Young European political leaders enjoy sampling unionist culture

Young political leaders from the Netherlands, Denmark, Scotland, Sweden and England with Cllr Alexander Redpath (Lisburn and Castlereagh) and Cllr Chris Smyth (Fermanagh and Omagh) at the Twelfth celebrations in Hillsborough.
Young political leaders from the Netherlands, Denmark, Scotland, Sweden and England with Cllr Alexander Redpath (Lisburn and Castlereagh) and Cllr Chris Smyth (Fermanagh and Omagh) at the Twelfth celebrations in Hillsborough.

A group of young political leaders from several European countries were welcomed to the Lisburn area earlier this month to experience the Twelfth celebrations.

The delegation, which included young politicians from the Netherlands, Scotland, Denmark, England and Sweden, attended the Eleventh Night bonfire in Ballymacash and the South Antrim Combine’s annual Twelfth demonstration in Hillsborough. They also took in the Royal Black Institution’s annual parade in Scarva the following day and events in Belfast and Beragh, Co Tyrone.

Local UUP Councillor Alexander Redpath, who organised the visit through his role with the European Young Conservatives, commented: “It was a huge pleasure to welcome a delegation of political leaders from across Europe to the Twelfth. Northern Ireland has a rich culture and I believe it is vitally important that this is showcased in a positive light. As a result of this trip eight young and influential people are going back to their home countries saying positive things about Northern Ireland as a tourism destination.

“The delegates enjoyed the 11th night in Ballymacash, the 12th day in Hillsborough and the 13th in Scarva. I would like to thank everyone involved in organising the trip and all the organisations who welcomed us to their events. I would particularly like to thank the Ballymacash Cultural Awareness Project and the Ballymacash Community Group for a well organised 11th night.”

Tobias Weische, Vice Chairman of the Young Danish People’s Party, added: “I would like to thank all the people who welcomed us to your 12th of July celebrations. We have been very impressed by the warmth and friendliness of everyone we met in Northern Ireland. Prior to this trip I would not naturally have considered Northern Ireland as a tourist destination, but I will be recommending that people in Denmark come to see what Northern Ireland has to offer.”