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Twelfth parade past Ardoyne rerouted - Ardoyne residents groups call off protests

11.7.2013 | Irish Republican News from July 10th and additional news

The Parades Commission ruled yesterday that the Orange Order cannot hold a return parade past Ardoyne shops. Ardoyne residents groups has called off their planned protests against the parade. The Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents' Association (CARA) and the Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective (GARC) announced the move at a meeting on Wednesday night. Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said it was "a sign of good faith".

A decision by the Parades Commission that a return parade by the Orange Order should not pass the Ardoyne shop fronts in north Belfast on the Twelfth of July has been widely welcomed. The Parades Commission issued its determination in the absence of any agreement between the Orange Order and local nationalist residents. The less contentious morning ('outward') feeder parade will be allowed to proceed, although with restrictions.

Hundreds of marches are set to take place on Friday on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, an event long marked by Protestants in the north of Ireland with large displays of sectarian triumphalism. The Parades Commission was set up in 1998 to adjudicate on the routes and other aspects of sectarian parades.

The annual evening feeder parade through a number of nationalist areas in north Belfast has caused intense violence and hundreds of arrests in recent years. Unlike other restrictions, such as those placed on the number of marchers or their permitted behaviour in nationalist areas, decisions on routes are normally enforced by the police.

Following its breakthrough determination last night, unionists immediately demanded its abolition. On Tuesday night, the Parades Commission said it was time to move beyond the "pain and blame cycle that has dogged parading disputes". It was also revealed on Tuesday that 630 police from Britain who were used for the G8 Summit have been retained for this year's marching season.

Last minute talks this year between the Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents Association and the Orange Order had failed to make any progress. Local Sinn Fein Assembly member Gerry Kelly welcomed the decision by the Parades Commission. "It has created the space for talking to continue," he said. "That decision to begin the talks was a brave one by both the residents group CARA and the Orange Order. Both have agreed to resume the talks and that is to be welcomed. "A peaceful 12th will give those talks a good foundation in which a local resolution can be found to this parading issue."

North Belfast DUP politicians Nigel Dodds and Nelson McCausland called for the removal of the Parades Commission. "This ruling has placed the Ligoniel Orange Lodges in an impossible position," they said in a joint statement. "They are being denied the right to return home peacefully and with dignity along the main road they have traversed for decades. "The only answer is the removal of the Parades Commission. This relic of direct rule is outdated and out of control. It is unaccountable and has no democratic basis or mandate."

The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC), a more hardline Ardoyne nationalist residents' association which was not invited to hold parade talks, said the decision was overdue. Earlier on Tuesday, it held a whiteline protest in opposition to Friday's parade, which it said was a "hate-filled display of sectarian coat-trailing bigotry" ...

Photo (August 2010): Protest by the Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents' Association (CARA) in front of the Ardoyne shops against one of the many annual Orange Order Parades. A delegation of Info Nordirland was present and supported the residents.

Background on Orange Order marches: