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Orange marches face 'major cuts'

19 August 09 12:05 GMT

There could be a "substantial" cut in the number of Orange parades in Glasgow under plans being considered by the city council.

The authority confirmed it was looking at a major reduction in the number of marches, from more than 250 each year.

The move comes after Strathclyde Police revealed it cost nearly £1m to police the three biggest events in July.

The Orange Lodge of Scotland said it was willing to discuss the issue but opposed a major cut.

Councillor Jim Coleman, deputy leader of Glasgow City Council, said the council would discuss plans to substantially reduce the number of marches and possibly move them away from the city centre.

He said the recent marching season had generated a number of complaints from businesses and the public and it was now time to review current arrangements.

Ian Wilson, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, said he would be willing to discuss issues about the number of parades but would not agree to major cuts.

"I think talk of a 10-fold reduction seems pretty ridiculous to us," he said.

"If people are saying the order is on the streets too often then fair enough, I think as a responsible organisation we have to address that and think about it.

"But at the same time we will defend what we see as our rights and our traditions."

Mr Wilson said he was aware that the policing bill was significant for Orange marches but that it was relatively small in comparison to the overall police budget.

Her also expressed surprise that the police felt obliged to have so many officers at some marches and said policing at some events had been "way over the top" and almost like a "military operation".

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