Ulster Unionist Tom Elliott has welcomed the Orange Order’s initiative to remember the 336 members murdered by terrorists during the Troubles.
Tom Elliott said:
“On Saturday 1st September the Orange Order is to hold the first ‘Orange Victims Day’ to remember the 336 members of the Orange Institution who lost their lives in the Troubles.
“The date has been chosen as it is the anniversary of the Tullyvallen massacre, when five Orangemen were murdered at a meeting in their Orange Hall in 1975.
“The 336 figure equates to almost ten per cent of all Troubles victims and it shows the high price paid by members of the Orange Order. Many of those murdered were members of the security forces, often part-time UDR soldiers or members of the RUC Reserve.
“This is testament to the strong public service ethos that is found in many Orangemen and women who are involved in all aspects of daily life in their local communities, and who stepped forward to serve the community and help defend society from terrorism.
“It is indicative of the success of the republican campaign to rewrite the history of the Troubles, that an organisation whose members account for 10 per cent of Troubles related deaths, should have become so demonised and maligned in some quarters.
“This situation needs to be addressed and the voice of the victims needs to heard. Many families have suffered in silence for too long and certainly the 336 murdered members of the Orange Institution have not benefitted from any assistance from the plethora of human rights lawyers and advocates that have emerged as part of a veritable cottage industry.
“It is time to put that right and I welcome the initiative of ‘Orange Victims Day’ as a step along the road to redressing the imbalance.”