Orange members reaffirm allegiance to union


Orangemen at demonstrations across Northern Ireland passed resolutions reaffirming allegiance to the union with Britain, to Queen Elizabeth and to the faith handed down by the "first Christians and Protestant reformers".

This year's lengthy resolution also referred to the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War in the south Atlantic, the 90th anniversary of the first World War battle at Passchendaele and the 311 members of the Orange Order who lost their lives in the Troubles.

The resolution referred to the powersharing agreement involving Sinn Féin and the DUP at Stormont in cautious terms.

It read: "Our Institution watches with interest the developing political situation in Northern Ireland and, like many others within the unionist community, shares grave reservations about the presence of those in government whom we would not see as democrats in the accepted sense of the term. The commitment of Sinn Féin/IRA to proper democratic government will be constantly monitored and the opportunity presented to them by the recent election results is a test which they must not fail."

However, there was a general lack of specific comment on the new political accommodation in some of the platform speeches at various demonstrations

At the Ballynahinch demonstration in Co Down, DUP Assembly member Jim Wells warned that political delivery "must be a two-way process".

"Many of our brethren (including myself) have severe reservations about what has occurred at Stormont, but whether we support or oppose the events of May 8th there is total agreement that unionism has delivered its part of the agreement with interest."

Mr Wells's DUP colleague, Assemblyman Nelson McCausland, also referred to the theme in his address at the Cloughferm demonstration, accusing republicans of waging a "cultural war" against Britishness.