Northern Ireland

'12th completion parade' turned down by Parades Commission

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Media captionThe Orange Order applied to complete a parade that was restricted on 12 July last year

The Orange Order has again been barred from parading along a contentious stretch of road in north Belfast.

Three lodges and two bands wanted to walk along a stretch of the Crumlin Road that separates unionist and nationalist communities on Saturday.

They wanted to complete a parade that was restricted on 12 July last year.

Several nights of rioting took place after that march was stopped, with scores of officers injured.

The trouble followed a ruling by the Parades Commission, banning the parade from marching past an interface at Ardoyne on their way home from traditional Twelfth of July commemorations.

Although there have been four previous applications to complete the 12 July parade before, there had been speculation that a breakthrough was closer this time.

Fresh talks to resolve the issue between politicians, the Orange Order and nationalist residents started last week.

However, in its determination issued on Wednesday, the Parades Commission said: "On the outward parade Ligoniel Combine and the accompanying bands and supporters shall not process that part of the notified route between the junction of Woodvale Parade and Woodvale Road and the junction of Hesketh Road and Crumlin Road."

It also ruled that the parade should disperse no later than 10:00 BST.

Loyalists have maintained a continuous presence at a protest camp at the Woodvale/Ardoyne interface at Twaddell Avenue since last July.

'Failed approach'

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Image caption The parade was stopped from walking along part of the Crumlin Road last summer

A spokesman for the Orange Order said it is disappointed by the Wednesday's decision and would discuss the details of the determination at meetings later.

The ruling was also condemned by North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds of the DUP: "The Parades Commission has shown why it is a failed approach yet again.

"The parade organisers have done everything to fulfil their responsibilities to exercise their right to freedom of assembly along this section of the Crumlin Road.

"It was clear that the only argument nationalism offered was the threat of violence and this commission has caved to it yet again."

Progressive Unionist Party leader Billy Hutchinson said: "It just seems that the Parades Commission, like the last Parades Commission, is looking at how bad behaviour should be rewarded in terms of people firing shots at police officers and rioting.

"We hear a lot of talk about shared future, but people can't share that road for eight minutes."

Ulster Unionist councillor Mark Cosgrove said he was "hurt" and "bitterly disappointed" by the decision.

Jolene Bunting, of the Traditional Unionist Voice, said: "Republicans would have to go out of their way to be offended by this parade and it is scandalous that the commission has decided to pander to their demands yet again."

However Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly said it was a "sensible decision".

"The issue in the end to me was fairly straightforward," he said

"There had been a determination, it was made on the 13th July last, and that determination should not have been broken by another Parades Commission."

Dee Fennell, of the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) which was not involved in the latest talks, said the parade would be unwelcome in the area "under any circumstances".

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