Thursday 27 November 2008


This is the speech given by the Cavan Co. Grand Master Henry Latimer who met the Republic of Ireland President, Mary McAleese, at an Orange Hall in Co. Cavan this morning.
Brethren, Sisters, Friends and Special Guests 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. Henry Latimer Grand Master County Cavan Grand Orange Lodge

Tuesday 25 November 2008


The Orange Order has expressed its sympathy to the families of the four police officers who lost their lives near Warrenpoint.
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


The Grand Master of the Orange Order, Robert Saulters, says the institution is reaching out as never before to explain its traditions.
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


The loyal orders have called for the Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie to withdraw remarks she reportedly made at the weekend.
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


The Orange Order has repeated its condemnation of arson attacks on community halls.

“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

Palmer St. Remembrance Day Service this Sunday

The Annual Palmer St. Remembrance Service Parade will be held this Sunday 9th November 2008.
It is orangased by United Districts and all Brethren are asked to assemble at rear of Belfast Orange Hall for 1430 parade.
This parade is to commemorate those who lost their lives due to enemy action during the recent Defence of Ulster in North West Belfast.

Sunday 2 November 2008

Welcome Home Heroes!

The Worshipful Master, Officers and Brethren of Royal York LOL 145 would like to express their gratitude to the soldiers of Royal Irish Regiment, Irish Guards, Royal Dragoon Guards and the TA who took part in the homecoming parade today in Belfast. 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. No Surrender!