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15 October 1998 Edition

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Pressure on Orangemen increases

Calls for Portadown Orangemen to abandon their protests in the Garvaghy Road area are increasing.

Orange Order Grand Lodge chaplain, William Bingham, called on the Portadown Lodge to call off the Drumcree seige. Speaking after the death of RUC man, Frank O'Reilly, who died after being injured by loyalists in Portadown last month, he said ``I would hope that any decent person and anybody of integrity involved in the Drumcree protest would reassess their position and look at what they are doing to Portadown, to this country and to the Orange Order.''

Last Thursday, John Dixon, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, said that the only way forward was through dialogue and that the Parades Commission was a legally constituted body whose decisions should be abided by.

Even the Church of Ireland, whose church is at Drumcree, are beginning to treat the Garvaghy siege seriously. Archbishop Robin Eames will be writing to the Orange Order to get a guarantee that there will not be any trouble next July if the parade is again banned. A spokesperson for the Church said that the General Synod was considering increasing the powers of archbishops to enable them to ban services. The church has, to date, ignored the nightly intimidation and harassment of the Garvaghy Road residents by loyalist mobs near their parish church.

A group within the Church of Ireland, called Catalyst, recently wrote to Drumcree rector, John Pickering, urging him to cancel the July service. On Monday Pickering dismissed their call out-of-hand saying that they did not ``understand the situation'' adding ``Let there be no doubt that Morning Prayer will be held on the Sunday before July 12th every year.''

Sinn Fein Assembly member for Upper Bann, Dara O'Hagan, called on the Orange Order to listen to the voices within their own organisation calling for the intimidation of the Garvaghy residents to cease. She said the Order must ``get off the backs of the people of Portadown and allow elected representatives and community leaders to try and relieve the tension that now exists in the town.

``Dialogue is best served by taking place in an atmosphere free from intimidation and violence. Rev Pickering can contribute to achieving such an environment by taking a leading role and banning the Orange Order from holding the rest of the community, in Portadown and beyond, under siege from his church at Drumcree.''Calls for Portadown Orangemen to abandon their protests in the Garvaghy Road area are increasing.

Orange Order Grand Lodge chaplain, William Bingham, called on the Portadown Lodge to call off the Drumcree seige. Speaking after the death of RUC man, Frank O'Reilly, who died after being injured by loyalists in Portadown last month, he said ``I would hope that any decent person and anybody of integrity involved in the Drumcree protest would reassess their position and look at what they are doing to Portadown, to this country and to the Orange Order.''

Last Thursday, John Dixon, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, said that the only way forward was through dialogue and that the Parades Commission was a legally constituted body whose decisions should be abided by.

Even the Church of Ireland, whose church is at Drumcree, are beginning to treat the Garvaghy siege seriously. Archbishop Robin Eames will be writing to the Orange Order to get a guarantee that there will not be any trouble next July if the parade is again banned. A spokesperson for the Church said that the General Synod was considering increasing the powers of archbishops to enable them to ban services. The church has, to date, ignored the nightly intimidation and harassment of the Garvaghy Road residents by loyalist mobs near their parish church.

A group within the Church of Ireland, called Catalyst, recently wrote to Drumcree rector, John Pickering, urging him to cancel the July service. On Monday Pickering dismissed their call out-of-hand saying that they did not ``understand the situation'' adding ``Let there be no doubt that Morning Prayer will be held on the Sunday before July 12th every year.''

Sinn Fein Assembly member for Upper Bann, Dara O'Hagan, called on the Orange Order to listen to the voices within their own organisation calling for the intimidation of the Garvaghy residents to cease. She said the Order must ``get off the backs of the people of Portadown and allow elected representatives and community leaders to try and relieve the tension that now exists in the town.

``Dialogue is best served by taking place in an atmosphere free from intimidation and violence. Rev Pickering can contribute to achieving such an environment by taking a leading role and banning the Orange Order from holding the rest of the community, in Portadown and beyond, under siege from his church at Drumcree.''
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