Hundreds of people gathered in Glengormley last Tuesday night, June 23, to watch the Orange Order’s Mini Twelfth parade.
Tensions had been high following public disorder in the town and the appearance of republican graffiti on several prominent buildings in the run up to the event. But the annual parade hosted by Carnmoney District LOL No. 25 passed off without incident.
Crowds lined Ballyclare Road and Antrim Road as bands and brethren, led by Pride of the Hill Flute Band from Carnmoney, marched into the town centre for the official opening of the Orange arch.
Carnmoney District Master, Wor. Bro. Albert Steele got a laugh from the crowd after admitting that he’d forgotten the scissors for the cutting of the ribbon on the arch. And County Grand Secretary, Wor. Bro. Billy Thompson, also saw the funny side as he struggled to ‘cut’ the ribbon with a lighter.
During his address to the crowd, Mr Thompson mentioned the ongoing ‘Let Them Home’ campaign in support of the Ligoniel lodges, and the United Orange Districts parade which was banned from marching through Glengormley earlier this year.
Claiming that there is “no shared space for the Orange Institution”, he urged the people of Glengormley to continue to show their support for the brethren of Carnmoney District in the years ahead.
Amid a heavy police presence, marchers and supporters passed along Church Way - a flashpoint area in the past - without incident. Only a handful of onlookers gathered at Church Crescent to observe the parade.
Police confirmed that there were no reports of public order offences.
Welcoming the fact that the parade was trouble-free, Mr Steele thanked the marshals and the police for their handling of the event.
“It was a bigger parade and we had more spectators than usual, probably due to the tensions over the past number of weeks and the fact that the weather was very good,” he told the Times.
“There was a great turnout and everything went well so we are very pleased.
“It was great to see so many people out enjoying the parade and overall I think it went well and it was a good night.”
Glengormley DUP Councillor Phillip Brett, who was among the marchers, added: “It was good to see such a big turnout and so many people out supporting the parade. It was also good that there were no protesters this year and that it all passed off peacefully. We can now look forward to the rest of the marching season.”
• Watch the parade video by clicking here.