Northern Ireland

Orange Order website blocked from schools

Diamond Dan
Image caption Diamond Dan has been blocked from NI classrooms by censoring software

The Orange Order's website has been banned from Northern Ireland school by censoring software.

When trying to access the site via the C2K system pupils are told: "Access to this webpage has been denied"

The reason given by the network is: "This website has been categorised as Non-Traditional Religious and Occult and Folklore."

C2K provides the infrastructure and services to support Information Computer Technology in schools.

A letter was presented to the Stormont Education Committee from David Scott, community education officer for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. In his letter he said: "I am writing to express the concern of the Grand Orange Lodge that our website has apparently been blocked in the school system.

"I would appreciate if you could advise me of the reasons why access to our Grand Lodge of Ireland site has been denied, who took the decision to deny access and why we were not informed of this situation."

Diamond Dan

Chairman of the Education Committee, Mervyn Storey suggested that Mr Scott be allowed to address the committee and this was supported by David McNarry and Jo-Anne Dobson.

C2k is managed by the Western Education and Library Board on behalf of the other education and library boards and the Department of Education.

The Orange Order has tried in recent years to shake off any negative image by creating a more family friendly image with events such as Orangefest and creating characters such as Diamond Dan, the superhero Orange Man.

The website includes a charity section and an education area where you can learn more about the history of the order.

The C2K software automatically filters out unsuitable websites but individual school authorities can apply to have access granted to certain sites.

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