10/07/2012

Parades Body Chief Calls For Calm

The chairman of the Parades Commission in Northern Ireland has appealed for calm ahead of this Thursday's Orange Order marches.

Peter Osborne said a peaceful summer would help the atmosphere around parades continue to improve.

But restrictions on a north Belfast parade have drawn criticism from Northern Ireland's First Minister.

While 5,000 Orangemen will be allowed to march through the mainly nationalist village, only the 500 or so who are from the Glenavy district lodge have been granted permission to go back through it after their demonstration.

And in Ardoyne, marchers have been told to be clear of the Ardoyne shop fronts – a potential rioting flashpoint – by 4pm, but have said this does not give them enough time to attend celebrations in south Belfast.
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Peter Robinson, First Minister and leader of the DUP, said the Parades Commission's rulings were "bizarre".

About 100 loyalists staged yesterday in North Belfast against the restrictions on their Ardoyne march, arguing they should be able to return at 7pm as usual.

Also yesterday, about 200 Orangemen protested against the Crumlin decision, handing a letter of protest to a representative of the NI Secretary of State, Owen Paterson.

Tommy Ross, district secretary of Glenavy Lodge, said: "There haven't been any problems in Crumlin, there weren't any problems 14 years ago, but there has become a majority of nationalists in the village. I think if the nationalist residents who are complaining about this would just step back, they would improve relations. The Orange Institution is a lawful institution, it has never broken the law, and we will get our way around this."

(NE)

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