LARNE Orangemen are to meet with the Equality Commission in a last-minute attempt to resolve the towns annual bunting dispute.

District master David Boyd voiced his frustration at Larne borough council, who have again refused to erect the red, white and blue bunting in time for the marching season.

He said the council had for almost 35 years erected the bunting each year but has not done so since 2008.

He claimed the council is waiting on an equality impact assessment before it can decide on whether council staff can or cannot erect bunting.

However, Mr Boyd claimed that, two years later, this assessment has not been completed. He accused the council of dragging their feet and said: �We have been very patient with this administration.�

He said that pending an equality impact assessment, the council was wrong to change its previous policy of erecting the bunting and should reinstate the original policy until the EIA is completed.

�We would like it to be resolved and that sense would prevail. We are not out to raise tensions. We want things to run smoothly.� he added.
�I am fearful that there are those in the community that will fill the void and put up uncontrolled bunting,� he said.

A spokesperson for Larne council said: �The local Orange lodge had been encouraged to apply to council for cultural events funding to assist with expenses that may be incurred in running the annual event.�

Council chief executive Geraldine McGahey has advised in the past that members could agree to fund the district lodge to put up the bunting, but the question of whether council staff could erect it could not be answered without a final report on the EIA.

The lodge had urged acceptance in the interest of ongoing community harmony, adding that the move would reduce the potential for other uncontrolled erection of bunting and emblems in the town.

SDLP alderman Danny OConnor said: �I have no problem with the council giving funding to the Orange Order if it were for a fun day or something like that.

�But by saying that this could reduce the potential for the erection of uncontrolled bunting. I would view that as a veiled threat.�

Published date on the 18th of June 2010
Article taken from the The News Letter