|Culzie||Date: Thursday, 2013-05-23, 8:29 PM | Message # 1|
|Parades generate £55m for economy, research finds |
Loyal Orders and Protestant marching bands generate almost £55 million in economic and social benefits for Northern Ireland each year, new research has found.
The figure includes an estimated £39 million contribution per annum through the provision of facilities - such as around 750 Orange Halls in the region - and the undertaking of community and volunteer work and fundraising, according to the Stormont funded study.
The report by consultants RSM McClure Watters said the sector boosts the economy by another £15 million a year through direct expenditure, on goods and services, including regalia, uniforms, instruments and bus hire.
Potential tourism revenue, generated by those travelling to Northern Ireland to watch or take part in the marching season, was not factored in to the research.
While the majority of parades pass off peacefully during the summer’s marching season, a number continue to be extremely contentious, with serious unrest and rioting, involving both loyalists and republicans, erupting on a near annual basis at some of the more notorious flashpoints.
Last year the police spent more than £7 million policing incidents linked to the marching season.
Senior PSNI officers held talks with politicians and community representatives in Cardiff last weekend in a bid to ease tensions ahead of this year’s main parades.
The report - entitled The Socio-Economic Impact of the Traditional Protestant Parading Sector in Northern Ireland - was funded by the Department for Social Development.
The analysis included a survey of the eight Loyal Order and band members.
On behalf of the Loyal Orders, Drew Nelson, the grand secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, welcomed the report’s findings.
"The Loyal Orders and bands are an integral part of the fabric and make-up of the Protestant community and it is appropriate that their social and economic contribution to wider society is now highlighted and measured by this extensive research," he said.
"Whilst parading is an important part of our tradition and a visible expression of our culture and heritage, this study underlines the real economic and social impact of a vast sector which engages in substantial levels of activity away from the public gaze.
"For instance, the Loyal Orders provide approximately 750 halls across the Province and we estimate upwards of 6,000 groups meet on a regular basis in our facilities.
"As well as providing a social lifeline to many otherwise isolated rural communities, the provision of such amenities is also of significant financial benefit to local councils, users and other providers.
"Generous charitable donations to numerous worthy causes and countless hours of volunteer work also typify the selfless mindset of our membership."
Mr Nelson claimed policing costs were not a consequence of parades, but a result of those who protest against them.
"Our critics often focus on policing costs and attempt to assign them to parades, when in fact they are associated with protests," he said.
"We hope this report will serve to eradicate myths regarding the social and economic impact of the Protestant parading sector."
Valerie Quinn, chairperson of the Confederation of Ulster Bands, said: "As well as being the custodians of a unique culture and providing a platform for supreme musical talent, the estimated 660 marching bands across the province are the backbone of the parading fraternity.
"While the economic impact of such a large community is clear for all to see, the wider benefits of band membership to our society cannot be underestimated, particularly in its guise as one of the largest social movements in Europe.
"Like the Loyal Orders, marching bands are renowned for their charity work and community activities. They also provide an outlet for members - many of whom are young people - to learn and develop new skills and avail of expert training."
Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said: "I am very pleased that my Department has funded this very important piece of research which highlights the many benefits that the parading sector brings to Northern Ireland. For the first time we now have extensive, robust and independently collected data on the social and economic impact the sector delivers to our society.
"As Minister with responsibility for the voluntary and community sector I am particularly impressed with the amount of charitable and voluntary work undertaken by the Loyal Orders and marching bands and the many positive aspects it brings to the community.
"The Loyal Orders support local communities through the provision of 750 community facilities located throughout Northern Ireland which are used, not only by the Loyal Orders and bands, but also a range of other groups."
Managing Director for RSM McClure Watters, Jenny Irwin, said: "As researchers we were struck by not only the level of voluntary and charitable work being delivered by members, but also the culture of helping others without seeking any PR or recognition for doing so.
"As a result, I have no doubt that the findings from this research may come as a surprise to many, except those involved."
Ulster Protestants consider themselves to be a separate nation. This nation they call Ulster
|RSAUB||Date: Sunday, 2013-05-26, 2:47 PM | Message # 2|
|And as stated above, this doesn't take into account the tourism aspect from visiting bands and supporters from the Mainland and elsewhere in Ulster. I would say the twelfth weekend alone almost every hotel room in Belfast is booked out. Then there's the added money generated in fuel costs, how much money do people spend driving to and from parades. |
In certain towns and areas band parades are local takeaways and bars biggest earners.
|Patrickdado||Date: Sunday, 2018-05-06, 7:35 AM | Message # 4|
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