Mystery surrounds removal of Orange Order billboard in north Belfast

One of the billboards advertising the new Museum of Orange Heritage. Picture: Graham Curry.
One of the billboards advertising the new Museum of Orange Heritage. Picture: Graham Curry.

Mystery still surrounds the removal of a billboard in north Belfast which advertised the opening of the new Orange Museum next week.

The poster was placed on a large hoarding at Clifton Street on Monday but had been taken down by midweek.

It has been claimed by the Orange Order that the billboard has been re-sited in the east of the city following complaints from residents in the nearby Carrick Hill area.

A spokesman for the Order said the removal was baffling and “deeply disappointing”.

He added: “It is extremely concerning that a museum, which is PEACE III funded, promoting outreach and providing a greater understanding of our shared history should be the cause of such contention.”

However, there has been no confirmation from either JC Decaux – the company responsible for the hire of the billboards – or the Carrick Hill Residents Association, who are opposed to Orange Order parades through the area, that a complaint has been made.

The wording on the missing billboard read: “We want to share our history so everyone can share the future.”

The Orange Order spokesman added that it is unfortunate some people “would rather display intolerance”.

Members of the public will be able to visit the new £4million Museum of Orange Heritage at the Grand Lodge’s Cregagh Road headquarters from Monday.

JC Decaux has not yet responded to the News Letter’s request for a comment on its understanding of the situation.

North Belfast DUP councillor Lee Reynolds has posed the question of whether there is any comparison between the removal of the poster and the recent Ashers Bakery cake case.

In a tweet to the Equality Commission on Thursday, Cllr Reynolds said: “If Ashers were guilty of political discrimination what about JCDecaux?”