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Unionist Forum Statement
Wednesday, January 09, 2013

THE following is a statement from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland regarding the creation of a Unionist Forum.

The Loyal Institution will be formally represented on the new body by Drew Nelson (Grand Secretary) and Rev Mervyn Gibson (Grand Chaplain).

Speaking ahead of the Forum’s first meeting, an Orange Order spokesman said: “Last month’s flag vote at Belfast City Hall was only the latest manifestation of a long term campaign by republicans and nationalists to erode all symbols of Britishness in Northern Ireland.

These range from the removal of something as innocuous as a plaque presented by the RUC male voice choir to the shameful naming of a children’s play park after a republican terrorist.

The ludicrous decision by Belfast City Council has acted as the catalyst which has highlighted and galvanised the current widespread discontent within the Unionist community.

We hope this forum will act as an important vehicle to identify, articulate and address both past and present attacks on the symbols of Britishness permeating throughout many branches and levels of government and administration across the Province.

We look forward to engaging positively on these and other matters of common concern to Unionists - including attacks on our parading culture; increasing alienation within the Protestant community; the demonisation of the Loyal Orders and all things Unionist; voter turnout; lack of capacity; and deprivation and educational underachievement in Protestant areas.

By enabling a broad range of Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist opinion, we trust this new forum can ultimately serve to strengthen the cause of the wider pro-Union family.”

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