Yesterday, Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland was down in Dublin addressing the Oireachtas. The problem the Orange Order has, apparently, is that it’s misunderstood, so Drew would like people in the south to know more about the institution. With this in mind, here are some facts about the Orange Order that might help Dublin politicians decide whether Drew’s proposed Orange march through Dublin would be a good idea.
1. The founding documents of the Orange Order say, 'An Orangeman should not merely be somebody who has hostility towards the distinctive doctrines, the superstitions, the priestcraft and spiritual despotism of the Church of Rome.'
2. The 'Constitution, Laws and Ordinances of the Loyal Orange Institution of Ireland' (1967) states: "No person who at any time has been a Roman Catholic ... shall be admitted into the institution, except after permission given by a vote of 75pc of the members present founded on testimonials of good character.
3. Today, as always, each member of the Orange Order is pledged to: “strenuously oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome, and scrupulously avoid countenancing (by his presence or otherwise) any act of ceremony of Popish worship; he should by all lawful means, resist the ascendancy of that Church, its encroachments, and the extension of its powers”.
4.. Early in 1992, loyalist gunmen killed five Catholics who were in a betting shop on the Ormeau Road in Belfast. Months later, a parade along the road sparked fury when some of the Orangemen present made "five-nil" hand gestures as they passed the murder scene.The then Northern Ireland Secretary Sir Patrick Mayhew accused those responsible for the taunts of behaving like 'cannibals' ".
5. On July 12, 1996, Robert Saulters - who was later elected Grand Master of the Orange Order on December 11 - told the Orange Order, that the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, " has already sold his birthright by marrying a Romanist. He would sell his soul to the devil himself. He is not loyal to his religion. He is a turncoat "
6. A few years ago, George Galloway, then an MP, described the Orange Order as "sectarian, anti-Catholic, Protestant-supremacist". A defamation suit was pursued against him by the Orange Order in Britain. Judge Lord Kingarth who threw out the case, ruled it was "a fair comment on that organisation".