Agreement on North Belfast parade

A deal has been reached on part of Tour of the North parade along the Crumlin Road on Friday evening (16th June) and as a result the Parades Commission have decided not to issue a determination. No detail of the agreement has yet been released.Last year an understanding over the parade broke down when a section of the nationalist protestors attacked the parade and police which led to a cessation in cross-community talks. This violence was repeated on the evening of 12th July 2005. However, the Apprentice Boys parade on the Crumlin Road at Easter passed off with no trouble. There are another six potential parades along this route in the coming months.

Tommy Cheevers, spokesperson of the North and West Belfast Parades and Cultural Forum, said:

“We’ve taken risks, the people of Ardoyne have taken risks”, the aim was to “create a shared space in that area” through dialogue “instead of bickering over contested territory”.

Echoing a call by Ardoyne Parades Dialogue Group spokesperson, Joe Marley, Cheevers called for:

“Anyone intending to cause any problems whatsoever should stay well away. They are not welcome,”

Talks about the other Crumlin Road and Whiterock parades are ongoing.

  • joeCanuck

    What a positive advance. There’s hope yet.
    Pity there are still some bowler hatted people who can’t grasp the truth of “Jaw Jaw is better than War War”.
    Reasonable people (the vast majority) can always find a win-win situation. But if there’s no dialogue, it just can’t happen.

  • willis

    You are pulling my leg!

    Tommy Cheevers joins New Labour! Still I suppose if it is good enough for “Dave” Cameron.

    Where is “Dave” Vance when you need him!

  • elfinto

    Deal or no deal. Orangemen marching past Ardoyne, protected by hundreds of heavily armed PSNI and British Army personnel, on a Friday evening in June, is a recipe for disaster.

  • joeCanuck

    Elfino

    Rioting and taking offence is an option, not a necessity.

    If there is an agreement which you don’t like, stay at home and watch the telly.

    lots of great matches (replays?) right now.

  • Brendan, Belfast

    Elfinto you wrote “Deal or no deal. Orangemen marching past Ardoyne, protected by hundreds of heavily armed PSNI and British Army personnel, on a Friday evening in June, is a recipe for disaster.”

    are you party to the ‘deal’? how do you know if there will be PSNI or army in attendance at all?

    lets give this one a chance.

  • Chris Donnelly

    I’m with Brendan on this one. If the Ardoyne Focus Group have come to a mutual arrangement with the marching orders for this parade, then it is to be welcomed.

  • frank

    Hopefully the orange order are now going to disassociate themselves from paramilitary bands and lodges.

    Will paramilitary bands such as ‘The shankill Protestant boys flute band’ & ‘The Shankill Star flute band’ now be banned from orange order marches, such as the above mentioned parade ??

    And will the loyalist pramilitary orange lodges such as the ‘Old Boyne Island Defenders’ be banned from the tour of the north parade ??

  • elfinto

    I’m certainly not advocating violence of any description. I’m merely sceptical that a march can pass off peacefully in a situation where there will be hundreds of bored teenagers around, many of whom will have been drinking, especially if it’s good weather. Like a moth drawn to a flame, the bored and drunken youth of north Belfast will turn up a spot of recreational rioting. Whatever Gerry Kelly says.

    I could of course be wrong!

  • USA

    This is obviously a positive development and hopefully the idea will catch on. (talk about slow learners).
    But could anyone explain or post a link that outlines who pays for all these marches, policing of marches etc. Is it the taxpayer, Orange Order or some other body. With around 3000 per year it must be a terrible drain on the police financial resources / manpower etc.I have been unable to establish the facts.
    Thanks in advance.

  • elfinto

    USA,

    The tax payer foots the bill. If the Orange Order had to pay contentious marches would become prohibitively expensive. All the more reason to end the charade once and for all and make the organisers of marches pay for security costs.

  • Dualta

    USA and elfinto

    If the loyal orders were required to foot the bill for the policing of their parades then the way to stop a parade would be to attack it.

    If the marchers couldn’t pay for security then they wouldn’t be able to march. Such an arrangement wouldn’t work.

  • USA

    I feel it is quite unreasonable to expect the taxpayers to foot the bill (if that indeed is the case). Is the bill paid at the local level through your “rates” system. If so then this is not too bad because the people with the most parades in their areas (Unionist areas)would be paying most of the bill…if it is their desire to express their culture in this way then they should probably pony up.
    If however, the accountability is not localised, then I feel it would be unreasonable to expect people in regions with no cultrual affiliation to help foot the bill.
    Ironically, it would seem that it is indeed those with no cultural affiliation that pay most of the bill. I say this for it is the British taxpayers who actually pay the bills as the North/NI/Ulster/Wee six etc depends heavily on subsidies from the British tax base. Perhaps when the local assembly or local councils (super councils maybe) must account for their expenditures then finances will bring a dose of reality to the debate. (Okay, so i’m not holding my breath on that one).
    PS..I believe the parades actually hinder economic development, specifically tourism. In the height of the tourist season, when people flood into the south from all over the world, the North sees an exodus of people spending money elsewhere during the “Twelth fortnight”. The pictures of violence also only serve to keep other travellers away.

  • Thir Eoghain

    The policing budget of the six counties 04/05 was £931.2 million (£900.5 million from revenue ie taxpayers and £30.7 million from capital). In contast the Northumbrian police force (similar population size as the six counties but a slightly smaller area – 2,500 square miles) budget for 04/05 was £250 million, a differnce of over £680 million…… USA is right PSNI/RUC should clearly publish the costs for policing OO marches and it should be down to the public as to whether they wish to continue funding the security for these marches and protecting OO bigots form their own intolerance….

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    frank,

    on this particular march on Friday night the O.O. have been quite clearly told what is to be allowed.
    One lodge (Ballysillan) with it’s bannerette complete with one band also from Ballysillan will be allowed to walk the route. There will be no music permitted and followers of any description will be allowed, whether these be drunken loyalists or UDA/UVF stewards (sic).

    The O.O. had on previous occasions denied that the followers had anything to do with them, on this occasion they have at least now recognised that their previous position was dishonest.

    Also these marchers have to break away from the main march and complete their journey home by 8.30pm.

    On a minor point FD is again being dishonest when he states ‘ Last year an understanding over the parade broke down when a section of the nationalist protestors attacked the parade and police which led to a cessation in cross-community talks.’ Cross community dialogue broke downv on at least half a dozen occasions right across N Belfast last year. On every occassion unionists walked away. The reasons stated at the time were; not being appreciated by the NIO/PSNI; not being able to account for spending, thus being denied funding by same NIO; tensions within the various paramilitary groups etc etc.

  • elfinto

    8.30pm? Well, everyone should be well tanked up by then. I predict a riot (unless there’s an especailly good football match on).

  • brendan,belfast

    elfinto

    i hope you are dissapointed on Friday night – it sounds as if a good od riot is just what you are looking for!

    i predict that enough good work has gone on to ensure there is no riot and that people are tired of rioting on their doorsteps. hope i am right.

  • Jo

    A very positive development, to be welcomed without equivocation or indeed the wistful hope for violence evident from some quarters.

    Lets try and break a patter where NI is the only part of the world that DOESN’T look forward to July and August.

  • fair_deal

    Pat

    1. On a slight technicality it is the Ballysilan lodges not lodge that will walk up on Friday.
    2. I am hearing different on the Ballysillan residents returning with the parade although because of this section of the parade leaving early it will be low numbers.
    3. The protest is also to be limited in size.

  • elfinto

    i hope you are dissapointed on Friday night – it sounds as if a good od riot is just what you are looking for!

    i predict that enough good work has gone on to ensure there is no riot and that people are tired of rioting on their doorsteps. hope i am right.

    I hope you’re right too!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    FD,

    technicalities aside what was agreed will probably become clearer today. The important point being dialogue has emerged as the victor.