THE Northern Ireland Parades Commission have placed restrictions on this Saturday’s loyalist parade through the Whiterock area of nationalist west Belfast.

The Protestant Orange Order parade, which takes place on Saturday June 30, is expected to involve 750 people and 12 bands. The annual Whiterock No9 District Parade follows a traditional route passing through mainly loyalist areas. Although in recent years the parade has attracted controversy as the route passes a sensitive interface between loyalist west Belfast and nationalist west Belfast.

Last year, the Parades Commission indicated that because the parade did not adhere to their restrictions they would be placing additional precautions this year to avoid unrest. In last year’s parade a loyalist paramilitary colour party joined the parade at least twice.

The parades commission have now placed strict restrictions on the parade from passing the sensitive peace line interface at Ainsworth Link and Ainsworth Avenue.

The parade route will now proceed along the Woodvale Road to the junction with Woodvale Avenue. At this point only the Orange lodges will parade along Woodvale Avenue and onto Springfield Road. They will then regroup at West Circular Road with their bands. The bands and followers meantime will proceed separately from the junction of the Woodvale Road; turn left into Ballygomartin Road and then meet up with the lodges at West Circular Road at its junction with the Springfield Road.

A nationalist protest parade organised by Springfield Road Action Group, which takes place on the same day, has been prevented by the Parades Commission from reaching the main protestant parade route.

Dawson Bailie, the Orange Order’s Belfast County Grand Master said they would fight the restrictions placed on the parade.


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