19 February 2006

No parade change for Orange Order

Sunday Life

19 February 2006

THE Orange Order yesterday decided to maintain its policy of not recognising the Parades Commission after the issue was discussed at a meeting of the Grand Lodge in Belfast.

The parades issue was discussed for several hours by delegates - but no alteration was made to the order's official policy of not recognising the commission.

Individual Orangemen from Portadown District - including spokesman David Jones - have met the commission in recent months in defiance of Grand Master Robert Saulters.

During yesterday's meeting, a proposal to keep lines of communication with the Government open was debated.

A majority of delegates are understood to have supported the motion.

But one delegate who attended the meeting said there was some confusion at the end over whether the motion was passed or whether a second motion had undermined the proposal.

He said: "Ultimately, I suppose, the meeting concluded with no change to our established policy towards the Parades Commission and Grand Lodge will not meet the commission.

"There was a bit of confusion at the end of the meeting after a vote on a motion was followed by another proposal. But the overall outcome appears to be no change.

"There is a normal quarterly meeting of Grand Lodge next month and we can return to the matter then if anything needs clarified," he added.

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