FROM THE GRAND ORANGE LODGE OF ENGLAND
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER
RELEASED ON SATURDAY 12TH NOVEMBER 2005
Dear Prime Minister,
We, the Grand Orange Lodge of England, parading in the City of London, on Saturday 12th November 2005, do so in support of our colleagues of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and the Protestant Community of Ulster in their quest to display their culture and British way of life within this United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Whilst we do not condone the violence, both during and following the Whiterock parade, we believe that the situation was inflamed by the ludicrous decision of the Parades Commission and the brutality of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in their handling of the parade. Whilst the Security forces were heavy handed on this particular day, they showed leniency when they themselves were under attack, by republicans, on the 12th July.
The Parades Commission, set up by your Government, are allegedly unbiased in their decisions; however, we do not believe this to be the case. The Parades Commission are there at the behest of the so-called “Resident Committee’s” which are headed by active members of Sinn Fein/IRA, a majority of whom do not reside in the area they claim to represent. We firmly believe that the Parades Commission was set up to bring about the demise of the Orange Order, this they will fail to do.
The Belfast Agreement, we were assured, brought with it a hope for lasting peace in Ulster. Promises and assurances were given by Sinn Fein/IRA, which resulted in concessions after concessions being made to the republican movement. Time has proved that that their promises and assurances were empty.
We have now witnessed the statement from the IRA, in which they have declared that they are now to adopt the democratic and peaceful process, putting all arms beyond use.
This act of decommissioning and the destruction of arms were witnessed by the International Monitoring Commission and two members of the Clergy, a Protestant and a Roman Catholic, acting as independent witnesses. However, following the statement, recently, by the Roman Catholic Clergyman, in which he likened “life for the nationalist community under a Loyalist regime to be the same as life for the Jews under the Nazi’s” brings his neutrality into question and has revealed his true colours.
The Governments response to the IRA statement was to announce more concessions to Sinn Fein/IRA by announcing that there would be a scaling down of security, the dismantling of Watchtowers and the disbanding of three battalions of the Royal Irish Rangers, much to the applause of Sinn Fein/IRA and the Nationalist politicians.
The recent appointment of Mr Peter Hain as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland gives grave cause for concern, considering his active involvement, in the past, in which he called for the removal of troops from Northern Ireland and his open support for a United Ireland.
Upon his appointment the Secretary of State stated that he wished to meet with both sides of the community. We ask the question, “Why are the Protestant community and the Orange Institution still waiting?”
Does not the Government, and your good self, accept that the future well being of Northern Ireland is at the behest of the majority and that the majority of the Protestant community are totally opposed to the appeasement of this Government to the minority.
We therefore call upon Her Majesty’s Government to cease from making any more concessions and to give an assurance that the appeasement to Sinn Fein/IRA and the republican movement will cease forthwith.
We call upon Her Majesty’s Government to disband, immediately, the Parades Commission, which since its inception must take most, if not all, of the responsibility for the mayhem which their decisions have caused. In doing so will help restore the confidence of the Orange Order.
The wishes of the majority are, by this Government, being totally ignored and it is the responsibility of Government to restore the confidence of the majority that their British way of life is not threatened and to help restore their confidence in the Police Service of Northern Ireland, who have, in the past, at the behest of Politicians and bad leadership, been heavy handed, and at times brutal, in their handling of Orange Order and Loyalist parades.
We look forward to your response.
William Ronald Bather