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Orange Order would like to hold a parade in Dublin

A senior member of the Orange Order told the Seanad that the organisation wants to contribute to the “normalisation of relationships within these islands”.

Members of the Orange Grand Order with Senators in the Oireachtas today. Drew Nelson is second from right in the bottom row.
Members of the Orange Grand Order with Senators in the Oireachtas today. Drew Nelson is second from right in the bottom row.
Image: Maxwells/PA Wire

THE ORANGE ORDER would welcome the opportunity to hold a parade in Dublin, one of the most senior figures in the organisation has told the Seanad.

Drew Nelson, who today became the first member of the Orange Order to address the Oireachtas, said that the organisation understands the challenges such a parade would pose. The Order currently holds around 20 parades each year in the Republic.

Nelson told the Seanad that the Orange Order wants to contribute to the “normalisation of relationships within these islands”.

“We live in a world of change and whilst we are an organisation which places a high value on tradition we recognise that we also have to change,” he said.

Nelson raised a number of concerns and fears of Protestants living in Northern Ireland and the Republic, including funding cuts for Protestant schools, adding:

It is not too strong to say that, in the border counties, the Protestant community actually fears for its continued survival as a viable, self-sustaining community.

366 members of the Orange Order were killed in Northern Ireland during the sectarian conflict lasting more than 30 years, Nelson told the Seanad. More than half of those members were serving in the security forces.

A total of 323 Orange Halls have been burned between 1989 and 2011, which Nelson said he believed was a “direct result of the demonisation of the Orange Order by the Republican movement”.

There are currently around 1300 Orange Lodges in eleven different counties, including the nine counties in Ulster, Leitrim, and Dublin.

Cathaoirleach of Seanad Eireann Senator Paddy Burke (right) with Senator Martin McAleese (left) and Grand Secretary of the Orange Lodge of Ireland Drew Nelson (centre) in Leinster House today (Photo: Maxwell’s/PA Wire)

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