23/06/2006

Residents bid to stop parade rejected

Nationalist residents in west Belfast have had their request for the Parades Commission to review their decision to allow part of an Orange Order Parade to pass through the Springfield Road area, rejected.

Residents in the area were refused leave at the High Court to apply for a judicial review of the Commission's ruling on Saturday's Whiterock parade.

A spokesman for the Springfield Road Residents' Action Group, said the Commission had "given in to loyalist violence," and added that he was disappointed by the ruling.

He said: "We are opposed to the determination particularly when it is set against the backdrop of the violence of last year."

On Wednesday, the Commission announced that a single lodge, consisting of around 50 Orangemen would be allowed to pass through the Workman Avenue area, while the remainder of the parade would be diverted through the site of the old Mackies factory.

The Orange Order has agreed to abide by this.

Yesterday, representatives from the Orange Order's number nine district recommended a reduction in the number of Orangemen who would take part in the march, this was reluctantly backed during a meeting of the full districts.

Belfast DUP councillor William Humphrey said the district master and his colleagues have put in a plan to ensure that the parade we will have on Saturday will be a peaceful and dignified parade.

He continued: "It will be a parade that will ensure that the passage of the brethren along the Springfield Road returning to west Belfast Orange hall where they started out, that will bring honour to the tradition we are all proud to be a member of."

The Commission rejected a request from Sinn Fein earlier in the week, to review its ruling on the march, stating that there was no new evidence to justify such a request.

Last year, the Parades Commission banned the Parade from passing through the nationalist area, which sparked off some of the worst trouble experienced in the province in recent years.

The PSNI have estimated that the cost of policing last year's parade, plus the expense caused by extensive rioting in loyalist areas, totalled approximately £3 million.

(EF/SP)

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