Belfast Telegraph

Politicians clash following contentious parades ruling The Shankill Star Flute Band is banned from marching on Sunday

by Chris McCann

Nationalist and unionist representatives have clashed over the decision to ban a controversial band from passing through Ardoyne this weekend.

The Parades Commission banned the Shankill Star Flute Band — which commemorates UVF killer Brian Robinson — from walking the staunchly republican area on Sunday.

The parade has been organised by the Ligoniel Walker Club of the Apprentice Boys of Derry.

The Parades Commission said it accepted the club had never been involved in any violence or misbehaviour in the past.o

However, it said residents and nationalist political parties’ claim that the Shankill Star Flute Band was provocative “carried weight”.

SDLP North Belfast councillor Nicola Mallon welcomed the latest determination by the Parades Commission. She said: “The decision not to allow the deliberately offensive Shankill Star Flute Band, which commemorates UVF Killer Brian Robinson, to pass through Ardoyne and the home of one of his victims is to be welcomed.

“However, the fact remains that the North and West Belfast Parades Forum continues to refuse to engage in any genuine and meaningful dialogue with residents.

“It is only by genuine, respectful and meaningful local dialogue that any lasting solution to the issue of contentious parades can come about.

“This dialogue needs to begin now and I would urge parade organisers, residents and religious, civic and political leaders to encourage, facilitate and participate in this dialogue. Otherwise, I fear the violent scenes of the Twelfth of July will not remain consigned to history.”

But, North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds claimed objection s to parades were “outdated”. He said: “It is deeply regrettable that the Parades Commission is still in a position to be allowed to adjudicate on parades.

“We thought we were moving forward on this issue. If our proposals had proceeded we would by now have been looking forward to the demise of the Parades Commission and the creation of new arrangements which were far fairer and more balanced.

“The negativity and opposition to loyal order parades is increasingly seen as outdated and backward looking.”

A Parades Commission spokesman said: “The Commission has considered the views put forward and whilst the Commission accepts that the band may not be offensive in other situations, the Commission does not believe that the band should accompany the Ligoniel Walker Club on this part of the route.

“The Commission believes that local dialogue is a necessity for resolution of these difficult issues.”

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