The Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward
Stevenson, has paid tribute to the Orange fraternity following a hugely
The senior Orangeman said: “The 324th anniversary of the Battle of the
Boyne will be remembered for the unprecedented numbers of people
celebrating the largest annual festival in Northern Ireland.
“While the weather may not have lived up to expectations, the tens of
thousands of brethren, band personnel and supporters, taking part or
lining the routes of 17 demonstrations across the Province, bears
testament to the continuing relevance and appeal of Orangeism in our
“The day’s events once again highlighted the organisational ability of the
Institution, which has been publicly acknowledged by the Chief Constable.
I would commend all those involved from local lodges to senior officers,
and in particular District Masters, who ensured the biggest day in the
parading calendar lived up to its glorious billing.
“Amid the pageant of colour and music, and carnival atmosphere, there was also a united and determined resolve as the Orange and Unionist family peacefully demonstrated against the shambolic Parades Commission, and the ongoing demonisation by republicans of our parading traditions and expressions of British identity.
“The symbolic six minute stoppage, in a show of solidarity with our Ligoniel brethren, and the evening protest parades were a necessary and required course of action to take.
“I would also pay tribute to the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast and three Ligoniel lodges for the responsible leadership and action they took in managing their evening protest and defusing tensions on the Woodvale Road; despite being yet again denied their civil and religious liberties. I am glad all passed off peacefully and without incident.
“These actions are in stark contrast to those republicans who continue to vilify our Institution and what we stand for. In recent days, there have been graffiti attacks on Orange property in Fermanagh and Ballycastle, as well as an arson attempt in Co Londonderry. Such hate crime is an insidious form of sectarianism and must cease.
“There is now a growing realisation within the community, and the political establishment, that the Parades Commission and the system of regulating parades is failing. There is now an onus on the Secretary of State to heed the unmistakable message emanating from Unionism for change. Our campaign will continue towards that end.”
Story taken from the Orange Order website www.grandorangelodge.co.uk