Orange Order is not united

Orange Order is not united

I am truly amazed by article on the alleged Orange rift and the comments of the Rev Mervyn Gibson and William Humphrey (News Letter July 17)

Mervyn is quoted as saying, “talk of a rift between the country lodges and those in north Belfast as ‘nothing more than mischief making’”.

Does Mervyn not recall the “County Fermanagh Grand Orange Lodge: Audit, Good Relations Strategy & Action Plan” released in January 2014?

This audit revealed the ‘rift’ which exists between the country lodges and those in Belfast.

On seventeen occasions Belfast Orangemen are referred to in negative terms including the phrase – “No matter how we create good relations in Fermanagh we will always be let down by the hooligans in Belfast who tarnish our reputation.”(Page 66).

If that is not a rift I do not know what is!

Mervyn is also quoted as saying, “Overall, I believe the Orange is united. In fact, I am 100 per cent sure the Orange is united in wanting to see the back of the Parades Commission”.

I do not expect the reporter Mark Rainey to recall, but Mervyn certainly should, the survey of the membership taken at the end of 2000.

The result of that survey was that the membership indicated that the Institution should deal with the Parades Commission not ‘want to see the back of it’.

Had that survey been implemented instead of being trashed we would be in a very different position today.

The Rev Gibson commented: “Sadly, there are some incidents that will have to be looked in to, but as far as the institution goes, they will address any issues that have to be addressed.”

Sadly this is what we have constantly heard when there has been misbehaviour on parade, particularly in the lower Newtownards Road.

What does ‘looked in to’ really mean? From my experience it means brushing it under the carpet and then quickly forgotten, even by the media.

According to Mark Rainey’s report Mr Humphrey wrote on Facebook that the fallout from the recent violence to be discussed behind closed doors, describing the public debate as “self-defeating” for the Order.

Does Mr Humphrey not realise that by publishing comments on Facebook he is doing that which he criticises other for?

This letter appeared in the Belfast News Letter on 18th July 2015