The Democratic Unionist Party has achieved a major victory on the content of the new Criminal Damages Order which related to compensation arrangements for community halls. In the original order, put out for consultation, there was a sunset clause which would see the new arrangements time-limited for three years. This will not now be included in the legislation which is presented before Parliament. The DUP has been lobbying at the very highest level of government to ensure the clause was dropped. Rt. Hon. Peter Robinson MP said:
“The Loyal Orders form a major part of the culture and identity of our community. In the past, when halls were attacked it was extremely difficult for them to access compensation for the damages that they had suffered. The new compensation arrangements contained in the Criminal Damages Order will end the disgraceful situation whereby Orange Institution found it hard to acquire compensation and increasingly difficult to obtain satisfactory insurance cover.
The DUP has worked very closely with the Orange Institution to get to the point where we have achieved the necessary changes to the Criminal Damages Order. These changes will also make acquiring insurance for Orange Halls much easier. I am pleased that we have removed the one flaw that was in the legislation as originally published – the so-called sunset clause. We believed that this clause was unnecessary and would have inhibited the scheme achieving its full positive outcome of helping Orange Halls around the country, which is what we all want to see.
The DUP believes in the value and worth of the loyal orders and the important role which they play in our community. Orange Halls provide a network of community centres throughout Northern Ireland and it is only right and proper that their role should be recognised by government. In devolution, the DUP has made support for culture and heritage a key priority.”

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