One alleged “minor” incident in north Belfast should not be allowed to detract from an otherwise successful Last Saturday, the Royal Black Institution has said.
A spokesman was commenting after complaints that bands played banned music, and a member of the loyal order spat on a protester opposed to a parade along Donegall Street.
According to Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin, those on parade also “flouted every legal restriction” placed on it by the Parades Commission.
The North Belfast MLA said she was aware of a spitting incident and described the parade as “an exercise in sectarian coat trailing” through a nationalist area.
Yesterday, St Patrick’s parish priest Fr Michael Sheenan said that while the parade was peaceful, it was “disappointing and disheartening” that the bands played ‘The Sash” as they passed the church.
“The playing of loud music as they pass in front of St Patrick’s Church during divine worship is definitely not respectful.
“It is not conducive to the building of respect, trust and confidence between the communities of this city.”
A Royal Black spokesman said a total of 18,000 people took part in parades across six towns on Saturday.
“It should be recognised that the day passed off without any major incident and this should be seen as a significant step forward,” he said.
“The Royal Black Institution plays an important part in the culture of Northern Ireland,” he added.
A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: “As part of yesterday’s policing operation evidence gathering teams were deployed and any breaches of Parades Commission determinations or other offences committed will be investigated by the Public Order Enquiry Team.”