Orange Order would like to hold a parade in Dublin
THE ORANGE ORDER would welcome the opportunity to hold a parade in Dublin, one of the most senior figures in the organisation has told the Seanad.
Drew Nelson, who today became the first member of the Orange Order to address the Oireachtas, said that the organisation understands the challenges such a parade would pose. The Order currently holds around 20 parades each year in the Republic.
Nelson told the Seanad that the Orange Order wants to contribute to the “normalisation of relationships within these islands”.
“We live in a world of change and whilst we are an organisation which places a high value on tradition we recognise that we also have to change,” he said.
Nelson raised a number of concerns and fears of Protestants living in Northern Ireland and the Republic, including funding cuts for Protestant schools, adding:
It is not too strong to say that, in the border counties, the Protestant community actually fears for its continued survival as a viable, self-sustaining community.
366 members of the Orange Order were killed in Northern Ireland during the sectarian conflict lasting more than 30 years, Nelson told the Seanad. More than half of those members were serving in the security forces.
A total of 323 Orange Halls have been burned between 1989 and 2011, which Nelson said he believed was a “direct result of the demonisation of the Orange Order by the Republican movement”.
There are currently around 1300 Orange Lodges in eleven different counties, including the nine counties in Ulster, Leitrim, and Dublin.
The Orange Order is a Loyalist Protestant organisation. It became something of a byword for intolerance and sectarianism in the past and was widely viewed as something of a mix between the Masonic Order and the Ku Klux Klan. Every year they hold parades, especially in July, to celebrate the 'glorious twelfth', the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne (1690) in which Williamite power triumphed, assuring a protestant throne and a protestant ascendancy in Ireland. These parades were often routed through Catholic areas, to let the peasants know who was in charge. This caused a great deal of resentment and tension, and some of the worst rioting in Northern Ireland can be linked directly to Orange parades. The peace accords set up a parades commission whose job it is to regulate parades and they have managed to cut down the tension a lot, mostly by either re-routing or banning certain parades entirely. To complicate things, Nationalists would hold counter parades, and the whole thing would simply dissolve into the worst kind of primitive tribalism. Traditionally, the Republic of Ireland would see a huge increase in holiday makers from Northern Ireland in the first few weeks of July as people simply got the fuck out of Dodge for the duration of rioting/idiot season, and Northern registered cars would be a very common sight on the roads.
And now they are requesting permission to march in Dublin. I think they should be allowed to march. Northern Ireland is still part of the UK, and will remain so until the people of Northern Ireland desire it to be otherwise. If we are ever to have a united Ireland, we will need the goodwill of all the people of Northern Ireland, including members of the Orange Order. In other words, the road to a united Ireland runs through the Orange Lodges of Ulster. I personally wouldn't want to be part of a country in which I didn't feel welcome, and I am sure that the Orangemen feel the same. This is a time to look forward, and not back.
Realistically, the march is unlikely to get the green light, and if it does go ahead, there will be crowds of flag waving morons waiting to throw stones and petrol bombs at the marchers.