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Police ready for 'challenging situations' during marching season in Northern Ireland

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 28/05/2015

Parading disputes, interface violence and unwanted bonfires top the list of priorities for those tasked with keeping the peace during the forthcoming marching season
Parading disputes, interface violence and unwanted bonfires top the list of priorities for those tasked with keeping the peace during the forthcoming marching season

Police are gearing up for another difficult summer in Belfast, according to a senior officer.

Parading disputes, interface violence and unwanted bonfires top the list of priorities for those tasked with keeping the peace during the forthcoming marching season.

Superintendent Bobby Singleton said: "We know that we are going to be put into some significant and challenging situations."

Last year the marching season passed off relatively peacefully. But, with the PSNI having to absorb multimillion-pound budget cuts and undergoing a complete restructure, officers on the ground could be facing a tough few months.

Mr Singleton added: "Once again we as an organisation are going to face a challenging summer and of course that is set against the context in which we are already facing some significant budgetary pressures and, indeed, resourcing pressures as well."

Addressing a tension monitoring event at the Farset International Centre in west Belfast, the officer suggested a major loyalist parade next month could set the tone for the summer.

He said: "The first one on our horizon is probably going to be the 700th day of the Ligoniel Combine Parade on June 13. We anticipate there will be bigger and more significant numbers.

"With that occurring just in the mouth of the marching season that will be a priority to make sure there aren't any particular incidents which could impact on forthcoming events as well."

Belfast Telegraph

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