Belfast Telegraph

Order revives 'protest penguins'

It's the March of the Penguins but not their traditional route.

The Orange Order has adopted the flightless birds, which make an annual pilgrimage to the South Pole, to help spread its festive message.

The institution claimed its latest set of Christmas cards which feature sash-wearing penguins waving a "Let Them Home" banner and stopped at police lines, was a light-hearted attempt to highlight the long-running dispute over a controversial north Belfast parade.

In previous years, cards bearing the tidings "Snow Surrender" and "Ulster Says Snow" have sold out.

Dr David Hume, director of services with the Grand Lodge, said: "Last year, the protest penguins were a major success, with cards featuring them sold out.

"The protest penguins, you might say, have become something of an institution in their own right and they clearly have a big following within the Orange Institution."

This year's greetings cards also show the Twaddell Avenue protest camp which was set up last year after Orangemen were prevented from parading up a section of the Crumlin Road on their way home from Twelfth of July events.

Dr Hume added: "This year we wanted to remind people that the lodges from Ligoniel are still being prevented from walking home and we expect that these cards will be dropping through many doors both at home and abroad."

In another card, penguins from the "Saint Nicholas Benevolence LOL 2014" watch on as a satirical version of Parades Commission named "Veto House" slides over a cliff edge.

The Orange Order said the cards were popular with members of the public as well as its members.

"One thing which Northern Ireland people share is a sense of humour and we know that these cards are bought not only by Orangemen and their families," Dr Hume said.

The unresolved wrangle over the parade at the Woodvale/Ardoyne interface has resulted in serious rioting by both republicans and loyalists in recent years.

A police operation costing in excess of £9 million is still running to prevent sporadic trouble which arises from sectarian tension in the area.

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