A JOINT Ulster Unionist and DUP delegation met with the Parades Commission yesterday to express concern at restrictions placed on a Royal Black Preceptory (RPB) parade in east Belfast.
Members of the RPB have already spoken out after a series of determinations which have diverted parades away from their traditional routes and banned the playing of music. And in a statement released yesterday, the City of Belfast Grand Black Chapter said the recent Parades Commission rulings show that “those who offer violence will always be rewarded”.
Jim Rodgers, who attended the joint unionist meeting yesterday in Belfast, described it as being “a good exchange of views”.
The UUP councillor said: “We are concerned that a ruling by the commission is preventing bands involved in a parade by RBP No4 Belfast from playing any music at all – even hymns – as the parade passes St Matthew’s Roman Catholic church on the Newtownards Road this weekend.
“I don’t agree with the decision at all. I find the greater number of people in the Short Strand couldn’t care less about the parades but some people just want to up the ante.”
Mr Rodgers said the institution has a track record of causing “no problems whatsoever” and they were angry at the decisions.
“As a consequence they are discussing the likelihood of having a protest march at a later date,” he said.
The RPB statement claimed the parades are “neither offering nor causing offence to anyone” and added: “We will continue to demand our rights by all lawful means. We are loyal citizens of Belfast and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and we totally reject this apartheid system.”