The County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast thanks the supporters and spectators who assisted them to make the Belfast Twelfths one of the biggest and most successful parade in many years. The ‘Battle Not the Bottle’ campaign continues to gain traction and our increasing social media presence assists us to share live information and updates. The growing number of tourists to the City are able to enjoy the parade, followed by street entertainment and a food market that seeks to encourage people to remain and shop in the City Centre.
There were some isolated unsavoury incidents that appeared on social media; where appropriate, we would expect these will be dealt with by the police. The arrangements put in by the County in co-operation with the PSNI, ensured there were no unnecessary delays while the parade passed the narrower than usual junction at the Primark site.
Sadly, there are still those who seek to cause mayhem and violence around our celebrations. Republicans threw petrol bombs on the Springfield Road and more sinisterly left a viable explosive device on the route taken by Whiterock LOL 974 on the 12th morning. While the Army were attempting to defuse the device, it exploded into a fireball. The local Lodge paid tribute to the police and ATO on the manner they handled this murder attempt.
On the afternoon of Sunday 14th July, Belfast Orange Hall, Clifton Street was yet again paint bombed, thankfully only minor damage was caused. Regrettably, the climate for such attacks is fuelled by the Parades Commission’s bigoted attitude to Loyal Order parades in the area.
The County Grand Master, Spencer Beattie commented; “It was a great Twelfth, I thank the supporters, spectators and shoppers and all those who made it another very special 12th July”, adding ‘I know all right thinking people, from all communities, will join with me in condemning the thugs who attacked the police and the parade”. The County Master also paid tribute to those we worked in partnership with to make the day safe and special, especially Belfast City Centre Management and the PSNI.