The Orange Institution has purchased what has been described as a ‘very significant’ shipment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which will be distributed across Northern Ireland and counties in the Republic of Ireland.
A large quantity of hand sanitizer along with tens of thousands of masks and aprons arrived at the weekend to be divided up around the 12 County Grand Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.
The items will reach County Grand Lodge officers in the coming days from where they will be distributed via the Institution’s 108 District Lodges.
Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Wor. Bro. Edward Stevenson said: “It is our hope that this shipment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will make a real difference to local Doctors and nurses, who are at the front line of helping to fight Covid-19, and those providing care and essential services in the community.
“So much has been reported about the pressure on PPE supplies that we felt it was appropriate that the Orange Institution should try to assist in a practical way. Once a supplier had been sourced, an order was placed, and we were delighted to see it arrive in Northern Ireland.
“This shipment of products, which includes masks, aprons and hand sanitiser will be distributed as widely as possible by our membership, many of whom have already been very active themselves in raising money, sharing much-needed supplies and helping older people in their own communities.”
This initiative compliments the purchasing and distribution of PPE equipment that has already been undertaken by some local Lodges and Districts, who were able to source supplies.
Mr Stevenson added: “The abundance of good work being done by lodges and the wider Orange family for the good of the entire community, illustrates that there is more to Orangeism than just our annual parades. The current crisis has highlighted the charitable, benevolent and fraternal elements of Order which although always important, are often unseen.
The Grand Master went on to pay tribute to the work of the health professionals and all essential workers at this time.
Mr Stevenson continued: “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all key workers who are working so hard to tackle this dreadful disease.
“It enormously heartening to see the support they are being shown each Thursday evening and I commend everyone who is clapping, playing instruments or doing anything to show their appreciation to the NHS and its staff.
“While we look forward to the days when we can get out and about again, it is most important that everyone continues to adheres to the Government guidelines in relation to staying at home and, if you must go out, respect the social distancing advice.”
Mr Stevenson added: “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those affected by Covid-19 and the health professionals as they work to tackle this awful virus.”