Daily Ireland

Orangemen pull out of Cork parade

The Orange Order has pulled out of its planned St Patrick’s Day parade through Cork city.
In a statement released yesterday, the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said it was withdrawing from the march “with deep regret”.
Daily Ireland revealed last week that the Orange Order had been controversially invited to parade through Cork on March 17 by the organisers of the city’s St Patrick’s Day festival.
However, the proposal caused anger in Cork, with several prominent politicians and church leaders threatening to boycott the event. In the light of this, the Orange Order decided to pull out of the parade.
Cork Sinn Féin Councillor Annette Spillane described the move as the correct decision.
She said, “The majority of people in Cork didn’t want the Orange Order coming down here on St Patrick’s Day and now they have pulled out, people are happy. There was a lot of animosity towards their involvement in the parade in Cork. It wasn’t because of sectarianism but because the citizens of Cork didn’t want a family day associated with bigotry.”
Cork-based Church of Ireland minister David Armstrong had threatened to boycott the city’s parade had the Orange Order taken part. However, he said he and his family would now go to the celebrations.
The Carrigaline cleric said, “This is a good day for Cork. The city’s St Patrick’s Day parade can now be a real family event. If the Orange Order had taken part, thousands of people would have stayed away. I can now look forward to going along to the parade in the same way I have for the past five years. The Orange Order is a bigoted organisation which has no business taking part in a family parade.”
Last night, the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland branded as “cultural fascists” those opposed to Orangemen’s involvement in the parade.
An Orange Order spokesman said, “The Orangemen and their families who planned to go to Cork are no longer confident that their personal safety can be guaranteed by the authorities.
“We are also mindful that our presence could have become the focus of media attention and protest that might have detracted from the enjoyment of other participants and spectators.”
The proposed route the Orangemen would have taken would have led them past the national monument that commemorates hundreds of Irish patriots who died fighting the British.
Seán Martin, the mayor of Cork, said he was disappointed that the Orange Order would not be visiting the city on St Patrick’s Day. The Fianna Fáil councillor said he looked forward to the day when the Orange Order could parade through Cork as part of the city’s St Patrick’s Day festival.
Mr Martin said, “The issue became politicised and this has led to the Orange Order pulling out. I’m hopeful that the Orange Order could march through Cork some day without people trying to make political gain out of the situation. Everyone in Ireland should be respectful of other people’s traditions.”
Nobody was available for comment from the organising committee of the Cork St Patrick’s Day carnival.

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