Forum says religious services are not allowed

Albert Steele outside the Barron Hall. INNT 23-010-FP
Albert Steele outside the Barron Hall. INNT 23-010-FP

The Community Relations Forum (CRF) has denied suggestions that it turned down a request for use of the Barron Hall because the request came from the Orange Order.

Albert Steele, District Master of the Order’s Carnmoney District LOL No. 25 expressed disappointment that the organisation’s annual Somme commemoration service on July 7 had to be held at Mossley Orange Hall after an application to use the Barron Hall was turned down - the second year in succession that the committee which runs the Glengormley venue has denied the district’s request.

Mr Steele received a letter from the committee saying the event wasn’t in keeping with the Community Relations Forum’s “cross-community ethos”.

“No religious services or activities that can be construed as religious services may be held in or on the grounds of the Barron Hall unless organised by Community Relations Forum or in conjunction with Community Relations Forum on a cross-community basis,” it stated.

“We have been associated with the Barron Hall for the past 50 years so we are very disappointed by this,” Mr Steele commented. “This is supposed to be a shared space to be used by all the community, but it seems it’s not a shared space for Carnmoney District.”

However, CRF board member Stephen Scott revealed that the Orange Order has been granted permission to hold a number of events in the hall, but stressed that no religious services organised by outside groups are permitted.

“The policy applies to everyone across the board. It’s the same for everyone and we have turned down requests from several groups to hold religious services in the hall - it’s no different whether it’s the Orange Order or anyone else,” he said.