Members and supporters of the Solidarity trade union have distributed ten thousand leaflets in Belfast; Carrickfergus, Co Antrim; Portadown and Scarva, Co Armagh over the Twelfth holiday week in Northern Ireland.
The week's activities began at an annual band parade in the Shankill Road area of Belfast on July 7th. This was followed up by door-to-door distribution of leaflets in the historic Co Antrim market town, Carrickfergus on Monday, July 9th.
The Orange Order in Belfast and a number of community groups have finally come round to accept the need to rebrand the annual parades on the Twelfth as a great community festival. This has come to be called Orangefest. Despite persistent rain in the late morning, tens of thousands of onlookers turned out to see the colourful spectacle of marching bands, floats and celebrating Orangemen. Our volunteers gave out some 4,500 leaflets to spectators in the morning, just finishing before the heavy rain set in. Another thousand leaflets were given out in warm sunshine later in the evening as more crowds gathered to welcome the men home again.
On July 13th, another 1,500 leaflets were distributed in Co Armagh at the annual re-enactment of the Battle of the Boyne in the picturesque village of Scarva before heavy rain scattered the crowds and washed the place out. In Portadown, some three hundred leaflets were given out to people queuing to catch special trains bound for Scarva. The remaining leaflets were distributed door-to-door in working class parts of Belfast and Carrickfergus.
Some positive feedback has already come through to the union, strengthening the likelihood of a thriving Northern Ireland branch.