POLITICIANS PRAISE ORANGE ORDER PARADE MOVE AS ‘POSITIVE STEP’

Parades Commission ban Orange Order parade through Ardoyne in July

Parades Commission ban Orange Order parade through Ardoyne in July

A decision by Orangemen to call off a parade in Belfast city centre this Saturday has been warmly welcomed by politicians.

The Orange Order said the decision by members of south Belfast Sand Row No 5 District was taken after hearing to the views of traders and the community.

The march had been planned to show support for Ligoniel Orangemen over the re-routing of their 12th July parade.

The Orange Order said the parade was now being postponed until the new year “as an act of goodwill in this Christmas season”.

The Order added that “the heightened level of security due to republican terrorism” was also a factor in its decision.

The DUP deputy lord mayor of Belfast, Christopher Stalford, said it was a “positive step” that “reflects the desire of Orangemen to see their city grow, thrive and expand”.

“It demonstrates that the Orange institution in Sandy Row, and in Belfast more generally, has shown a degree of flexibility and leadership that has been sadly lacking from those who oppose their right to parade, and from the Parades Commission,” he added.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said it was “progressive of the Orange Order, that they not only consulted with traders, but reacted positively to their message”.

“I understand this is a postponement rather than a cancellation, and while I support the motivation, which is to support the Ligoniel lodges, I will continue to question the use of the tactic of street protest, which has no record of success in Northern Ireland in terms of bringing about political change,” he added.

The Ligoniel lodges were prevented from parading past the Ardoyne shops interface on the homeward leg of their Twelfth of July demonstration.

Several nights of rioting took place after the march was stopped.

Since then a loyalist protest camp has been in place at the Twaddell Avenue in support of the campaign to complete the parade.

The order said it “would continue to encourage our members and friends to support the ongoing protest and parades at Camp Twaddell and the Woodvale Road”.

SDLP North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness said it was “the sensible thing to do”, and “it would be churlish not to welcome it”.

“The fact that they’ve considered the views of business people in the city is encouraging,” he added.

 

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