Northern Ireland

Orange Order newssheet accuses The Irish News of 'racism'

The Orange Order has accused the Irish News of racism
The Orange Order has accused the Irish News of racism The Orange Order has accused the Irish News of racism

The Orange Order has accused The Irish News of publishing "racist" cartoons – despite complaints against the newspaper being dismissed by the press regulator.

In its latest online news letter, the institution claims the north's best-selling daily newspaper is part of an "anti-Orange mob".

In an editorial focussing on media coverage of this year's Twelfth, the Orange Standard takes exception to the term "dinosaurs" being applied to conservative unionists and accuses some unnamed media outlets of "ingrained sectarianism".

It claims an "army of ‘nationalist’ commentators wax lyrically about bands, bonfires and banner carrying brethren and the blight they are on society". 

"With little or no knowledge they spew out paragraphs, showing utter contempt for all manifestations of Orange culture," the Orange Standard says. 

"Liken a community to a crocodile and there is horror, likening a community to dinosaurs is acceptable nationalist commentary."

The reference to the "racist" cartoons is thought to relate to two cartoons last year by acclaimed Irish News contributor Ian Knox, which drew a number of complaints.

A cartoon the Orange Order has complained about
A cartoon the Orange Order has complained about A cartoon the Orange Order has complained about

The first cartoon depicted loyalists upset by US congressman Richard Neal's use of the word "planter" to refer to people from a unionist background, while the second showed elderly Orange Order members at a parade to mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Northern Ireland.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) received several complaints, including that the cartoon of the loyalists was offensive towards a minority group, an inaccurate stereotype and had raised tensions.

Other complainants suggested that the cartoon of the orangemen was ableist and ageist.

However, the watchdog found no grounds to investigate any of the complaints.

A second cartoon the Orange Order has complained about
A second cartoon the Orange Order has complained about A second cartoon the Orange Order has complained about

Irish News editor Noel Doran said Ian Knox was among the paper's most revered contributors and that he had a "long record of caricaturing those from all sections of society who find themselves under a critical spotlight". 

"It is worth noting that the small number of individuals who raised issues with IPSO last year about Ian's comparison between an Orange march and the ABBA group's use of avatars at a concert were told that no complaint would be taken forward," he said. 

"IPSO did not ask The Irish News to offer a response and instead said, 'The cartoon was clearly a satirical interpretation of the event and not intended to be an accurate or serious account...'."