The Orange Order have garnered praise from an unlikely source for their role in a recent discussion of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney congratulated the Order for taking part in and helping organise a discussion of the republican rebellion in Co Fermanagh on Thursday.
The Order, however, said that the discussion was just one of a series of debates on the ‘decade of centenaries’, with other topics for discussion including the Ulster Covenant, the First World War and the Battle of the Somme.
The talk, entitled ‘Making History Talk – Understanding 1916,’ was organised jointly by Co Fermanagh Grand Orange Lodge and the Church of Ireland diocese of Clogher, as well as Enniskillen Methodists and Presbyterians.
Those in attendance heard from academic Dr Brian Feeney and Irish Senator Michael McDowell in the talks, chaired by political commentator Alex Kane.
Stuart Brooker, grand master of Co Fermanagh Grand Orange Lodge, speaking beforehand, said the event was “about having respectful conversations and increasing understanding”.
Mr Kearney said: “This is what our wider community needs. I hope we can look forward to similar initiatives being organised elsewhere.”
A spokesperson for Co Fermanagh Grand Orange Lodge, responding to Mr Kearney’s remarks, said: “Through dialogue and partnership it was decided to hold a series of public events to promote greater understanding and better relationships in the wider community.
“In this notable decade of centenaries, topics of discussion have previously included the Ulster Covenant, the outbreak of the First World War, incorporating the Battle of the Somme, as well as the Easter Rising.
“ We look forward to continuing the wider debate on other historical landmarks over the course of the next few years, including the end of the Great War and the creation of Northern Ireland.”