Order speaks out over closure of Workman Avenue gates

Peaceline gates at Workman Avenue in Belfast. ''Picture: Kevin Scott/Presseye
Peaceline gates at Workman Avenue in Belfast. ''Picture: Kevin Scott/Presseye

Restrictions placed on an Orange parade in west Belfast this weekend have been branded “outrageous and ill-judged,” by the Orange Order.

Although the annual Whiterock parade has passed off peacefully in recent years, a determination by the Parades Commission means Saturday’s event will be unable to pass through the peace line gates at Workman Avenue.

The full parade used to pass through the gates until 2006, after which only 50 people were allowed through. The remainder of the participants and supporters were directed through the old Mackies factory site.

Earlier this week a Parades Commission spokeswoman said: “In reaching its decision, the Commission is mindful of the persistent breaches of determinations particularly in relation to colour parties, flags and emblems. The Commission has also received complaints about conduct of the parade and related protest last year.

The spokeswoman added: “This decision reflects perceptions of paramilitary influences at the interface and is consistent with the approach by statutory agencies in relation to putting victims and survivors’ needs at the centre of decision making.”

However, in a statement released by the Orange Order, No9 District Lodge said it was clear the Commission “has once again rewarded the intransigence of republicans”.

It said: “Only last year senior republicans breached their protest determination and have subsequently yet again been rewarded for their wrong-doing”.