Orange marchers barred from Ardyone shopfronts in north Belfast by Parades Commission on two upcoming occasions

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Orange marchers have been barred from the Ardoyne shopfronts in north Belfast in a series of rulings by the Parades Commission.

These parades are:

  • Parade A) For three Orange lodges (LOL 647, 1891, and 1932) and one band (Pride of the Ardyone) to parade past the Ardoyne shops on the evening of the Twelfth on their way to Ligoniel, and;
  • Parade B) For the same three lodges and the same band to parade past the Ardoyne shops on the morning of the 13th on their way to Ligoniel.
The parade on the 13th was intended to begin at the Ardoyne shops and continue to Ligoniel but instead the starting point has been moved further up the Crumlin RoadThe parade on the 13th was intended to begin at the Ardoyne shops and continue to Ligoniel but instead the starting point has been moved further up the Crumlin Road
The parade on the 13th was intended to begin at the Ardoyne shops and continue to Ligoniel but instead the starting point has been moved further up the Crumlin Road

Parade A on the Twelfth is really three different parades combined, totalling 150 people.

These are all happening at roughly the same time, after 6pm, and were applied for separately by each lodge.

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The Parades Commission has said all of these must halt on the Woodvale Road, short of the Ardyone shops and the Twaddell flashpoint.

Parade B on the 13th was applied for under the name The Ligoniel Lodges Combine, and also involved all three of the above lodges and the same band, and 150 people.

The planned route on the Twelfth would have gone past the Ardoyne shops towards Ligoniel - now it must halt short of thatThe planned route on the Twelfth would have gone past the Ardoyne shops towards Ligoniel - now it must halt short of that
The planned route on the Twelfth would have gone past the Ardoyne shops towards Ligoniel - now it must halt short of that

It sought to march from the Twaddell roundabout to Ligoniel Orange Lodge at 9am on the 13th.

Instead of passing the Ardoyne shops, the commission has ordered the marchers to begin their route in a street called Wheatfield Gardens, away from any republican-dominated neighbourhoods.

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Whilst these restrictions are in place, it should be noted that permission has been given for marchers to go past the Ardyone shops outbound on the morning of the Twelfth.

WHAT’S THE BACKGROUND?

To understand the rulings, it is necessary to understand what led to them.

The Twaddell saga dates back to 2013 when three Ligoniel lodges were refused permission to complete their return parade up the Crumlin Road past the Ardoyne shops on the Twelfth, on their way back to Ligoniel.

What followed was a street stand-off involving a loyalist encampment at the Twaddell roundabout, legions of police, and republicans from the nearby Ardoyne district.

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A deal was reached to let the lodges complete their route in 2016 – but this was only meant to buy time to hammer out a bigger blueprint for dealing with parades in north Belfast... something which never actually happened.

Loyalists blamed this on republican intransigence.

It was out of this sense of frustration that the applications for return parades were sent to the commission this year.

‘POTENTIAL FOR DISORDER’:

The Parades Commission said it has spent "significant time" considering what to do about the parade.

In its mammoth written judgement, the commission said that the PSNI had voiced fears for "the potential for serious disorder to arise" this year.

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Meanwhile CARA – the republican residents' group – told the commission "they have no general objection to Loyal Orders parades passing the Ardoyne shopfronts; however, any return parade in the evening would cause significant difficulties in terms of the behaviours likely associated with it".

Summing up its conclusions, the commission says it "has cause to believe" that if the parades proceeded on their intended routes, "there will be an adverse effect on community relations and a potential for public disorder", hence its decision to impose curbs.

It ends with this: "The commission welcomes the expressed intention of the parties to this parading dispute to continue with negotiations within the framework of the 2016 Agreement.

"It appears that there is real scope for these negotiations to bear fruit in the form of a durable solution to the extremely difficult issue of return parades past the Ardoyne shopfronts."