From Sir Jeffrey Donaldson <[email protected]>
Subject Have a peaceful & enjoyable 12th July
Date July 12, 2023 6:29 AM
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Good morning John

Today, twelfth parades will be enjoyed by tens of thousands of participants and spectators alike.

Celebrations over the 11th and 12th are part of the cultural fabric of Northern Ireland and for the vast majority of us they are an occasion where families will come together, often travelling home from wherever they now live to enjoy the occasion together.

I am proud of my culture and my tradition, but I recognise that there are different cultures and traditions within Northern Ireland. For those of us who do cherish the legacy of the Glorious Revolution then the best way to show that to others is through peaceful and positive celebrations. Those don’t include the burning of flags or election posters on a bonfire, but thankfully in the vast majority of cases that does not happen. Unfortunately, it will be a minority of cases where offence is caused that will dominate the headlines. As unionists we need to recognise that such incidents are self-inflicted wounds.

A truly shared society in Northern Ireland one must be one where the Orange tradition is not just tolerated but celebrated. No culture should threaten or dominate any other, but we still have progress to make in Northern Ireland when even in the last twelve months we have seen Orange Halls attacked and sectarian abuse directed towards those participating in parades.

From fun-days and bonfires yesterday, through to the annual Sham Fight tomorrow, for most people it will be time to spend with family and catching up with friends. All of us who enjoy the celebrations can play our part in demonstrating to others all that is best about this time of the year and why it is so important to us all.

Best wishes,

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP
DUP Leader

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