Worrying signs from Fermanagh Twelfth
As another Twelfth of July passes I thought it was a fitting time to pass some comments on the procession within Fermanagh.
An early start of 10.30am due to the television broadcast actually worked surprisingly well as everyone knew to be at the Assembly field by this time.
However, the lack of the authentic Twelfth atmosphere leading up to this point was noticeable with no music audible from bands and lodges parading to the Assembly field and this factor was a significant minus.
The field and venue of Lisbellaw was greatly lacking in toileting facilities. This is a terrible disadvantage to everyone in attendance particularly those with disabilities, the elderly and females - this is an issue that must be addressed by County Grand lodge.
The parade itself was more compact than usual due to the live broadcast and this was an improvement, however, there were significant periods when there were stoppages of several minutes at a time which were rather infuriating, coupled with the fact that most bands refused to play music when the parade was motionless which was also disappointing.
Within the procession it was noticeable that there was a reduction in the number of bands on parade in Fermanagh and these bands are a great loss to the Orange community of Fermanagh and nothing is being done to reverse this trend. Lodge numbers continue to dwindle and one wonders if anything being done to address this?
Far too many stragglers within parades are wearing jeans and casual clothing including some who claim to be juniors - this is unacceptable. Some words of praise for Newtownbutler district, Ballinamallard accordion, Churchill and Lisnaskea silver as well Tievemore pipe band, however as with many of the lodges, some of the bands are in dire straits.
Overall while there have been disputes over the actual figures on parade in Fermanagh we can all agree they are dwindling and very soon it's going to end if immediate action is not taken, how one craves for those good old Orange Twelfths of yore in Fermanagh.