Belfast Telegraph

Orange parades 'about bigotry'

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
19 October 2004

An SDLP Assembly member has branded claims that the majority of Orange marches threaten no-one as 'complete nonsense'.

Tommy Gallagher told a a special event held to discuss Orangeism that nationalists viewed most marches as linked to bigotry and sectarianism.

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA said the Orange Order must engage with nationalists and others to ascertain their feelings.

His comments came at an event organised by Tyrone Orange Vision, an Order initiative aimed at building an understanding of Orangesim in Tyrone.

"It is claimed that these marches threaten no-one and that they are merely part of the Orange tradition. In my view this is complete nonsense," he said.

"Many of these marches are seen in our community as having more to do with bigotry and sectarianism than the celebration of a culture or a tradition.

"For many nationalists it means roads are closed and long detours inevitable for those who have to travel. Around the Twelfth, nationalist communities, whether they like it or not, are subjected to the sound of Lambeg drums.

"For them the sound of the drums spread fear and for some it conveys a very clear message: We will march wherever we want and you can't stop us."

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