Carrick lodges join protest over Ardoyne parade determination

Members of John Cross Memorial LOL 1562 taking part in the Twelfth parade. INCT 28-132-GR
Members of John Cross Memorial LOL 1562 taking part in the Twelfth parade. INCT 28-132-GR

Carrickfergus brethren took part in an Orange Order protest in Larne on Saturday over the Ardoyne parade impasse.

After marching in their home town, the lodges of Carrickfergus District No.19 joined thousands of colleagues and supporters in the neighbouring borough for the East Antrim Combine Twelfth celebrations.

It was one of three locations – along with Limavady and Markethill – in Northern Ireland to be accorded flagship status by the Grand Orange Lodge.

And there was a buzz of excitement in the air as the 70 lodges and 60 bands paraded through the town, led by a colourful pageant featuring King William on horseback.

Youngsters from the Larne Junior Lodge carried the banner at the head of the parade, which was hosted by Larne District LOL No 1 and also welcomed brethren from Six Mile Water, Antrim, Staffordstown, Killead, Randalstown, Cloughfern and Carnmoney.

Before the demonstration reached the field at Sandy Bay playing fields, it stopped for six minutes in protest at the Parades Commission determination on the Ardoyne parade.

During the protest, Larne District Master Harry Carter read out a prepared statement, in which the Orange Order pledged to “continue the struggle to make Northern Ireland a better place by getting rid of the Parades Commission”.

Enjoying the atmosphere in the field were sisters-in-law Tracy and Lynn Morgan. Lynn, whose husband and father-in-law were marching with Woodburn Ebenezer 787, said: “We’re having a great day, enjoying our sandwiches and the atmosphere.”

Many others were doing likewise as it remained dry – for the most part – until heavy showers arrived to slightly dampen the carnival atmosphere in the field, just before the demonstration set off on its way back along the parade route and visitors boarded buses for their journey home.