West Belfast concern over parades

Efforts are being made to avoid clashes over two large loyalist parades in nationalist west Belfast planned for next month.

A large loyalist band parade will test a new peace in the feud between the rival UVF and LVF, who will both be present on the day.

Some 30 ‘blood and thunder’ bands playing anti-Catholic songs, with over 1,000 supporters, are expected to arrive into the small Suffolk estate in the heart of West Belfast.

Upper Falls Sinn Féin councillor Michael Browne said that the band parade is causing concern in the wider West Belfast community.

“West Belfast residents have been taken completely unawares by news of this event,” said Michael Browne.

Meanwhile, nationalist residents living on the Springfield Road in west Belfast have developed a plan to deal with one of the most controversial parades of the summer.

Eight hundred members of the Protestant Orange Order and 17 bands have applied to march along the nationalist Springfield Road on June 26. In recent years the parade has ended in serious violence.

The proposal would involve the parade marching through the disused Mackies factory site less than 100 yards from where the march traditionally emerges onto the Springfield Road from Workman Avenue.

Nationalist residents spokesman Sean Murray said the initiative was an attempt at solving the issue of contentious marches.

Mr Murray said it was “deeply regrettable” that loyalist residents were willing to meet with nationalist residents to discuss the June 26 parade, but the Orange Order was not.

“We have attempted to engage with the Orange Order, but to no avail,” he said.

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