Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Parade will pass Ardoyne flashpoint

A parades Commission decision to allow a loyalist march to pass the Ardoyne shopfronts has been branded "illogical" by republicans.

The watchdog last night ruled that the Ligoniel True Blues will pass the north Belfast flashpoint with no music, no flying of flags and no supporters on its return leg on July 12.

Last year the PSNI came under sustained attack during four nights of serious rioting following a similar determination. Disorder also spread to other parts of Belfast and 80 police officers were injured during the violence.

"The commission has not easily arrived at this decision," the determination read. "It has had to consider the threats of disorder and the potential injuries that could result from that, the impact of disorder on the community on the Crumlin Road and in Ardoyne, and the rights of those who seek to display their culture in a way that is dignified."

Last month bricks and bottles were thrown at police by loyalists when two feeder parades for the Tour of the North were rerouted from the interface area in Ardoyne.

Winston Irvine from the North and West Belfast Parades' Forum said unionists were outraged at the restrictions from this latest ruling.

He said: "Given that the commission has decided to restrict the 12 July parade, there is a lot of anger and people are very disappointed at yet another decision which sees heavy restrictions placed on the Protestant community's cultural tradition."

However, the Parades Commission has also failed to satisfy the nationalist community.

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said he failed to understand the reasoning behind the determination.

"The Parades Commission only two weeks ago stopped an Orange Order march past Ardoyne, Mountainview and the Dales," he said. "Nothing has changed since then so why they have allowed this march to go ahead twice on the Twelfth of July bears no logic and is extremely disappointing."

Meanwhile, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC), whose sit-down protest sparked the rioting last year, is once again calling people on to the streets.

"Parades should take place where they are welcome and this is clearly not the case on this stretch of the Crumlin Road," a spokesman for the group said.

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