Belfast Telegraph

Orange Order cancels Ulster Covenant service at contentious Ardoyne parade flashpoint in north Belfast

The Orange Order has unexpectedly cancelled a religious service at a contentious parading flashpoint after marchers were banned from walking past Ardoyne.

The Ulster Covenant service was due to take place this Sunday in north Belfast.

But the Order cancelled the event after those taking part were prevented from walking along the Crumlin Road.

Nationalist politicians had accused Orange Order chiefs of being “mischievous” by arranging the event in an area at the heart of a long-running and bitter marching dispute.

The Order launched another scathing attack on the Parades Commission over its determination regarding this weekend’s event, and repeated calls for it to be disbanded.

"The District simply sought to honour and remember those who signed the Ulster Covenant, as others are doing across the city and province at a religious service, yet the Parades Commission denies No 1 District Lodge this courtesy.

“Why? Because 'the parade represents the infringement of another communities rights'. No mention of the rights of those on parade; no mention of the rights of the local unionist population; no mention of the impact of the parade not taking place will have on community relations.”

The Order statement said its members “welcome the next steps of the graduated response”.

The parade was to take the same route from which marchers were prevented from proceeding along on July 12 last year, causing a huge political fallout.

Nightly protests continue to take place in the area with a permanent protest camp at Twaddell Avenue costing millions of pounds to police.

The return leg of this year's Twelfth parade was also banned from the contested stretch of the Crumlin Road.

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