Effigies wrong says Middleton

Foyle DUP MLA Gary Middleton said the Orange Order was completely against the display of offensive material on bonfires.

Mr Middleton was speaking on the Twelfth when he said that attempts to intimidate people through the burning of effigies was wrong.

“Nobody will hide behind the door in saying some bonfires are distasteful,” he said.

“We have called on those people to reflect on that.

“The Orange Order has said there is no time or place for intimidation or hatred - that is not what our culture is about.”

Mr Middleton had accused Sinn Fein of heightening tensions in the run-up to this year’s Twelfth parades, saying the republican party also had to condemn similar behaviour.

This year’s Twelfth of July parades were some of the most peaceful in years.

Three people were arrested on Wednesday, as well as six people on Tuesday night for disorder associated with bonfires.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland’s grand master described Wednesday’s Twelfth as the “biggest in a generation”.

Edward Stevenson said “unprecedented numbers of people” had attended.

The PSNI’s Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “From a policing point of view, events today have pretty much reflected the weather - it’s been a good day.”

He added that a small number of Eleventh Night bonfires on Tuesday had been “sectarian and racist” and that police are investigating.

Mr Stevenson said there had been a family-friendly and carnival atmosphere to the parades around Northern Ireland.

“The wonderful weather exceeded our expectations; as did the tens of thousands of our members, band personnel and supporters, taking part in or lining the routes of 18 venues across the province,” he said.

“Such a phenomenal spectacle bears testament to the continuing relevance and wide appeal of Orangeism.”

Orange Order grand secretary Mervyn Gibson said there was less tension around the Twelfth of July parades this year.

“We took a deliberate decision last year not to issue statements about parades so that would not increase tensions,” he said.

“I believe that paid off and we have built on that this year.

“There are still issues around parades that have to be dealt with, but we don’t want to ruin the Twelfth of July for ourselves or anyone else.”