Orange Order calls for parading ‘fresh start’

Orange men make the annual march to Drumcree road.  Picture Mark Marlow/Pacemaker press
Orange men make the annual march to Drumcree road. Picture Mark Marlow/Pacemaker press

The Orange Order has reaffirmed its opposition to the Parades Commission and called for it to be replaced with a “fair and equitable” system.

Twenty years after the commission was first established, the Orange Institution has branded the statutory body “not fit for purpose” and said it is seeking a “fresh start” for parading in Northern Ireland.

The Whiterock Orange Order parade. 'Picture by Arthur Allison

The Whiterock Orange Order parade. 'Picture by Arthur Allison

A Grand Lodge spokesman said: “With a pitiful track record of unnecessary and excessive restrictions on traditional parades over two decades, the Parades Commission through its actions has been characterised by incompetence, inefficiency, discrimination, unaccountability, and a lack of transparency.”

He added that the Parades Commission and relevant legislation “must be replaced if aspirations for a more inclusive society are to be truly realised”.

The Grand Lodge will now be seeking a meeting with Secretary of State Karen Bradley to discuss its proposals for a new legislative framework.

The spokesman added: “The Grand Lodge is committed in its long-held desire for new parading legislation, which is fair and equitable to all, allowing a reasonable and impartial system for public processions which is fully transparent and fully accountable.

“Such a course of action will be to the betterment of community relations, enabling a stable future for everyone in NI, aiding mutual tolerance and respect for all traditions.”