Orange Order to voice ‘despair’ at abortion vote result on Twelfth

Group says inviting Sinn Féin leader to celebrations would be ‘insult’ to IRA victims

Thousands of Orange Order members are to voice ‘despair’ over the outcome of the abortion referendum  in the Republic during their Twelfth of July celebrations. Fie photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images.

Thousands of Orange Order members are to voice ‘despair’ over the outcome of the abortion referendum in the Republic during their Twelfth of July celebrations. Fie photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images.

 

Thousands of Orange Order members are to voice “despair” over the outcome of the abortion referendum in the Republic during their Twelfth of July celebrations.

A resolution from the Grand Orange Lodge demands that there be no similar move in Northern Ireland, which the pro-choice lobby and parties including Sinn Féin have said is their next target.

The resolution will be read out and endorsed by thousands of members at their demonstrations across the North on July 12th.

“We note with despair the recent abortion referendum in the Republic of Ireland, and encourage our own government to resist any attempts to change the law in Northern Ireland, ” the resolution states.

The Order will also reaffirm its opposition to the introduction of any Irish language act, which remains one of the key obstacles to the return of powersharing at Stormont. The institutions have been collapsed for almost 18 months.

The Orange Order, which recently welcomed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to its east Belfast headquarters, said any move “would have far reaching detrimental consequences for our British identity and would rightly be acknowledged as a landmark victory for Republicanism in their ongoing cultural war against our community”.

‘Insult’

The annual resolutions come after Grand Lodge also rejected extending an invitation to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald to attend a Twelfth demonstration. The institution said doing so would be an “insult” to its members killed by the IRA.

In what was being viewed as a reciprocal gesture to DUP leader Arlene Fosters’ attendance last weekend at a GAA fixture, Ms McDonald had indicated she was willing to attend.

“The reality is that Sinn Féin people meet and interact with members of the Orange Order very, very regularly and the Orange Order are well aware of that,” she said. “I would see no reason not to attend (a Twelfth event). If I’m not prepared to stretch myself I can hardly ask that of other people. We need to understand that life moves on.”

Last year a senior Orange Order officer Spencer Beattie made headlines when he walked his lesbian daughter Lesa down the aisle when she married her partner Melanie Atkinson.

No action was taken within the organisation against Mr Beattie, who said he was “a father first and an Orangeman second”.