Northern Ireland news

Belfast Twelfth parade re-routed due to Primark fire

Orangemen marching during the main Twelfth of July parade in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

This year’s Twelfth of July parade in Belfast will be re-routed following the Primark fire.

The main Belfast lodges normally march along Royal Avenue in the city centre. However, the city's main shopping street has been closed to traffic after a fire destroyed the Bank Buildings at Castle Junction in August.

The Orange Order said the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast had decided to re-route the march following discussions with bodies including Belfast City Centre Management and police.

Lodges and bands will this year march from Clifton Street, along Donegall Street, Waring Street, Bridge Street, High Street, Victoria Street and Chichester Street to Belfast City Hall.

The march will take bands past St Patrick's Church on Donegall Street. 

The church had become a flashpoint in recent years after a loyalist band from Belfast's Shankill area was filmed playing a sectarian tune while wheeling around the front of the chapel in 2013.

An Orange Order march along Donegall Street in Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

The new parade route will only apply to this year's demonstrations.

"We are advertising this amended 2019 route early so our faithful supporters who line Royal Avenue and Donegall Place can plan an alternative viewing spot to enjoy the parade," the Orange Order said.

"This change is made due to the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the Primark fire, and we look forward to returning to our traditional Royal Avenue route in 2020."

As part of the new arrangements, West Belfast No 9 District and Ballynafeigh No 10 District will join the parade at the junction of Royal Avenue/Donegall Street. Ballymacarrett No 6 District will join the main procession at the junction of Ann Street/Victoria Street.

The homeward parade will travel along Great Victoria Street, Wellington Place, and through the city centre, following the same earlier outward route back towards Clifton Street.

A total of 18 main Twelfth of July demonstrations will take place across Northern Ireland this year.

Other confirmed venues are Tandragee, Lisnaskea, Holywood, Crossgar, Rathfriland, Kilkeel, Larne, Glenavy, Carnlough, Ballymena, Ahoghill, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Ballyronan, Pomeroy, Donemana and Augher.

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