NI CHUILIN, ROYAL BLACK PARADE ‘IRRISPETTOSA’

Black parade ‘disrespectful’ – Ní Chuilín (UTV)

Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín has said a Royal Black feeder Parade in Belfast “showed total disrespect” as it passed a Catholic Church while Mass was taking place.

The North Belfast MLA as well as local SDLP MLA Alban Maginness said the return parade had breached a Parades Commission determination by “deliberately” passing St Patrick’s Church an hour late on Saturday evening.

Ms Ní Chuilín said it was “long past time that the loyal orders got into a genuine dialogue with nationalist residents”.

“I am fed up hearing about Loyal Orders being religious organisations celebrating culture, when in reality what was on show today was an exercise in sectarian coat trailing through a Nationalist area,” she said.

“Today a member of the Royal Black Institution spat upon a protestor and on the way home they waited until Mass had started before returning past St Patrick’s Church.”

Ms Ní Chuilín said she would be in contact with the Parades Commission about the incident.

Earlier in east Belfast an outward parade is understood to have passed the Short Strand interface peacefully.

Approximately 18,000 members of the Institution, from 400 preceptories, took part in the Preceptory parades in Banbridge, Ballymoney, Newtownards, Dungannon, Castlederg and Ballyronan.

Over 100 bands participated in the biggest demonstration in Banbridge.

Sovereign Grand Master Millar Farr spoke at the Ballyronan parade where the south Londonderry chapter were marking their centenary.

He explained that the focal points for all demonstrations of the Royal Black Institution are the “platform proceedings, firstly our Service of Worship and then our Resolutions on Faith, Loyalty and the Constitution”.

Mr Farr said the institution had members in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Togo and Ghana as well as England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“All our members, irrespective of where they reside, are law abiding citizens of that particular country,” he said.

“Those of us who reside in the United Kingdom regard ourselves as British and are proud to do so.

“We as loyal subjects of Her Majesty cherish the many freedoms which our democracy provides for us. One of these freedoms is the right to identify with the flag of the Nation to which we profess our allegiance.”

Mr Farr asked fellow members to support efforts to resist the on-going “attack” on their identity following the restriction on the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.

He added: “Today we publicly state we are British and will do everything possible, in a lawful manner, to ensure we continue to live a peaceful and prosperous life under the Union Flag, and we encourage all our Sir Knights and friends within the Commonwealth to support us in our stand.”

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