Friday 15 December 2017 06:00:47 PM

Shannon Comments On Apprenticeboys Of Derry Annual Parade
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Re: Apprenticeboys of Derry Annual Parade

Dear Editor,

I felt that I must write as there has been so much unwelcome publicity with this parade in the last four weeks giving an account of the Apprentice Boys of Derry Annual Parade in Londonderry.

This year was the best parade that I have attended and that sentiment was echoed by the 14,000 Apprentice Boys and the 142 bands. As you walked about, the crowds on the street were truly multi-national. Many were there from the Police and Fire Games and voices carried with languages from all over the world – China, Japan and Eastern Europe were evident and the streets were literally buzzing with thousands and thousands of people who just wanted to view the spectacle of the commemoration of the siege of Derry.

Apprentice Boys were disciplined, orderly, the band members were second to none, the sun shone and the crowds that attended the historical pageant before the parade thronged the streets. There were no reported incidents of trouble, just a celebration to remember history and the important role that the siege of Derry had in shaping our country.

The joy and happiness on the faces of those taking part and the biggest crowds ever there to watch has been imprinted in my memory and I believe that with all the negative attention that our cultural parades get, it is important the positive nature is also noted.

This excellent occasion and anniversary is what commemoration is about.  It helped to shape our democratic process, and it helped lead to religious liberty for all – so why shouldn’t it be a joyous occasion? This parade has shown what great benefit there can be to a city when all are on board for historic celebrations with no connotations of terrorism or glorification of evil.

From my own constituency in Strangford, the Apprentice Boys of Derry Clubs from Newtownards, Comber, Kircubbin, Saintfield, Drumreagh, Killyleagh and Ballynahinch turned out in strength and added to the colour, music and tradition that was on display. A phenomenal day which is worthy of note and praise to all involved.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Shannon.

(DUP MP for Strangford),

34a Frances Street,

Newtownards,

BT23 7DN.