DUP target of blatant lies and vilification: Orange leader

Rev Mervyn Gibson said he believed the DUP would do its best for all the people of Northern Ireland
Rev Mervyn Gibson said he believed the DUP would do its best for all the people of Northern Ireland

A leading Orangeman has said the DUP is being “unfairly vilified” by the Labour Party and media outlets in Great Britain.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s intention to strike a deal with the DUP in order to prop up her minority Tory administration has not sat well with many Labour MPs and supporters, given the DUP’s extremely conservative views on some social issues.

But Rev Mervyn Gibson, grand secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, accused some DUP critics of “making up blatant lies” about the party in an effort to discredit them.

He told the News Letter: “It is sad to see that some people on the mainland have resorted to telling lies about the DUP in an effort to vilify them.

“It is unfair and a complete disgrace.”

Rev Gibson said he believes the DUP will “do all it can” in its discussions with the Tories to “ensure the best possible outcome for all people in Northern Ireland”.

Over the weekend, Portadown District Portadown District LOL 1 called on the new government to make parading in the Province a priority, adding that the DUP now had responsibility to “deliver for the people of Northern Ireland”.

Portadown District has been prevented from completing its annual Drumcree parade since 1997, and the Garvaghy Road Residents’ Coalition has refused its proposals for talks.

Rev Gibson agreed that parading should be “high on the agenda” for the new government, but added that issues surrounding the legacy of the Troubles should also be given priority.

“I am confident that issues relating to victims, the rewriting of the past, and prosecutions of members of the security forces will all be addressed by the DUP in its discussions with the Conservative Party,” he added.

“I believe the DUP will put NI first and do its best for all citizens here.”