Orange parade plan for Ardoyne abandoned
Orange parade plan for Ardoyne abandoned


A major Orange Order parade passed off peacefully in Belfast on Friday after a proposed march through nationalist areas of north Belfast did not go ahead.

Thousands of members of the anti-Catholic Orange Order and other loyalists were involved in one of the north’s largest demonstrations of the year.

A ‘wall of steel’ was erected by the PSNI around the nationalist Short Strand as the loyalist parade passed the flashpoint.

It emerged during the week that a proposed ‘deal’ to end a long-running dispute between the Orange Order and a nationalist residents group in north Belfast would not proceed.

The plan would have meant an Orange parade would pass through some republican areas of north Belfast for the first time in three years, but would have seen a loyalist protest camp at the Twaddell interface removed.

But on Tuesday the talks facilitators, Rev Harold Good and Jim Roddy, said that “despite some positive feedback”, an agreement could not be found at this time.

Violence erupted in 2013 when the Parades Commission banned Orangemen from passing the Ardoyne interface on their return from the Twelfth parade.

The loyalist protest camp was set up and almost daily protest parades have been held in the area since then.

Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly said the issue had “brought huge challenges” to the communities who live in the surrounding areas.

“All of us in positions of political leadership have a responsibility to continue to do all in our power to support those involved in seeking resolution to contentious issues through dialogue,” he said.

A lack of support for the deal from a local Orange lodge was blamed for its collapse. Ballysillan LOL 1891 made a statement saying the lodge has “accepted no deal and will not be taking part in the parade”.

The nationalist Greater Ardoyne Residents’ Collective (GARC) also rejected what they described as a “Sinn Fein/UVF deal.” They have blamed the lack of agreement on “Loyalists’ false sense of superiority over their neighbours, based on religion and/or political outlook”.

Neither GARC nor loyalist paramilitaries were involved in the talks, which took place in secret.

The Ulster Political Research Group, which is linked to the loyalist paramilitary UDA, said that it was “disgusted” by the proposed deal. “We want no part of a deal shinners (Sinn Fein) refused years ago,” they said.

There are now concerns for the ‘Twelfth’ in July, the biggest day of the marching season, when loyalists will again attempt to march along the Crumlin road through the Ardoyne area.

A spokesperson for GARC said the only solution to the dispute involves using an alternative route at Harmony Lane.

“GARC is willing to oppose all sectarian parades and will reject any sordid deal between a political party and loyalist paramilitaries that rewards the loyal orders for putting our people under siege for the last three years,” they said.

“Since partition and before, the Ardoyne Community has borne the brunt of naked sectarianism in our city. In every generation, our community has proudly resisted against the evil forces of the State and Loyalism that view our people as sub-human, inferior and dirt.

“Despite over a century of discrimination, inequality and the slaughter of our family and friends, the people of Ardoyne have refused to bend the knee or submit to those that have sought our surrender, eradication and destruction.

“One of the crudest manifestations of Unionism’s superiority complex has been their continual demands to march through areas where they are not welcome. For decades now, the Loyal Orders, asssisted by political unionism and Loyalist paramilitaries, have gleefully trampled over ths right of Ardoyne residents to live free from sectarianism.

“These parades have invariably been accompanied by heavy militarisation of the area, restrictions on freedom of movement, violence, injury and the criminalisation of our young people. The people of Ardoyne have protested against this by whatever means necessary, with the correct analysis being that the Loyal Orders should march where they are welcome to avoid all of the above.”

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