IN FULL: Orange Order statement on ‘growing unionist resentment’
A statement from Markethill District Orange Lodge has been issued, with the endorsement of the wider institution, voicing concern over what it calls “growing resentment and anger” within unionism.
The statement, preproduced in full below and issued from the order’s central communications account, comes after several days of rioting in loyalist neighbourhoods across Northern Ireland.
It also follows a trio of un-notified band parades on Monday night in Ballymena, Portadown, and Markethill (there is no suggestion the order organised the parades), staged to highlight unionist disaffection.
The statement has been “endorsed and supported by County Armagh Grand Orange Lodge”.
It reads: “Markethill District LOL No. 10 has stated its increasing concern regarding the growing resentment and anger within the broad Unionist community caused by both the imposition of the NI Protocol and recent criminal justice decisions surrounding the Storey funeral held in June 2020.
“The failure of the Public Prosecution Services to lay charges arising out of the mass breaches of the Covid-19 regulations in place at the time, and the subsequent disclosure of PSNI involvement in the pre-planning of what was little more than a republican propaganda exercise, has created the clear impression that, to all intents and purposes, republicans are effectively untouchable when it comes to such events.
“No one within the Unionist community believes that such “generosity of spirit” would be extended to it or any individual or organisation within it.
“What is even more concerning is the complete disregard with which those both within the NIO and the Westminster political establishment continue to treat the legitimate concerns of our people around these issues.
“That arrogance and distain has clearly exacerbated an overall political situation which continues to deteriorate rapidly.
“However, Markethill District recognizes that there are no quick or easy solutions to the difficulties facing the Unionist community which have been many years in the making.
“It is incumbent upon those who claim to represent us to devise - and put in place - a cohesive and comprehensive political, social and educational strategy which will take unionism forward over the next generation and more. It is their duty to do so.
“Markethill District also appeals to our young people to employ their energies and talents in a constructive and positive manner both to strengthen our community and build for the future.
“In that respect, the Orange Institution, and Markethill District as one of its constituent parts, stands ready to provide them with the vehicle to do so.
“That is why we have existed since 1795.”
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