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DUP Health Spokesperson and Health Committee Vice Chair, Pam Cameron MLA, has praised the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland for their '12th at Home' campaign and the Ulster Bands forum who have been urging the community the celebrate safely within the COVID-19 guidelines in the week ahead.

Mrs Cameron said "The Twelfth period is a very important time for many of us as we celebrate our culture in a respectful manner. This year has presented an unprecedented challenge through COVID-19 and unfortunately this has meant parades and other cultural events have been cancelled due to public safety.

The Orange Order are to be highly commended for their leadership on this issue and their efforts through the '12th at Home' campaign.

A number of bands across Northern Ireland have indicated that they will hold small localised short parades on their own and it is crucial that numbers are tightly restricted. The Ulster Bands Forum have very responsibily been spreading the message that social distancing needs to be applied and spectators should not follow bands around their short routes. Restrictions on outdoor gatherings should still be adhered to.

I would strongly urge everyone to remain mindful of the COVID-19 restrictions and not let the unacceptable behaviour of many Sinn Fein representatives last week be an excuse to do otherwise. Whilst some restrictions have already been lifted, we must remember that COVID-19 is not over and the potentially detrimental consequences should we not all follow the guidance. Public safety must come first as we celebrate this year."