Orangemen hail new order in South
ORANGEMEN IN the Republic have drawn attention to a growing confidence among members in a society where Protestant numbers grew by almost 20 per cent between 2002 and 2006 and which could “no longer . . . be described as a priest-ridden, poverty-stricken State”.
The observations are made in the Dublin and Wicklow Loyal Orange Lodge 1313 newsletter for summer 2008 and on www.orangenet.org
Attributing the start of this new confidence to a meeting with President McAleese on July 12th, 1998, an article states: “This meeting was the first ever between a President of the Irish Republic and members of the Loyal Orange Institution of Ireland.”
It was “something we in Dublin and Wicklow are very proud of. Since that initial step we in the Dublin and Wicklow District of the Loyal Orange institution have gained a new confidence in ourselves.”
The newsletter notes that recent census figures had shown that “Protestantism is growing in Ireland . . . In 2002, the combined Protestant population (of the Republic) stood at 180,975. In 2006, the figure now stands at 213,753! That’s a percentage change of nearly 20 per cent. And it brings the Protestant population up to 5 per cent! . . . Protestantism is growing in Ireland, and it will continue to grow.”
On the Republic, it points out that “Much has changed. The special place of the Roman Catholic Church in the Constitution has gone. Social life has changed too. No longer can the Irish Republic be described as ‘a priest-ridden, poverty-stricken State’.”
Another article states: “The recent moves by the Irish Government to promote a greater understanding of all Irishmen and women who gave their lives in the two world wars is welcome.
“As a member of the Dublin and Wicklow Lodge I also welcome the opening of the new Boyne Heritage centre . . .
“The recent granting of financial aid to Orange Lodges in the Border areas is also a sign that the State here is starting to move forward.”
It continues: “The next step that is long overdue would be to invite Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to the Republic of Ireland and for the Republic to rejoin the commonwealth.”
Welcoming moves by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland to promote the Orange tradition, especially that of Ulster Scots, the writer says: “But I think the Anglo-Irish (tradition) needs to be promoted as well. It is this tradition that many Orange brethren and potential brethren in Southern Ireland are drawn from.”