| 13.3°C Belfast

PSNI investigates Belfast band’s parade restrictions breach

Close

The Orange Order parade through Kilcoole Park and Kilcoole Gardens in 2018. Pic Pacemaker

The Orange Order parade through Kilcoole Park and Kilcoole Gardens in 2018. Pic Pacemaker

The Orange Order parade through Kilcoole Park and Kilcoole Gardens in 2018. Pic Pacemaker

Police have confirmed they are investigating a band parade in north Belfast on Saturday evening that defied a Parades Commission ruling.

The Parades Commission had ruled that the Kilcoole Community Band could not enter Kilcoole Park and Kilcoole Gardens as part of their Eleventh Night parade.

However the band defied the ruling and marched through the area as planned.

Belfast DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst criticised the limitations imposed by the Parades Commission and told the Belfast Telegraph that everything passed off peacefully on Saturday evening.

In previous years Orange Order parades have been allowed to pass through the area.

A PSNI spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph that police are aware of a "potentially unnotified parade in the Kilcoole Park area on Saturday".

"A number of those participating have been identified and we will seek to identify others," the spokesperson said.

"Enquiries are ongoing and any potential offences will be reported to the PPS for their consideration."

A spokesperson for the Parades Commission said that it had received information that the parade took place on Saturday evening and that it was now a matter for the PSNI.

The commission spokesperson explained that they had determined on July 8 that the parade could go ahead "with a route restriction prohibiting the parade from entering any part of Kilcoole Park and Kilcoole Gardens".

"The commission determined that the parade may instead process a section of the Ballysillan Road," the spokesperson said.

“This decision reflected the community relations impacts of this parade in this area."

The spokesperson said that the commission informed the PSNI in writing on Friday evening that it "could not accept a sensitive parade notification at close of business".

"The parade was therefore un-notified to the commission. Un-notified parades are a matter for the PSNI," the spokesperson said.

“Given the unique circumstances of this year’s Twelfth due to Covid-19, the commission acknowledges the high level of responsibility demonstrated by the overwhelming number of parade organisers.”

Close

DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst

DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst

DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst

Councillor Pankhurst said that he did not believe the parade broke any rules.

He said that he understood a new application had been submitted after the commission waived the "28 day notificaiton ruling" given the Covid-19 pandemic and the large number of late submissions due to the changing situation around the coronavirus regulations.

"The law allows for this as I understand it. Notification was given to both the PSNI and the Parades Commission. As this was a revised application and no determination issued on it, no law was broken and everyone had an enjoyable evening," the DUP councillor said.

Councillor Pankhurst said despite the concerns of the Parades Commission the event passed off without incident.

"Their initial decision had the prospect to undo the many years of good work community workers have put in to building up relations in this part of north Belfast," he added.

"Despite their claims that community relations would be 'damaged', the exact opposite occurred. Everything passed off peacefully, just like I and parade organisers said it would."

Belfast Telegraph