Belfast Telegraph

Commission to publish north Belfast Ardoyne Orange Order parade determination on Wednesday

By Jonny Bell

The three Orange Order lodges at the centre of the long-running north Belfast parading dispute have applied for their 2013 parade for this Saturday following last week's agreement.

A deal was struck between the Orange Order and nationalist residents on Friday to end the dispute over a banned march past the Ardoyne shop fronts.

The matter has now been put before the Parades Commission to make its determination.

They should learn the outcome of the determination on Wednesday.

In its application to the commission the Ligoniel Combine has applied for a 8.30am parade along the Woodvale Road and Crumlin Road to Ligoniel Orange Hall.

They state there will be two bands involved - the Pride of Ardoyne Flute Band and North Belfast Young Loyalists Flute Band - and 250 participants.

It is not known how many supporters will be in attendance.

The application is deemed as sensitive and late, by the commission.

The Parades Commission has said it will consider the matter on Tuesday, September 27 and will publish its determination on Wednesday.

A spokesman said: "The commission has received notification for a parade this Saturday (Oct 1)  by the Ligoniel combine.

"The commission will consider the notification on Tuesday, September 27 with a view to reaching and publicising its decision on Wednesday, September 28."

Should it be given the go-ahead, the protest camp at Twaddell Avenue will be disbanded and the Orange Order will not apply to make the return leg on the Twelfth without local agreement after the parade on Saturday.

A community forum will also be established to build better relations among all those who share the part of the Crumlin Road concerned.

The dissident republican group GARC have threatened to hold a mass demonstration on the Crumlin Road in opposition to the parade. However, GARC's threats have not caused much concern amongst police, the Orange Order or residents.

Since 2013 the Parades Commission has prevented the annual Twelfth return parade past the Ardoyne shop fronts.

In response the three Ligoniel lodges involved established a camp at Twaddell Avenue and held nightly protests over the determination.

The flashpoint has previously witnessed serious loyalist and republican rioting when tensions boiled over.

Dissident republicans had also used the nightly gathering of police in the area to target officers.

The bill for policing the standoff was in excess of £21m.

As well as the British and Irish governments there has been widespread support for the agreement reached.

The deal has been praised by politicians from across the political divide, police and the Orange Order. First Minister Arlene Foster said it is a "significant step".

"We want to build a future that is respectful, inclusive and vibrant. Northern Ireland can have a very bright future built on respect and celebration of diversity," Mrs Foster added.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "We must resolve disagreements regarding parades, identity, culture and tradition through dialogue so that difference is celebrated and respected."

Belfast Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Chris Noble said he and his officers are looking forward to stepping back from the significant policing operation that has been ongoing for some time in the area.

However, the SDLP's Nichola Mallon said that while the deal can be welcomed now, "previous experience over many years warrants an air of caution".

She added: "The success of this deal can only be judged in the long term."

DUP MP Nigel Dodds said it remains to be seen "whether the problems created by the Parades Commission and the intolerance of the unionist identity can be tackled in the long run."

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