PARADES COMMISSION: NO ALLA PARATA AD ARDOYNE
The Parades Commission has ruled that an Orange Order march cannot pass the Ardoyne shop fronts in north Belfast this weekend.
Orangemen unexpectedly applied on Wednesday for the parade, which is planned for Saturday and was to travel from the Shankill Road to Ligoniel Orange Hall.
They requested permission for 500 participants, including one band, to make their way along Brookemount Street, Shankill Road, Woodvale Road and the Crumlin Road.
There have been six nights of violence in Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland since Orangemen were banned from marching the same route on the Twelfth of July.
Delivering its determination on Thursday, the Parades Commission said: “On the outward parade, No 2 District LOL and the accompanying bands and supporters shall not process that part of the notified route between the junction of Woodvale Parade and Woodvale Road and the junction of Hesketh Road and Crumlin Road.”
A statement from the Orange Order hit out at the decision but appealed for calm.
Amid the obvious anger which has manifested itself over recent days, to which the commission must bear full responsibility, Grand Lodge would once again appeal for calm
The order continued: “This decision by the Parades Commission to prevent this dignified parade is a further indictment of this already discredited body.
“People are entitled to express their views through peaceful protest in a democratic society – however, those intent on causing trouble should stay away from Saturday’s parade.
“Violence is counterproductive and serves no purpose, only damaging the cause of Orangeism.”
The parades watchdog heard from the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association, Sinn Féin and the SDLP and received a written representation from loyalist Woodvale residents.
However it said it was “disappointed” not to receive representations from the Orange Order or from any unionist parties.
Joe Marley of CARA said the Orange Order now needs to engage in dialogue.
“We think this was the only rational determination that the Parades Commission could have made,” he told UTV.
“I think it was a backwards step in terms of the Orange Order and really I think the Orange Order needs to do the sensible thing – let the dust settle and begin to do the preparatory work to engage with local residents in September.”
Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly said the Parades Commission’s decision was “sensible”.
The North Belfast MLA continued: “The Parades Commission did the right thing by standing by their original determination on this route.
“It has taken the only logical and sensible decision regarding Saturday’s proposed parade.
“Whoever in the Orange Order thought this was a good move needs to reflect on how it has increased tensions and done absolutely nothing to point towards a resolution of the situation.”
A total of 71 police officers have been injured during six consecutive nights of disorder, mostly in north and east Belfast – but also in the south of the city, Newtownabbey and Portadown.
Blast bombs, petrol bombs, fireworks and bricks have been thrown at officers, who have responded during the worst of the violence with water cannon and baton rounds.
A number of arrests have been made, including three children in the early hours of Wednesday in Newtownabbey – the youngest aged just 12.