The annual Orange walk of Belfast’s protestant population is to take place this weekend and is expected to reveal itself now as a 24K gold walk.
Orange walks take place throughout the year but the main and most attended is the 12th July celebrations, which mark Prince William of Orange’s victory over King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
The marches are seen as sectarian and triumphalist by Scottish and Irish nationalists, who oppose a union with Great Britain and also by many Irish Catholics.
The walks involve parade like pageantry, such as music, banners and sashes worn by those attending and observing. However, in a break with tradition, this year the Orange sashes and banners will be replaced with cloth of gold encrusted with precious gems.
It comes after Northern Ireland’s leading protestant affiliated political party, the DUP, being given 1.5 billion pounds in a deal to support the Conservative government of Great Britain.
We asked why the break in tradition and whether the DUP’s deal with the government has had any influence in the matter?
“Right you are, we’re ditching the old Orange for pure solid gold, gems and cloth of gold. It’s all coming out of that 1.5 billion you see; 1.5 billion, can you even fathom? That’s 250,000 for every year the earth has existed!” said Dougal Schroeder, a senior Orange walk organizer and lodge leader.
“Arlene Foster, Jesus bless her, got the English to pay us that incredible sum and we are spending it on the most important event of the year, showing the bloody Catholics and Republicans that they are shite and we are right.”