News

Order 'disappointed' by ban on parade

There have been a series of protests at police lines in north Belfast.

The Orange Order has expressed its disappointment after being refused permission to march past the contentious Ardoyne shops interface by the Parades Commission.

Wednesday, 04 June 2014
Tags:
  • parades
  • News

The three Ligoniel lodges, which were not allowed to march past the north Belfast flashpoint for their return Twelfth parade last year, lodged an application to complete their march on Saturday.

Members of the Order and their supporters have staged a protest over the original decision since last summer at Twaddell Avenue.

The Parade Commission's decision on the march had been deferred to allow talks to continue between both Orange representatives, politicians and residents' groups.

This weekend's parade, the Orange Order said, was the "best opportunity" to resolve the issue.

However, on Wednesday, the Parades Commission ruled that the march could not proceed past the Ardoyne shops.

A statement from the Order described the announcement as "hugely disappointing".

It continued: "Six minutes is all it will take for the Ligoniel lodges and accompanying bands to process peacefully along the main arterial route of the Crumlin Road.

"It is therefore hugely disappointing, despite numerous overtures and indeed dialogue with Ardoyne residents, that the Parades Commission chooses to blatantly ignore the concept of shared space in north Belfast and has bowed once again to the threat of republican violence.

"Despite this setback, the Orange family and our unionist partners involved in the civil rights camp remain determined to resolve this issue."

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said the decision was "appalling" and "rewarded the threat of violence" from those opposed to the parade.

The DUP representative added: "The mark of the last Parades Commission was its arrogance. The mark of this commission is its weakness.

"Either way the result for unionists is the same. Shared space is denied. Identity is diminished. Demonisation is accepted by officialdom."

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly, meanwhile, said the decision was "sensible and right".

"This was the only decision the Parades Commission could have made as we move into the marching season.

"The behaviour of the loyal orders since last year's return parade and the camp put right at the interface has not helped."

The North Belfast MLA said the way forward was for unionist politicians to return to the Haass proposals and to encourage local dialogue and agreements instead of using the Parades Commission.