It was the second annual Orange ‘victims day’ event, to remember 339 murdered members of the Order.
Commemorative events took place across every county in Northern Ireland.
The day was chosen to take place on September 1 because that is the date in 1975 in which five Orangemen were killed in an IRA massacre at Tullyvallen in south Armagh.
While killings by soldiers in Ballymurphy are now the subject of an inquest, that has become a major and long running inquiry, just as the killings by Parachute Regiment soldiers were the subject of a long running inquiry, in which QCs are hired at vast expense to the taxpayer, there is no such inquiry into the terrorist murders that preceded these killings.
Nor is there the remotest prospect of it.
Instead, there is a proposed legacy structure in which the only prospect of significant scrutiny of terrorist murders resides in a proposed Historical Investigations Unit, which to a massive extent will be examining state killings — despite the fact that they were overwhelmingly legal —as well as hundreds of cases of ‘police misconduct’.
This is in addition to the above mentioned inquires, and scores of legacy inquests which — disgracefully — were approved by a civil servant (although if the government had taken control of local powers after Sinn Fein collapsed Stormont the civil servant would never have been put in that position).
How many times does it need to be said that legacy needs a complete overhaul? Given that we are going down the route of exhaustive investigation of allegations against the heroic state forces who prevented anarchy, there must now be commensurate scrutiny of whole categories of terrorist murder — loyalist targeting of Catholic civilians, IRA targeting of Catholic judiciary, IRA targeting of civil servants, IRA massacres of civilians, IRA murders on the border, IRA attacks on the elected government, Dublin blocking extradition, etc.
In the meantime, the Orange Order is to be congratulated on its own initiative to remember the loyal order dead.