My 2000

Orangemen failed to expel sex offender

The Orange Order failed to expel a convicted sex offender who became the first person in Northern Ireland banned from loitering near schools.

James McGivern, 57, of Lime Grove in Lurgan, appeared in court last Monday where he was ordered to avoid schools, parks, playgrounds and teenage discos after complaints from parents in the Craigavon area.

McGivern, who has two convictions for sex offences in the early Nineties, belongs to an Orange Lodge in Portadown and is a member of Ian Paisley’s Free Presbyterian church there. He belongs to Orange lodge LOL 352 – the Derrykeevin Temperance Lodge – whose members are teetotal on religious grounds.

According to the Orange Order rulebook a member can be expelled if found guilty of ‘conduct unbecoming of an Orangeman’. Despite convictions dating back a decade, McGivern remained a member of LOL 352, attending protests at Drumcree.

RUC officers convinced the court to ban McGivern from schools, parks, playgrounds and other places where children played.

He can be arrested if seen near such places.

The court agreed that McGivern was ‘posing a renewed threat to the community’. This was the first time the police were granted powers under the 1997 Sex Offenders Order to restrict movements of a convicted sex offender in Northern Ireland.

The order was imposed for five years after parents of a nine-year-old girl alleged McGivern approached her as she left school in Lurgan.