28 June 2009

ORANGE ORDER IN UNITED STATES TO PROMOTE TWELFTH

The Orange Order has promoted the Twelfth as a major tourist attraction for Americans.

A delegation from the Order has just returned from a four day trip to New York, organised in conjunction with British and Irish authorities, the Ulster Scots Agency, the Ulster Scots Community Network and Tourism Ireland.

The delegation consisted of Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Mervyn Bishop, Grand Treasurer, David Scott, Education Officer, Dr. Jonathan Mattison, Project Officer, and Charlie McAdam, County Grand Secretary of Cavan. They were accompanied by George Patton, Chief Executive of the Ulster Scots Agency and William Humphrey, Chief executive of the Ulster Scots Community Network, who are both Orangemen.

Drew Nelson said:

“A huge amount of work has been done to develop the cultural aspects of the Twelfth and make it one of the major tourist attractions in Northern Ireland. We believe there is massive potential in the United States to encourage people to visit Northern Ireland around the time of the Twelfth.

“We discovered at the Smithsonian Festival in Washington in 2007 that there is a strong interest in the Orange Order and literally tens of millions of Americans can trace their roots back to Ulster Protestant emigrants.

“We have built a strong relationship with the tourist authorities and this was an opportunity to build on that and help bring more people into our country as tourists. They can enjoy the Twelfth and visit many of the historical sites in Northern Ireland as well as visiting the excellent Battle of the Boyne site in the Irish Republic.

“Our aim was to increase the number of tourists who visit Northern Ireland and that can only be a good thing for the economy.”

The delegation also held discussion with potential philanthropic funders, who may consider helping the Institution develop its plans for an interpretive and education centre at its headquarters in Schomberg House, Belfast.

David Scott, Education Officer, said:

“We have ambitious plans for an interpretive and education centre. Its role will be to tell the story of the Order and promote greater understanding of the Institution throughout the entire community.

“We have regular visitors from all sections of the community who are really interested in our history and love to see the artefacts and documents that we keep at Schomberg House.

We can develop that further and the archives we keep would be of tremendous interest to genealogists tracing their family roots.

The Orange Order delegation also visited Scots-Irish historical sites and met tourism chiefs.

There are currently two Orange lodges meeting in New York, one in the Bronx and the other in Manhattan and meetings were held with members of both lodges. They reported a recent resurgence in interest in the Orange Order in the United States. Two new lodges have been formed in the past couple of years, in New York and North Carolina.
Grand Secretary Drew Nelson said;

“I was delighted by the enthusiasm and ability of the members we met in New York and hope that the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland will be able to offer practical support to them as they continue to expand.”

25 June 2009

Battle of the Somme Wreath Laying at Belfast Cenotaph


PARADE - Wednesday 1st July 2009
Battle of the Somme Anniversary Wreath Laying at Belfast Cenotaph
Brethren to assemble in Clifton Street at 1930 for 2000 parade.
Other Brethren to meet at the Cenotaph at the City Hall.

C.G.L.O.L.o.B.

23 June 2009

Battle of the Somme Remembrance Service


PARADE - Sunday 28th June 2009
Ulster Divison Memorial L.O.L. 977
Annual Battle of the Somme Remembrance Service in Church House (Assembly Buildings)
Brethren to assemble at District Assembly points at 1415 for 1430 parade.
Service to be held at Presbyterian Church House.
The Worshipful Master requests full attendance to support our fellow brethren from District No. 3 in L.O.L 977.

C.G.L.O.L.o.B.


20 June 2009

Whiterock Parade


PARADE - Saturday 27th June 2009
Annual Parade to Whiterock Orange Hall and area organised by D.L.O.L. No. 9
Brethren to assemble in Denmark Street at 1330 for parade at 1345 sharp.
The Worshipful Master requests full attendance to show support for our fellow brethern in this parade.

C.G.L.O.L.o.B.


19 June 2009

Orange Order Condemn Racist Attacks‏

Speech by Dr. David Hume MBE, Director of Services of the Grand Orange Lodge, at the unveiling of a new banner for Ballykilbeg LOL 1040, 18 June 2009 at Ballykilbeg, County Down.

The Director of Services of the Grand Orange Lodge has condemned intimidation of people based on race, colour or creed.

He said such attacks could never be right, whoever they were directed against Orange Halls or ethnic communities.

Speaking at the dedication of a new banner for Ballykilbeg LOL 1040, Downpatrick, County Down, he said that “The intimidation of people because of their race, colour, creed, or political belief can never be right, whether it is directed against Protestants or members of the Orange Order, or ethnic minorities in Belfast. Such attacks are the work of closed minds and empty brains.

“Because you do not like someone does not give you the right to remove them from the neighbourhood. We as a Protestant people are well aware of the impact of ethnic cleansing, because we suffered it in the Irish Free State in the early 1920s and it resulted in an exodus of tens of thousands of innocent people, and the murder of others,”

The full text of the speech follows;

Thank you for your invitation to be here tonight; I bring you fraternal greetings from my own private lodge Magheramorne LOL 291, in Larne District.

This is an historic occasion for the brethren of LOL 1040 and those who gather to support the lodge. I am delighted to share with you in this historic occasion and the fellowship of our gathering here tonight.

The unfurling and dedication of a new banner is an important milestone in the history of any lodge. This banner portrays two very important figures in the history of our Orange tradition.

William of Orange was the deliverer of civil and religious liberty. He brought relief from tyranny and arbitrary power. We believe that the hand of providence was upon him and that the outworking of his stand for civil and religious liberty secured us as a people.

William Johnston of Ballykilbeg was a dedicated follower of the Prince of Orange and a committed Orangeman within the ranks of this Institution. So much so that he went to prison for Orange principles.

Both men lived in testing times.

Both men had a sincere and dedicated faith that sustained them through those times.

They were outstanding leaders in their generation. William of Orange was fearless in battle, as was witnessed at the Boyne. If William Johnston had not been prepared to challenge an unjust law and go to jail, many ordinary men would have continued to be persecuted and prosecuted for their beliefs. These two men are rightly regarded as pillars of our Institution. They gave direction, purpose and leadership, without which no cause can prevail.

They did so in trying times.

We too in our generation have lived through and are in the midst of testing times.

We have witnessed a terrorist onslaught against democracy in our land, and it has cost the lives of 335 members of our Institution. As far as we are concerned and the majority of people in Northern Ireland are concerned, despite recent attempts to rewrite history and re-evaluate the future, those who murdered in cold blood and with callous disregard can never be viewed as victims. Pope John Paul II said that murder was murder. He was right. Yet years later we find others trying to sell an idea that everyone is a victim. We are asked to accept this erroneous proposition in Northern Ireland, yet it would mean that the 9/11 terrorists would be viewed equally as victims of those they killed on the aeroplanes they flew into the Twin Towers. This proposition is abhorrent to decent people. How can a man who deliberately and in cold blood pulls a trigger or detonates a bomb be a victim? He can’t. Not in our book. Not now, and not ever.

While the war may, it is claimed, be over, the cultural war and the propaganda war continue. Attacks on our Orange halls are part of that wider cultural war. Republicans believe that if they can defeat the Orange Order, they will be well on their way to achieving their goals. We are rightly seeing media attention and civic attention focus on racist attacks this week, but sometimes it is easy to forget that the Orange community has been subject to the same type of attacks over many years. We have had nearly 300 Orange Halls attacked, members intimidated, and, sadly, 335 of our brethren murdered by terrorists.

Republicanism needs to address its responsibility in all of this. Views haven’t changed much from the days of Eamon de Valeria, who said in 1919 “…There are among the Irish minority a few who love their British citizenship and are loath to give it up. To those we have made the fair proposition that it is but a short distance across the channel to the shores of England, and they are at liberty to move over; and that the Irish republic will see that they are recompensed for any material holdings they leave behind”

There, in essence, is the blinkered republican solution to the problem. If there are people you do not like get rid of them however you do it. That is why we are seeing the attacks on our Orange halls; because there are those in the republican community who believe they can remove us from the map by destroying our halls. That is why they object to our parades. They do not want to reach accommodation. They do not want us at all. This is a bit of a contradiction to the idea that the Republic cherishes all her sons and daughters equally, is it not? It nails the lie that a United Ireland is possible, because unless the unity was in the hearts of the people it would not be unity at all. And clearly, there is no coming together of hearts and minds over that issue.

The intimidation of people because of their race, colour, creed, or political belief can never be right, whether it is directed against Protestants in Rasharkin in County Antrim, as is also ongoing, or ethnic minorities in Belfast. Such attacks are the work of closed minds and empty brains. Because you do not like someone does not give you the right to remove them from the neighbourhood. We as a Protestant people are well aware of the impact of ethnic cleansing, because we suffered it in the Irish Free State in the early 1920s and it resulted in an exodus of tens of thousands of innocent people, and the murder of others. This needs to be acknowledged by the Republic, which has developed the maturity and ability to do so, whereas republicanism has not.

Republicanism needs to consider its future after the election results in the Irish Republic. Any lingering hopes Gerry Adams may have had of being President must be slowly slipping away. But worse, the idea of a United Ireland has slipped too, because the south does not want it any more (if it ever really did). Northern Nationalists, if not republicans, need to readjust their outlooks in this new dawn.

We in the unionist community also need to reflect. We see government in disarray. We see a world in crisis. It is sometimes a world which seems to be turned upside down. In Zimbabwe and Iran we see elections that are a farce and will simply not pass for democracy. Yet in Northern Ireland, where democracy exists to allow us to cast our vote, we see a high percentage of the electorate unable to motivate themselves to the polling stations. This apathy is one of the enemies which the unionist community faces. Those unionists who did not go to the polling stations in the European elections effectively did vote – they supported Sinn Fein.

If unionists continue on this path, it will be a dangerous road to travel. Apathy is a serious problem. Not voting is playing into the hands of republicans, who have embraced democracy as the means to an end while still clinging to the armalite or its equivalent throughout history. Continued apathy will ensure that the ballot box has value for Sinn Fein IRA.

And divisions within the unionist family will also serve the same purpose. If unionism continues to divide against itself, we could see a Sinn Fein First Minister after the next election. Is that what we want? It is perhaps what we will deserve if we do not address this matter maturely. The Orange Order has called in the past few years for unity. We want to see a unity, not necessarily of political parties, but certainly a unity of purpose. We need a common direction. As a community we want to see that unity. And we need to see it. Of course there are different political viewpoints and that is reflected in political parties. But our unionist politicians need to ask if they want to be a footnote in the history books, explaining how unionism was defeated. We need common foundations, and an agreement over the direction in which we are to travel. We probably need agreement over certain electoral areas and seats, unless we are content to lose seats and political influence in crucial areas of the country.

This is increasingly a pluralist society. It is a society which is changing. It is a society which presents many challenges. This week we have witnessed some of those challenges. How do we welcome the stranger in our land? Do we welcome them? Do we want them? As an Institution which stands for civil and religious liberty for all, there should be no doubt for us that we say no to racist mindsets and intimidation. Yet our society is full of contradictions. Our government has had to be forced to extend rights to the Ghurkhas, who have served us faithfully in the ranks of our army over generations. Our government cannot provide adequate policing to protect ethnic minorities under attack and the Chief Constable wants to cut the police reserve so there are less police on the ground. That, does not only count for ethnic minorities, of course; in Rasharkin in County Antrim some people are engaged in a determined campaign of ethnic cleansing against the small Protestant and Orange community, and the PSNI is regarding it as a sectarian problem which is not primarily a policing issue. If this same attitude is being taken in South Belfast then it is no wonder there are problems in our society.

Thankfully, the vast bulk of people in Northern Ireland are decent people. The people who attack property identified as belonging to one side or another should ponder that they represent no one other than a destructive fringe. The solution for Northern Ireland is that we must all live together and respect each other for what we are. All that we ask is to be respected and we can extend no less privilege to others. We believe that our health and future is best assured within the United Kingdom, that is why we are unionists. Being British is not about being one particular creed or race. It is about people of many backgrounds living and working together. The Orange Order has a role to play in standing up for being British. The danger has been that this has been left to those on the fringes and that now we see they are coming in from the fringes because people are fed up with political correctness and there is a backlash against the established political parties. It is difficult for a government to talk of being proud to be British when officials in councils prevent people from flying the Union Flag or St. George’s Flag because they think it is not politically correct. Those are the people who are handing victories to the BNP in England.
The Orange Order has no colour or race bar. The Orange Order is proud for all the right reasons of what and who we are.

The Orange Institution is the common thread in the fabric of the Protestant community. It unites people from all backgrounds. It is national and international. It stands firm for principles which remain standing in our modern world. The banners we carry are banners of freedom.

May your Ballykilbeg banner, which links you to the past, be honoured in the present and carried long into the future. May your journey as a lodge be marked by many milestones such as this…

14 June 2009

Orange Historical Exhibition

LISBURN DISTRICT LOL No. 6

Orange Historical Exhibition

Organised by
Lagan Valley
Orange Historical Society

To be held in

The Orange Hall
Railway Street
Lisburn

7th to 11th July 2009

Open 12 Midday to 8PM daily.

Everybody Welcome.

13 June 2009

NEW BOOK ON WORLD ORANGEISM

The three authors of the world history of the Orange Order - Beyond The Banners - pictured with King William (Robert Jordan) at the launch of the book in Carrickfergus. They are from left David Scott, David Hume and Jonathan Mattison.


A new book has been published, telling the story of the Orange Order across the world.
Beyond The Banners has been published in a joint venture by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and Booklink, an international publisher based in Holywood, Co. Down.

The 144 page hardback is a full colour, high quality production, which features photographs and images of many artefacts held by the Orange Order.

Beyond The Banners focuses on the Institution worldwide, including countries where lodges no longer exist, such as Malta, Cuba, Brazil, India, Nigeria, the Philippine Islands and South Africa.

The publication places the Orange Order in the context of Irish history and world society. It was launched at a reception on Thursday, June 11, in Carrickfergus, the town where William, Prince of Orange landed before the Battle of the Boyne.

The authors of the book are Jonathan Mattison, David Scott and David Hume. It was financed by the Educational Affairs Committee of the Grand Lodge.

The cover of the publication is an impressive specially commissioned piece of artwork, produced by graphic artist Kyle Thompson. It is an iconic image of William arriving in choppy seas in Belfast Lough with Carrickfergus in the background.

The coffee table book includes chapters on The Glorious Revolution, early Orange Societies, the foundation of the Loyal Orange Institution, fraternal bonds across the world and famous Orangemen. There are also sections on Orange Halls, banners and regalia.

The book will be on sale at Schomberg House, the headquarters of the Orange Order and also in bookshops at £20.

The Grand Master of the Orange Order, Robert Saulters said:

“I am thrilled with the book. It is a fantastic history of the Orange Institution and can be enjoyed by everyone who reads it, regardless of whether they are in the Order or not.
“Currently the Institution has nine grand lodges across the world – Ireland, England, Scotland, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Togo and Ghana. We have 100,000 members and we are a vibrant organisation, centred on the Reformed Protestant Faith, which makes a huge contribution to society in so many different ways.
“There can be few cultural organisations as big as the Orange Order with membership in different parts of the world.
“I am currently the President of the Imperial Orange Council of the World. The Council meets every three years in the various jurisdictions throughout the world and highlights the brotherhood that exists across the world in common cause.
“I am delighted that delegates from all over the world will hold their annual conference in Northern Ireland in July.
“Northern Ireland will be at the centre stage of Orangeism this summer and the launch of this book was timed to coincide with the arrival of so many of our friends from around the world.
“I would like to thank everyone who was involved in its production. Our designers, publisher and all the contributors have worked exceptionally hard and I believe the end product speaks for itself. The quality of their work shines out from every page.”


The publisher of the book, Claude Costecalde of Booklink in Holywood said:

“I have worked on a number of other big publications such as Presbyterians in Ireland and Stormont, the House on the Hill and they have been very successful. I believe that the image of the Orange Order has been unfairly dented over the years and I trust that this book will redress the situation.
“As a Frenchman, I have been fascinated by the Orange Order and it has been a privilege to work with so many committed people.
“This book will be unique. Beyond The Banners is a wonderful gift, a reference book and a comprehensive guide to the history of an organisation that has been an important part of society for more than 200 years.”

12 June 2009

United Districts Parade


PARADE - Friday 19th June 2009
United Districts Parade
Bi-Annual Parade of Shankill Road / Woodvale Road & Crumlin Road Areas.
Brethren to assemble at District Assembly points at 1900 for parade at 1930 sharp.

C.G.L.O.L.o.B.


10 June 2009

CARRICKFERGUS PAGEANT

A crowd of more than 10,000 is expected in Carrickfergus on Saturday, June 13, for one of the most colourful events in the Orange calendar.


Members of Royal York LOL 145 will be there as York Island Arts & Heritage Association, adding to the historical re-inactment and celebration.

The Carrickfergus Pageant, which marks William Prince of Orange’s landing in the town in 1690 on the way to the Battle of the Boyne, has become a major annual event and the organisers are hoping for an even bigger turn out this year.

One hundred European re-enactors from France, Italy, England, the Irish Republic, Belgium and Norway will take part in the colourful spectacle. They will be wearing uniforms from the Williamite period and about 15 people will be on horseback.

“We normally have about 10,000 people at the Pageant,” said organiser John McMurran.
“This year we are making a very special effort to add even more colour to the event. We expect a huge number of people will turn out.
“Carrickfergus is steeped in history and the Pageant is a big draw for tourists.”

The parade, involving about 18 bands, will leave Woodburn Playing Fields at 12.45pm and go to the harbour for King William’s landing at 1.30pm. He will then lead the parade through the town to Marine Gardens, arriving there at approximately 2.30pm.

The return parade will begin at 4.30pm back to the playing fields.

This year will be the first outing for the Carrickfergus Historical Re-enactment Group Fife and Drum band.

There will also be a re-enactment in Carrickfergus on Friday, June 12, in St. Brides Street car park and again on Sunday afternoon at 2.30pm.

05 June 2009

ARSON ATTACKS ON THREE ORANGE HALLS

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has condemned arson attacks on two Orange Halls in County Armagh during the night.

Carrickawillen Orange Hall, near Darkley, was destroyed by fire and there was also an attempt to break into Cladybeg Orange Hall near Newtownhamilton. A fire was started at the rear of the hall but burnt itself out, causing minimal damage.
And the Orange Order has revealed that there was an attempt to burn Newcastle Orange Hall 12 days ago. Minor damage was caused on that occasion.

A statement from Grand Lodge condemned the attacks as attempts to create community tension.

“We would appeal for calm from all our members and our supporters. The way to deal with these attacks is to work with the police and help them find the culprits.
“There must be people in the area who have valuable information about who is carrying out these attacks on our culture. Now is the time for all right-thinking people to condemn the attacks and pass on any information they have to the police.”

The latest incidents bring to 298, the number of arson attacks on Orange Halls since 1971. Seven halls have been targetted by arsonists this year.