The Orange Order says its organisation and the loyalist marching bands in Northern Ireland contribute £55m (€65m) a year to the local economy.

A report carried out by independent consultants says the Orange Order and other groups such as the Apprentice Boys of Derry contribute £39m annually, while loyalist bands spend £15m directly in the local economy.

The Orange Order said the report highlighted the largely unreported good works the institution carried out.

While the majority of parades pass off peacefully during the summer's marching season, a number continue to be extremely contentious.

Serious unrest and rioting, involving both loyalists and republicans, has erupted on a near annual basis at some of the more notorious flashpoints.

Last year, police spent more than £7m policing incidents linked to the marching season. 

Orange Order Grand Secretary Drew Nelson claimed the security costs were not a consequence of the parades but the result of those who protest against them.

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 was funded by the Department for Social Development.