Drumcree protest continues on Christmas Day

The Orangemen address a police officer during the protest
The Orangemen address a police officer during the protest

The Orange Order proved their determination to complete the parade in the Drumcree area by continuing a weekly protest on Christmas Day.

The protests have been held every Sunday since the parade was banned in 1998 and this week was no different, despite Christmas falling on a Sunday this year.

Portadown District LOL No 1 protesting at Drumcree on Christmas Day

Portadown District LOL No 1 protesting at Drumcree on Christmas Day

Around 25 Orangemen took part in the protest on December 25.

The protests follow the example set by the late Harold Gracey, Portadown district master at the time when the parade down the Garvaghy Road was first halted. Mr Gracey had famously called for the protests to continue, saying: “Let it be hours. Let it be days. Let it be weeks. We will stay until we walk our traditional route.”

The current Portadown District Master Darryl Hewitt said the fact that the protest continued on Christmas Day was an indication of their “resolve”.

He told the News Letter: “This has been going on since July 1998 when we were stopped.

“We have protested ever since, every Sunday, and that is why we were out on Christmas Day.

“This Sunday, as it happened, was Christmas Day, but certainly in the past we have held the protest on Christmas Day if it has fallen on a Sunday.

“Back in 1998, our late district master Harold Gracey said we would remain on protest until we got our return parade and the resolve is still there, some 18 years later, to get the situation resolved so that we can have our return parade from Drumcree Parish Church.

“Who knows how long the road is going to be but however long the road is, we are on that road and we are staying on that road.”