Thomas Verner and St Patrick’s

Orange forebears had more respect

Dear Sir,

As one who in the 1960’s walked with my Lodge past St. Patrick’s Church in Donegall Street, when as a matter of course all the bands stopped playing, may I draw the attention of those parading to some important facts.

1. When St. Patrick’s was built in the early years of the nineteenth century it was the second Roman Catholic Chapel to be built in Belfast. (The first being St. Mary’s, Chapel Lane)

2. The cost of the original building was some £4,000 of which £1,400 was subscribed by “the Protestants and Dissenters of Belfast”.

3. The official opening in 1815 was attended by the Sovereign of Belfast who assisted with the collection and made a contribution to the Building Fund.

4. The Sovereign of Belfast was Thomas Verner the first Grand Master of the Loyal Orange Institution of Ireland (1798-1801).

If those passing St. Patrick’s cannot find it within themselves to show some respect for the Church, perhaps they can show some respect for the memory of Thomas Verner, the first Grand Master, and behave with some decorum!

Yours etc.

Brian Kennaway (Rev)

Former Convenor, Education Committee, Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

This letter appeared in the Belfast News Letter and the Belfast Telegraph on 24th June 2014