Ó Cuív grants €250,000 to promote Orange Order

 

Another symbolic milestone in the peace process will be reached tomorrow when the grandson of one of Ireland's most iconic republicans will announce the State's first substantial grant to the Orange Order.

Éamon Ó Cuív, the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, has given approval for funding of almost €250,000 to a company that has been set up by Orange lodges based along the Border. The money has been allotted for a two-year period.

Mr Ó Cuív is a grandson of Éamon de Valera, considered by some to be the father of modern Irish republicanism. The gesture is being portrayed as a sign of the growing maturity of political relationships on the island as well as of the increased acceptance of other traditions.

The company, Cadelmo Ltd, will operate on a community-based initiative in Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim and Monaghan. The funding will support the work of a development officer who will cater for the needs of Orange lodges and other groups that meet in Orange halls in the counties.

Mr Ó Cuív has pointed out that his department has already been involved in supporting the refurbishment of a number of Orange halls in the Cavan/Monaghan area under local grant schemes. He also deplored the recent attacks on Orange halls.

"A number of Orange halls in rural areas have been attacked in recent times, activities I totally deplore, so I am delighted to be in a position to provide funding which will be focused, among other things, on developing those facilities for the various groups that use them," said Mr Ó Cuív.

The Minister said he hoped the work of the new company would also help to strengthen the confidence of the groups that use Orange halls. He stressed the importance of encouraging participation by Orange lodges in the wider community structures in the Border counties.

The Orange Order, formed in 1795, has lodges in Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Dublin, Wicklow and west Cork. The only Orange parade that is now held in the Republic is at Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal, each summer.

Lodges from south of the Border also participate in larger parades in the North during the parade season. The July 12th parade was once a regular feature in Dublin but none has taken place in the capital for more than 70 years.

Last November, a small Orange hall in Drummartin, Co Cavan, was burned to the ground, the third of the eight Orange halls in the county to be completely destroyed. An Orange hall in Co Monaghan was vandalised with republican and sectarian graffiti in January last year.