Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Belfast City Council launches investigation after Govan Protestant Boys march in City Hall

Belfast City Council is investigating the incident in which a loyalist bad marched in City Hall
Belfast City Council is investigating the incident in which a loyalist bad marched in City Hall

By Eimear McGovern

A spokesperson for Belfast City Council has said they are investigating after footage emerged of a loyalist flute band parading around Belfast City Hall.

Govan Protestant Boys were visiting Belfast City Hall to attend the George Telford Memorial Loyal Orange Lodge Centenary Dinner on Saturday night.

Minutes from a Belfast City Council meeting show it was being held to celebrate 100 years of the club based at Clifton Street Orange Hall.

Members of the flute band paraded through the corridors and reception of City Hall, footage shows.

Sinn Fein Councillor Ciaran Beattie said his party has been in touch with the Chief Executive of Belfast City Council and will be demanding answers.

"Video footage posted on social media of a loyalist flute band parading around the corridors and reception of Belfast City Hall on Saturday is disgraceful.

"This sends out the wrong message of the changing Belfast and City Hall which is supposed to be a shared space and open to all.

"I have contacted the Chief Executive to raise serious concerns and demand answers as to how and why this was allowed to happen.

"A Council investigation is now underway to identify a possible breach of protocol and into the conduct of this flute band."

The loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson said he was proud to see the band "proudly marching through City Hall expressing our culture".

Alliance Party leader on the council Michael Long said: "There are pretty strict protocols about what people can or can't do within the building. I've contacted the Chief Executive to ask her  to investigate.

"It would be pretty disturbing if this kind of behaviour is happening within the City Hall.

"It seems very provocative, and I would be looking for the chief Executive to look into it.

"Whoever was responsible for the booking of the hall would need to explain why this had taken place while they were using the facility.

"City Hall facilities are meant to be used in a respectful way - and I don't really believe that that sort of behaviour is particularly respectful.

"The Sash followed by Derry's Walls - it's not exactly appropriate in the building." the Lisnasharragh councillor said.

"The fact that this has been videoed and circulated makes it seem like this could be a deliberate attempt to antagonise."

Sinn Fein councillor Ronan McLaughlin said: "All applications such as that go through the relevant committees for approval but it didn't go into the actions of what actually happened last night.

"Obviously there's some questions to be answered," he said.

A spokesperson for Belfast City Council said on Sunday: "We are investigating events last night in City Hall."

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