Restrictions as permission given for morning Ardoyne Twelfth parade

Loyalists hold a white line protest in July 2013 at interface between Twaddell Avenue and the Ardoyne shopfronts area
Loyalists hold a white line protest in July 2013 at interface between Twaddell Avenue and the Ardoyne shopfronts area

Permission has been given for an outward parade past the Ardoyne on July 12 – but three lodges will not be participating on the grounds that they have not yet completed last year’s Twelfth.

The Parades Commission said yesterday that loyalist marchers can proceed down a contentious interface area past the Ardoyne from 7.45am that day, albeit with restrictions.

A number of marchers were prevented from returning “home” along the same route last summer, prompting the setting up of a still-running loyalist encampment in the area.

Yesterday Gerald Solinas, a 39-year-old Orangeman and ex-soldier, said: “The reason why the Ligoniel lodges aren’t taking part is because of the Draconian, biased previous Parades Commission decision not to let them home.”

Instead, only representatives from the district will be taking part in the initial stretch running from Ligoniel to the Woodvale Road.

The general membership of LOLs 1932, 1891 and 647 – the trio of lodges which had been barred as they tried to return home last year – may then join with the parade from that spot onwards.

Later today, a decision is expected on whether marchers are going to be allowed to make a return journey through the area on the evening of the Twelfth.

Loyalist rioting broke out last year after the return route was barred, something Mr Solinas described as “minor violence for two days”, and an example of youngsters “showing their frustration” – adding that he condemned these acts.

The blocking of the parade was followed by the establishment of the loyalist protest camp at the Twaddell roundabout, which itself has seen republican attacks, including a nearby ambush against police officers with an assault rifle in December last year.

Mr Solinas, who is also a member of the West Belfast UPRG, said warnings had been issued from republican quarters about letting Orange Order members use the return route.

He said: “If dissident, violent, republican extremists are successful in threatening the closure of the Crumlin Road to any Orange feet, they’ll be all round the country.

“They’ll be down Clifton Street. Next they’ll be down Peter’s Hill. It’ll be Dunloy, Londonderry.

“People need to show leadership within the Parades Commission and stand up to violent extremists and say: No – it can’t continue.”

The morning parade restrictions include limiting the bands to hymns only on parts of the route, and limiting the flags being flown to the Union Flag, Ulster Banner and Orange Standard.

Mervyn Gibson, chaplain of the Orange Order, wanted to wait until a determination is made today about the parades on the Twelfth evening before making any comment.