Belfast Telegraph

Band wasn't asked to parade in City Hall, says Orange Order lodge in apology to Belfast council

Belfast City Council is investigating the incident in which a loyalist bad marched in City Hall
Belfast City Council is investigating the incident in which a loyalist bad marched in City Hall
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

An Orange Order lodge has apologised to Belfast City Council after a loyalist band paraded inside City Hall last weekend.

It said it had not asked the band to play in the corridors of City Hall but admitted it had to take responsibility for its actions. The lodge said it was disappointed the incident overshadowed its centenary celebrations.

Govan Protestant Boys from Scotland was accused of playing "sectarian" tunes and breaching City Hall rules.

The flute band was at Belfast City Hall to attend the George Telford Memorial Loyal Orange Lodge dinner on Saturday night.

The band were widely criticised after footage emerged on social media of members parading through the corridors and reception of City Hall.

The BBC reports the George Telford Memorial LOL 118, based at Clifton Street Orange Hall in north Belfast, has since written to the council to apologise.

The lodge insisted they did not ask the band to parade around the building but they did accept as it was their dinner they needed to take responsibility for what happened.

The letter said the event had been planned for upwards of two years.

"We are therefore extremely disappointed that this important event in the lodge's history has been overshadowed as a result of a misunderstanding on the night concerning the band we had engaged as part of the night's entertainment and, in particular, where and when they could play," the letter read.

"We wish to make it clear that the decision to allow the band to play outside of the function room was made without the approval or prior knowledge of any lodge officer, County Grand Lodge officer or elected representative present at the function.

"The lodge, as the organiser of the function, however, accepts responsibility for this unfortunate incident and apologises for any offence it may have caused."

The letter added that the lodge had launched its own internal investigation and is undertaking a review into how it plans future events.

A council spokesperson said it was still investigating the incident.

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