11 May 2017
Orange Order refuses to deny it’s running unionist registration from halls
THE ORANGE ORDER has refused to say if it is running the “Defend the Union” Westminster election events being held in Orange halls this weekend.
The Orange Order member and Fermanagh & South Tyrone unionist candidate, former Ulster Defence Regiment soldier Tom Elliott, not surprisingly says he has no problem with this apparent political intervention by an organisation that proclaims to be primarily a religious and cultural body.
The Orange Order’s refusal to deny that it is behind a unionist voter registration drive, however, does raise questions over its claims to be a Christian religious fraternity.
A Sinn Féin spokesperson said that it is no secret that the Orange Order has previously worked to influence the political process.
“The Orange institution is now encouraging people to vote for pro-Brexit, pro-austerity and anti-equality parties against the wishes of the majority of people in the North,” Sinn Féin said.
The events have also been criticised by the SDLP’s John Dallatt. He said the news “calls into question the rationale for funding the Orange Order”.
People staffing a telephone ‘hotline’ for the event have also refused to say who exactly is behind the campaign being run from Orange Order halls.
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An initiative for dialogue
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Contributions from key figures in the churches, academia and wider civic society as well as senior republican figures