Parades Commission orders World War One banners to be kept furled during part of upcoming Whiterock loyalist parade

The Parades Commission has imposed conditions on a major upcoming parade in Belfast, including ordering two banners relating to WWI to remain furled for part of the procession.

By Adam Kula
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 3:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 5:11 pm

The parade is the annual one in the Whiterock district of west Belfast, and is set to take place at 2pm on Saturday involving 16 bands and as many as 950 marchers.

The commission says that the contentious bit of the parade relates to a rough;y half-mile stretch along the Springfield Road, seen as a republican-dominated area.

It notes that “the parade organiser has consistently emphasised the traditional significance of this part of the route,” whilst the Springfield Residents’ Action Group”has stated that tensions are caused by the parade’s conduct”.

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Mural of the 36th Ulster Division

It goes on to add: “The commission has received complaints in the recent past about the parade’s conduct.

“The subject [of the complaints] included that the Pride of the Ardoyne [one of the bands slated to take part on Saturday] carried a banner displaying the names ‘Samuel Rockett’ and ‘William Hanna’, both deceased and both perceived to have associations with paramilitary organisations, and that instead of hymn music, one of the participating bands played The Sash.

“The commission notes that such incidents did not occur in 2021.”

The Ulster University Troubles database CAIN notes that Samuel Rockett was a 21-year-old UVF member, shot dead in 2000 in north Belfast as part of a feud with the UDA.

It also says that a William Hanna, another UVF member aged 28, was shot by the Army in 1978 in north Belfast.

The commission says that the Springfield Residents Action Group has given notice of a roughly 200-strong counter-demonstration in the Springfield Road area during the march.

The Parades Commission determination is as follows: “No part of the parade may cross the peace line through the Workman Avenue security gates [which would take it onto the main stretch of the Springfield Road].

“It should instead proceed via the Invest NI site to the Springfield Road [cutting out much of the route along the main road].”

It then determines that, until the parade reaches the West Circular Roundabout, only hymns are to be played.

It also says that during the period the parade is on the Springfield Road, no banners honouring Rockett, Hanna, or any other paramilitaries are to be displayed.

However, the commission then goes on to add the following: “[The] flag of the 36th Ulster Division and the flag of the 14th Royal Irish Rifles (YCV) relating to World War One... must remain furled on that section of the parade route from the traffic lights on the roadway to the Invest NI site at its junction with the Springfield Road to the junction of the Springfield Road and West Circular Roundabout.”

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