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Anger at call for Order to pay for policing
Published on Thursday 4 October 2012 08:53
THE DUP has angrily rejected a suggestion by Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr that the Orange Order should make a contribution to the cost of policing parades.
Mr Kerr was speaking to the BBC Spotlight programme where it emerged that the cost of policing parades in Northern Ireland so far this year has been more than £6.5 million, excluding the policing of the weekend’s centenary parade, one of the largest public demonstrations in recent history.
“Six million is far too much money to spend in this area,” Mr Kerr told Spotlight.
“We would say, quite legitimately I think, people should take responsibility and share a burden of the cost whenever the platform of an event leads to associated disorder.
“We would welcome a debate about where that cost should lie.”
DUP Policing Board member Jonathan Craig said that “pay as you go policing”, as he labelled the suggestion, would be a “dangerous direction to take”.
“To force parade organisers to pay for the costs of policing protests against parades is to give a massive weapon to those who organise protests and riotous demonstrations,” he said.
“While riots and protests cost a lot of money to police, parades that are unmolested and not protested against cost practically nothing, as officers around the Province can testify.
“At the Policing Board tomorrow, the DUP will once again make it clear to the senior management of PSNI that pay as you go policing is totally unacceptable.”
Commission defer Covenant march ruling
Published Wednesday, 19 September 2012
The Parades Commission said it will defer its determination on the Ulster Covenant march following a "heartening" level of local contact.
Orange Lodges pass through Belfast during the Twelfth of July parades. (© Pacemaker)
Much discussion has been taking place as groups in Belfast try to reach an arrangement that would ease tensions ahead of the parade on 29 September.
It comes after trouble flared when the Royal Black Institution went past St Patrick's Church in Donegal Street at the end of last month.
This week the Orange Order said bands will only play hymns during that stretch - however Sinn Féin has called for its leaders to hold face-to-face talks with residents.
A statement from the Parades Commission said it will make its verdict on Monday.
"The Commission has been heartened by the level of local contact which has taken place so far in advance of the upcoming Ulster Covenant parade on 29 September," it said.
"In light of this and the prospect that there may be opportunity for further local contact, the Commission has decided to defer its determination on the parade for a number of days."
Controversy erupted when the loyalist Young Conway Volunteers flute band was filmed playing a contentious song outside the church on the Twelfth of July.
They were prohibited from marching past it in August, but defied the Parades Commission by doing so, while other bands also breached rulings by playing music.
Violent clashes ensued between protestors, however The Royal Black Institution has since apologised to the clergy at St Patrick's Church and Fr Michael Sheehan from the church said he appreciated the "Christian spirit" behind the move.
The decision of the Orange Order to only play hymns was announced in a statement which explained that "quiet, frank and constructive conversations" have taken place between clergy and parishioners to defuse tensions following the trouble at recent parades.
Local Unionist politicians have welcomed it as "constructive" and a "gesture of goodwill".
However, Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly said time is running out for the Orange Order to have direct face-to-face talks with the Carrickhill residents.
He said: "Conversations to resolve these issues must involve those who file for the parade, the Grand Lodge and those who file for the related protest, the Carrickhill Residents Association," adding: "Time is running out for a resolution".
Ulster Scots Should Have Independence Vote – Orangeman Dr David Hume PhD MBE
Ulster Scots Speech 24.9.12.doc Download this file
Media Please find attached latest press release on behalf of the Orange Order.
Dr David Hume is guest speaker at an Ulster Covenant commemoration event in Glasgow Evangelical Church this evening.
Ulster Scots should have independence vote – Orangeman
THE Orange Order's Director of Services has called on the Scottish government to allow Ulster Scots to vote in the referendum on the future of Scotland.
Dr David Hume was speaking at an event organised in Glasgow by the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland to commemorate the centenary of the Ulster Covenant.
He said that Ulster Scots had provided the first unifying factor in Scottish history in the 6th century and helped develop Scottish interests in Ireland and elsewhere from the 17th century.
"We are stakeholders as well. Surely a decision such as this should not ignore our input?" he said.
The Director of Services recalled the strong support for Ulster Unionism a century ago in Scotland, where thousands of Ulster exiles signed at locations including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Troon, Ayrshire and elsewhere.
"A century on, the constitutional future is clearer now. The constitutional status of Northern Ireland will not change without the consent of the people. But the Union that was so dear to the hearts of 471,414 men and women in 1912 is under threat in other ways,” he said.
“In 1912 Scots unionists watched anxiously for Ulster and in 2014 Ulster will watch anxiously for you as nationalists seek to win a referendum which would alter totally the constitution of our nation. A union without Scotland would be a poorer place."
"It would be our hope that the Scottish people remain with us and remain within the Union. Victory is not assured. No one should believe that. But you can be assured that we are with those who stand by the Union and we will not forsake you as your forefathers did not forsake us.
“Many of them were not born in Ulster so they could not sign the Covenant. But they held it in their hearts. We will not forget you for that and the continuing support you give to us."
Dr Hume continued: "It is a great privilege to be Scottish. But we should not mix up patriotism with nationalism. In 2014 there will be attempts to sell the two as one product. But people should not be confused. It is natural to be Scottish and support the Union. Within the Union there is cultural difference, and other differences too; that is the great value of the Union. It is a value which binds us together under common structures and ethos."
He added: "When the referendum comes in 2014 the SNP want to extend the vote to those who are 16 years of age and, presumably, more likely to vote as directed by the SNP. I would call on them to extend the referendum to the Ulster Scots. After all, we provided the first unifying force in Scotland in the 6th century AD and we later extended Scottish influence to Ireland in the 17th century. We are stakeholders as well. Surely a decision such as this should not ignore our input?"
Kind Regards, Bryan
Grand Orange Lodge Of Ireland
368 Cregagh Road
Belfast, BT6 9EY
Tel: 028 9070 1122 Fax: 028 9040 3700
Mobile: 07815 849670
The Excitment is Building!
Drumlins Rock, Fri 28 September 2012, 12:26am 25
Only two sleeps to go till the big parade, and I’m starting to get quite excited about it. It has only been the last two weeks that it has dawned on me this is likely to be a special occasion, one to remember for the rest of my life. I still remember the Tercentenary Celebrations in 1990, the Belfast parade that year was extremely impressive, I had a bit of a role in it that time too, however the highlight of that year was taking part in a large scale re-enactment of the Battle of the Boyne in a field outside Cookstown, I carried the standard for the “2nd Battalion of Huguenots” leading them across the river and mourning the loss of brave Duke Schomberg. The Diamond celebration in 1995 were also memorable in the rolling hills and orchards of Armagh, but I’m starting to sense Saturday is going to be something equally special, grander and more poignant, with the characters we remember sharing our names and faces, addresses, churches and lodge numbers.
Normally the biggest parade of the year is the Relief of Derry Celebrations in August, with about 140 bands and clubs, most of those bands will have completed the five mile parade before my club & band has started, now try to picture up to 200 bands and lodges parading 3 or 4 deep, a solid mass of people from Sandy Row to the steps of Stormont, then double it, that I think will be quite a sight and sound, there will be a good selection of silver, pipes and accordions however of course it will still be mainly flutes, which many of us will still clearly hear 3 or 4 days later!
For me the novelty of parading in the city will be something that makes it more of an occasion, with the culture being slightly different, in the country we sometimes take the dignified observing of parades a little too seriously, in the city you have a more responsive audience cheering and clapping and occasionally dancing along! I expect Saturday to be just the right mix of town and country to ensure the best of both worlds on this ossacion. Parading through built up urban areas also adds to the occasion, the colour, symbolism and structure of the parade often refects the history and architecture of the urban Landscape, even for a little while reclaiming the streets for the people from the car. I have paraded in London and Toronto in the past, but I think Belfast can hold its own.
From our two local villages we are taking two bands, one silver and one accordion, and a total of 4 buses at present, the Silver Band has the immense privilege of leading the entire parade with the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, a great honour for them and the district. We would hope to have over 100 members parading behind the accordion band, unfortunately the alphabet seems to place Tyrone rather far back in the parade so we could be waiting quite a while to even start!
Most importantly I won’t forget the reason I am parading on this occasion, having already attended a parade and service on Sunday as part of the Covenant Commemorations, it really struck home what the original covenanters signed up to when I saw all the WWI memorial in the church, it was more than just a parade and form of protest to them. They of course went on to sign a different roll and some including members of my own family didn’t come home, personally I believe what was achieved by their generation was one of the greatest displays of community activism and solidarity in the annals of history, it is worthy of remembering.
Forgiving Churchill his betrayal at that time and dreary steeples comment after, his later tribute to Northern Ireland after World War Two shows the true reward for all those who signed that day, the free world owes them a debt of thanks and I hope at least some will celebrate with us on Saturday.