Loyalist band defends breaching ban on music at Catholic church in Belfast
A loyalist marching band has defended breaking a Parades Commission ban on playing music while passing a Catholic church in Belfast.
Taughmonagh-based Finaghy True Blues was the only band out of 60 in the parade to defy the ruling yesterday. Bands taking part in the Belfast Twelfth demonstration had been ordered to play only a single drumbeat while passing St Patrick's Church on Donegall Street.
But while passing in the morning procession, Finaghy True Blues played the hymn, How Great Thou Art.
The band defended the move by saying they were only playing religious music outside a place of worship as was normal practice.
The ruling was displayed on the side of a police Land Rover at the start and end of the musical exclusion zone. There were allegations that members of a different band then sang and danced outside the church which appeared to be backed up by amateur video posted online.
St Patrick's Church was the scene of controversy on July 12, 2012 when members of the Shankill-based Young Conway Volunteers were accused of playing the Famine Song while walking in circles outside the church.
There was a more light-hearted incident yesterday when a bandsman asked to use the toilet at the church's parochial house during a break in the parade
The priest allowed him to do so and he emerged to the cheers of fellow marchers before they continued on their way.
North Belfast SDLP MLA Alban Maginness said the breaking of the Parades Commission determination signalled that there was still work to be done on parading.