DUP politicians have described the restrictions imposed on the contentious Orange parade through the Ardoyne area in north Belfast as “appalling that this outrageous”.
Earlier this week, the Parades Commission ruled that the march must be clear of the interface at the Ardoyne shop fronts by 4pm on the Twelfth.
In a joint statement Nigel Dodds MP and MLAs Nelson McCausland and William Humphrey claimed the decision had rewarded dissident republicans.
They were speaking after meeting with representatives of the North & West Belfast Parades Forum on Friday night.
“It is appalling that this outrageous determination in relation to a long-standing return parade has been devised in order to accommodate a new protest parade by dissident republicans,” their statement read.
“At a time when the courts are sending out a message of severe sentencing for those who have engaged in rioting, the Parades Commission is sending out the opposite message by punishing the law-abiding Orange lodges and rewarding dissident republicans protesters who have engaged in violence year after year.”
They added: “In the context of the new talks initiative, entered into by the Parades Forum in good faith, this draconian determination is incomprehensible and entirely counterproductive and will set back the prospects of reaching agreement.
“Once again this discredited and unaccountable Parades Commission has demonstrated that it is part of the problem, not part of the solution for parading and protest issues.”
In recent years, the Ardoyne area has seen some of the most serious violence over the Twelfth marching period.
BY MICHAEL MCGLADE