Last week, I was pleased to attend the launch of a report from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland on the socio-economic impact of the traditional Protestant parading sector.
I particularly welcome the economic impact of some 660 bands per annum, which sees more than £8m spent on areas such as band regalia and instruments, catering and transport hire.
The loyal orders themselves inject just more than £7m per annum, with capital works, maintenance, or repair, of halls being a sizeable area of spend.
The charitable contributions of the loyal orders has also been calculated, amounting to a total of around £4.1m. each year.
Parades will continue to be an important part of our cultural heritage. We must work to maximise their economic potential.
SANDRA OVEREND (UUP)
MLA for Mid-Ulster