been encouraged to vote for at least thirty political parties, including:


1. Democratic Unionist Party.

2. Ulster Unionist Party.

3. Traditional Unionist Voice.

4. Protestant Unionist Party.

5. Progressive Unionist Party.

6. Real Unionist.

7. British Ulster Dominion Party.

8. Ulster Loyalist Democratic Party.

9. Unionist Party of Northern Ireland.

10. Ulster Popular Unionist Party.

11. United Ulster Unionist Party.

12. Volunteer Political Party.

13. Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party.

14. Conservative Party.

15. United Kingdom Unionist Party.

16. Northern Ireland Unionist Party.

17. Ulster Democratic Party.

18. Independent Democratic Unionist Party.

19. Coleraine Unionist Party.

20. United Unionist Assembly Party.

21. Unionist Coalition.

22. United Loyalist Coalition.

23. United Loyalist.

24. Loyalist Coalition.

25. United Kingdom Independence Party.

26. United Unionist Coalition.

27. Official Anti-Trimble Unionist.

28. Ulster Protestant League.

29. British Ulster Unionist Party.

30. Democratic Partnership.

And Unionist disunity is not a recent problem.

In the late 1800’s Political Unionism was divided into two major camps – Conservative and Liberal. People realised that these divisions within the Unionist community did not have to be.

They agreed to set aside personal differences, personality clashes and differences of opinion on side issues and, in 1904 these diverse strands of Unionism, including the Loyal Orders, coalesced in a determined and defined movement to defend the Union and the ideals which it represented. The importance of the formation of one unified, single party and movement cannot be underestimated.

That cooperation delivered many benefits to Unionism and ultimately led to the creation of Northern Ireland, which has secured our British Citizenship – but it is now a Northern Ireland, in which our British heritage and way of life is constantly under attack on several fronts.

- Our educational system is under attack.
- New Irish language schools are being opened with a smaller enrolment than state schools, which are being closed.
- Our emblems and symbols are subject to constant attempts at suppression by officialdom.
- The President of the Irish Republic – who continually and offensively describes herself as the President of Ireland – seems to see herself as having equal status with the Queen in Northern Ireland.
- I could put another twenty points on this list but suffice to say that all of these matters are alienating many in the Protestant community, who feel that all things British are under attack in Northern Ireland whilst all things Irish are promoted.

Today Political Unionism is still divided.

All of the Unionist Politicians agree that a secure Union with Great Britain is in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland, but they disagree on the tactics of how to ensure that the Union is strengthened and maintained.

Many ordinary Unionists feel that the divisions in Political Unionism are driven more by personality clashes, minor differences of opinion and contrived rows rather than genuine philosophical or ideological differences.

The Orange Institution wishes to encourage reconciliation and co-operation within the Unionist Family and we offer our support to those who are genuinely working to that end.

Disunity and division within the Unionist Family is lowering morale amongst our people and there is a danger that some may even be discouraged from voting in future elections.

This is a very difficult issue, which must be addressed to enable the Unionist Family to maximise our influence."

12th July Resolutions

THE FAITH:
As a Christian organisation we exhort the members of our Orange Institution to uphold the Qualifications of the Institution which challenge us to live Christ-centred and Bible-based lives.
In an increasingly secular world the Christian message can often appear to have little relevance for many, but as Orangemen we pledge to live out our faith in Christ, remembering always that salvation is "by Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone".
We are mindful that our conduct should be guided by wisdom and prudence and marked by honesty, temperance and sobriety, with the glory of God and the welfare of man, the honour of our Sovereign and the good of our country being the motives of our actions.

LOYALTY:
That we, the Orangemen assembled at Barnetts Demesne, Belfast in commemoration of the 318th Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne do hereby reaffirm our devotion and loyalty to the Throne and Person of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Her other Realms, Defender of The Faith which was "once for all delivered to the saints". We appreciate and recognise her commitment to the Nation and the standards of service she sets as well as the example of her stable marriage to society. Long may she reign.
We hereby reaffirm our support for the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We stand united with the Grand Orange Lodges of England and Scotland in calling for the positive promotion of the benefits of the Union for our peoples, and believe that only through the Union can recognition and respect be maintained and developed for those of all classes, colours and creeds.

THE STATE:
In this 90th anniversary year of the signing of the Armistice in 1918, we reflect on those many members of our Institution and the wider community who lost their lives in the First World War. Their loss has a special resonance for the people of Ulster.
We bring to mind all those members of Her Majesty's Forces who are currently serving in areas of conflict across the world, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq. We recall today those many innocent victims of violence in our own land and call for just recognition of the suffering which they have endured. In a changing world, we share the distress of those millions of people who have suffered through the result of natural disaster in Burma and China. We commend the efforts of relief agencies and all those working to assist in those and other distressed areas of the world.
The republican movement has orchestrated a campaign of attacks on Orange Halls since 1989 which is still ongoing. We condemn all attacks on our Orange Halls and sympathise with those brethren, north and south, whose property has been damaged. As an Institution we have withstood much and will continue to stand firm for our beliefs into the future. We seek nothing more than civil and religious liberty for all and respect for our traditions and witness.
We continue to watch with interest the political situation in Northern Ireland and have reservations about the presence of those in government whom we would not see as democrats in the accepted sense. The ongoing dogmatic approach of some within the government causes us concern as we look to a better future for all citizens of Northern Ireland.

11 July 2008

Happy 12th July!




May we in Royal York (LOL) 145 wish you a happy and glorious Twelfth!

Check out our Brethren in Arms website!

10 July 2008

Twelfth 2008



A booklet has been drawn up for this years Twelfth festivities and can be download in PDF format below by clicking the link below.

Click here to download