A Catholic school in Belfast chooses Saint Patrick's Day celebrations as a time to learn more the Orange Order.

Sashes, bowler hats and Twelfth of July parades are often the first things which come to mind when Northern Ireland's Orange Order is mentioned. Formed in 1795 in County Armagh, the organisation is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. 

The Orange Order and representatives of the Protestant community were invited to speak this week as part of a St Patrick’s Day celebration in Our Lady and St Patrick’s College in East Belfast, a Catholic grammar school.

Two hundred and fifty students attended the event, and listened as George Patton, Chief Executive Officer of the Orange Order, answered questions ranging from violence by outside elements at Orange marches to how the Order would accommodate Catholics.

George Patton was positive about future relationships between communities in Northern Ireland,

I think that we will find a way forward together. If I didn't, I'd have to say I wouldn't be living here.

Overall reaction of the students to this evening’s talks is positive, as Emma Jane Mullen tells RTÉ News

We need to hear the views of others to understand them and appreciate them.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 14 March 1995. The reporter is Michael Fisher.