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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 12:24 GMT
Orange Order gets Republic funds
Orange men in Donegal
A company set up by the Orange Order is receiving almost 250,000 euros in funding from the Irish government.

The Republic's first substantial grant to the organisation is being made by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

The minister of the department is Eamon O'Cuiv - grandson of former taoiseach and famous republican Eamon de Valera.

The money will be paid out over the next two years in counties Donegal, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan.

It will go to a company, Cadelmo Ltd, set up to support an initiative in the border counties to promote and organise the Orange institution in the Republic.

The funding will support the work of a development officer and will also be available for the repair and refurbishment of Orange halls.

"A number of Orange halls in rural areas have been attacked in recent times, activities I totally deplore, so I am delighted to be in a position to provide funding," Mr O'Cuiv said.

He added that he hoped the funding would encourage higher levels of participation by Orange Order members in the wider community in the area.

"Coming from the tradition I come from the aim always was that people living on this island would live in mutual respect and peace", he said.

Drew Nelson, grand secretary of the Orange Order, welcomed the funding.

"Our members in the Republic are much more willing now to engage with civic society," Mr Nelson said.

"Prior to this, I would have noticed that their way of survival for the last three or four generations has been to keep their heads down, don't put your head above the parapet, don't engage with the administration in the Republic.

"A change has come about in their attitude - there's much more confidence."

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Eamon O'Cuiv speaking to Noel Thompson





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