Thousands take part in Twelfth

Published Saturday, 12 July 2014
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Thousands of people have taken part in Twelfth of July commemorations across Northern Ireland, despite the less than favourable weather.

Parades were held at a total of 17 locations, including three flagship events in the Co Armagh village of Markethill; in Larne, Co Antrim; and in Limavady, Co Londonderry.

With 'selfies' all the rage at big events, some people took to Twitter to show off their #TwelfieSelfies as they enjoyed the day's events.

Meanwhile, Orange Order Deputy Grand Master Rev Alistair Smyth addressed those gathered in the field for the Limavady event.

"I congratulate the officers of Limavady District on winning 'flagship' status for their Twelfth demonstration this year and pay a very warm tribute to all of them on the huge amount of hard work that they have put into the programme in the build-up to today," he said.

"The energy and resolve which was found in our forefathers is obviously alive and well in this generation."

He went on to condemn attacks on Catholic churches and the burning of effigies and election posters on bonfires, but blamed the Parades Commission for "aiding and abetting" intolerance.

"The Parades Commission has crumbled before the threat of violence," Rev Smyth added.

In Belfast, with the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland making the address, thoughts turned to the future of the United Kingdom and the referendum on Scottish independence.

Too many unionists think Britain, the nation and its identity, will somehow always exist without any input on our part. They are wrong.

Grand Master Edward Hyde

"The countdown continues," Edward Hyde told those gathered.

"Centuries of history hang in the balance; a question mark hangs over the future of our United Kingdom. If people vote yes in September, then Scotland will become an independent country.

"There will be no going back. Whatever way you look at it, there are 63 million of us who could wake up on 19 September in a different country, with a different future ahead of us."

In Dungannon, it was the situation in Northern Ireland regarding disputed parades which came to the fore, with Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland Grand Master Edward Stevenson making the address.

Unionist and loyalist leaders have already joined together and stated that a "graduated response" would be made in response to concerns regarding contentious Parades Commission determinations.

"Our campaign does not finish on the Twelfth of July," Mr Stevenson said.

"Rather, it will gain momentum in the weeks and months ahead through the graduated political response, which we fully support as an Institution."

Meanwhile, in Ballinderry, Grand Secretary Drew Nelson branded the Parades Commission "an out-of-control political monster that needs to be suppressed".

He added: "The onus to do this rests solely with the Secretary of State and we would call on her again to exercise her authority in this regard at the earliest opportunity."

North Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann made the address in Broughshane, in his capacity as an Orange Order member.

The decisions of the Parades Commission and the actions of republicans do not just impact those involved directly in parades in certain areas - they affect us all.

Robin Swann, UUP

Mr Swann welcomed and said he was proud to be part of the combined orange and political response to the parades situation and what he branded a "ludicrous decision" in north Belfast.

"It is through this coming together in a common purpose, but still respectful of our political differences, that we can demonstrate the unity of purpose within the unionist family," he said.

"Be always mindful that the same persecution and attacks on our culture are evident not far from where we stand today in the villages of Dunloy and Rasharkin.

"The joy and enjoyment of this our day is tarnished for us all, if it is limited for one brother."

In Omagh, Assistant Grand Master Harold Henning hailed the turnout, but called for more support.

"We need our brethren back who have drifted away - we need to encourage our young people into membership of the Loyal Orders," he said.

"We need to encourage our band members to join the Loyal Orders.

"We need to ensure that our members are involved in our churches and schools and indeed that our church leaders play a part and stand by our own community and think of the mission field at home as well as overseas."

The annual Twelfth of July parades commemorate the Battle of the Boyne and the victory of King William of Orange over King James II.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
sad in belfast wrote (195 days ago):
hate and bigotry you say ask the priest if an orange man took off his hat and nodded at the guy before passing think you will find thats called respect but the media dont want you knowing that
Thomas in Co Antrim wrote (195 days ago):
Rab in Falls - if the 12th was really a "demonstration of sectarian bigotry racism and hatred" would it get prime time coverage on BBC & UTV and visitors from all over the world that attend? If you had watched the TV coverage there were black American men there from an Orange lodge in the USA too. Your comment is just a demonstration of your own sectarian bigotry and hatred.
lorna in limavady wrote (196 days ago):
once more my comment totally ignored ?????????????????? for those who cannot see IT WAS NOT A HATE FEAST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!tHAT IS THE INTOLERANCE WE HAVE TO SUFFER TO HAVE A GOOD DAY OUT
annie in newtownabbey wrote (197 days ago):
I went to the 12th it was a brill day for adults and kids everyone was lovly and the bands were brill my kids love it that much they walk carrying flags we went to Larne and there a buzzing feeling everyone was really enjoying themselves. People on here write stuff not so nice but it dosnt annoy me nothing will take away that me and my family had the best day out
DM in Belfast wrote (197 days ago):
methinks Shane from the falls road is being completely tongue in cheek and sarcastic. sad really
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