Parade cannot complete Twelfth route past Ardoyne, Commission rules

Three Ligoniel Lodges make their way past the Nationalist Ardoyne shops in north Belfast in 2012.
Three Ligoniel Lodges make their way past the Nationalist Ardoyne shops in north Belfast in 2012.

The Parades Commission has refused an application from loyalists to “complete” their July 12 parade past the Ardoyne area this Saturday.

The applicants see it as the return leg of a parade that has been blocked by the commission since July 12 last year, a decision which was followed soon after by the creation of a ‘protest camp’ by loyalists at nearby Twaddell Avenue.

The proposed parade would start at 9am and finish at 10am, starting at Woodvale Parade area and covering Woodvale Road, Crumlin Road, finishing at Ligoniel Orange Hall.

Organisers applied for permission for two bands and 140 participants to take part.

A dedicated meeting was held by the Parades Commission yesterday to consider the application, but in a ruling published on Wednesday it was stated that the parade cannot pass between the junction of Woodvale Road and Woodvale Parade, and the junction of Hesketh Road and Crumlin Road.

Several months of innovative mediation work around the matter has been undertaken by the Church of Ireland Bishop of Connor Alan Abernethy and Roman Catholic Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown.

The talks have broadly involved the DUP, UUP, PUP and UPRG as well as the Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents’ Association, SDLP and Sinn Fein.

The notification on Wednesday said the Commission had determined that the impact on community relations would be disproportionate to the significance of the processions passing by the Ardoyne shops.

DUP leader peter Robinson met with the Commission on Tuesday.

“The importance of acting to end the impasse was stressed and the significant work to address all legitimate concerns was outlined,” the DUP spokesman said.

Speaking yesterday Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said: “Last year the Parades Commission said this parade should not be allowed to return along this route and as far as I am concerned there is no reason why that should change.”

He added: “This is not the first such application since then.”