Belfast Telegraph

Lord Kilclooney: Irish nationalists should invite Orange Order to hold Dublin parade

Lord Kilclooney.
Lord Kilclooney.
Andrew Madden

By Andrew Madden

Former Ulster Unionist MP Lord John Kilclooney has said Irish nationalists should invite the Orange Order to have a parade in Dublin in a bid to improve relations between the two cultures.

Posting on social media, the life peer said that, if such a demonstration was a success, it would "dramatically change Ireland".

"Irish nationalists are the majority in the island of Ireland. They therefore are in a stronger position to improve Irish relations," Lord Kilclooney wrote in a tweet.

"Why not invite the Orange Institution to have a major demonstration down O'Connell St Dublin. If a success it would dramatically change Ireland."

While the Orange Order once had around 10,000 active members in 250 lodges in the Republic at the turn of the 20th century, that number has fallen dramatically since.

Today there are around 45 Orange lodges in the Republic of Ireland.

A major annual parade is held in Co Donegal involving around 50 lodges from across the island.

In June last year, Leo Varadkar became the first Taoiseach to visit the headquarters of the Orange Order at Schomberg House in east Belfast.

The following November, the Irish premier met with the grand secretary of the Orange Order, Reverend Mervyn Gibson, and a delegation of its members from the Republic in Government Buildings in Dublin.

Mr Varadkar said the colours of the Irish flag are "white, orange and green in equal measure" following the meeting.

In 2006, the first loyalist march since partition was organised in Dublin by activist Willie Frazer under the banner 'Love Ulster'.

The event resulted in widespread chaos as up to 2,000 rioters ripped up building materials and and threw them at police.

40 people were injured in the incident including veteran RTE journalist Charlie Bird, and an estimated €50,000 was caused to shops and cars.

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