However unpalatable they may be to many people there is a lot of truth in the views of Jude Collins on the Orange Order (November 26), and I write that as a Protestant.
When one travels through the province and sees the state of many Orange halls it is difficult to see the reason for the Order’s existence, except for parading and marching, something which is increasingly yesteryear given the amount of traffic on our country roads, towns and villages.
We all accept that innocent victims have been ignored in the interests of political expediency and the ‘peace process’; a reality that is not going to change.
However, when the Orange Order refers to innocent victims it appears to mean innocent victims who were Orange brethren.
It’s as if Catholic innocent victims or Protestant innocent victims who were not members of the Order do not count.
The Orange Order has been in existence for over 200 years and has well established organisational structures in place.
Surely the Order should consider establishing a fund to benefit all innocent victims, irrespective of religious persuasion and channel into that fund the money spent on regalia, bands, uniforms etc.
It would not do the image of the Order any harm and may even enhance it and would attract contributions from many sources.
However, such an exercise would involve considerable planning, effort and energy, which is likely to beyond an organisation whose main focus is on one day a year.
Unless the Orange Order reviews its raison d’etre it will become even more anachronistic than it already is.
When a delegation of Orangemen led by the late and much respected Drew Nelson addressed the Irish Parliament a few years ago top of its wish list was a desire to get marching through Dublin.
Surely that says it all.
A Thompson, Dungannon