The Orange Institution’s ruling body – the Grand Lodge of Ireland – has met south of the border for the first time since partition.
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.”