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Editor's Viewpoint

It will be a very unusual Twelfth this year, but Orange Order must be commended for its strong leadership over parades

Editor's Viewpoint


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'The Twelfth in Northern Ireland this year will be quite unlike any other commemoration.'

'The Twelfth in Northern Ireland this year will be quite unlike any other commemoration.'

'The Twelfth in Northern Ireland this year will be quite unlike any other commemoration.'

The Twelfth in Northern Ireland this year will be quite unlike any other commemoration.

In April the Orange Order revealed that there would be no parades in response to the threat caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The other loyal orders, the Apprentice Boys and the Royal Black Institution have followed suit and instead of parades at 17 venues across the province and another at Rossnowlagh in Co Donegal, there will be a number of smaller ceremonies, mainly at war memorials.

A number of bands have applied for permission to march around their local areas but have advised supporters to watch from their gardens or front doors and not to follow.

It certainly will be strange on Monday not to see the usual grand colourful parades - previously the Twelfth was only cancelled during both World Wars and during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918.

In the past the senior members of the Orange Order has been criticised on occasion for failing to show leadership or refusing to take a pragmatic approach to resolve disputes which then escalated.

This year they have stood up to the plate and acted in the interests not only of their own members but of the whole community. The parades could easily have led to a spike in infections. It should also be noted that the Order donated £61,000 to health facilities in the province, showing its community facilities.

With bonfires being lit tonight those attending must heed the advice of the Order and observe the latest health guidance. Coronavirus is not an Orange or Green issue and the Order's leadership has been right to ignore the current political fall-out over the Bobby Storey funeral and instead emphasise again the threat the virus poses to everyone.

If people act sensibly over the next few days there is every reason to hope that this time next year the Twelfth will be more memorable than ever.

Belfast Telegraph