Appeal on Covenant parade rejected

Published Friday, 28 September 2012
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A Carrick Hill resident has lost a last-minute High Court appeal to overturn a Parades Commission ruling on the Ulster Covenant parade taking place in Belfast on Saturday.

Carrick Hill residents have objected to the ruling that said loyalist bands could play hymns as they pass St Patrick's Church on Donegall Street.

But on Friday, a High Court judge rejected their argument that only a single drum beat should be allowed on the controversial north Belfast route.

Dismissing all grounds of challenge, he said: "Judicial reviews should not be pursued unless they will achieve some useful purpose."

I regard the present judicial review as futile, and troubled waters that have been calmed should not be disturbed by such futile judicial reviews.

Mr Justice Treacy

A feeder procession is due to pass St Patrick's Church on Donegall Street during Saturday's parade, where disorder has broken out at previous parades.

Lawyers for the woman, a resident in the nationalist Carrick Hill area who was granted anonymity, claimed the condition could not be properly enforced or policed.

Her lawyers argued bandsmen could be able to play sectarian tunes due to the level of ambiguity, they argued.

The woman's barrister, Eugene McKenna, argued that other words can be put to supposedly religious music.

"They may be confrontational and, in effect sectarian," he told the court.

But Peter Coll, for the Parades Commission, submitted that progress has been made since last month's trouble.

He pointed out that before the new determination the Orange Order offered to restrict bands to playing hymns as they passed the church.

The eyes of the public will be on the Orange Order as to how this parade at St Patrick's proceeds.

Peter Coll

He said if the ruling was a breach of the undertaking given by the Orange Order, it would have "implications" on its credibility for future parades.

Mr Justice Treacy held that there was nothing to be gained from the litigation taken at public expense.

He added: "At the heart of the applicant's complaint is her fear that those participating in tomorrow's procession will, as in the August procession, breach the condition imposed by the Parades Commission.

"But that fear will be there, it seems to me, irrespective of whether it's a drum beat condition which was previously breached or a sacred music condition.

"The risk of a breach is not diminished by the nature of the condition."

Speaking after the ruling, Frank Dempsey, chair of Carrick Hill Concerned Residents' Group said he was disappointed by the ruling but not surprised.

"We will hold our protest tomorrow, peaceful dignified protest..and we will continue to hold that there until the Orange Order sit down and come and talk to the concerned residents of Carrick Hill."

A maximum of 14 bands and around 1,500 marchers will pass the church on their way to Stormont as they mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant this weekend.

No loyalist supporters are allowed to accompany the parade past the church and only 150 nationalist protesters will be permitted in the area.

A separate parade past St Matthew's Catholic Church on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast has also been ordered to abide by restrictions on the music it plays.

Considerable traffic disruption is expected throughout the day. Translink say most East Belfast routes will be disrupted as will some services in and out of the city.

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There will be congestion and delays in the city centre but shops and businesses have stressed that they are open as normal.
© UTV News
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15 Comments
Nick Kent in Belfast wrote (566 days ago):
You obviously didn't see the replica arms carried by those renacting Carson's UVF at the Covenant march then Jim?
henry in north of ireland wrote (567 days ago):
@jim in larne, but the good aul loyal orders do reinact the battle of the boyne with relica swords and muskets which were the weapons of the day so whats your point?
ivan in belfast wrote (569 days ago):
It is only 4 years until nationalists will celebrate the Easter Rising in Dublin in 2016. I imagine whatever difficulties are created or alternatively; accomodations made, will be equally reciprocated. So one communities acceptance this year will help them very soon celebrate theirs.
Jim in larne wrote (569 days ago):
The loyal orders wont be walking down the road with relica AK47 unlike that what went on in dungiven.
Lisa in Belfast wrote (569 days ago):
they wont be happy till all orange parades are banned , anything british is wiped-off the face of this country , they have been brain-washed from SF/IRA that its a united ireland or nothing , its time the SF/IRA leaders give out a statement saying their united-ireland struggle is a waste of time and wont be happening and to just get on with their lives , they rely on votes around election time with this "united ireland in a few years" rubbish , they been telling their voters this for the past 40 years , what a loada clap-trap.
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