2022 – Thousands gather in Stormont to celebrate Northern Ireland’s centenary | northern Ireland

Over 10,000 people gathered in Stormont to celebrate Northern Ireland’s centenary.

As the political stalemate continued, people at the centenary celebrations were upbeat and in a relaxed mood as they spread across the Stormont grounds to celebrate Northern Ireland’s past, present and future.

Mr Edward Stephenson, master of the Orange Order, opened the proceedings by telling the crowd: “Northern Ireland has faced turbulent times and many great challenges from the start”.

He was greeted with a promise that Northern Ireland would remain an “inseparable” part of the United Kingdom for years to come.

Democratic Union Party leader Sir Geoffrey Donaldson was one of several union politicians who joined the parade.

He told the Palestinian News Agency that the lack of a functioning executive, which had prevented his party from being formed, did not mean that Northern Ireland could not be celebrated.

“We have a lot to celebrate in Northern Ireland. We have survived adversity in the past. We are building for the future. Of course we want Stormont back, but that means taking back the whole of Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.”

“Everyone is welcome here and if someone feels they cannot be here, that is of course theirs.

“But we are here to celebrate 100 years of Northern Ireland. We are proud of what has been achieved in this century and look to the future.”

Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Petty said it was important to “unplug” the celebration of Northern Ireland’s history from the current political impasse in Stormont.

He said, “We have to separate that a little bit from the political ups and downs of this place. As for Stormont and decentralized settlement, we have had many ups and downs and we need to separate one from the other.”

The event marking the founding of Northern Ireland in 1921 comes after the COVID-19 pandemic postponed festivities last year.

The show was joined by members of the Loyal Women of Orange Society of Ireland, the Junior Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, the Royal Black Institution, and the Apprentice Boys of Derry.