Jim Shannon, MP for Strangford, has said reflecting on the Twelfth celebrations in the Strangford constituency: “If the Mini-Twelfth on the 1 July in Ards is anything to go by, it is fair to say that come rain, hail or shine the Twelfth will be a glorious display of heritage and culture as well as love and laughter.
“As I looked around Ards last Friday night, all I could see were smiling faces and children enjoying the banter and crack and this is an indication to me that the Twelfth will be enjoyed in Strangford in the same way and with the same aim – to celebrate our past with our families, friends and neighbours and to look to the future together as we teach our children who they are and what has shaped their community and them.
“One of my main pleasures in the Twelfth is seeing the banners for the lodges, to see the scriptural principles that the lodges are proud to walk under and to show the message that is so important to all in the modern world… that is, religious liberty and freedom for ALL.
“Nothing in this celebration was ever designed to alienate anyone from the celebration in the same way that the Fourth of July celebrations do whilst based on beating the British to gain independence is not designed to offend me rather is designed to celebrate a momentous event in shared history.
With this in mind I was happy to see many people who are not Orangemen or Women per se and yet love to come out and see the bands, eat too much and have fun with those around them.
“This is what this is about, as we leave politics behind and celebrate this great occasion together not simply those who classify as Orangemen but all of us who stand for Religious Freedom and Liberty for all,” added Mr Shannon.