Orange Order hopes new Parades body members will be the last

Parade in Belfast city centre
Parade in Belfast city centre
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The Orange Order has said it remains staunch in its opposition to the Parades Commission, despite the appointment of new members.

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers announced on Friday that five new members will be appointed to the parading body as the term of the current team runs out at the end of this year.

The new members will have a three-year appointment but Ms Villiers said this could be shortened if issues around parades are resolved through the Richard Haass talks.

The Orange Order has long called for the disbandment of the Parades Commission, claiming it does not respect their views and rights.

In another disappointing move for the Order, an application for the Ligoneil lodges to compete their banned July 12 parade on Saturday morning was rejected earlier this week.

This year some bands have defiled rulings by the Commission which they have claimed are unfair and encroach on their rights.

An Orange Order spokesman said the organisation is hopeful the new appointments will be the last, before the Commission is replaced.

“The Orange Institution, along with the other Loyal Orders and marching bands fraternity, will shed no tears at the replacement of the current Parades Commission,” he said.

“Its end of term report will make for abysmal reading, validating its lamentable record of failure as an unaccountable body ill-disposed towards the traditional Protestant parading sector.

“We trust this appointment process will only be memorable in that it is the last by a serving Secretary of State.

“Rather than new personnel operating the same failed system, what is urgently required is the replacement of the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 with a better regulatory mechanism.

“By engaging positively in the Haass talks, the Orange Institution remains committed to finding a replacement to the Parades Commission.

“Parading policy and legislation must be based on civil and religious liberties for all and special privileges for none.”