Jim McHarg, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland writes,
“2019 will be an interesting year for us all as we continue to live through these times of political uncertainty. It seems that Brexit continues to dominate the agenda, and the implications for borders in Ireland remain at the core. We again send our support to colleagues in Northern Ireland and remain hopeful that the right solution will be found that protects the Union.
Closer to home, our parades are underway as we celebrate our faith, culture and heritage. We are also working hard and continuing to engage and inform. There are many myths about the Orange Order still out there, and we will be doing all we can to break these myths down.
We all have a part to play in this.
Last year, we suffered as an organisation when a member of the public who was following a parade, crossed a line of respect and decency and caused an incident on the streets of Glasgow. Despite it being accepted by the Police and the City Council that the person responsible was not a part of the parade, but a member of the public, our organisation suffered from the consequences of their actions. As recently as a few weeks ago, we were fighting behind the scenes to have media reports changed where they were trying to connect the actions of this person directly to the parade.
Whilst we will always continue to do this, we must all work as hard as we can to prevent issue like this from happening again. And we must ensure that our good behaviour on parades is maintained. I am proud to report to the decision makers in authorities regarding the good behaviour we display. Long may this continue.
We should always encourage members of the public from all faiths and none to come and enjoy our parades. However, I would also ask any non-members of the Orange Order who may be reading this to ensure that you follow the example we set in terms of good behaviour. As an organisation, we are fiercely proud of our culture, our faith and our heritage but we are respectful of others who may have different views. Even in the face of hostility towards us, I’d encourage everyone to maintain their own respect and professionalism and not rise to provocation or taunts.
We want to be able to look back on a successful year for the Orange Order. With your help as ever, I’m sure we will do so.