LETTER:Where's the Britishness in Orange marches?

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From Mr Niall Meehan

Sir: One of the most arresting images from the last few days concerned the pictures of un-arrested Orange protesters in Portadown holding up placards demanding "parity of esteem" for Orange marches.

As the various Orange and Loyalist bodies hold up to 2,500 marches a year, compared to about 250 on the nationalist side, there is obviously a lot of ground and shoe leather to be made up on the other side. On average that is about seven "processions" a day or 49 per week for the Orangemen. This averaging out perhaps gives an unfair picture, as most of these "parades" are concentrated in the "marching season" in July and August, when Loyalists go into a frenzy of celebration of their "British" way of life.

Perhaps the nationalists should adopt and suitably adapt some of the other traditions that go hand-in-hand with the 200-year-old Order's marches. These include ensuring that you march through as much territory where you are not wanted as possible. It includes, as happened the last time the Orange Order was allowed down the Belfast Lower Ormeau Road, pointing to a spot where nationalists were killed by Loyalists and shouting "up the UVF". Additionally, the hand is held aloft with a number of fingers outstretched (five in the case of the Lower Ormeau) indicating how many were slaughtered.

Yours etc,

Niall Meehan


12 July