A date has now been set for a gigantic Orange parade marking 100 years of Northern Ireland’s existence.
The Orange Order has determined that May 28 next year is when brethren and bands will take to Belfast’s streets for a delayed display of national pride.
The actual foundation year of Northern Ireland is widely taken to be 1921, but – like much else in the Orange calendar – full-scale celebrations to commemorate it had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
The order’s leadership are now working on the assumption that Covid-19 restrictions will have been largely dissolved by the time the date rolls around in seven months.
Grand Secretary Mervyn Gibson said he anticipates “tens of thousands of people” turning out for the day (including both marchers and participants).
He also likened it to the colossal 2012 Ulster Covenant Centenary march, which went from Belfast city centre to Stormont.
This parade will do exactly the reverse: start at Stormont, and make its way to the city hall.
There are no other details of the arrangements at present, with the Orange Standard (the official publication of the order) advising readers to keep their eyes peeled for further news in the months ahead.
In addition, the Orange institution has also made another announcement: it has created what it called an ‘Anti-Protocol Declaration’.
Similar in purpose to the 1912 Ulster Covenant, it is designed as a display of the depth of unionist feeling against the NI
You can see it – and sign it – yourself by typing the following into your internet browser bar: shorturl.at/OROY2
The news comes as the Princess Royal yesterday visited Northern Ireland to unveil a stone marking the centenary.
The stone will now be a permanent fixture in Londonderry’s Siege Museum; the chairman of the museum’s management committee William Moore, declared it “an absolute honour”.
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