This year’s Twelfth of July parade in Belfast will incorporate a revised route due to restrictions caused by the Primark fire, it has been confirmed.
The County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast made the decision following discussions with Belfast City Centre Management, the PSNI and other bodies.
Last August, a huge blaze destroyed the city’s flagship Primark store, located at thehistoric Bank Buildings at Castle Junction. Redevelopment work is ongoing at the site, placing restrictions in the area to pedestrians and commuters.
Rather than walking the traditional route along Royal Avenue, Orange lodges and bands will proceed from Clifton Street, along Donegall Street, Waring Street, Bridge Street, High Street, Victoria Street and Chichester Street to Belfast City Hall. Following the annual Act of Remembrance, the large parade will then follow its familiar route to the field at Barnett’s Desmesne.
The new parade route will be for one year only.
A county spokesman said: “We are advertising this amended 2019 route early so our faithful supporters who line Royal Avenue and Donegall Place can plan an alternative viewing spot to enjoy the parade.
“This change is made due to the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the Primark fire, and we look forward to returning to our traditional Royal Avenue route in 2020.”
As part of the new arrangements, West Belfast No 9 District and Ballynafeigh No 10 District will join the parade at the junction of Royal Avenue/Donegall Street. Ballymacarrett No 6 District will join the main procession at the junction of Ann Street/Victoria Street.
Meanwhile, in a further change to the return route; and building on the success of a minor adjustment last year to address the crowd congestion at Sandy Row and Shaftesbury Square, the 2019 homeward parade will travel along Great Victoria Street, Wellington Place, and through the city centre, following the same earlier outward route back towards Clifton Street.
Organisers maintain this change will be kept under review as to its effectiveness in addressing the issue.
The Belfast parade is one of 18 Twelfth of July demonstrations scheduled to take place across Northern Ireland this summer. Other confirmed venues are Tandragee, Lisnaskea, Holywood, Crossgar, Rathfriland, Kilkeel, Larne, Glenavy, Carnlough, Ballymena, Ahoghill, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Ballyronan, Pomeroy, Donemana and Augher.