07 April 2006

Parades body rules on loyalist marches

Daily Ireland

BY Ciarán Barnes

The new-look Parades Commission last night ruled on four loyalist marches scheduled to take place in nationalist areas of Belfast and Tyrone on Easter Monday.
Daily Ireland understands that the Apprentice Boys have been allowed to parade past the Short Strand in east Belfast on April 17 but have been banned from marching down the lower Ormeau Road in the south of the city.
Rulings on parades through Ardoyne in north Belfast and Castlederg in west Tyrone are not yet known.
The Easter Monday Apprentice Boys marches are being viewed as the first real test for the new commission, which was appointed in November last year.
Nationalists are fearful that the appointment of the senior Orangemen David Burrows and Don MacKay as commissioners will lead to an increase in the number of disputed loyalist parades getting the green light.
Mr MacKay caused anger last week when he said he was fighting the cause of the loyal orders from “inside the fence”.
The decisions to allow the Short Strand parade and ban the Ormeau Road march were expected.
The rulings on Ardoyne and Castlederg are harder to predict and will be watched closely by a sceptical nationalist community.
Today, the Parades Commission will formally announce its rulings on the four parades.
In all, 39 Apprentice Boys parades are taking place in the North on Easter Monday, ten of which are in Belfast.
Four of the 39 marches are described as disputed by the Parades Commission.
Around 10,000 Apprentice Boys parade annually on Easter Monday at different locations in the North.

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