Parade passes off peacefully after restrictions imposed by commission

The parade winds it's way through narrow streets of the shankill road making it's way up toward the woodvale and Springfield area's then back down the traditional route of the West circular road. Picture Pacemaker press
The parade winds it's way through narrow streets of the shankill road making it's way up toward the woodvale and Springfield area's then back down the traditional route of the West circular road. Picture Pacemaker press

A ‘sea of green and white’ accompanied this year’s Whiterock parade which the Parades Commission ruled could not pass through gates at Workman Avenue.

Around 950 people and 16 bands took part in Saturday’s Whiterock parade, which started from West Belfast Orange Hall and moved along the Shankill Road, Ainsworth Avenue, Workman Avenue and back towards the Shankill.

Pacemaker press 26/06/2016 . The Annual tour of the North Parade in West Belfast takes place.  The parade winds it's way through narrow streets of the shankill road making it's way up toward the woodvale and Springfield area's then back down the traditional route of the West circular road. Picture Pacemaker press

Pacemaker press 26/06/2016 . The Annual tour of the North Parade in West Belfast takes place. The parade winds it's way through narrow streets of the shankill road making it's way up toward the woodvale and Springfield area's then back down the traditional route of the West circular road. Picture Pacemaker press

However, the Parades Commission ruled the march could not pass through gates at Workman Avenue and should proceed via the Invest NI site to the Springfield Road.

Before the march - which passed off peacefully - First Minister Arlene Foster spoke out to support a Belfast Orange lodge’s disagreement with the Parades Commission.

A PSNI spokesman confirmed that no arrests were made during the course of the march.

On Facebook DUP MLA William Humphrey, who took part in parade, posted: “Just walked in my 31st Whiterock parade. Never before have I walked in an Orange parade with a sea of green and white along the roadside. GAWA!!!”

Mr Humphrey said the parade had abided by the Parades Commission ruling.

“There were no protestors – they did not hold a protest because they got what they wanted,” he told the News Letter.

He claimed the decision by the Parades Commission was taken following “major breaches of the determination by those who protested last year”.

“I have to say the Orange Order members in No 9 district have behaved with dignity and decorum and abided by a determination which once again rewarded the intransigence of nationalist protestors.”

He added that the decision by the Parades Commission shows that “for us as a party and the Orange Institution”, the Parades Commission “has long since been something... which could not bring a resolution to parading”.

“It is actually now part of the problem and has to go. No one has any confidence in it in the loyalist and Protestant community.”

Prior to the parade, Mrs Foster described the Parades Commission decision as both “unjustified and misguided”.

The DUP leader accused the commission of using “irrelevant”’ considerations to justify their ruling on the Orange parade and said she would be writing to the commission to highlight the “flawed nature” of its decision.