Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Orange Order's Pope protest embarrassing

In calling for the citizens of the United Kingdom to demonstrate their opposition to the Pope's visit to England and Scotland, the Orange Order has embarrassed itself.

No doubt Pope Benedict thinks his prayers have been answered - given his current difficulties.

There will be no resolution of on going parades disputes while the Orange Order persist in voicing support for civil and religious liberty while attempting to deny the same liberties to fellow citizens.

When the order can convene a meeting with the leaders of the two largest unionist parties to discuss electoral pacts serious questions need to be asked.

Do Peter Robinson and Reg Empey support the Orange Order position? Will all unionist candidates who are members declare their membership?

There are questions for nationalists, too. Why is the Orange Order being consulted on the replacement of the Parades Commission, but elected politicians are not? Is a parade through a nationalist area simply a religious procession - or a demonstration of intolerance?

Has the Orange state gone or has it been accommodated in a DUP/Sinn Fein side-deal?

JUSTIN McCAMPHILL (SDLP)

Westminster candidate, East Antrim

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