28/09/2012

Carrick Hill Residents Contest Ruling

Tensions between nationalists and unionists continue to rise over Saturday’s Ulster Covenant centenary parade in Belfast, as Carrick Hill residents contest a Parades Commission ruling.

The High Court in Belfast will hear a legal challenge over a decision by the Commission to allow hymns to be played as loyalist bands march past St Patrick’s Church on Donegal Street in the predominantly nationalist, north Belfast area.

Following a parade past the catholic church over the summer when loyalist bands were filmed marching outside in defiance of a previous ruling, the Commission has now said that only neutral, Christian hymns would be permitted along the area of Donegal Street.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers told The View on BBC One of her concerns regarding Saturday’s parade.

"I think everyone is nervous about how it will go on Saturday but I also think huge efforts have gone into dialogue to conversations," she said.

Ms Villiers went on to say she hoped there could be a solution to the issues surrounding parading in the province.

"Huge efforts are going into trying to ensure that it is an occasion which can be commemorated in a respectful and tolerant way."

Carrick Hill residents last night called for a peaceful protest during the parade, but chairman Frank Dempsey has said he does not want people joining the protest who are not from the area.

"We will have a dignified protest on Saturday," he added.

The Royal Black Institution, which organised the initial, now controversial parade, has since apologised for any offense caused, but said its anger was not directed at the church.

The Orange Order expects up to 30,000 marchers to take part in the event.

(IT)

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