The Protestant marching season reaches its climax on Tuesday with a number of provocative sectarian marches once again planned for nationalist areas.
Although the marching season has been relatively quiet this year, several controversial parades have once been given the go ahead for July 12, when Protestant hardliners celebrate a 17th century battle victory over Catholics.
While the infamous Drumcree march has again been banned from Garvaghy Road, a coat-trailing parade by the Orange Order is to take place through Ardoyne in north Belfast on Tuesday morning. Another parade will take place through the Workman Avenue gates onto the nationalist Springfield Road in west Belfast, just two weeks after it banned a march from the same route.
Sean Murray of the Springfield Residents’ Action Group says they plan to mount a protest at the notorious flashpoint after the Parades Commission u-turn. He’s particularly concerned at the decision to allow the march despite the fact that there has been no dialogue - a key reason for the Commission’s earlier decision to redirect the parade through the Mackies site, which saw a peaceful and uneventful parade two weeks ago.
“It’s the same criteria as the Whiterock Parade of a few weeks ago, so why a completely different outcome? There was no dialogue, no consultation in terms of opening up the gates,” he said.
“They come from Highfield down the Springfield and through the gates. If you look at the two houses directly facing the gates you will see that they have been built without windows because they are facing an interface, it’s quite stark.
“This peace wall is only opened twice a year to facilitate Orange parades, people coming from a unionist area into a nationalist area. This estate has suffered over the years with the number of people murdered by loyalist organisations, and then this is allowed to happen. It just opens up old wounds. No-one wants a repeat of the major rioting we witnessed in 2005.
“They should come out of Mackies, that way they’re avoiding this estate and are acknowledging the sensitivities. This is a nationalist/republican area, there is an alternative route one hundred yards away, they would still be getting their parade, it would be a win-win scenario.”
A protest will take place from from 9am on Tuesday morning.