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Last Updated: Friday, 18 February, 2005, 07:19 GMT
Orange Order pulls out of parade
Orange Order is the largest Protestant organisation in NI
Orange Order is the largest Protestant organisation in NI
Pressure from Sinn Fein has led to the Orange Order pulling out of a Saint Patrick's Day parade in Cork, the organisation has said.

The Order had been invited to take part in the celebrations on 17 March by Cork City Council.

An Order statement said it was pulling out of the march because its members' safety could not be guaranteed.

It also accused Sinn Fein of mounting a "misleading media campaign", claiming their attendance would be offensive.

"We are also mindful that our presence could have become the focus of media attention and protest that might have detracted from the enjoyment of other participants and spectators," the statement said.


"We had been invited to send a small delegation which would have included a number of children to parade alongside Chinese, Filipino and African community groups in an event designed to recognise and celebrate cultural diversity.

"Those involved were greatly looking forward to their visit to the European Capital of Culture.

"Our presence would have been both appropriate to the occasion and dignified. It was never our intention to offend anyone."

The statement also claimed that Sinn Fein was trying to use the invitation to divert attention away from their current political difficulties.

Orange Order grand secretary Drew Nelson said both his organisation and the parade organisers were disappointed that the Order would not be attending the festivities.

He added that he welcomed the invitation and hoped the Order would be able to participate in the event next year.

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