Commission rules on Remembrance Parade

Published Tuesday, 06 November 2012
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The Apprentice Boys have held talks for the first time with a north Belfast residents committee ahead of this weekend's Remembrance Day parade in Belfast, it has emerged.

Commission rules on Remembrance Parade
Bandsmen pass protesters at St Patrick's Church on Donegall Street (© Pacemaker)

The order and the Carrickhill Concerned Residents Committee have held two meetings in a bid to alleviate any tensions prior to Saturday's march.

It is understood that the two sides will enter into further negotiations.

The Parades Commission has ruled that the Apprentice Boys parade will be allowed to play only hymns for part of the route.

Five bands and 400 participants will take part in the parade as it makes its way along Donegall Street and Clifton Street on the return journey.

The parades watchdog has placed the restrictions on the procession as it passes through a contentious area of the city.

Hymn tunes can only be played from the junction of Donegall Street and Union Street.

No parade supporters are allowed between the junction of Donegall Street and Royal Avenue, and the junction of the Westlink and Clifton Street.

Parade protestors have been limited to 150.

The watchdog ruled that the Carrick Hill Concerned Residents Committee is allowed to protest in three places - on the footpath to the front of James Johnston Solicitors building and the adjoining car park on Donegall Street; on the footpath outside St Patrick's church and on the footpath from Stanhope Street down to 18 Clifton Street.

Representations to the commission were made to the Commission by the Belfast branch of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, Carrick Hill Concerned residents and Sinn Féin. There was also written representation from the SDLP.

A statement from the watchdog read: "The Commission fully acknowledge that the best outcome to mitigate conflict at this interface around parading is when it is agreed locally and not imposed."

It was also acknowledged that the parade organisers have given assurances "of good and appropriate behaviour at this parade."

The ruling continued:" The Commission hopes that both parties who have been engaged in dialogue recently will restart the process as soon as possible. The Commission will support and facilitate any meaningful talks between the parties and are fully committed to their statutory obligation to do so. "

The Donegall Street area has become a flashpoint since trouble broke out during a Black Institution parade at the end of August.

The unrest occurred after a video showed a loyalist band playing an alleged sectarian song whilst circling outside St Patrick's Catholic church on 12 July, although the band denied the tune was sectarian.

Meanwhile, the latest parade to pass through the area ended without incident.

Four bands and approximately 400 people took part in the County Grand Orange Lodge parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation on Sunday, 28 October.

© UTV News
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3 Comments
Joe in Bristol wrote (524 days ago):
Ryan, if they had to pay the bill to police the parades every year. You would not have any parades. If the FA have to pay the police bill for policing football matches in England. The same should apply to this lot who want to march what seems like every other weekend.
James in London wrote (525 days ago):
Parades Parades Parades, don't you get bored with the same thing over and over. It must cost millions every year to police. Not to mention the trouble, violence and upset. It is ridiculous.
Ryan in Belfast wrote (526 days ago):
How many times a year do they have to parade? Do these people not have jobs? Honestly, its time these loyal orders paid the policing bill for their parades. As for the "reassurances" of "good behaviour" we all know that the parades commissions ruling will be broken one way or another, yet again, by these Loyal orders.
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