Talks expected after troubled march

Published Monday, 27 August 2012
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A body supporting loyalist marches has accepted an offer to engage in talks with a north Belfast priest, after violence erupted outside his church during Saturday's Black Institution Parades.

Talks expected after troubled march
Fr Sheehan stands at his church whilst bands pass during Saturday's parade. (© Pacemaker)

Fr Michael Sheehan, from St Patrick's Church on Donegall Street, said a meeting could be organised between his church and clergy from churches to which loyal orders belong.

"There could be a meeting there on a level where we would be able to say, 'Look we have ideas, we have beliefs, we both encourage Christian values and the gospel, can we meet and see how it can be done?" he told UTV.

A Parades Commission ruled that bands should only play a single drumbeat when passing his church during Saturday's Black parade and the priest says he was shocked that the determination was defied.

"Maybe I was naive when I thought that Parades Commission determination would be kept, and I was very surprised when the bands started up," he said.

He said that spectators seemed to get louder and louder in what he felt "was supposed to be insulting".

"It certainly came across as a sense of saying, we don't care about your church, your building, your people, we'll do what we want."

Winston Irvine, of North and West Belfast Parades Forum, said they are prepared to engage in talks, but the real problem must be addressed.

I think it's important to say that the real problem here does not exist between the St [Patrick's] Parish Church and the parade organisers. The real problem is with the Parades Commission.

Winston Irvine

"It has been their decision and their determination which has aggravated the situation and of course in the coming days we will be seeking to take that issue forward," he said.

"This Parades Commission has caused untold damage throughout the summer and it's high time the commission went."

North Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Conor Maskey said the action of the orders has left the residents feeling "affronted".

"They need to show dignity to the residents. They need to show respect to the residents. They need to stop provocation deeply offensive provocation outside a place of worship," he added.

Meanwhile the Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor has criticised the actions of some of those parading during Saturday's Black Institution parade, accusing them of provocative sectarianism and insulting behaviour.

"Their behaviour is not worthy of our city, nor of the Christian ideals espoused by the Royal Black Preceptory and other organisations involved," he said.

The senior cleric also criticised senior unionist politicians who have signed a letter calling for the replacement of the Parades Commission.

© UTV News
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40 Comments
Davy McFaul in South Derry wrote (786 days ago):
@ Paul. Don't argue with me, argue with the Church Of Ireland General Synod Sub Committee On Sectarianism Report : April 1999. That's where I got the stat from. WTF in Ards, close but no cigar, Republican parades go down upper Donegal St and then turn right into Royal Ave. They don't pass St Annes let alone stop or play sectarian songs outside it. Better luck next time.
T McM in London wrote (787 days ago):
So, it's wrong for loyalists to act like pr1x outside a Catholic Church but OK for republicans to do so outside a Protestant Church is it? Not a feckin word from the liberal left of the Protestant community, failing yet again to stand up for their community but tripping over their ridiculous cassocks to apologise for those who have neither time nor use for them. Pathetic it is!
TruthBeTold in Newcastle wrote (787 days ago):
and there was the people of this country thinking UTV and other media networks were unbiased in their reporting[not].Amazing how much news time has been dedicated to the 2 incidents ! passing St Patricks and all the condemnation freaks running to find the news cameras.I for one didnt see even 10 seconds of news time given over to republican bands deliberatly stopping,not just passing but stopping ! outside a Protestant church to play[rather badly] republican songs.Maybe I blinked and missed that coverage and outcry !!
WTF in Ards wrote (787 days ago):
Gordy in Banbridge....totally agree with your comments. There's many a republican parade which passes protestant churches. I'll even let you all into a wee secret. When republicans from the New Lodge, Antrim Road areas march into Belfast city centre they go down Donegall Street......right past a protestant church less than a hundred yards from St. Patricks. But hey that's fine isn't it as they're only poor wee victims. The hypocrisy is unbelievable.
paul in ni wrote (788 days ago):
@d mcfaul, what are you on about, 3000 parades a year! Dont make me laugh, thats 10 a day every day of the year! The oo/abod/rbp are out 10 times a year between them and theres probably 100/150 band competitions a year, get your facts right before you start preaching about something you know nothing about.
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