Former Fermanagh MLA and First Minister Arlene Foster, has slammed nationalists for “looking down their noses” at the Twelfth of July Orange Order parades.
Writing in The News Letter, Mrs Foster, who hosted GB News’ broadcast of the parades in Armagh accused Nationalists and Republicans of going into “a predictable sneerfest” and chalking up “another tick on the road of disrespecting their neighbours and our culture”.
Mrs Foster insisted that such criticism showed up Nationalists and Republicans claim for wanting a ‘shared future’ as being hollow by belittling the Orange culture.
She said: “Every year nationalists and republicans look down their noses at the fun, music, tradition and faith-based pageantry which the marching season brings to the Ulster British community in Northern Ireland.
“Usually, the target is Eleventh night bonfires but general distaste or indeed outright hostility for Orange Culture will suffice just as well.
“Irish republicans love to belittle the Orange Culture to which I belong, and yet unaware of their irony, they tell us that the way forward is a shared Island (clearly without our culture, tradition or history celebrated).
“It’s a bit like Sinn Fein’s Vice-President (Michelle O’Neill) telling us that she will be a First Minister for all, and then attending the glorification of yet another IRA terrorist.
“Nothing to see here. Say one thing and do something completely different for the base, that is the form.”
Mrs Foster also hit out at those criticising the appointment her GB News co-host for the parades broadcast, Fermanagh-born actor and Coronation Street star, Charlie Lawson who has posted a number of controversial posts on social media site Twitter.
She added: “The reaction by the nationalist press and commentators to the news that Charlie is part of the Twelfth coverage has been nothing short of disgraceful.
“No problem if fellow (Fermanagh-born) actor Adrian Dunbar goes to his local GAA club (as he did recently in Enniskillen as a GAA ambassador), Jimmy Nesbitt supports the Irish Language lobby or former Ulster Rugby star Andrew Trimble supports a nationalist candidate in the recent assembly election.
“Oh no they are great fellas.
“Is it any wonder that some people from the world of sport and the arts who support the Union keep their heads low when they are so attacked by the ‘shinnerbots’ online or even by mainstream commentators?”
In response, Sinn Féin MLA Jemma Dolan accused the former First Minister of trying to boost her new career as a TV presenter.
She said: “This is a transparent attempt by Arlene Foster to drum up interest in her career as a media commentator.
“The facts are there are now less contentious parades than ever as a result of regulation of parades by the Parades Commission and we should continue to ensure that parade organisers everywhere respect communities where parades are contentious.”
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