The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has said that Twelfth of July parades will go ahead this year.

Last year's parades were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions on public gatherings.

The organisation said the parades this summer would be small and local due to restrictions on numbers at gatherings.

The announcement was made following a meeting with county masters and engagement with Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster, Health Minister Robin Swann and chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride.

Grand Master Edward Stevenson said: "I am delighted that we can confirm there will be Twelfth of July parades this year.

"As an institution we have had to make great sacrifice over the past 12 months and more, but we are now in a better place and our parades can take place, albeit in a slightly different format to a normal year."

Mr Stevenson continued: "In 2020 we had the Twelfth at home and this year we will have smaller local parades, so it will be a Twelfth near home for most members. This is a positive step towards a return to our normal full parades - hopefully in 2022.

"The regulations at this time do not permit the huge numbers many of our normal demonstrations would attract. We have to be realistic about that."