Published Monday, 16 July 2012
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Video footage emerged of a Shankill Road flute band, the Young Conway Volunteers, playing outside St Patrick's on Donegall Street on Thursday morning.
It was filmed by a Sinn Féin activist and caused concern within the party as singing by supporters suggested that the song being played was the sectarian Famine Song.
"Any singing was coming from supporters and not the band itself. The tune we were playing is actually a Beach Boys song titled Sloop John B," the YCV Flute Band statement, issued on Monday, said.
"The singing of words that some supporters associated with the tune the band was playing at the time was perhaps unfortunate and may just have been a by-product of the exuberance of the day of celebration of our culture and history."
Whatever directions may be advised by those within the Loyal Orders during future engagements will be unreservedly honoured by the YCV Band.
Young Conway Volunteers
The statement also claimed it was "pure chance" that a delay in the parade meant that the band came to a halt outside the church and added that continuing to play while circling was standard practice.
The band said the church "had its doors closed and there was certainly no act of worship going on at the time" and added: "In fact, many of our members in the band only realised that we had been playing outside the chapel when it was reported by the local media."
But local Sinn Féin councillor Conor Maskey, who witnessed what happened, said the band had behaved "provocatively".
He added: "The Orange Order needs to explain to the St Patrick's congregation why a loyalist band taking part in their parade played sectarian tunes and behaved provocatively outside St Patrick's Church."
According to YCV Flute Band, a number of PSNI officers were on duty and saw there was "no outward animosity" directed towards the chapel.
But police confirmed they were studying a significant amount of footage in relation to the incident.
"If any criminal offences are detected, a full and thorough investigation will be carried out," a PSNI spokesperson said.
Police also intervened when it appeared that two band members approached the person filming the parade and attacked him.
"Several of our band did take exception to being filmed and having their children filmed (as young as three-years-old) by what is believed a member of a hostile republican gathering, perceivably for some untoward purpose, before marshals did approach to ask him to stop filming," the band said.
The band also accused police of doing nothing to help defuse the situation and said those parading had already been subjected to sectarian abuse from onlookers.
The statement expressed regret at "how events had been portrayed", but added: "If the YCV Shankill Road may have given offence in this instance, we would certainly apologise to those in authority or engagement for any act that perceivably may have brought discredit on the colours which we wear or the historic YCV title which we proudly bear."
A Belfast County Grand Lodge spokesperson told UTV that the Orange Order reviews all parades and would take any issues into account in that review.