A provocative ‘centenary parade’ by the anti-Catholic Orange Order was stopped from marching through a leafy suburban area of Belfast last weekend in a sign of growing opposition to loyalist parades across the North.
The parade was banned from entering the mixed Kilcoole Park, Rosscoole Park and Mountcoole Park areas, to the fury of the Orange Order and the DUP.
In its determination, the Parades Commission described Kilcoole Park as “a mixed residential area”, “neutral” and “quiet”.
Objections began to Orange Order parades in 2018 after loyalists erected flags in the area in an effort to mark it as their territory.
The Orange Order condemned the decision to reroute the parade which it said demonstrated a “total lack of knowledge of the local demographics and “immense anger amongst local residents”, but made no mention of the depth of local opposition.
“This abhorrent decision is simply wrong, defies logic and goes against natural justice”, they said.
A spokesman for the Parades Commission said: “Having considered all information and representations received in relation to this parade, the commission is satisfied that the conditions imposed are necessary, proportionate and fair.
“The commission continues to encourage all parties to this parading dispute to enter into dialogue to achieve an accommodation which reflects the needs of the local communities.”
But there was a setback for the north of Ireland when the Alliance Party and the Green Party helped to defeat an effort to regulate bonfires at Belfast City Council.
A Sinn Féin proposal would have ensured that illegal bonfires, including the infamous ‘Eleventh Night’ loyalist pyres, no longer pose a threat to life, property and the environment, the leader of the party’s group in the council, Ciaran Beattie, said.
There was “a gilt-edged opportunity” to consign the infamously sectarian and dangerous bonfires in the city to the past, he said.
“It is simply not good for enough for city councillors to turn a blind eye to the reality of what illegal bonfires entail.
“Political unionism has been fighting a rearguard action for some years now against efforts to bring this city into the 21st century.
“It is beggars belief however that the Alliance and Green Parties have joined with regressive unionism in frustrating this attempt to regulate illegal bonfires.
“It is also absolutely bizarre that the ‘Green’ Party on the eve of COP26 have refused to back a motion which would have brought the burning of toxic materials in the city to an end.”
He said the two self-styled ‘progressive’ Parties had “failed in their responsibility” to the citizens of Belfast.
“There is now an obligation on both parties to explain why they have sided with bonfire builders over the right of citizens to live free from hate, toxic fumes and criminality.”