Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

The Twelfth: Temporary respite, but definitive answer still needed

Proud: New PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton
Proud: New PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton

What a difference a year made - this Twelfth marching day compared with last.

The numbers of police may have been the same, but the whole mood and deployment was different.

This time, the stage was managed and that needed considerable work within the Protestant unionist loyalist community.

That "responsible leadership" was acknowledged by the new Chief Constable George Hamilton.

The Woodvale police line on Saturday was a metal barrier stretched across the road – the "preferred option" described in this newspaper a few days ago, and the much softer image of officers in yellow jackets.

Nearby, the PSNI had all the numbers and policing bits and pieces that would be needed if things had been different.

But there was no suggestion that any of that was going to be needed – indeed no concern in the voices of those senior officers on the ground on Saturday.

The steps that had been outlined beforehand were followed. There was none of the toe-to-toe violence of the last Twelfth. On the eve of Saturday's big marching day, PUP leader Billy Hutchinson told me: "I'm not counting my chickens... the only way to win this battle is to do it without violence," he said.

And, yesterday, a senior unionist politician commented: "It has worked for now."

A breathing space has been created for a political approach to see what the "graduated response" initiative can achieve or not achieve. There were suggestions at the weekend that there would be a meeting between unionist leaders and the Secretary of State, not this week but next.

North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.  Amy and Charlie Que with Molly Jupp from Holywood. Pic Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye
North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Amy and Charlie Que with Molly Jupp from Holywood. Pic Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye
Orange Order parades pictured marching through Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Allen Ford from Nevada, USA, pictured during the Twelfth of July demonstration in Limavady which is one of the Orange Orders flagship parades. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.14
Roses Lane Ends Temperance Flute Band pictured leading the praise during the platform proceedings at the Twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Georgina Davis pictured with her brother Christopher and her father Clark (members of Ballymacash LOL No 317) at Lisburn Orange Hall as brethren from Lisburn District LOL No 6 get ready to leave for the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Adele Bogle and Michelle Price get a selfie with the First Minister Peter Robinson at the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Caitlin Adams, Hailey Adams and Jessica Harper pictured at the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Wor Bro Norman Bell (Worshipful District Master of Ballinderry District LOL No 3) pictured with Bro Paul McCullough (Worshipful Master) and members of Ballinderry Black Reds LOL No 148 pictured prior to leaving Ballinderry War Memorial Hall for the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. North Down First Flute
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Claire Thompson
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Kenzie and Kyla Richard with Bethany McMillan fro Newtownards
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. LOL 1758
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. LOL 1592
Ballinderry District LOL No 3 colour party pictured prior to leaving Ballinderry War Memorial Hall for the twelfth demonstration at Ballinderry. L to R: Bros - Alan Barnes, Stephen Farr, Graham McDonald, Raymond Thompson and Neil Gilmore.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Gerald Solinas speaks to the PSNI at this evenings 12th July return parade at Twaddell Avenue in Ardoyne north Belfast
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Gerald Solinas, left, and James Small pictured at Camp Twaddell at Ardoyne in North Belfast with other protestors. Tens of thousands of Orangemen and women are taking part in 12 July celebrations across Northern Ireland. The 12 July is traditionally the biggest day in the Protestant marching season - running from April to August - and 17 parades are due to take place. They mark King William III's victory over Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye. Christian peace campaigners pictured at this evenings 12th July return parade at Twaddell Avenue in Ardoyne north Belfast There was a heavy police presence in the Ardoyne area. No resident protest groups held demonstrations. It comes after the Parades Commission ruled that the outward parade could proceed, however the evening return leg past the interface has been banned.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Ulsters Pride WLOL 110: Effie Butler, Jean Rodgers, Marion White and Margaret Jackson
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. LOL 164
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Courtney Palmer - Ballyhalbert Flute Band
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. WLOL 110
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Upper Ards District 11Laura Gorman of Donaghadee
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Dempsey Courtney Ballentine pictured with Mum Lynn and Sister Jody at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Orange Brethren from Sandy Row arrive at the field first aat Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Cat Thompson and Patricia Doherty from Belfast Members pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Junior Minister Jonathan Bell pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Arthur Campbell and David and Eric Hay pictured at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 MLA Peter Weir pictured at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 12th July 2017 Members and supporters of the Orange Order pictured at the end of the parade at Barnetts Demesne in Belfast. Picture by Stephen Hamilton /Presseye.com
12/07/2014: Crowds line the streets of Belfast city centre to watch the annual twelfth of July orange parades. Photograph: Stephen Kilkenny/Photocall Ireland
12/07/2014: Crowds line the streets of Belfast city centre to watch the annual twelfth of July orange parades. Photograph: Stephen Kilkenny/Photocall Ireland
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Jimmy Lee - North Down First Flute
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. Kenzie and Kyla Richard with Bethany McMillan fro Newtownards
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th July 2014 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye North Down Twelfth demonstration in Newtownards. George Smyth LOL1919
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Nationalist protesters outside St Patrick's Church as Bands and Orangemen take part during the 12th of July celebrations in Belfast. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Nationalist protesters outside St Patrick's Church as Bands and Orangemen take part during the 12th of July celebrations in Belfast. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: Orangemen march past Ardoyne this morning before the start of Northern Ireland's annual 12th of July march in Belfast city centre on July 12, 2014 in Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: Orangeman band members play their drums during the annual 12th of July march as it made it's way through Belfast city centre on July 12, 2014. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: A female band supporter runs past a shop front on her way to watch the start of the annual 12th of July march in Belfast city centre on July 12, 2014 in Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: An Orange bandsman catches his baton during the 12th of July annual march through Belfast city centre on July 12, 2014. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Orange parades in Belfast on July 12, 2014. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
A Loyalist supporter challenges police officers after an Orange Order parade made it's way down Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) leader Billy Hutchinson (second right in black top) watches on as an Orange Order parade makes it's way down Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
A loyalist supporter dressed as a riot police officer approaches police as they await an Orange Order parade on Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
An Orange Order parade on Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
A loyalist supporter dressed as a riot police officer approaches police as they await an Orange Order parade on Crumlin Road adjacent to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood as part of the annual Twelfth of July celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
12th July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Orangemen and bands march through Lisburn city centre during their Twelfth of July parade before they get on buses and travel to the main parade in Ballinderry
Loyalist protesters and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist protesters and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Residents and police pictured after Orangemen, bands and supporters march past Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Orangemen, bands and supporters march past Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
The police presence at Twaddell Avenue as Orangemen, bands and supporters march pass Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
A Twaddell avenue protester dressed as a PSNI officer is pictured as Orangemen, bands and supporters march past Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly speaking after Orangemen, bands and supporters march past Ardoyne shop fronts this morning. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Nelson McCausland MLA (centre) joins loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist protesters and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist protesters and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loyalist marchers and PSNI officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Photograph by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
New PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton talks to officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Phtograph by Kelvin Boyes/Presseye

But what if that response changes nothing in terms of a ruling that has seen that parade in north Belfast marching on the spot for more than a year now?

Solo run initiatives don't work.

This needs an agreement across the communities.

And, at the weekend, one of the Ardoyne groups – the Greater Ardoyne Residents Committee – was still arguing that "the alternative route is there" and that the cost of upgrading it would be "minimal compared to the security operation".

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly acknowledged a lot of work had gone in to keeping things quiet but, in terms of finding an answer, he was clear.

"It's up to the politicians and the parties to get back to the table," he said.

On Saturday night, the Chief Constable tweeted: "Proud of the officers of PSNI & grateful for responsible behaviour (largely) of those involved in parades and protests."

But he knows the policing money and effort is needed for other things. These days like Saturday can't go on forever. Something has to change.

This week the focus will switch to the on-the-runs controversy and then it will be back to parading, flags and the past.

These issues are the unfinished business – and the unanswered questions.

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