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The future is bright for thriving Orange Order

I write in reply to some points raised by Fionola Meredith in her article on the Orange Order no longer being representative of the Protestant population (Comment, July 4).

At no time in the history of the Order has it assumed to speak for the whole Protestant community but it is true that the membership is widely representative of the Protestant population.

Ms Meredith seems to suggest that the ideals the Order represents are no longer relevant. I would point out that, without King William III and the Bill of Rights his reign introduced, such democratic ideals as the freedom of expression and that of the Press would not be secure. Ms Meredith is welcome to her opinion and free to express it only because of the major figure seen on countless Orange banners each Twelfth of July.

Ms Meredith seems to believe that the Order is a decreasing voice within the Protestant community. However, the Order has more than 40,000 members and organises what is officially recognised as the largest non-sporting annual outdoor event in the British isles.

Most organisations would give their right arm for a membership the size of the Order's.

Ms Meredith assumes that the Order has nothing to offer the younger Protestants. However, it continues to attract young members at a very good rate and it would seem that the future is, indeed, both bright and Orange.



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