Restrictions placed on Ardoyne Twelfth parade (UTV)

The Orange Order has called on the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers to scrap parading laws and introduce new legislation as the Parades Commission again prevented a march past the Ardoyne shops in north Belfast for the Twelfth.

Members of the institution’s Ballymacarret District Lodge in east Belfast staged a white line protest at the gates of Stormont on Monday morning.

The Order said the Parades Commission has long outlived its “usefulness”.

Mervyn Gibson, assistant grand master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said: “This is a token protest aimed at the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers and the Northern Ireland office for their inactivity to deal with the parades situation.

“We in east Belfast have suffered determinations which as usual is worse than the last year with no logic to it but sadly so have many brethren around the countryside.”

Mr Gibson added: “Things have to change, we need new parading legislation it is her responsibility and at the minute she is offering us no hope.

“People want to see change.

“It’s not just the Orange institution, every unionist party and supporters, half the community at least.”

The protest was held ahead of the Parades Commission’s determination over the contentious parade in north Belfast.

The commission has again prevented the annual return march passing the Ardoyne shop fronts on the Crumlin Road, which separates unionist and nationalist areas, during this year’s parades on Monday 13 July.

Orangemen have held a continuing protest at the junction of Twaddell since restrictions were first placed on the parade in 2013.

Millions have been spent on policing the area.

In its determination the commission said the parade will not be allowed to pass between the junction of Woodvale Parade and Woodvale Road, as well as the junction of Hesketh Road and Crumlin Road for the return parade.

A Parades Commission spokesman said the nightly protest and parades had heightened tensions in the area.

He said: “The decades-long parading conflicts of the Crumlin Road area have had severe consequences for the local north Belfast communities.

“The present dispute, involving nightly parades and a protest camp, has heightened intercommunity tensions.

“The dispute concerns fractured relationships at the interface. Its resolution is dependent upon improvements in these relationships.

“This requires engagement aimed at meeting the distinct needs of both communities.

“All parties for and against this parade have a part to play in achieving a resolution which brings mutually beneficial outcomes.

“Of the 26,000 notified loyalist/unionist parades in the past 10 years, 24,180 have not had any conditions imposed upon them by the Parades Commission.”

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said it was an “appalling and unjustified decision”.

He added: “In the years of direct dialogue, Parades Commission decisions got worse for the Orange Order. The Commission hides behind a tissue of lies to hide its anti-parades agenda.”

Mr Dodds also urged Theresa Villiers to act.

“It is unjust to do nothing about a difficult situation then expect everyone else to do something. Theresa Villiers must act now. As a start she should ask all of the Parades Commissioners for their resignation,” he said.

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly welcomed the determination.

“It is the right decision and is consistent with determinations from recent years,” said the North Belfast MLA.

“The Orange Order’s refusal to accept a similar determination from 2013 and the ongoing presence of Camp Twaddell has exacerbated tensions in the area.

“The continuation of that protest, combined with the nightly parades all contributed to this determination.

“All elected representatives and community leaders should be working towards a peaceful summer for all the people of the greater Ardoyne and Woodvale areas.”


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