Loyal Orders come together on Orange Victims’ Day
The leaders of the Loyal Orders came together in Londonderry on Wednesday, 1st of September 2021, to mark the fourth annual Orange Victims’ Day.
Representatives of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, the Royal Black Institution, The Apprentice Boys of Derry, The Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland, The Junior Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, The Royal Arch Purple Chapter and the Independent Loyal Orange Institution took part in the wreath-laying ceremony.
The Apprentice Boys of Derry hosted the service, which took place at the Siege Heroes Mound at St. Columb’s Cathedral.
A wreath was also laid in the memorial garden at Schomberg House in Belfast and the Memorial Window which is housed in the Museum of Orange Heritage.
Following a similar pattern to last year’s ceremony at Schomberg House, a meeting of the Loyal Order leaders was held after the Act of Remembrance.
Grand Master Edward Stevenson said Victims’ Day continued to be one of “remembrance and reflection” for the Orange family, while aspiring to give “hope for the future” for those left bereaved and injured.
He also took the opportunity to emphasise the commitment of the Orange Institution to continuing to lobby at every available opportunity on behalf of innocent victims.
“The Orange Institution remains committed to giving our full support to the innocent victims and continues to work with those in the victims sector to ensure their voice is heard,” said Mr Stevenson.
“The UK Government’s recent proposals which effectively amount to an amnesty relating to all killings in Northern Ireland do nothing but bring further pain and frustration to families who have suffered so much over many years.
“This latest development offers protection for the perpetrators but extinguishes any hope of truth and justice for those innocents who have been wronged.
“We are steadfastly committed to ensuring that the history of the needless and unjustified campaign of domestic terror waged on our Country is not re-written by those who wrought so much pain and destruction on our community.”
Since 2018, when the inaugural Orange Victims’ Day was held, 1st of September has been the date the Orange Institution formally remembers the 338 Orangemen and one Orangewoman murdered by terrorists during the Troubles. The majority of Orange victims were murdered whilst serving as members of the security forces.
This year, the 1st of September is the 46th anniversary of the IRA attack on Tullyvallen Orange Hall, which claimed the lives of four Orangemen, with a fifth dying later as a result of his injuries. The 1975 Tullyvallen Orange hall massacre in south Armagh was the largest loss of life inflicted on the Orange Family from a single incident during the terrorist campaign.
County, District and Private Lodges across the jurisdiction of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland will hold their own services over the coming days.