Century old tradition of Moira Arch under threat after road works tarmac over fittings

Main Street, Moira.
Main Street, Moira.

Members of the Orange Order have said they are hopeful the Orange Arch in Moira will be erected.

Road improvement works carried out on the Main Street earlier this year removed the holes that housed the arch so it was unable to go up, as is tradition.

However committee member, Mark McCormack told the Star that he hopes the situation will be rectified on Thursday (June 29) when Department of Infastructure staff re-install the anchor slots, allowing for the Orange Arch to be erected on Monday.

Mark said: “They tarmacked the main street at around the start of the year and they tarmacked over the holes where the arc has been going in.

“I spoke to Councillor Owen Gawith and within a day the DRD rang me and agreed to meet me at the site. They came out with metal detectors, we were told that those doing the work saw the holes but did not know what they were for.

“They were due to come out on Monday and fix it but so far nobody has been out, we are hoping that they will be out on Thursday. Usually the arch goes up on the last week of June, we are hoping that if work is done then it will go up on Monday, July 3.

“The arch has been going up every year for 100 years and it hasn’t missed a year. It would be a real shame for it to not go up because of this. It is an important tradition in the town and people aren’t happy.

“The lodge themselves are incredibly grateful to Councillor Owen Gawith in trying to resolve this issue.”

“We didn’t seem to be getting anywhere but when we spoke to him he really got the ball moving and everyone associated with the lodge and the arch are very grateful.”

A Department of Infastructure spokesperson said: “The anchor slots were removed in error during the resurfacing of Main Street, Moira. Arrangements have been made to have them replaced before the arch is due to be erected next week.

The Department is currently awaiting the application for consent to erect the arch.”