The removal of a billboard poster advertising the opening of the Museum of Orange Heritage next week has been described as baffling and “deeply disappointing” by the Orange Order.
The Order had rented the prime north Belfast site in Clifton Street as one of a number of billboards around the city promoting its new £4million facility.
However, within days it had been removed and is now re-sited in east Belfast.
A spokesman for the Grand Lodge said he believed the poster was removed as a result of complaints by residents in the nearby Carrick Hill area.
The spokesman said: “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.
“Our new facility in Belfast, and in Co Armagh, are both aimed to create greater awareness of Orangeism and its traditions, as well as promoting shared space and greater levels of reconciliation through education.
“Our extensive advertising campaign demonstrates our commitment to this objective. It is unfortunate that there are some in society who would rather display intolerance, and in doing so promote apartheid in areas of our capital city.”
The spokesman added: “Despite this incident, the Orange Institution is heartened by the support and feedback it has received for this major project from all sections of the community.
“We look forward, as our promotional material clearly states, to sharing our history, so we all can share the future.”
The company which rents the billboard space has not yet responded to the News Letter’s request for a comment.