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Traffic restrictions lifted following centenary parade which attracted 100,000 spectators

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Northern Ireland Centenary Parade on the Lower Newtownards Road in Belfast on May 28, 2022 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph).

Northern Ireland Centenary Parade on the Lower Newtownards Road in Belfast on May 28, 2022 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph).

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Centenary Parade on the Lower Newtownards Road in Belfast on May 28, 2022 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Northern Ireland Centenary Parade on the Lower Newtownards Road in Belfast on May 28, 2022 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

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Northern Ireland Centenary Parade on the Lower Newtownards Road in Belfast on May 28, 2022 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph).

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland Centenary Parade has concluded with all traffic restrictions removed and travel returned to normal.

Area Commander for Belfast, Chief Superintendent Darrin Jones said: “Today’s parade was a huge event with 25,000 participants and approximately 100,000 spectators.

“I would like to thank the organisers of the parade and all who participated and attended for contributing to making the event a success.

“An event of this nature requires extensive logistical management and we worked throughout the day to facilitate travel where possible and ensure roads were reopened and areas returned to normal at the earliest opportunity.”

Around 20,000 marchers, with tens of thousands more spectators, thronged Belfast city centre on Saturday to mark 100 years since the creation of Northern Ireland in 1921.

While political deadlock remains, attendees at the centenary event were upbeat and in a relaxed mood as they gathered to celebrate the past, present and future of Northern Ireland.

They said the celebration, delayed by a year, was not overshadowed by the row over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

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However, the post-Brexit arrangements which have paralysed politics in the region were mentioned repeatedly by speakers and others as one of the great threats to the place of Northern Ireland in the UK.

Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, Rev Mervyn Gibson, appealed for unity within unionism, as he hit out at US president Joe Biden and US congressman Richard Neal in his speech at Stormont.

He suggested that "compromise" might be necessary to secure the stability of Northern Ireland, telling the crowd: "We do not live in a world as we would like it to be. We live in a world in the reality of today, with its challenges for this generation."

There were cheers and applause during his speech as he defended the place of Northern Ireland in the UK.


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