Orange Halls open to sign anti-Protocol Declaration
Orange Halls at locations across Northern Ireland are expected to open their doors today to facilitate the signing of the anti-Northern Ireland Protocol Declaration.
In a statement earlier this week the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said that ‘the strength and depth of opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol has regularly been downplayed and, in some quarters, it has been dismissed altogether’.
The statement added: “In an effort to highlight the issue, the Orange Institution is facilitating the signing of an anti-Protocol Declaration which reiterates Unionism’s resolute opposition to the Protocol.
“The Declaration also offers clear support to the leaders of political Unionism, who issued their joint declaration against the Protocol on Ulster Day – 28th September 2021.
Deputy Grand Master Harold Henning said earlier this week: “The Unionist population is united and strongly opposed to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which sets Northern Ireland as a place apart from the rest of the United Kingdom. The Protocol clearly undermines the sovereignty of the United Kingdom as we are subject to laws made by Europe.
“Furthermore, it is delivering an all-Ireland economy as trade with the Republic of Ireland is growing, while trade with the rest of the United Kingdom is being frustrated and made increasingly difficult. As a result, traders and consumers are being forced to source goods from the Republic.”
Full details of halls and opening times can be found by visiting https://www.goli.org.uk/declaration. There is also an opportunity to sign the anti-Protocol Declaration on this same webpage page.
Mr Henning added: “We are encouraging anyone who cares about the Union, regardless of party affiliation, to sign this Declaration and register their peaceful opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol.”
In February a senior member of the Orange Order was among NI civic leaders who met European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic. Orange Order Grand Secretary Mervyn Gibson said he would be repeating the position that the NI Protocol must go. Speaking afterwards, Mr Sefcovic said he was committed to finding “pragmatic solutions” to problems.
“What I was presenting to them was a unique opportunity to actually operate in two markets at the same time,” he added.