10/12/2013

Orange Order Parade Called Off

An Orange Order parade due to pass through Belfast city centre this weekend has been postponed as "an act of good will," the Grand Lodge has said.

"Sandy Row District LOL No 5 have taken the decision to postpone the parade due to take place through Belfast city centre this coming Saturday (14 December) in support of the Ligoniel lodges and bands."

The parade had originally been organised in reaction to a Parades Commission decision to only let a loyalist band march through the predominantly Catholic area of Ardoyne once on 12 July.

The band was prevented from passing through the area on its return route, and loyalist protesters responded by throwing bottles, bricks and other missiles at police.

The Orange Order now considers the 12 July parade 'unfinished' and has vowed to complete the route.

But a parade due to be held this Saturday in support of the Ligoniel lodges has been called off.

"This decision was taken after listening to city centre traders and the local community; and in light of the heightened level of security due to republican terrorism," a statement from the Lodge said.

"We believe a further parade at this time through the city centre would not be in the interests of our fellow citizens and therefore as an act of goodwill in this Christmas season we have decided to postpone the parade until early in the New Year.

"The Parades Commission again sought to criminalise Unionists by their determination; however, we will not fall into their trap. When we next notify to parade the current Commission will thankfully be gone.

"We wish all a Merry and above all peaceful Christmas, praying that the Ligoniel brethren will soon be able to complete their 12 July parade."

Alliance Chair of the Assembly Group on SMEs, Judith Cochrane said: "The Orange Order have made the right decision in postponing this parade that would have taken place during one of the busiest shopping weekends in the year. Traders will be relieved that this parade is not taking place.

"The fact that the Orange Order have listened to the concerns of traders is a welcome step forward in resolving parading disputes.

"Following the disruption that was caused during a recent loyalist parade, traders could have lost more business had this parade taken place."

(IT/CD)

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