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Parades Commission notified of parades after lockdown restrictions relaxed

Jamie Bryson

The Parades Commission is expecting to receive more notifications for bands to parade on The Twelfth - with some groups notifying it of their intention to parade tonight.

The organisation told the BBC on Tuesday evening that after the Stormont Executive said up to 30 people are now allowed to meet outdoors while social distancing it was now receiving “new notifications daily”.

“Band parade organisers have submitted new notifications of their intention to parade,” it said.

Notifications for parades in Belfast, Newtownards and Maghera are listed on the Parades Commission website.

It comes after the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the attorney general informed the body it has no legal powers to prevent bands from marching on the Twelfth.

Loyalist activist, Jamie Bryson has represented a number of bands who had been ordered to withdraw their notification or had yet to receive a response from it.

The development comes as the Orange Order reiterated its call for people to stay at home this Twelfth celebrations after thousands of people lined the streets of west Belfast for the funeral of republican, Bobby Storey.

As July 12 falls on a Sunday this year, the main parades were originally scheduled to take place on the Monday.

On Wednesday’s Radio Ulster Nolan Show, a statement to the programme by the Orange Order - which in April announced that it would not be holding demonstrations this Twelfth due to the pandemic - said its position on urging people to celebrate at home had not changed.

Dervock Young Defenders - a flute band in north Antrim - said it is planning to walk in ranks of three “so everyone will be spaced out”.

“There will be marshals and traffic management, and there will be two deacons, making sure everyone is adhering to social distancing,” band member Matthew Hagan told BBC News NI.

“We’re going to be below the 30 people gathering number anyway so there’s no reason why we can’t be walking.”

He encouraged people to “stay in their own homes and gardens - we’ll bring the Twelfth to them”.

The PSNI also told the BBC that it was aware of “discussions taking place” over Twelfth celebrations and that it will liaise with organisers, councils and others “to put in place an appropriate and proportionate policing support for any events”.

Belfast Telegraph