PRAISE FOR “the tremendous and dignified welcome” given by the people of the Republic to Queen Elizabeth was paid by Orangemen at their only annual march south of the Border at the weekend.
Edward Stevenson, grand master of the Orange Lodge in Ireland, told the 6,000-strong parade in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal: “The visit was a triumph for everyone involved and in particular the people who live here in the Irish Republic and regard themselves as coming from the British culture.
“Thanks to the tremendous and dignified welcome given to her majesty the Queen, British people can hold their heads high in this community and be proud of their beliefs and their culture.”
He noted that Saturday’s Orange festival in Rossnowlagh enabled them to celebrate their “British culture and identity” in the Republic.
He added: “We are a threat to no one. In fact the people here want to play their part in the civic society of this country.
“The Rossnowlagh Twelfth has become a key event on the calendar of public events on the island of Ireland. Orangeism has a part to play in everyday life of the Irish Republic.”
As surfers crested the nearby waves, Mr Stevenson, who attended the visit of the Queen in Dublin, said he was recently spending quite a bit of time in the Republic – and was “thoroughly enjoying it”.
More than 30 bands were in the parade of 50 lodges from southern Border counties as well as from across the North.