The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has voiced its immense disappointment at the decision by BBC Northern Ireland to cancel its live coverage of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations.
A spokesman said: “This decision by BBC NI was reached without meaningful discussion or consultation with the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and is immensely disappointing and frustrating, not only for our members but for the many members of the public who watch the programme each year.
“We became aware of the plans to cancel the live broadcast during our annual Twelfth of July planning meeting with BBC NI staff.
“The Grand Secretary Rev Mervyn Gibson and Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, a former Assistant Grand Master and DUP Leader, then met with Interim Director of BBC Northern Ireland Adam Smyth and asked him to reconsider this decision.
“The BBC is a public broadcasting service and to cancel live coverage of the Twelfth of July - the biggest cultural event in Northern Ireland with tens of thousands taking part and hundreds of thousands more watching at the eighteen host venues – defies logic.
“We pointed out many people cannot attend Twelfth of July parades for a range of reasons. Many are housebound due to illness or old age, while others are in nursing homes – they are the people who will be impacted most by this decision.
“It is hard to accept this as anything other than a further snub to the wider Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist Community and our culture.”