THE challenge for the republican movement is how they relate to their unionist and Protestant neighbours as we move towards the future, a leading Orangeman said today.
Speaking at the Twelfth demonstration in Magherafelt Dr David Hume, the Director of Services for Grand Lodge, said: “They have never really addressed this central issue. It has been the elephant, grazing contentedly, in Ireland’s fourth green field. The republican movement must consider these matters. When our parades are prevented we see little sign of tolerance and respect towards us.
“The challenge for the nationalist community is to ensure that their constitutional voice is heard above that of republicans, and that they do not simply try to be greener than green in how they deal with the Orange Order and the Protestant community. They too must remember the hopes of William Smith O’Brien and his optimistic tricolour.
“But the real challenge for both is that the majority in Northern Ireland – Protestant and Roman Catholic - do not want a united Ireland and they are the people who count in a democracy. And the challenge for us all is in going forward to a shared future together. It will require us all to challenge ourselves and our perceptions of one another.”
Full coverage of the Twelfth in this week’s Mid-Ulster Mail