By Jonathan McCambridge, PA
The Orange Order has confirmed that the July 12th parades will go ahead at 100 locations in Northern Ireland.
Last year’s parades were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on public gatherings.
The organisation said the parades this summer would be smaller than usual and locally based due to restrictions on numbers at gatherings.
The normal 18 main events will be replaced by more than 100 local parades.
The Order said that with Covid-19 guidelines limiting events to 500 participants, organising smaller parades was the best way to ensure the demonstrations went ahead.
Grand Master Edward Stevenson said: “We have endured a difficult 18 months, having cancelled our meetings and parades, for the good of all in the community.
“Last year it was the ‘Twelfth at Home’ but thankfully this year, with the restrictions suitably eased, we are in a position to have district parades right across Northern Ireland.
“These smaller demonstrations will help reduce crowds, remove the need for travelling long distances to see a parade and ensure that we as an institution continue to put the safety of everyone to the fore.
“This is for one year only and we are focused on having our traditional Twelfth of July celebrations in 2022.”
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland is calling on everyone planning to attend a parade to respect Covid-19 guidelines.
It said spectators are advised to choose one parade to attend, avoid standing in crowds or walking alongside a parade, and wear face coverings when appropriate.
Mr Stevenson added: “We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Twelfth of July and the best way to do that is to look after yourself and others by respecting the health advice.”