Wednesday, March 23, 2005

If Guilty then out on his ear

The father of a man killed by the UVF in Ballyclare has said that the man who killed his son has not been expelled by the Orange Order. John Allen has passed the details of who he believes killed his son on to the Order but so far no action has been taken.

Firstly, let me say, I'm an Orangeman and very proud to be one. I have great sympathy for Mr Allen and my initial reaction is that this man should be out on his ear at the first possible opportunity. After all, no-one guilty of such a crime is permitted to remain under the Orange Institution's own rules.

However, spare a thought for the Orange Order in all this. They have also passed on the details (given to them by Mr Allen) of the man alleged to have killed his son to the police in the same way as his father has done. However, the police have obviously not been able to put together the evidence to convict this man, if indeed he is guilty.

Murderers have no place in the Orange Order. However, just how right and proper is it to expel someone from an organisation just because someone has made an allegation, which as yet is unsubstantiated with any evidence. Should the man be arrested and charged then a suspension would be in order until a trial has been held. After that, if guilty then he should expelled as soon as possible.

Obviously Mr Allen is searching for justice for his son in just the same way the McCartney family want it for their brother. The Orange Order in this case is not telling their members who know anything to go to their solicitor or some other roundabout route. Indeed they have passed everything they have been told directly to the PSNI. It is the inevitable downside of the McCartney campaign that it highlights the often unfruitful search for justice carried by thousands of other families after their loved ones have been killed by terrorists.

Maybe Mr Allen will find justice for his son soon - I certainly hope so.

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