Single drumbeat ruling past church

Single drumbeat ruling past church

The Parades Commission has ruled that bands taking part in the upcoming Tour of the North should only play a single drumbeat when passing a Catholic Church in north Belfast.

The parades body made six determinations on parades planned for next Friday as well as a protest.On Wednesday, prior to the determination, the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast said its bands would only play hymns when passing St Patrick's Catholic Church on Donegall Street, a gesture that was welcomed by parish priest Fr Michael Sheehan.This now means that if bands go ahead with the Order's decision to play hymns when passing the church, they will be in breach of the Parades Commission determination.The church has been a flashpoint for trouble after a band was filmed circling the church and playing a sectarian song on 12 July 2012.Fr Sheehan said: "I welcome the statement from the Orange Order and the opportunities offered for on-going conversations.""As we approach the summer, I am very conscious of the concerns of the congregation and local residents," he continued."I further welcome the cross party discussions at Stormont as they work towards resolving tensions in the community around parading and other issues."I also fully support the work of the Parades Commission and I am mindful that it is incumbent on all to follow their determinations."An Orange Order spokesman has expressed "huge disappointment" at the decision, in light of the initiative announced by their County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast.He also noted that "the determination was in stark contrast to the positive response to the goodwill gesture regarding the playing of hymns, which was publicly welcomed by St Patrick's administrator, Fr Michael Sheehan."He added: "This new Parades Commission is quickly losing its shine and is mimicking its predecessor, rather than bringing a fresh perspective."It continues to be part of the problem and is not the solution."Meanwhile, as part of the Commission's determination the Ballysillan Loyal Orange Lodge was prohibited from walking past the Ardoyne shop fronts on its return route to reach the Ligoniel Orange Hall.A protest by Carrick Hill Concerned Residents Group was permitted, with 50 people allowed at each of two locations on Donegall Street and Trinity Street to an area of Clifton Street.Bands will also be restricted to playing a single drumbeat when passing the nationalist Carrick Hill area.A restriction was also placed on the United Districts Committee, which is not permitted to proceed along Clifton Park Avenue beyond Alloa Street, Cliftonville Road, Antrim Road, and a section of Duncairn Gardens between Antrim Road and Edlingham Street.Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly was formally reprimanded by police after he was carried on the bonnet of a PSNI Land Rover in Carrick Hill after the parade last year.The driver of the police vehicle also received an informed warning.

© UTV

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