Dissident violence is appeased through renewal of parade ban

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

For as long as the Parades Commission bans the Orange return leg past the Ardoyne shopfronts, this newspaper will recite how the commission capitulated to dissident republican violence.

In 2012, after years of annual and severe republican rioting in the Ardoyne, in protest at Orangemen briefly walking past an interface, the commission facilitated a manufactured and provocative dissident republican parade.

It did this at a time that rendered impossible the traditional Orange return from the Field. Even Gerry Kelly of Sinn Fein slammed the incompetent ruling.

And yet the Orangemen still obeyed the restriction, by bussing themselves to the Ardoyne to meet the deadline. It was a clever, law-abiding response to an appalling decision.

Republican youths were furious at the commission’s failure to ban fully the Orange walk, and embarked on an orgy of violence. The following year, 2013, the commission rewarded the republican thugs with a full ban.

Wrongly, foolishly and damagingly, some loyalists allowed their understandable frustration to spill into violence.

Police from Great Britain and emergency courts were used to deal with it (despite no such response to the annual riots the preceding years).

Since then, the commission has facilitated the Ardoyne dissidents with a regular ban, in much the same way that dissident republicans in the Garvaghy Road have been permanently facilitated since the late 1990s.

The authorities are right to show no tolerance to all violence, including from loyalists. Yet republican violence is appeased.

The MP for the area, Nigel Dodds of the DUP, has sensibly called for fresh parading legislation based on Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe guidance.

In the meantime, the loyal orders and their supporters must calmly rehearse and publicise the sequence of appeasement that has caused the current impasse, so that the public has an understanding of the scale of the commission’s failures.