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Anger at Ardoyne group's call to flout Parades Commission ruling

By Noel McAdam and Joanne Sweeney

Published 11/07/2015

DUP MLA William Humphrey has denounced as "grossly irresponsible" a call by Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (Garc) to get more than 60 people to attend its Twelfth morning protest - in contravention of a Parades Commission determination.

Garc called on people to attend the 8am protest on the Ardoyne Road as it proved last year that "as many people as possible can stand and monitor parades for breaches of determinations".

The North Belfast representative said that the call came as no surprise to him and others involved and called on loyalists and Protestants to ignore it.

Last night Mr Humphrey told the Belfast Telegraph: "The truth of the matter is that those who are about trying to respect other's culture shouldn't be having protests at all

"The Twelfth of July parade that comes down that road causes no offence to anyone, except those who get up at the scrake of dawn to be offended.

"This is grossly irresponsible and it's an attempt to inflame the situation."

The Garc Facebook statement read: "Today the Parades Commission has issued a determination that states only 60 people can attend the Garc protest on Monday morning.

"This is a disgraceful decision, and an attempt to restrict the right of residents to be present as this unwanted sectarian parade passes through our community.

"Garc wish to remind the public that it has been proven in court (when Garc activists were acquitted of the charge of "illegally protesting") that as many people as possible can stand and monitor parades for breaches of determinations.

"Therefore we repeat our call for residents and supporters from other areas to assemble at Estoril Park/Ardoyne Road at 8am on Monday morning."

PUP councillor for the area Julie-Anne Corr Johnston said that she believed Garc was determined to use the role of observers as a legal loophole to exacerbate its protest.

The PUP councillor added that she would call on the PSNI to hold the organisers to account to comply with the legal determination that has been issued in the same approach it took with loyalist flag protests.

Meanwhile, Orange Order leaders have warned "tangible resentment and frustration" is building up in the unionist community. The Grand Lodge claimed "increasingly petty restrictions are being imposed on our parades by a discredited and inept Parades Commission. Such creeping cultural suppression is aided and abetted by the deliberate intolerance of republicans".

"There is an element within republicanism which acts in a sectarian way by continually attacking the cultural symbols of Protestantism - our parades, our halls, our flags and sometimes even our people.

"That republican sectarianism should be consigned to the dustbin of history."

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