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Easyjet apologises for promoting the Twelfth on flights

By Ian Burrell

Easyjet has apologised for promoting the Twelfth in its in-flight magazine after a blogger from Northern Ireland complained.

The budget airline's Traveller magazine had listed parades alongside Belfast insider tips on how to find the best "wine and nibbles", charcuterie and burrito bars.

"Hundreds of colourful parades take place across Northern Ireland on July 12 bank holiday to commemorate the 1690 Battle of the Boyne," the magazine said.

It then advised: "They're great to watch, just check ahead for travel disruptions and advice."

Sammy McNally, a Northern Irish blogger, read the magazine and wrote to Easyjet to complain.

In a blog, he asked whether the airline would encourage tourists heading to Serbia to visit festivals that might "exacerbate ethnic tensions".

"Parades which have a significant sectarian element and which are overtly political in nature are not suitable to be recommended to tourists unless the ethnic, political and religious context of the parades is also made clear," he said.

Easyjet, which coincidentally has orange as its corporate colour, has agreed to no longer promote the marching season and issued a statement to apologise for the article, which it said was by a local writer.

"The author of our Belfast guide felt the event's inclusion was of cultural interest to our readers.

"However, we fully understand the sensitivities around the event and apologise for it not being spotted at our normally rigorous editorial sign-off," the airline said.

There were 18 major Orange parades on The Twelfth, with scores more smaller feeder marches.

Violence erupted in north Belfast on the Twelfth after an Orange parade was barred from walking along a stretch of the Crumlin Road which separates unionist and nationalist communities.

However, the vast majority of parades pass off peacefully.

They attract around 750,000 people, whether as participants or spectators, according to North Belfast MLA and Shankill Orangeman William Humphrey.

He said:"I am appalled."

He added that the apology was "offensive to me and the Orange family" and said he would be raising the matter with the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, and urged Easyjet to reconsider its apology.

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