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Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
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# the twelfth
The Orange Order distances itself from potential disruption tomorrow
The grand secretary of the Orange Order has said the organisation has made a “massive effort” to ensure tomorrow’s celebrations pass off peacefully.

THE ORANGE ORDER has said it won’t organise a protest tomorrow to coincide with celebrations of The Twelfth – but one could happen anyway.

Speaking on RTE Radio One’s Morning Ireland, the grand secretary of the Orange Order Drew Nelson said: “What we are organising are Orange Order parades, we have a great deal of experience in organising those. We shall be serving notice on the police. There shall be a set start time, a set finish time and a swift dispersal afterwards.”

“We don’t organise protests, they will still happen. But no one will be in charge and there is a greater likelihood there will be disorder.”

Asked if he could guarantee the protests would be peaceful, Nelson said:

No, nobody could guarantee that. The secretary of state couldn’t guarantee that. The chief constable couldn’t guarantee that and I can’t guarantee it. What I can say is that the Orange institution is putting in a massive effort to do our best to ensure that peace does prevail. People are angry about what this Parade Commission are doing.

There has already been disruption leading up to this years Twelfth celebrations, with posters of Alliance Party’s Anna Lo and Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson being removed from a loyalist bonfire in Bangor.

The Parades Commission currently has power to ban marches from taking certain routes. It has faced recently criticism from Unionist politicians including leader of the DUP Peter Robinson and leader of the UUP Mike Nesbitt. Earlier in the week, Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said:

The Parades Commission was set up and constituted by statute as an independent body to deal with disputed parades. Unionists are asking for a Commission of Inquiry simply because they didn’t get their own way. Neither unionists or the British Secretary of State should do anything to undermine it.

Read: Unionists demand removal of Sinn Féin posters from bonfires

Read: Hopes of getting through marching season ‘without public disorder on our streets’

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