Church's Plea on Orange Parade; Open Letter to Order Calls for 'Responsible Leadership'
O'connor, Julie, The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
THE Church of Ireland has sent an open letter to the Portadown Orange Order appealing for responsible leadership at this year's Drumcree parade.
With a decision on whether the parade is being re-routed or not due next Monday, fear of widespread unrest has sparked the Church to make its plea.
The letter sent by Archbishop Robin Eames and the rural Deans of the Diocese of Armagh to the District Officer and members of the Portadown Orange Order said the parade carries with it privileges and responsibilities.
It said: "We appeal to the Portadown Lodges to do all in their power to respect the privilege of worship and by their dignified behaviour both on their way to Drumcree Church and on their return to act peacefully and within the law.
"We write as clergy who understand the pressures on all sections of this community at this difficult time.
"The right to parade is established and accepted as indeed is the right to make a public protest - peacefully and within the law - but so also is the sacredness of worship and the well-being of this entire province and all its people."
It is feared that hard-line loyalists are preparing to bring Northern Ireland to the brink if the parade is re-routed.
There have been reports that some are ready to bring the Province's roads and airports to a standstill in a re-run of the civil unrest witnessed two years ago. …