Enjoy Twelfth despite republican intolerance: Orange Order

The Twelfth is 'an unrivalled show of community solidarity, and spectacle of colour, fellowship and music' said the Orange Order
The Twelfth is 'an unrivalled show of community solidarity, and spectacle of colour, fellowship and music' said the Orange Order

Orange Order members and supporters should “enjoy the Twelfth, despite republican intolerance,” the institution has said.

Speaking ahead of the annual festivities, a spokesman also called for everyone to be aware of their responsibilities – particularly in regard to litter and showing respect for others.

Details of ALL TWELFTH DEMONSTRATIONS CAN BE FOUND HERE.

Due to the Twelfth falling on the Sabbath this year, the lighting of bonfires has been staggered across the weekend, while the demonstrations themselves actually fall on Monday July 13.

In its pre-Twelfth statement, the Orange Order said: “Our faith, culture and heritage will be on display at 18 venues across the Province, in an unrivalled show of community solidarity, and spectacle of colour, fellowship and music as we commemorate the 325th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

“The Twelfth is a day like no other as we commemorate and celebrate much that is important to the reformed faith, our civil and religious liberties and our Protestant heritage,” it said.

The statement added: “Our proud traditions are dear to us, and it is therefore deeply regretful that increasingly petty restrictions are being imposed on our parades by a discredited and inept Parades Commission.

“Such creeping cultural suppression is aided and abetted by the deliberate intolerance of republicans.

“There is an element within republicanism which acts in a sectarian way by continually attacking the cultural symbols of Protestantism – our parades, our halls, our flags and sometimes even our people. That republican sectarianism should be consigned to the dustbin of history where it belongs.

“Our struggle will be won by means that have been successful in defeating those who oppose us – perseverance, peaceful protest and prayer.

“The strongest response to the narrow-mindedness of republican sectarianism; the stupidity of the Parades Commission and the inactivity of a failed Secretary of State is for the entire Orange family to have an enjoyable and truly memorable day, whilst keeping in mind those lodges and bandsmen who continue to face opposition across Northern Ireland.”

Earlier this year, the Grand Lodge commissioned an independent review to examine parades and related protests around the Crumlin Road area of north Belfast. It said an interim report “already highlights a lack of transparency and unaccountability” regarding the Parades Commission, but says the full report will be “publicly unveiled in due course”.

The statement goes on to say: “When the celebrations are over, we will then recommit ourselves afresh to seeing off the Parades Commission and new fair parading legislation introduced.

“If politics is to work, each of us has a duty to make it work. We call upon every member of the Orange family, especially those in positions of civic leadership and authority, elected and unelected, to take clear decisive action within the coming months.”

A spokesman for the institution also said those attending the 18 demonstrations should “extend the pride they show in the Orange Order to pride in keeping our country tidy,” and added: “Equally, as an institution we do not condone the drinking of alcohol on parade routes.

“We urge our supporters to enjoy the upcoming celebrations, and not to spoil the occasion for others.”