Orange Order hits out at Parades Commission determination

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The Orange Order have hit out at the Parades Commission for their determination preventing Ligoniel Lodges from completing their Twelfth parade in north Belfast.

“This preposterous decision by the Parades Commission only underlines the increasing perception that its determinations are dictated by the threat of physical force opposition to our parades,” an Orange Order spokesman said.

“Such reckless action comes despite the prolonged and genuine efforts by the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast, and primarily the Ligoniel lodges, to defuse tensions concerning Loyal Order parades in this part of the city over the past 12 months, including face-to-face discussions with nationalist residents.

“There will quite rightly be indignation across the entire Unionist community at the latest restriction on our legitimate cultural expression and traditions; and therefore the Orange Institution will be meeting with our political leaders at the earliest opportunity to discuss further the ramifications of this decision.”

The spokesman said they are also “mindful of continuing intransigent opposition by republicans to Loyal Order parades in other areas of the Province, including the longstanding situation at Drumcree”.

He added: “Despite the exploits of an ill-informed and apparently ill-disposed Parades Commission, we would appeal for calm and call on all not to be drawn into the trap being set by republicans.

“Any violence will only undermine our cause. We would reiterate that anyone wishing to protest against this outrageous decision must do so in a peaceful manner.

“Only then can civil and religious liberty prevail.”