Parade to resolve Ardoyne stand-off next weekend

A mass colour party at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast in 2014. Matt Mackey/Presseye.com
A mass colour party at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast in 2014. Matt Mackey/Presseye.com

The long-running parading impasse at Ardoyne is expected to end next Saturday with the Ligoniel lodges walking back to their Orange hall.

Parades Commission determinations have prevented three lodges from completing the homeward leg of their Twelfth of July parades – along a stretch of the Crumlin Road – since 2013.

Nationalist residents groups are opposed to loyal order parades passing the Ardoyne shop fronts, and there have been violent clashes in the area over a number of years involving nationalist protestors, loyalists and police.

Negotiations have been taking place in the hope that a return parade to Ligoniel Orange Hall will ease tensions at the volatile interface – and bring an end to the loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue.

If rubber-stamped by the commission, the October 1 parade will be followed with talks on a long term resolution to parading difficulties in the area.

One of the three Ligoniel lodges had been opposed to the deal with the main nationalist residents group, but the resignation of several Ballysillan LOL 1891 members appears to have paved the way for progress.

One high profile lodge member and opponent of the proposal had described the arrangement with the Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA) as has having to “beg their permission” to exercise the “civil and religious right” to parade.

“We feel [the deal] is a total sell out,” Gerald Solinas said when he announced his resignation earlier this month.

However, there was increasing speculation yesterday that the Orange Order would be submitting a fresh application to the Parades Commission within days, and that CARA would withdraw its objection.

It is not yet clear if a residents group vehemently opposed to Orange parades – the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) – will attempt to derail the negotiated arrangement or mount a protest.