Belfast Telegraph

David Ford warns that marching season violence must not be repeated

By Michael McHugh

Last summer's marching season violence in Northern Ireland must not be repeated, Justice Minister David Ford has warned.

Last July 12 the height of the loyalist marching season was marred by serious rioting after the Parades Commission barred Orangemen from walking past Ardoyne in north Belfast.

Police were attacked with petrol bombs, stones, bottles and fireworks over several nights and water cannon were deployed to hold back rioters.

Mr Ford said: "With the polls behind us, there will be a short run in to 2014's full parading season. None of us wants to see a repeat of the violence and disorder witnessed over what was, without doubt, a very difficult summer in 2013."

Loyalists have mounted a constant presence at the sectarian interface since last summer, requiring a security presence.

Mr Ford added: "The nightly camp at Twaddell Avenue is an ongoing reminder of that, and continues to put a huge drain on police resources. Millions of pounds that could have been better spent tackling the criminality that affects the daily lives of citizens in ways that – and let's be honest about this – not being allowed to march on particular roads, at particular times, do not."

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