300 extra police needed for Lundy's Day

OVER three hundred extra police officers were called in to protect one of the most important celebrations in the loyal orders' cultural calendar from potential attack by nationalist protestors in Londonderry last year.

Approximately 137,060 was paid in overtime to members of the PSNI drafted in to protect the Apprentice Boys of Derry Lundy's Day as they commemorated the shutting of the gates against King James II on December 7, 1688.

Figures released by the PSNI show three hundred and seven extra officers were brought in to police the event last year with 498 police resources required in total.

The Apprentice Boys commemorate the shutting of the gates each December. It is considered one of the most important events in Irish history.

The closure of the gates by the original 13 apprentice boys sparked the famous Siege of Derry; the longest in British military history.

The annual celebrations start with the symbolic firing of a cannon on the city's historic walls at midnight on the first Saturday of December.

Thirteen members of an Apprentice Boys Parent Club then make their way to each of the four original City gates, as the original 13 apprentices did in 1688.

The main celebrations begin later with visiting Branch Clubs and bands parading from the Waterside to the Memorial Hall. The main parade then makes its way from Society Street around the city centre to a service of thanksgiving in St Columb's Cathedral. Following the service, the parade makes its way back to Bishop Street for the traditional burning of Lundy the Traitor.

The cost of policing parades in overall terms across Northern Ireland from 1 April to 31 July 2010 was 3,679,000, of which 2,203,000 was incurred over a four day period between 11-14 July 2010.