Northern Ireland

Tour of the North: Orange Order lose legal challenge to parade conditions

The Tour of the North parade Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption New restrictions have been placed on the annual north Belfast parade

The Orange Order has lost its legal challenge against restrictions placed on members taking part in Friday's Tour of the North parade in Belfast.

The Parades Commission had applied more stringent restrictions to the march than in previous years.

Earlier, a lawyer for the Orange Order told the court the conditions imposed were "excessive and irrational".

A planned residents' protest the parade has been called off, Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has confirmed.

The judge rejected claims that the Parades Commission had not followed proper procedures in its Tour of the North determination.

Instead, he upheld the restrictions placed on Friday night's parade.

Afterwards, the Orange Order said it was disappointed but would abide by the ruling.

The parade will go ahead as planned, starting at 19.30 BST.

Bands taking part in the parade have been banned from playing music on a stretch of road outside St Patrick's Catholic church on Donegall Street in the north of the city.

They are only permitted to march past the church to the sound of a single drum beat.

The restriction has been extended by 43 metres from last year's parade.

The Orange Order said this was unfair as they abided by the restriction last year and there was no trouble.

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