Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Loyal parade court bid rejected

The Orange Order will only be allowed to play sacred music when it passes St Patrick's Catholic church in Belfast this weekend
A loyalist band marches past St Patrick's Church.
Young Conway Volunteers flanked by supporters pass St Patrick's Church, Donegall Street

A late court bid to change restrictions on a contentious loyal order parade through Belfast has been rejected.

A High Court judge refused leave for a judicial review of measures imposed by the Parades Commission adjudication body on Orange Order marchers intending to pass St Patrick's Catholic Church in the north of the city on Saturday.

The application at Belfast High Court was made by a resident from the surrounding Carrick Hill area.

Earlier this week the commission ruled that bands could only play sacred music while going past the church, which was the scene of trouble over the summer after loyalist band members were accused of playing sectarian music outside it on July 12.

Some residents felt the measure did not go far enough and wanted a ban on the playing of any music near the church on Donegall Street, with bands restricted to a single drum beat. But an application for a judicial review by one resident, who was granted anonymity, was rejected by Mr Justice Seamus Treacy.

An estimated 30,000 marchers will take place in Saturday's Orange Order event to mark the centenary of the signing of the pro-Union Ulster Covenant, which opposed the introduction of Home Rule in Ireland.

Around 2,000 participants are expected on the leg that passes St Patrick's.

The commission has said no supporters are allowed to accompany the parade on that section of the route while a planned protest by a Carrick Hill residents' group has been limited to 150 participants.

The main part of the Covenant commemorations will see a huge cultural festival in the grounds of the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont in east Belfast The commission has also placed the sacred music restriction on bands passing St Matthew's Catholic Church on the Newtownards Road, close to Stormont.

Politicians from across the political divide have appealed for calm ahead of Saturday's event, which is set to be one of the biggest loyal order parades seen in Belfast.

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