Anger as Orange parade rerouted

Councillor Noreen McClelland
Councillor Noreen McClelland

The Orange Order has slammed the Parades Commission for blocking it from a traditional route through the centre of Glengormley.

Organisers United Orange Districts said the purpose of the parade was in support of Ligoniel brethren.

They applied to have 420 participants take part in the event from 8pm to 9.45pm on Wednesday, April 29.

The parade has been forbidden from the Ballyclare Road and may instead assemble at the Valley Park carpark on O’Neill Road and proceed along the O’Neill and Doagh roads, finishing at Clough Protestant Hall.

Reacting to the determination, an Orange Order spokesman said: “This decision is deeply concerning and further proof of the workings of a totally discredited and inept Parades Commission.

“Not only has it failed to recognise that the proposed route is a traditional one, having been used for the Twelfth of July demonstration as recently as 2013, but now due to its recklessness and increasingly anti-Orange agenda the commission is setting a dangerous precedent through the denial of shared space in Glengormley town centre.”

A spokesman for the commission said it has been unable to obtain an explanation for the choice of route which “encompasses residentially mixed areas and long stretches of major roads”.

A critical concern was that one band previously “carried banners identified with proscribed organisations” which increased the risk of the parade being seen as “provocative and offensive”, he added.

SDLP councillor Noreen McClelland said the determination is “a sensible one as it ensures that this parade does not march through the centre of Glengormley”.

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly added: “It has been diverted away from the Children’s Hospice and nearby nationalist homes and that is to be welcomed.”