There was a good turnout for Glengormley’s annual Mini Twelfth parade on Wednesday night (June 25), despite the unseasonal weather.
The five main Carnmoney District lodges were accompanied by five bands and visiting brethren from Cloughfern, Sixmilewater and Belfast for this year’s parade, which was led by the host district and Pride of the Hill Flute Band.
Among those taking part in the parade were North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds and Newtownabbey Mayor, Alderman Thomas Hogg.
Marchers and supporters made their way down the Ballyclare Road into the town centre where the parade paused as Bro. Billy Thompson, County Antrim Grand Secretary, performed the official opening of the Orange arch.
During his address, Mr Thompson hit out at the Parades Commission, branding it “an unelected quango” that is denying brethren their right to march in places such as Portadown and north Belfast.
Marchers and supporters sang the national anthem before the parade continued down the Antrim Road.
Around 30 people, including Sinn Fein Councillor Gerry O’Reilly, were gathered at Church Way and Church Park - a flashpoint area in the past - to observe the parade.
The dozens of police officers lining the route and parade marshals ensured that the march kept moving and passed by into Glebe Road West without major incident.
Although there was a bottle thrown and some shouts of sectarian abuse, the police said that the event had “passed off peacefully.”
A PSNI spokesperson confirmed that one man was arrested and charged with disorderly behaviour. He is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on July 22.
Albert Steele, District Master of Carnmoney LOL No. 25, said it had been “a good, well marshalled parade.”
“It all went very well,” he told the Times. “In terms of supporters, there probably weren’t as many people there as normal due to the change of night (the parade usually takes place on a Tuesday) and the bad weather during the day, but we are still pleased with the turnout.”
Pointing to the fact that recent Mini Twelfth parades in the town have passed off without major incident, he added: “On the Parades Commission’s determination every year they just keep raking up the past and saying that there was trouble in the past and that there is a risk of public disorder. You’d think they would give us credit for the work that has been done with the police and others over the last few years to get to where we are today, but they don’t do that. It’s about time they gave us some praise for the work that has been done.”