Opposition mounts ahead of tomorrow's Orangefest in Glasgow

Opposition mounts ahead of tomorrow's Orangefest in Glasgow

OPPOSITION is growing ahead of tomorrow’s Orangefest in Glasgow.

The event is designed to celebrate the Orange Order's history and culture, and present a more benign image of the organisation to the public.

The seven-hour event will feature history talks, choirs — and a bouncy castle.

A spokesman said: “We want to show people that there is more to the Orange Order than marching up and down the streets.

“The aim is to dispel some of the myths by showing our history and what else we do, including charitable work.”

Glasgow is the scene of the biggest Orange Order marches outside the North of Ireland, and in the past they have been the cause of public disorder.

The SNP has queried how much public cash has been spent on the event, which will take place in St George’s Square.

Glasgow City Council has said it is not contributing to the cost of the event, adding that they had no option but to allow the event to go ahead.

A spokesperson said: “People use George Square and other public spaces around Glasgow for a wide range of events and activities.

“Providing events are properly planned and do not encourage unlawful behaviour, the council is not permitted to simply ban them on the grounds that someone dislikes, opposes or holds contrary views to the organiser.”

An online petition opposing the event has now been signed by more than 20,000 people.

It says: “The people of Glasgow and Scotland are sick of their voices going unheard in relation to sectarian, hate-filled orange marches.

“Now we have to put up with Orangefest. We demand that GCC [Glasgow City Council] answer to the people of Glasgow as to why this was allowed to go ahead in a city centre location on a busy Saturday.”

The Catholic Church has said it will send a representative to the event, although the head of the Church in Scotland, Archbishop Tartaglia, will not be attending.

A spokesman for the Glasgow Archdiocese said: "The Archbishop was invited to participate and declined. However a representative of a Catholic lay movement will go along as an observer."

The Irish Government will also have a representative at the event.

Ireland’s Consul General to Scotland, Pat Bourne, told The Irish Post: “I was invited to attend the event as a guest of the organisers and I have accepted the invitation.

“I am looking forward to going along and I hope it will be enjoyable for all concerned.”