Orange Order says Twelfth of July parades will go ahead this year
This year’s Twelfth of July parades will take place, albeit on a smaller scale than in a normal year, the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has confirmed.
Following a meeting with County Masters and engagement with the First Minister Arlene Foster, Health Minister Robin Swann and Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride, Grand Lodge made a formal announcement on the situation today (Tuesday).
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 current regulations are such that the traditional County or combined District Twelfth parades are not possible. Instead, it has been agreed that localised Twelfth parades will be held in accordance with the regulations in effect at that time.
Full details regarding plans for parades have been shared with County and District Officers.
The Grand Master continued: “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.”