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Orange forebears had more respect

AS one who, in the 1960s, walked with my lodge past St Patrick's Church in Donegall Street, Belfast, 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 19th 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 £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 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.

REV BRIAN KENNAWAY

Former convenor, education committee, Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland

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