Irish Republican News · July 10, 2013
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Twelfth parade past Ardoyne rerouted


A decision by the Parades Commission that a return parade by the Orange Order should not pass the Ardoyne shop fronts in north Belfast on the Twelfth of July has been widely welcomed.

The Parades Commission issued its determination in the absence of any agreement between the Orange Order and local nationalist residents.

The less contentious morning (‘outward’) feeder parade will be allowed to proceed, although with restrictions.

Hundreds of marches are set to take place on Friday on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, an event long marked by Protestants in the north of Ireland with large displays of sectarian triumphalism. The Parades Commission was set up in 1998 to adjudicate on the routes and other aspects of sectarian parades.

The annual evening feeder parade through a number of nationalist areas in north Belfast has caused intense violence and hundreds of arrests in recent years.

Unlike other restrictions, such as those placed on the number of marchers or their permitted behaviour in nationalist areas, decisions on routes are normally enforced by the police.

Following its breakthrough determination last night, unionists immediately demanded its abolition.

On Tuesday night, the Parades Commission said it was time to move beyond the “pain and blame cycle that has dogged parading disputes”.

It was also revealed on Tuesday that 630 police from Britain who were used for the G8 Summit have been retained for this year’s marching season.

Last minute talks this year between a small Sinn Fein group CARA (Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents Association) and the Orange Order had failed to make any progress.

Local Sinn Fein Assembly member Gerry Kelly welcomed the decision by the Parades Commission.

“It has created the space for talking to continue,” he said. “That decision to begin the talks was a brave one by both the residents group CARA and the Orange Order. Both have agreed to resume the talks and that is to be welcomed.

“A peaceful 12th will give those talks a good foundation in which a local resolution can be found to this parading issue.”

North Belfast DUP politicians Nigel Dodds and Nelson McCausland called for the removal of the Parades Commission.

“This ruling has placed the Ligoniel Orange Lodges in an impossible position,” they said in a joint statement.

“They are being denied the right to return home peacefully and with dignity along the main road they have traversed for decades.

“The only answer is the removal of the Parades Commission. This relic of direct rule is outdated and out of control. It is unaccountable and has no democratic basis or mandate.”

The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC), a more hardline Ardoyne nationalist residents’ association which was not invited to hold parade talks, said the decision was overdue.

Earlier on Tuesday, it held a whiteline protest in opposition to Friday’s parade, which it said was a “hate-filled display of sectarian coat-trailing bigotry”.

“The constant pressure by GARC and the community of Ardoyne has forced the Parades Commission to capitulate from their position of facilitating unwanted outdated provocative acts of sectarian triumphalism,” they said.

They described CARA as “an unrepresentative micro-group with a discredited agenda” and expressed satisfaction at the collapse of talks which they said amounted to “a facilitation process”.

“The residents of Ardoyne will only except one genuine settlement, which is that all Loyal Order marches through our area must cease forthwith and our community be allowed to live in peace free from unwanted sectarian parades.

“The people of Ardoyne have shown by their resilience that they will not be beaten or brutalised into submission as our proud community has shown it can defend its self against any adversity.”

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© 2013 Irish Republican News