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Arlene Foster: 'Bigotry towards Orange Order must be challenged'

DUP leader Arlene Foster being presented with a Orange Order branded scarf by grand master Edward Stevenson

ARLENE Foster has said she wants to work with the Orange Order to challenge "bigotry and prejudice" towards parades.

The DUP leader led a party delegation to meet the order's grand master Edward Stevenson and other senior Orangemen today.

During the meeting, she was handed a gift of an Orange Order branded scarf.

Speaking after the meeting, Mrs Foster said she had praised Mr Stevenson for his recent meeting with taoiseach Leo Vardakar at the Order's headquarters in east Belfast.

"This was a significant visit which can only be helpful as we try to build a better society for the next generation," she said.

Describing her meeting with Mr Stevenson as "constructive and useful", Mrs Foster she would work to challenge "intolerance" against the Orange Order.

"I want to work with the Orange Institution to ensure the bigotry and prejudice shown toward its members, halls and parades is challenged.  There is no place for such intolerance in 2018," she said.

"As Northern Ireland moves forward, I am very mindful that 336 members of the Orange Order were murdered during the Troubles. 

"Many of these families have never received any justice.  I am committed to ensuring that as we move forward, families such as those must always have access to justice."

North Belfast MLA William Humphrey and Mid Ulster MLA Keith Buchanan were also part of the DUP delegation. 

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