Tuesday, 2 December 2008
The MLAs were accompanied by the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Robert Saulters.
“There are 37 members of the loyal orders in the Assembly, just over one third of the entire number. That is a very significant percentage and we wanted to point out to Ms.Ritchie that these Orangemen are making a positive contribution to the political process in Northern Ireland and she should take note of that fact. Our members are very busy and we were delighted that so many could take time out of their diaries to sign the letter in the Great Hall at Stormont today. Others, who could not attend, contacted me to voice their support.
The letter handed in to the office of Ms Ritchie said:
“We are writing as members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, including members of the Executive, who are also members of the loyal Orange Institution.
“On Monday, November 17, 2008, the Irish News reported that, speaking at a GAA Conference in Belfast you said ‘while the loyal orders have some progressive people around who wish to move them forward to a better place, they remain unlike the GAA sectional and sectarian and deeply divisive in our community’
“As members of the Loyal Orange Institution and colleagues in the Northern Ireland Assembly we take great exception to these remarks.
“We think it was quite inappropriate of you to make such a statement just one day after an Orange Hall was blown up outside Pomeroy in Co. Tyrone.
“These remarks are themselves unfair, divisive and potentially inflammatory and as such there would be a considerable body of opinion that you may also be in breach of your Ministerial Code of Conduct.“As you have not denied the report publicly, we call on you to withdraw those remarks as a matter of urgency.”
Sunday, 30 November 2008
Thursday, 27 November 2008
It gives me pleasure today to welcome President McAleese to this Orange hall in County Cavan where I have the honour of being County Grand Master. Before I begin I would like to take this opportunity to thank the President and her husband Martin McAleese for the support they have given to date for the endeavours being undertaken by the Loyal Orange Institution in the Republic of Ireland.
Halls like this one we are in today are held very dear by the Orange Family.
Éamon Ó Cuív, Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, recognised the important role that Orange halls provide in society when he announced funding for Cadolemo Ltd, which has been established by Orange Order Lodges in Counties Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim and Monaghan, to support an innovative community-based initiative in the border region. The funding, over a two year period, has allowed for the employment of a Development Officer who is and will be working with the various lodges and halls.
• The importance of this work in helping to build the capacity of the Orange Family in the Republic of Ireland cannot be underestimated. The Orange Institution has provided community facilities such as this one since the late nineteenth century and the importance of this network of halls and related facilities throughout Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Irish Republic cannot be underestimated.
• We are all aware of the important contribution that the Institution and the wider Orange Family makes to society – much of this from facilities such as these. This work – raising substantial funds for local and national charities, sponsoring adult learning and community based education, providing venues for youth clubs, community groups, and religious meetings.
• Given the widespread nature of such activity it demonstrates why when halls are damaged, attacked, destroyed or beyond use for periods of time, the community activity of its related hinterland suffers and is curtailed. Ironically, when such tragedies occur it is a testament to the local community which rely on these facilities that the buildings are often returned to their former use as soon as possible. This hall has been rebuilt after an arson attack and efforts are underway, thanks to the support of the government to enhance the facilities in other halls within the border counties.
• Some of the activities include – meetings of the Loyal Orders, religious groups, youth clubs, senior citizens organisations, bands, re-enactment societies, cookery clubs, social economy projects, Ulster-Scots groups, cultural and history societies, mother and toddler meetings, educational centres and the list goes on. It is only right that an organisation born from the people should be at the heart of so much vibrant activity. The Institution and its facilities are part of, drivers of and reflective of the vibrant and living cultural heritage that is the Orange family in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
As a responsible stakeholder in society in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland the Loyal Orange Institution wants to play its part in improving community relations. We are a people proud of our history, our Faith and our cultural heritage and want to play a part in helping people understand our tradition and why it remains relevant in the modern World.
County Cavan Grand Orange Lodge
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Constable Kenny Irvine was an active member of the Orange Order and Royal Black Institution in the area and held office in both organisations.
A spokesman said:
“Kenny Irvine was a very active member of the Orange Order in the Kilkeel area. He was a tireless worker for his local community and we extend our sincere sympathy to his family and the families of the other three officers who tragically lost their lives while carrying out their duty on behalf of us all.”
November 24. 2008.
Monday, 24 November 2008
Speaking at the unfurling of a banner in Derriaghy, he said:
The Orange Institution and the other loyal orders took some criticism last week from the SDLP Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie. She made scurrilous remarks about us being sectarian and divisive and one of her party colleagues said we should outreach more to explain what we were about.
First of all, let me assure you that we will meeting Ms Ritchie face to face to ask her to withdraw the remarks. That is, if she has the courage to meet us.
I believe the Orange Institution is outreaching more than ever before.
It clearly has gone over the heads of the SDLP, who we have met as part of our outreach campaign. They have their heads in the trenches while we have been moving forward to play our part in society.
We have a full time education officer who travels the length and breadth of this country to talk to schools, Protestant and Catholic, about the traditions and values of the Orange Institution. He has been in a number of catholic schools and has received a very warm welcome from teachers and pupils who want to learn more about what we stand for.
More than 20,000 pocket leaflets on our history have been distributed to schools and the Williamite Trail map which covers the whole of the island of Ireland is proving extremely popular.
We have been working closely with government agencies including Ms Ritchie’s Department of Social Development to widen our outreach and take our message to people who do not always hear it.
The tourism authorities north and south of the border have woken up to the importance of our parades as part of the growing cultural tourism market. We are working closely with them and we believe the economic benefits will affect everyone.
We have also been working with the Republic of Ireland Government, particularly in relation to the excellent Boyne Battlefield site on the south side of the river at Drogheda.
Their Culture Minister Eamon O’Cuiv has spoken of the importance of preserving the Orange tradition and has made grants of £100,000 towards the development of Orange Halls in border counties.
Here in Northern Ireland we have had one of our annual exhibitions opened by the then Secretary of State Peter Hain.
Our current exhibition – Heroes From History – is attracting visitors from all over the world.
This year we took a promotional stand at the Royal Ulster Agricultgural Show at Balmoral. The response from visitors to the show was fantastic. They were delighted that we were prepared to make such a public statement about the values and traditions that we hold so closely to our heart.
Last year I was privileged to lead an Orange delegation unto the world stage – at the Smithsonian Festival in Washington. We were operating at a completely new level and made many contacts who will prove useful to the Institution in the future. Once again, the reception we received there was fantastic.
Against this background, we still face a threat from people who want to burn and bomb our halls which are such an important part of the fabric of the small communities where they are situated.
We have condemned these attacks and called for increased vigilance from the police in preventing them.
And we have also condemned attacks on GAA clubhouses. Let me be absolutely clear on this – the people who carry out the attacks on GAA property do not represent anyone but themselves. The attacks are completely wrong and without any justification. They must be stopped immediately.
Margaret Ritchie made her remarks about the Orange Institution the day after an attack on an Orange Hall near Pomeroy. She did condemn the attack and we thank her for that, but she then went on to make extremely hurtful and offensive comments about our Institution.
Her remarks were ill chosen and the timing was particularly insensitive.
The Orange Institution wants to play a positive role in society and we are determined to do so.
We will not be put off by people who attack our halls or by people like Margaret Ritchie who seem oblivious to all the good work we are doing.
The Orange Institution has been here for more than 300 years and we intend to be here for a long time to come.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
In the Irish News on Monday, November 17, Ms Ritchie is quoted as saying at a GAA function:
“While the loyal orders have some progressive people around who wish to move them forward to a better place, they remain, unlike the GAA sectional and sectarian and deeply divisive in our community.”
Ms Ritchie is quoted as condemning attacks on Orange Halls but saying there is no equivalence between the loyal orders and the GAA.
The loyal orders – The Loyal Orange Institution, The Royal Black Institution, The Independent Orange Institution, The Royal Arch Purple Chapter and the Apprentice Boys of Derry - said:
“If quoted accurately, these remarks are offensive to our members and must be withdrawn immediately. We feel that the timing and occasion of these remarks could in the minds of some people legitimise the attacks on our property.
“The remarks were made on Saturday night, one day after yet another arson attack on an Orange Hall in Tyrone. Ms Ritchie’s remarks cause us grave concern and we feel betrayed by them. Ironically within a few hours of Ms Ritchie expressing her deep concern that people were drawing an equivalence about attacks on Orange Halls and GAA clubhouses, there was yet another attack on the premises of a loyal order in Londonderry.
“The loyal orders are unequivocal in their condemnation of attacks on all halls in the community. It ill behoves the Social Development Minister to make such a difference in the organisations which are suffering these attacks.
“She is also out of step with her party colleague, the Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone who has totally condemned Friday’s attack near Pomeroy and expressed his support directly to members of the loyal orders.
“Ms Ritchie is photographed at the function beside the Republic of Ireland’s Culture Minister Eamon O’Cuiv. He has spoken about the importance of preserving the Orange culture and made a grant of £100,000 to assist in the development of Orange Halls in border counties.
“It should also be remembered that the Republic Ireland’s Government has spent £30M Euro on the Boyne Battlefield site, scene of King William’s victory which is celebrated each year by the loyal orders.
“We ask Ms Ritchie to withdraw these remarks as a matter or urgency.
“The loyal orders want to play their part in moving society forward. Ms Ritchie is clearly not prepared to move forward like so many other people in the community.”
Monday, 10 November 2008
“We condemn all attacks on halls in our community without reservation. And we appeal for no retaliation.
“Retaliation is always a trap and the people who are burning our Orange Halls will be the ones who will be most pleased if misguided people from the Protestant community retaliate.
“We call in the strongest possible terms for people to stay calm and not to react to provocation.“Leave it up to the police to investigate all arson attacks and put whatever resources they need to apprehend those responsible for these illegal acts.”
Monday, 3 November 2008
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Their sacrifice abroad to defend freedom for this and other nations does not go unrecognised and they will always find a huge warm welcome in Belfast.
Thursday, 30 October 2008
The County Grand Orange Loyal Orange Lodge of Belfast has issued the following statement:
The County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast welcomes our Armed Services to the homecoming parade in the capital city of Northern Ireland on Sunday 2nd November. We salute all members of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force and delight in this opportunity to show our support and solidarity with them.
We encourage all to support the parade, as we show our appreciation for the heroes who have served and are still serving around the world fighting terrorism. We would ask all attending the parade to ignore those who have disdain for all things British and indeed tried to murder the colleagues of those on parade.
Please continue to pray for the families bereaved and the service personnel who were injured.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
The delegation consists of Robert Saulters, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Ronald Bather, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of England, Mike Phelan, Past Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of England, Ian Wilson, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland and Robert McLean, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland.
The Orangemen will meet MPs and Peers this afternoon at a series of meeting to outline their concerns about any possible change to the Act of Union.
Grand Secretary Drew Nelson said the Act of Union was one of the foundation stones of the Constitution of the United Kingdom.
“If you tamper with the foundation stone of any structure there is a very real danger that it could come tumbling down,” he said.“We believe that the people in Scotland who are calling for independence are misguided. The Union of the people from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is in the best interests of all the citizens in the United Kingdom.”
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Monday, 20 October 2008
This Sunday (26th October 2008) is Reformation Day
To commemorate this important anniversary of the posting of Martin Luther's 95 Theses, the County Grand Loyal Orange Lodge of Belfast will organise a CHurch Parade.
All lodge members are to assemble at District Assembly Points at 1415 for parade at 1430.
There will be a service at The Assembly Hall at Church House and Assembly Buildings.
Friday, 17 October 2008
That this Grand Lodge views with deep concern the proposed extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.
As an Institution we believe in civil and religious liberty and the entitlement of all to basic human rights. The most basic human right is the right to life itself. Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights begins with the phrase, “Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law.” Abortion denies this right to vulnerable infants and so contravenes the European Convention.
The official figures alone show that around 550 babies per day are being aborted which we believe to be totally unacceptable, as the vast majority of these abortions are being carried out for reasons other than medical.
While respecting the rights of mothers the Grand Lodge of Ireland believes that a child is a separate and unique person from the moment of conception and so should have the same rights as other individuals. As a Christian organisation we believe that the Bible teaches that the unborn child is a human being with inalienable rights to full personhood. We therefore strongly urge all right thinking people to voice their opposition to the extension of this abhorrent Act to Northern Ireland.
We wish to express the support for the Members of Parliament from Northern Ireland for their stand against any change to the status quo, and call on all our members to support such a stand in their prayers.
October 17, 2008
Sunday, 12 October 2008
Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary, was speaking in Co. Down on Saturday at the re-opening of Donaghadee Orange and Protestant Hall, which was rebuilt after being destroyed by fire two years ago.
“The Orange Institution has provided community facilities such as this one since the late nineteenth century and the importance of this network of halls and related facilities throughout Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Irish Republic cannot be underestimated.
“We are all aware of the important contribution that the Institution and the wider Orange Family makes to society in Northern Ireland – much of this from facilities such as these. This work – raising substantial funds for local and national charities, sponsoring adult learning and community based education, providing venues for youth clubs, community groups, and religious meetings.
“Given the widespread nature of such activity it demonstrates why when halls are damaged, attacked, destroyed or beyond use for periods of time, the community activity of its related hinterland suffers and is curtailed. Ironically, when such tragedies occur it is a testament to the local community which rely on these facilities that the buildings are often returned to their former use as soon as possible.
“The community use of Orange Halls is reflective of how the Orange Institution and the Orange Family are at the heart of the community in Northern Ireland. Due to the terrorist campaign against our country since 1969, many, especially from small urban areas or the rural community have been unwilling to travel to large urban centres to make use of similar public property – in some cases they have felt (rightly or wrongly) that they are not welcome to use such resources.
“As a consequence the Orange Hall has continued to maintain is role as the facility best placed and most appropriate to serve the needs of the Orange Family and the wider community in Northern Ireland.
“Some of the activities include – meetings of the Loyal Orders, religious groups, youth clubs, senior citizens organisations, bands, re-enactment societies, cookery clubs, social economy projects, Ulster-Scots groups, cultural and history societies, mother and toddler meetings, educational centres and the list goes on.
“It is only right that an organisation born from the people should be at the heart of so much vibrant activity. The Institution and its facilities are part of, drivers of and reflective of the vibrant and living cultural heritage that is the Orange family in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. “
As well as the opening of the hall, a new banner for Blue Banner Total Abstinence LOL 781 was unfurled and dedicated.
The dedication ceremony was conducted by Rev. Alistair Smyth, Assistant Grand Master.
October 12, 2008
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Sunday, 28 September 2008
The Grand Lodge is the supreme governing body of the Orange Institution and meets four times a year. Approximately 120 senior Orangemen attended the meeting in a Co. Cavan Orange Hall on Saturday, September 27.
They were welcomed by the Cavan Co. Grand Master Henry Latimer, who said it was a wonderful day for Orangemen in the Irish Republic.
“We feel very much part of the Orange Institution but the meeting on Saturday made us all very proud. We were thrilled to be involved in the making of history and it will give a real boost to Orangemen all over Ireland.”
Grand Master Robert Saulters said it was an historic occasion.
“Until recently Grand Lodge held most of its meetings in Belfast and a few in the rural parts of Northern Ireland. We agreed to widen this and we were very pleased when our brethren from Cavan said they would be happy to host a meeting.
“The Orange Institution is alive and well in the Irish Republic – we have members in nine counties south of the border – and of course one of the biggest Orange events of the year is the annual parade in Rossnowlagh. There are approximately 50 lodges in the Irish Republic.
“The government of the Irish Republic has recognised the importance of the Orange tradition and we were delighted when the Irish Culture Minister Eamonn O’Cuiv made a grant earlier this year to assist with the development of Orange Halls in the border areas.
“The opening of the impressive Boyne Battlefield site has also ensured that our traditions will not be forgotten but are in fact being promoted.
“The Orange Order is determined to play a constructive role in civic society north and south of the border and the meeting of Grand Lodge in Cavan is another important step.”
At the meeting Grand Lodge passed the following resolution:
“The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland wholeheartedly supports the Homecoming Parade in Belfast on November 2, to publicly welcome home soldiers, sailors and air force personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The Orange Institution has always encouraged its members to serve the Crown and tens of thousands of Orange brethren have done just that in conflicts all over the world.
“We think particularly of the Royal Irish Regiment, which can trace its roots to Colonel Tiffin’s Regiment which fought at the Boyne.
“And as we meet in Co. Cavan we think especially of 29 year old Ranger Justin Cupples who lost his life in Afghanistan at the beginning of September. Ranger Cupples was American but he and his wife Vilma had made their home here in Cavan.
“He was a brave soldier and we salute all the young men and women who by their service put their lives on the line to create a more peaceful world.”
“We believe the people who are behind this attack are only trying to stir up sectarian division in a part of the province where relations between the two communities have been steadily improving over the past number of years,” he said.
“An arson attack on any community hall is an attack on the whole community and must be condemned by everyone.
“Anyone with any information about this attack should contact the police immediately.”
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
The Ould Orange Flute
(Air — “The Protestant Boys”)
In the County Tyrone, near the town of Dungannon,
Where many a ruction myself had a hand in
Bob Williamson lived a weaver to trade,
And all of us thought him a stout Orange blade.
On the twelfth of July as it yearly did come,
Bob played on the flute to the sound of the drum.
You may talk of your harp, your piano, or lute,
But nothing could sound like the ould Orange flute.
But this treacherous scoundrel took us all in,
For he married a Papish call Bridget M’Ginn,
And turned Papish himself, and forsook the ould cause
That gave us our freedom, religion, and laws.
Now the boys in the townland made some noise upon it,
And Bob had to fly to the province of Connaught;
He fled with his wife and fixings to boot,
Along with the others the ould Orange flute.
At the Chapel on Sundays to atone for past deeds,
He said Pater and Ayes and counted his beads,
Till after some time at the Priests’ own desire,
He went with his ould flute to play in the choir;
He went with his ould flute to play in the Mass,
And the instrument shivered and sighed, Oh, alas!
When he blew it and fingered and made a great noise,
The flute would play only “the Protestant Boys.”
Bob jumped and he started and got into a splutter,
And threw his ould flute in the blessed holy water;
He thought that this charm would bring some other sound,
But when he blew it again it played “Croppies lie down.”
And all he could whistle, and finger, and blow,
To play Papish music he found it no go.
“Kick the Pope,” “The Boyne Water,” and such like it would sound,
But one Papish squeak in it couldn’t be found.
At a council of priests that was held the next day,
They decided to banish the ould flute away,
For they couldn’t knock heresy out of its head.
So they bought Bob another to play in its stead.
So the ould flute was doomed and its fate was pathetic,
It was fastened and burned at the stake as a heretic;
While the flames roared around it they heard a strange noise,
‘Twas the ould flute still whistling “The Protestant Boys.”
Saturday, 6 September 2008
- Advertise Lodge Events.
- List Lodge Histories and Genealogy.
- Recruit new members.
- Keep in touch with lost brethren.
- Join the growing Orange Internet presence.
As you can see L.O.L. 145 is very keen on increasing the online orange presence, and we're proud to offer that service to other lodges and preceptories. Website are really the only completely controllable medium of getting your message to the wider world. TV, Radio and Newspapers are all bias in one way or another, websites are a cheap, totally customisable way of communicating, especially to younger prospective members.
For as little as £20/yr we'll create a website with a .co.uk or .org.uk (like this one), and fill it with any information you provide. We'll also update it with any information you want and give advice on our experience with ours.
Visit some of our portfolio of sites we have created for other organisations.
For more information, or to arrange to get a website for your lodge or other organisation send us an e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Friday 1st August @ 7.30 pm
Concert of Traditional Folk Music by
The Little Family Folk Group
The Ballynahinch Highland Dancers
And Wilson Burgess, Poet and Storyteller
Under 10’s free
Followed by an evening of Folk Music and Craic in
The White Horse Hotel 9.30 PM Till Late
Family fun Day.
Main Street Saintfield
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
Parade and Wreath laying Ceremony
Followed By Re-enactment of Battle of Saintfield
Gerry Lowe’s Farm Windmill Road.
Monday, 14 July 2008
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
Saturday, 12 July 2008
"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."
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.
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.
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.
Friday, 11 July 2008
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Monday, 21 April 2008
Guests are welcome at the service, there will be a collection for the Loyal Orange Widows and Orphans Fund. Neglect of Orphans is an offence punishable by expulsion, so come and make your contribution!
Sunday, 20 April 2008
Saturday, 1 March 2008
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
"This lodge protests at the continued threat against our British identity in this part of the
It was passed unanimously by Royal York members.
After what started a turbulent year beginning with Limavady Borough Council, where Sinn Fein Nationalist Councilors sought the removal of the symbols of our country and what has been repeated in Banbridge District Council; Royal York stands behind Grand Secretary W. Bro. Drew Nelson in his efforts to highlight this injustice and what is an insult to the loyal people of this province.
It is sad to see the continued attack on our culture and national identity in what has been deemed a 'New' Northern Ireland now that Sinn Fein are in Government.
This motion was passed at District Lodge (3) Level on 26th February 2008.
This motion was passed at County Lodge (Belfast) Level on 12th February 2008.
Saturday, 12 January 2008
In what was a very successful evening, we had an evening packed full with good food, good company and good entertainment - with musical entertainment provided by our lodge piper.
Some photos can be accessed here.