Apprentice Boys march past city church

Published Sunday, 11 November 2012
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Police are investigating a number of alleged incidents after an Apprentice Boys parade passed a flashpoint in north Belfast as part of Remembrance commemorations.

Apprentice Boys march past city church
Apprentice Boys march past St Patrick's Church in Donegall Street. (© UTV)

There was a heavy security presence at St Patrick's Church as the Apprentice Boys paraded down Donegall Street on Saturday morning.

Dozens of armoured police vehicles lined streets close to the Catholic Church and a PSNI helicopter hovered overhead.

The Parades Commission had determined marchers could only play hymn tunes on their way past St Patrick's church.

Supporters were also banned from accompanying the parade between the junction of Donegall Street and Royal Avenue, and the junction of the Westlink and Clifton Street.

Parade protestors were limited to 150 and around 30 gathered outside the church holding a banner reading 'Respect our church', turning their backs as the Apprentice Boys marched past St Patrick's.

It is claimed the band played a sectarian song within the restriction zone imposed by the Parades Commission. Frank Dempsey, chair of Carrick Hill Concerned Residents' Group, said he was "deeply, deeply concerned".

"This was supposed to be a Remembrance Day service with sacred hymns being played and what did we have? A determination again smashed.

"We had the Famine song being played going past Carrick Hill, we had supporters following the bands," he said.

Father Michael Sheehan of St Patrick's Church said he believed something positive could be taken out of Saturday's parade.

"There was some talk of things further up the road but I think it was specifically noted that going past the church there seemed to have been an instruction given for a single drum beat.

"I think that has to be interpreted as a positive gesture, and also the number of people on the demonstration is also a gesture, and I think those gestures have been brought about by dialogue between the Apprentice Boys and the residents," added Fr Sheehan.

In a statement on Sunday, the Apprentice Boys said a "minor infringement" to the determination observed during the parade was "down to a breakdown in communication".

"There is evidence that senior members of Belfast & District Amalgamated Committee immediately moved to have the band cease playing. This can be verified by the PSNI," they said.

The Apprentice Boys said there were "several breaches of the determination by Carrick Hill Resident's Group, including attempts to physically assault their members."

Police said they are investigating incidents during the march.

"Police have been made aware of an alleged breach of the musical determination at Clifton Street and are also aware of an allegation of assault on a member of the parade," said a PSNI spokesperson.

The area became contentious after loyalist band members were filmed marching in a circle while playing an allegedly sectarian song outside the church on the Twelfth of July, but the Young Conway Volunteers denied the claims.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
henry in north of ireland wrote (808 days ago):
@william colraine, the catholic church is also a religlous organistion and have been around long before the orange order(alot longer) but you dont see the parish of st patricks marching up and down pass the orangehall in clifton street 20 times a year, but would it be ok with you if they did and lets say its to remember the souls who died in the great famine of ireland i mean like its not as if we would be committing a crime, all were doing is walking down the street( NOT A CHANCE ) its not in the catholic churches thinking but the orange order seem to get a good aul kick out of it.......its amazing how both religlous oraganistions differ
laughs in Belfast wrote (808 days ago):
@william, its pretty sad if thats all your 'culture' is marching about, burning wood and tyres, the fact remains, the orange order is a biggoted organization, anti catholic! anti irish, the songs they choose to play incite hatred, anyone whos part of that 'culture' is a narrow minded bitter fool.
WTF in Ards wrote (808 days ago):
I always have a wee smile to myself when contributors on this forum demand that people involved in parades pay for the police presence knowing fine rightly that the loyal orders have the majority of problem with soon as the nationalist community reimburse the rest of us for the bombs set off in their name during the troubles causing billions of pounds worth of damage. No whataboutery please about reimbursing nationalist Ireland for land stolen by the Brits etc blah blah blah.....maybe some of the brighter sparks in the nationalist community will get my point.
william in coleraine wrote (808 days ago):
@conair the orange order is a religious and charitable organisation!the orange order raise thosands of pounds for charity and good causes every year. the 12th. mini twelth etc are celebrations of culture and for remembrance of those who gave so much for us.the way forward is the ending of the the bigotry and hatred of our culture! walking down a road is not a crime! again i would be grateful again if utv printed this comment.
me in larne wrote (809 days ago):
love the fact that the majority if the poster on here comment on one page about maclean having the right to wear a poppy or not wear the poppy and on this page they comment that others have no right to march up a road ?think hypocrites is the word you are looking for here !!!!
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