Irish Republican News · July 7, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Ardoyne march gets go-ahead

A decision to allow a march by the anti-Catholic Orange Order through a Belfast nationalist interface on July 12 has been strongly condemned.

The commission ruled that four Orange Order lodges and bands will be allowed to parade past the nationalist Ardoyne shops in north Belfast next Monday en route to July 12 celebrations. Three lodges without bands will be allowed to return back past Ardoyne shops again in the evening.

In its determination, the Parades Commission said there was an obligation on nationalist residents to ensure any protest against the march was peaceful.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly criticised the decision to allow the lodges to walk back in the evening. “This is absolutely the wrong decision. The Orange Order time and time again have clearly broken the restrictions placed upon it by the Commission, yet the very same commission fails to sanction them,” he said.

Mr Kelly questioned the validity of the Parades Commission.

“People are now asking is this body just there to legitimise sectarian marches?

“Despite last year’s disgraceful triumphalism, with senior UDA members leading the march, and UVF and UDA flags clearly on display, the residents who objected to this march, protested peacefully and presented well documented evidence of these breaches and have been

There have been minor restrictions on other ‘Twelfth’ marches across the North, notably in former march trouble spots such as Bellaghy, Newtownbutler and Dunloy.

Meanwhile, nationalists in the Springfield Road area of Belfast are considering legal action against the Parades Commission after the body seemed to ignore its own guidelines in allowing an Orange march through the area last week.

Springfield Road residents spokesman Sean Murray said nationalists were angry after the commission appeared to abandon its requirement that loyal orders and nationalist residents enter into ‘meaningful engagement’ over contentious marches.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News