Book Reviews: Orange Calls to Arms Come under Attack; an Army with Banners. the Real Face of Orangeism by William Brown. Published by beyond the Pale Publications. Pounds 12.55

Article excerpt


ORANGEMEN are proud of their close association with the British military, and Orange historians maintain this has been an honourable connection, back to the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland.

Lodge members flocked to the newly raised Yeomanry, a force crucial in the victory over the United Irishmen and rebel forces in Wexford and Antrim and Down.

Later, Orange marching warrants were taken out by the Army, and by the time it was temporarily dissolved in 1835, the Grand Lodge of Ireland had issued 130 marching warrants.

The long history of Orangeism's link with the physical resistance to Irish nationalism and republicanism is traced in a new book, but its findings bring little comfort to Orangemen.

This book, written by William Brown, a Protestant of ''strongly dissenting background'', is highly critical of the Orange marching tradition.

Indeed, Brown, who has researched the link between Orangeism and physical force from the earliest days of the Order, has little sympathy with Orangeism generally. In his book the theme is clear - Orangeism has been a "baleful" influence in Irish affairs down the centuries.

Brown advances the theory that the Orange Order had a far from proud record during the tumultuous years of Irish history. He refers to the Orange Order being deeply involved in the UVF of Home Rule days - a force which he argues was in clear rebellion against the Crown and the British Government.

William Brown clearly has little admiration for what he calls the 'Protestant Ascendancy' and he points to the monopoly of power the Ascendancy and the Church of Ireland enjoyed during the 18th century, and much of the 19th. Brown disputes that the Orange Order is a Christian organisation. …