Irish Republican News · May 3, 2013
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Fresh loyalist provocation as parades crisis mounts


The Stormont administration in Belfast has been accused of engaging in a ‘charade’ after a sectarian Orange parade once again ignored a ruling of the Parades Commission against playing music outside a Catholic church in Belfast.

Despite being restricted to a single drum beat, Millar Memorial Flute Band provocatively played a British military tune while passing St Patrick’s Church in Donegall Street.

Tensions have been high since another band was filmed walking in circles outside St Patrick’s while playing the sectarian Famine Song on July 12 last year. Since then, there have been a number of further sectarian incidents during parades outside the church.

After months of law-breaking on parades by loyalists across Belfast, few residents doubted that they would miss an opportunity to insult Catholic parishioners once again, and so it proved.

SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness claimed that if bands continued to defy the rulings, they should be rerouted “as a last resort”.

Sinn Fein also urged the Parades Commission to take action.

“The Orange Order said it wants to see a resolution to these issues and the way to show that they are genuine is for them to sit down with the residents group in face-to-face dialogue,” North Belfast councillor Conor Maskey said.

“Breaching the determination by playing music when passing St Patrick’s Church and Carrick Hill is not exactly compatible with wanting to find a resolution.

“That breach in the determination today is something the Parades Commission need to take on board when making future determinations on marches in the area. The PSNI also need to take action as the law was broken.

“The way to resolve these issues is through direct dialogue between those who wish to parade and the residents of the area.”

Despite dismay at a Parades Commission determination that they must mount only a small protest away from the church doors, the Carrick Hill Concerned Residents remained in full and obliging compliance with their rulings.

But last night Frank Dempsey, chairman of the group, described the situation as a “charade”.

“How can the police be telling people on a protest that they must stand here and they are counting the people to make sure there is no more than 30 but yet not one said to the Orange Order, ‘you have broken a determination’,” he said.

“This is turning into a charade where we have parades determination, breach, determination and breach again and again like a game of pinball,” he said.

We have a favour to ask

We want to keep our publication as available as we can, so we need to ask for your help. Irish Republican News takes time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe it makes a difference. If everyone who reads our website helps fund it, our future would be much more secure.

For as little as £1, you can support Irish Republican News – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

© 2013 Irish Republican News