Loyalist ‘feeder parade’ gets Ardoyne go ahead
Loyalist ‘feeder parade’ gets Ardoyne go ahead

The loyalist Apprentice Boys parade has been given the go-ahead to pass by the Ardoyne shop fronts in north Belfast on Saturday.

However, the controversial Shankill Star Flute Band - which traditionally carries a banner commemorating loyalist gunman Brian Robinson - and its supporters are banned from going down the route alongside the ‘Apprentice Boys’ marchers.

Robinson shot dead Ardoyne man Paddy McKenna on the Crumlin Road near his Farringdon Court home in 1989. Mr McKenna’s relatives still live close to the parade route.

Nationalist residents have welcomed the decision on the provocative flute band but will still hold a protest.

“They’re sectarian marches, they’re exclusively for the loyal orders”, Martin Og Meehan from the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) said.

“But people in this area do not want anything to do with these marches and would like to see them stopped”.

“If there is no parade, there won’t be any violence”.

Local Sinn Fein representative Gerry Kelly said Saturday’s parade should not be taking place.

“This particular parade is happening in the aftermath of a very bad decision by the Parades Commission regarding the 12th of July.

“I would call on everyone to ensure that we do not see a repeat of the trouble which flared in the aftermath of the 12th July - the people of Ardoyne do not want this parade inflicted upon them, but neither do they want or deserve to see a repeat of last months violence”, he said.

During the serious disorder on 12 July, the PSNI attacked and removed a peaceful sit-down protest, resulting in several hours of rioting.

GARC confirmed on Monday that it would hold a similar peaceful protest on Saturday.

“Once again, the discredited Parades Commission has permitted an unwelcome sectarian parade to pass through the Greater Ardoyne community to then board a bus at the rear of Holy Cross Church, to travel to Derry,” the group said.

“GARC feel it is necessary to inform the wider public that this parade has nothing to do with the Protestant religion, heritage or culture. So those who insist on this act of provocation need to justify why?”

GARC urged all opponents of sectarian parades “to come from near and far and stand shoulder to shoulder” with us in a peaceful protest.

“Those who merely wish to engage in unwanted acts of violence are not welcome,” the group added, “as this totally deflects the focus away from unwanted sectarian marches in our community.”

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