Orange Order to honour murdered members with victim’s day
The Orange Order has announced plans for a victims' day this year on the anniversary of an IRA massacre.
The annual event will honour the 334 Orangemen and one Orangewoman who were murdered by terrorists in the course of the Troubles.
The day will also highlight the ongoing plight of the injured and bereaved.
The inaugural Orange victims' day will take place on Saturday, September 1.
On that date in 1975, IRA gunmen stormed into Tullyvallen Orange Lodge in rural south Armagh during a lodge meeting, and indiscriminately murdered four Orangemen.
A fifth member died later as a result of their injuries.
While the date is synonymous with the Tullyvallen massacre, the institution said it wants to use the day to commemorate and highlight the losses suffered throughout the organisation during the Troubles.
The majority of Orange victims were murdered while they were serving as members of the security forces. The Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, said the new victims' day would be one of "remembrance and reflection" for the Orange fraternity, while aspiring to give those bereaved and injured "hope for the future".
He said: "As an organisation which suffered immeasurably during the Troubles, with our deceased members amounting to approximately one in 10 of all those who were killed; this yearly initiative will serve as a constant reminder of the loss experienced by Orangeism during the terrorist campaign."
Mr Stevenson said the institution would continue to lobby on behalf of innocent victims, and "counter attempts by republicans to re-write history".