20,000 people enjoy Enniskillen's glorious Twelfth

Published: 13 Jul 2012 13:010 comments

IRISH Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar was one of an estimated 20,000 people who watched today's Twelfth in Enniskillen -- a first for an Irish Minister.

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Report by Julie Kenwell and Rodney Edwards in Enniskillen. Photos by John McVitty.

Mr. Varadkar who was hosted by his Tourism counterpart in the North, Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA, Arlene Foster, joined First Minister Peter Robinson and his wife Iris at today's flagship event.

Speaking to impartialreporter.com, he said the day provided the opportunity to explore the potential for future cross-border tourism ventures.

"It's great to see it up front. You tend to see it on the TV when it is usually connected to troubles and disturbances.

"Everyone would like all that to change, and from a tourism point of view we would like people to see Orange parades as something they can visit, see it as a family event.

"The peace process has been of enormous benefit to the tourism industry on both sides of the border. That process depends on dialogue and co-operation, and by showing an understanding of one another's traditions and backgrounds."

DUP leader Peter Robinson told us: "We have entered a new era of greater respect and understanding of other traditions".

Under sunny skies the group of dignitaries, including, Howard Hastings, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Brian Ambrose, Chairman of Tourism Ireland, enjoyed a journey aboard the MV Kestrel waterbus before disembarking at Enniskillen Castle to watch the parade.

The family orientated day included 15 Districts, 90 individual Orange Lodges, 50 bands, Lambeg Drummers and members of the Association of Loyal Orangewomen.

Deputy County Grand Master Stuart Broker, one of the key organisers of the day, said the weather had been the icing on the cake.

"Today has been a great success. We have had the visit by the First Minister, Peter Robinson, the Irish Minister of Tourism and the Chairman of the Tourist Board all here. They were quite surprised by how well today has gone and we assured them that's what we are well used to here in Fermanagh."

See next week's Impartial Reporter for full report and photographs from today's Twelfth.

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