AOH to hold annual St Patrick's Day parade in Cookstown

Tyrone AOH president Gerry McGeough
Connla Young

THE Ancient Order of Hibernians say they expect up to 20,000 people to attend its main St Patrick’s Day parade in Co Tyrone this weekend.

Members of the conservative Catholic organisation from across Ireland will take part in the parade in Cookstown tomorrow.

President of the Tyrone AOH Gerry McGeough said that the Irish tricolour will take pride of place in this year’s event.

“For the occasion the Hibernians in Tyrone have commissioned a special Irish tricolour flag to be carried in the parade,” he said.

"We are proud to be Irish and St Patrick's Day is Ireland's de facto national day, so unlike other locations we will march beneath the green, white and gold.

"As well as honouring our patron saint we are also this year parading to keep Ireland abortion-free, to defend the Greencastle Mass rock in the Sperrin Mountains and to promote the Irish language and culture.”

Meanwhile, members of the group have presented Archbishop Eamon Martin with a copy of its pro-life charter, which was signed by every AOH division in Tyrone last year.

It was presented by well-known pro-life activist Catherine Sewell, who is also the pro-life officer for the AOH in Tyrone.

Gerry McGeough was also present at the archbishop’s residence during the presentation.

"The AOH is fully committed to the anti-abortion cause and we are delighted that Archbishop Martin has shown himself to be a strong pro-life advocate," he said.

Members of the order are expected to gather at a Mass rock in Greencastle, Co Tyrone, on Sunday as part of a national pro-life Rosary campaign due to be held simultaneously at Mass rocks around Ireland.

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