The Grand Master of the Orange Lodge of Ireland Edward Stevenson has called an emergency Orange meeting of leading figures in the organisation to discuss the Order’s response to controversial Parades Commission determinations.
Mr Stevenson used his Rossnowlagh address to give backing to the united unionist reponse to the rulings.
He told a crowd gathered at the Field: “As we look forward to the 17 Twelfth demonstrations across Northern Ireland next weekend, we are also mindful of recent political developments following another disastrous decision by the Parades Commission regarding our brethren in Ligoniel, Belfast.
“This followed on from the shambolic and ludicrous determination preventing Orangemen from dedicating an arch in memory of an esteemed past member in Portadown.”
Mr Stevenson said that he had called an emergency meeting of all County Grand Masters and District Masters “from all over Northern Ireland to inform them of our course of action and our engagement with the leaders of unionism”.
He said: “Grand Lodge is fully supportive of the united graduated response by unionism to this latest constraint on our legitimate cultural expression and traditions. Numerous other parades across Northern Ireland, as we know, also face continuing intransigent and deliberate opposition by republicans.
“We cannot underestimate the seriousness of the situation but there is no doubt that unionism is stronger when it is united and speaking with one voice.”
Mr Stevenson added: “I would also reiterate my appeal, and that of the Institution, for any associated protests to be both lawful and peaceful. Violence should not prevail.”