Northern Ireland news

Orange Order confirms 'smaller local' Twelfth of July parades

 The Orange Order's Grandmaster Edward Stevenson with the Order's Grand Secretary the Rev Mervyn Gibson (pictured prior to the coronavirus restrictions).

The Orange Order has confirmed that Twelfth of July parades will be held next month. 

The traditional parades were cancelled last summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Following a meeting with the First Minister Arlene Foster, Health Minister Robin Swann and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael McBride, the Orange Order said parades will be "localised" and held in accordance with the regulations in effect at that time. Current regulations will not permit the larger traditional county parades. 

The Orange order also said in a statement that it has "rescinded with immediate effect the previous instruction that no parades should take place until 1st of June." 

Orange Order grand master Edward Stevenson said: “I am delighted that we can confirm there will be Twelfth of July parades this year.

“As an Institution we have had to make great sacrifice over the past 12 months and more, but we are now in a better place and our parades can take place, albeit in a slightly different format to a normal year.”

The grand master  added: “In 2020 we had the Twelfth at Home and this year we will have smaller local parades, so it will be a Twelfth near home for most members. This is a positive step towards a return to our normal full parades - hopefully in 2022.

“The regulations at this time do not permit the huge numbers many of our normal demonstrations would attract. We have to be realistic about that.

“The Orange family has played an important part in our community’s fight against Covid-19. Unlike others in our society, we have sought to show responsible civic leadership and it important that we continue to do so to protect the health of not just our own members but the entire community.

“While the events may be smaller than usual, it will be good to get back on the road with our fellow Brethren, our bands and with the support of the entire Orange Family.”

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