A PRIEST on Wednsday night said he hoped the judgment in the case of 13 (unlucky for sum number) loyalist bandsmen who played a sectarian tune outside his Belfast Catholic Church would send a clear message for future parades.
Three members of the Young Conway Volunteers ( a band allinged to the morden day UVF) on Wednsday 29th April received suspended jail sentences after being filmed playing the Famine Song while marching in a circle outside St Patrick’s Church in July 2012. Ten others were bound over to keep the peace, and £300 in fines were imposed on all but two of the accused. District Judge Paul Copeland told them: ” This was outrageous and inflammatory behaviour, which could have precipitated serious public disorder.” St Patrick’s parish priest Fr Michael Sheehan, said he “noted the very clear judgement” and hoped “this will add clarity for future bands and to future determinations by the Parades Commisssion”. “Again I encocourage all to follow and adhere to the determinations in contentious parades.” Shame Fein councillor JJ Magee, who recorded the footage of the band, said the convictons “send out a clear message that sectarianism will not be tolerated”. However, a TUV councillor described the news as “disgusting” and offered to pay part of the fine imposed on one loyalist. The bandsmen had fought a charge of ‘doing a provocative act likely to cause public disorder or a breach of the peace’. They denied playing the Famine Song – including the line ‘The famine’s over, why don’t you go home?’ – claiming instead to have been performing the Beach Boys hit Sloop John B. Convicted were: Aaron McCory (29) of Argyle Court; Alan Adlam (42) from Dewey Street; Christopher McKay (24) of Wallasey Park; Bryan Green (27) of Canmore Court; Stephen Smyth (22) from Tennent Streeet; William Carlisle (30) from Ainsworth Avenue; Jonathan Airdrie (25) of Columbia Street; Paul Shaw (35) of Geoffrey Street; Thomas Gibney (36) from Lawnbrook Avenue – all in Belfast – and Ryan Aitcheson (28) of Ravelston Avenue in Newtownabbey. Charges were also brought against three other youths. Defence lawyers played songs by a Swedish folk singer, a Star Trek enthusiast and football fan chants – all to the same tune – in a bid to have their clients cleared. Paul Shaw, band leader on the day, said they had been forced to stop outside St Patrick’s due to a break in the July 12th parade and started up the Beach Boys to ward off lethargy amoung members tired from the previous night. He revealed that he later penned a letter to Catholic parishioners “to explain the band in no way had intention to cause any upset to anybody”. However, Judge Copeland said it was “a studied and deliberate piece of conduct which involved their playing and marching (pictued above outside St Patrick’s) not just past this church, but deliberately remaining within feet of the doorstep”. He added that the Famine Song has entered into the “repertoire” of loyalist band music and had the potential “as an anthem of sectarian abuse at least, or, at worst, racial hatred”. Five-month prison sentences, suspended for two years, were imposed on McCrory, McKay and Airdrie. The other 10 were each bound over to keep the peace for the next two years. A lawyer for Shaw and one of the teenagers confirmed their intention to appeal the verdict.
Shame Fein councillor welcomes convictions of bandsmen
Mr Magee shot damning footage of the band walking in circles while playing the controversial song – previously judged to be racist by a Scotish court – during a July 12 march. The episode sparked one of the most bitter parades disputes across the North of Ireland in recent years as well as bringing the Famine Song to wider attention. The hate-filled tune was also at the centre of controversy recently after Bangor Protestant Boys played it within earshot of St Patrick’s Church during an Apprentice Boys parade on Easter Monday. While loyal order marches past the city centre church and nearby nationalist Carrick Hill district have been contentious down the years, the event outside St Patrick’s Church in 2012 dramatically raised tensions and provoked protests by residents which have continued since. Based on the loyalist Shankill Road, the Young Conway Volunteers band was formed in 2007 for the “preservation and promotion” of the memory of Thomas Kinner – a member of the UVF youth wing, the Young Citizen Volunteers, who died in 2003. At the time unionist politicians defended the band including former DUP minister Nelson McCausland, who described their actions as “naive”. Shame Fein accused Mr McCausland and North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds of being “in close proximity” to the bandsmen but failing to intervene. The band was at the centre of more controversy weeks later when it defied a Parades Commission ruling not to take part in Royal Black Institution march past St Patrick’s Church. Prior to the August parade First Minister Peter (the lock keeper got it in) Robinson was one of several unionist politicians and band members who signed an open letter to then Secretary of State Owen Patterson complaining about the YCV ban and warning of possible violence. The letter called Mr Patterson a ‘Pontius Pilate’ and urged him to disband the Parades Commission, accusing it of making “a monstrous determination that defies logic and natural justice”. The Royal Black Institution later apologised to clergy and parishioners of St Patrick’s Church after bands defied commission rulings on music and trouble broke out, leaving seven police officers injured. Tensions have remained high during subsequent marches past the church, with protesters claiming bands have continued to breach determinations. Last year 17 members of the YCV band were cleared of breaching a commission determination relating to the August parade after a judge ruled it could not be proved they knew anything about the ruling. Two ‘Pride of Ardoyne’ drummers were also cleared of knowingly breaching restrictions afer citing eyesight and reading limitations for not seeing signs warning to play a single drumbeat. Questions were then asked of the legal system when, weeks later, six members of the Constable Anderson Memorial Band from Larne in Co Antrim were convicted of flouting a Parades Commission ruling not to play music outside St Patrick’s Church during the same parade. In April last year 11 members of Dunmurry Protestant Boys were acquitted of provocatively playing a sectarian tune outside the church during an Apprentice Boys parade in November 2012. They had denied striking up the Famine Song, claiming instead they were playing the Beach Boys’ Sloop john B, which uses the same air. A judge threw the case out on the basis that it could not be proven that a breach of the peace (one law for Protestants another for Catholics) was either intended or likely. But later that month the most senior member of the Royal Black Institution in Belfast was one of five members of the organisation convicted of knowingly breaching a ban on loyalist bands playing music outside St Patrick’s Church. William Mawhinney was also the Orange Order’s Belfast county secretary and has played a central part in demonstrations connected to the loyalist protest camp in the Twaddell area close to Ardoyne in North Belfast. Meanwhile, in 2013 William Bell (48), known as Billy, admitted assaulting JJ Magee during the July 2012 parade as it past Saint Patrick’s Church in North Belfast. Bell waved a club-shaped stick at the Shame Fein member, who has since been elected to Belfast City Council, as he was filming the band outside the church. Mr Magee welcomed the latest convictions on Wednsday night. “It sends out a clear message that sectarianism will not be tolerated,” he said. “Time and time again bands stick two fingers up to the parishioners of St Patrick’s Church. He also called on the Orange Order, which to date has refused to meet Carrick Hill residents, to enter into talks. The Orange Order, which hires these bands, claims it wants respect for its expression of culture but they need to realise that respect is a two-way street,” he said. A spokesman for the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast said: “As the ruling is the subject of a possible appeal it would be inappropiate to comment.” The DUP’s Nelson McCausland meanwhile said he was “appalled” at a decision to not prosecute a band called The Druids who were accused of making anti-British army remarks during last year’s Ardoyne Fleadh. He said it was ,” Ironic that this decision has been revealed on the same day” as the YCV band members were convicted.
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News, for the origional story.
Politician offers to help pay court
A TUV politician has offered to help pay the court fine handed down to one of the bandsmen convicted on Wednsday April 29th.
Jolene Bunting, Belfast’s only a TUV councillor, said she would pay part of the £300 fine imposed on Christopher McKay. McKay, of Wallasey Park in North Belfast, was one of three bandsmen given a five-month prison sentence suspended for two years. Shortly after the court hearing, the 24-year-old expressed his anger over the sentence on Facebook. Replaying to his message, Ms Bunting wrote: “Absolutely disgusting, there was NOT illegal about what the band done (sic). I will give you a couple of pound towarwards your fine Chrissy.” However, McKay told the councillor that a financial contribution was unnecessary. “No mate its sweet ill get it paid chum iv 10 weeks mate,”he wrote. A number of Facebook friends also showed their support for the defendent and criticised the court decision. McKay described it as “shockin like cuz were prods”. Last year Ms Bunting apologised for sectarian comments she made online in 2011 about Catholics. The councillor, aged in her early twenties, had been heavily criticised for the remarks after being elected to the new Belfast super council. One message read: “I’m so sick of the poor Catholic bastards they make me sick.” Ms Bunting adimitted what she wrote was “wrong” – but said she didn’t regret the content, “I do not want to appologise for the innocent people in the Court ward who I offended by using the word Catholic when I ment republicans,” she said.
With many thanks to: Brendan Hughes, The Irish News, For the orgional story.
RIOT police swamped a banned loyalist parade on Saturday morning in pouring rain
Up to 200 cops in jeeps placed a ring of steel around the Ardoyne shops interface where more than 100 Orangemen wanted to march. The Orangemen saw this as a parade of ‘unfinished business’. They were banned by the Parades Commission from marching what they believe is their ‘traditional route’ past the Ardoyne interface last Twelfth of July. Rioting erupted then. But there was a stark contrast to that at breakfast time on Saturday. The Orangemen, and their supporters – about 200 – marched up to police lines, played a few tunes, and then, drenched, they dispersed. On Saturday night, the organisers of the protest parade, who were joined by about a score of supporters from the nearby Twaddell ‘Human Rights’ camp, pictured above, denied that the parade in pouring rain was a ‘damp squib’. There have been several applications from bands to complete the march, which was due to go past a nationalist area, but all were turned down by the Parades Commission after violent clashes last summer. At 9am on Saturday morning, bands made their way to the heavily policed lines. Scores of riot squad jeeps were lined up around the flashpoint Ardoyne roundabout and in streets nearby. But the bandsmen left the flashpoint at around 9.20am, long before the Parades Commission deadline of 10am for them to leave.
With many thanks to: Jamie McDowell, Sunday World.
Law what fucking law? They make it up as they go along!!!!
‘They should in fact be thoroughly investigating this with a view to a prosecution. Who else is going to do it? Who else is going to uphold the law? – Alban Maginness
POLICE have been accused of “ignoring” a loyalist parade application form which failed to properly identity the organisers. The commission last night confirmed it has “referred” the matter to the PSNI/RUC. However, when contacted, poNorthern st night refused to say if they have started an investigation.
The Irish News revealed yesterday that the Parades Commission has given the controversial parade the ggo-ahead, despite the application form being incomplete. Loyal Peaceful Protesters say 10,000 people and 30 bands could take part in the parade through Belfast city centre on Saturday January 11. Business leaders and politicians have urged organisers to call off. Under the law (in the North of Ireland), the organiser should have filled out and signed an 11-1 form which is handed in to a local police station. A section of that form is then filled out by a police officer (with a rank of no lower than a sargent or higher) and forwarded to the Parades Commission for consideration. However, the form was signed by the “organising committee” rather than an individual (which it an illegal act). A spokesman for the Parades Commission said: “Under the Public Processions Act (1998) an offence may have been committed if the name and address of the person organising the event has not been provided. As this is potentially a criminal matter the issue has been referred to the PSNI. “With regard to this proposed event, the commission considered that it had sufficent information to make a determination,” he said. SDLP justice spokeman Alban Maginness accused the police of “ignoring this issue” and described their response as “wrong.” “They should in fact be thoroughly investigating this with a veiw to a prosecution if in fact an offence has taken place. “Who else is going to do it? Who else is going to uphold the law?
“It’s not the Parades Commission’s job and the Public Prosecution Service can’t act without necessary evidence coming from the PSNI.” The North Belfast MLA said he was disappointed by the police response. “It dosn’t encourage me that the police are adopting this attitude which seems to me to be ignoring the real issue that arises here (two teir policing). “I would hope that the police will look at this again and address the issue properly.” Similar marches through Belfast in September and November broke the law after Parades Commission rulings were ignored by oranisers. sked if they were going to investigate the lack of a name on the form, a spokesman for the PSNI/RUC would only say: “In relation to the Parades Commission determination for a notified public procession on Saturday 11 January 2014, the PSNI will deploy evidence gatherers and similar to other public processions, where breaches of the determination occur these will be investigated. The role of the Police Service of Northern Ireland under the Public Processions (Nortern Ireland) Act 1998 is to receive the ‘Notice Of Intention To Organise A Public Procession’ and forward it onto the Parades Commission.”
10,000 supporters expected says group
‘Continually organising parades is not going to advance any cause – Glyn Roberts.
LOYALISTS are to hold a mass parade down Belfast’s main shopping thoroughfare for the third time in four months. The first major loyalist march of 2014 comes days after talks held by senior US diplomat Richard Haass failed to reach aggreement on parades, flags and the past.
The Irish News can also reveal that the organisers, who say 10,000 people will attend, have been given Parades Commission perAlban despite their application form being incomplete. The form was signed by the ‘organising committee’ rather than an individual. Following a similar parade along Donegal Place and Royal Avenue in November, the organiser John ‘Dougie’ Lanigan (pictured officeron right) was questioned by police in “connection with a breach of a Parades Commission determination”. He was later released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service. Business leaders and nationalist politicians are concerned that a third city-centre parade to take place on Saturday of next week. Similar parades took place last September and November. Both broke the law after organisers ignored commission rulings. Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Northern Ireland Independant Retail Trade Association, urged loyalists to reconsider the tactic of holding such protests. “I would urge anybody considering parades to give the city centre a break,” he said. “I don’t think it’s very helpful. The people behind the parades could have their voices heard in the process. Continually organising parades is not going to advance any cause.” The organisers say the parade has been arranged to highlight “PSNI brutality, loyalist prisoners, the flag, civil rights and political policing”.
The latest parade, will take place on Saturday January 11, is to leave Belfast City Hall before passing through Donegal Place and up Royal Avenue – Belfast’s busiest shopping street. It will then make its way through the Shankill area before ending at Ballysillan Leisure Centre Car Park which is owned by Belfast City Council. Organisers wanted to start at 1pm, however, in one of its last acts the outgoing Parades Commission ruled it must be clear of Royal Avenue/North Street junction by 12.30. A spokesman for the council last night confirmed that it has not received any requests for the use of the leisure centre car park. Chief executive of the Northern Ireland Retail Trade Association Glyn Roberts said: “January is a key time in the retail calender. “I would hope if this parade is going ahead they should aim to be clear at the start of lunch time and it goes without saying keep it peaceful.” Mr Roberts said it was “disappointing with Haass” and urged loyalists to reconsider the tactic of holding city centre protests. “I would urge anybody considering parades to give the city centre a break,” he said. “I don’t think it’s very helpful…. Continually organising parades is not going to advance any cause.” North Belfast SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness slammed the latest parade plan. “It’s the same old thing that happened in 2013 and they are trying to repeat it in 2014 and I think that it is, to say the least, reprehensible and it’s certinly not going to lead to a resolution of any problems to do with parades,” he said. “As I said before they have made their point and there’s no value in them proceeding with such parades or demonstrations this year as it’s not going to go anywhere.” North Belfast Shame Fein councillor Gerard McCabe has called for the parade to be called off. “I would urge the organisers of this parade to rethink their position in order to give the political parties who are still considering the Haass proposals in an effort to reach a resolution to the remaining difficulties,” he said.
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.
Organiser fails to sign form
PARADING law needs to be “urgently reviewed” after it emerged the organiser of a loyalist parade planned for Belfast next weekend failed to sign a form given notice of the event.
Despite this the Parades Commission has given the go-ahead for up to 10,000 loyalists and 30 bands to march through Belfast city centre on January 11. Under the law organisers of parades are required to fill out an 11-1 form at a police station which is passed on to the Parades Commission for consideration. It emerged last night that the 11-1 form for next week’s Loyal Peaceful Protesters parade through Belfast city centre has been signed by the ‘organising committee’ rather than an individual. In it’s determination for the march the Parades Commission noted that “the declaration and signature of the organiser is not that of a person but that of the organising committee”. The commission has referred the matter to the PSNI,” it said. A section of the 11-1 form must also be filled out by a police officer not below the rank of sergeant.
when contacted a spokesman for the PSNI said it was a matter for the Parades Commission. The development comes just weeks after both the PSNI and Parades Commission refused to publish the names of parade organisers for “data protection” reasons. Last month Antrim man John ‘Dougie’ Lanigan was questioned by police after a Parades Commission ruling was broken during Loyal Peaceful Protester parade through Belfast city centre in November. He was later released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service. North Belfast SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness said: “By putting down the name of the organisation they are avoiding and evading any personal legal liability. “What this highlights is a weakness in the law in relation to the identification of the individuals personally responsible for organising parades as opposed to an organisation collective responsibility. “The whole area of parading law needs to be urgently reveiwed because it seems to me there are gaps in the law.”
With many thanks to: Connla Young,The Irish News.
LOYALIST (half wit) flags protester Willie Frazer completed his ‘charity bed push’ yesterday – without a bed. The victims’ campaigner was joined by about 20 people as they walked through North Belfast.
Mr Frazer plans to hold illegal parades without notifying the Parades Commission. He says he has been left with no choice. The 53-year-old, who faces charges in relation to flag protests, wanted to raise funds for victims to travel to Libya as part of a legal case over the former regime’s support for the IRA. However, the commission noted that no street collection permit had been applied for by the organiser and it would therefore be illegal for money to be collected along the route. The commission banned the walk from passing Ardoyne. Instead it stopped at Hesketh Road. Police attended to ensure that the event obeyed the ruling. Mr Frazer said the bed push had been turned into a political event by the commission. “It was an opportunity for them to deal with a charity event in the right way but they didn’t do that and that’s why we didn’t bring the bed – we’ll do that when we do our walk properly,” he said. “Their mindset is that if you’re a Protestant and you have a cause, they will defy you. “We’re not going to give any more pre-warnings. There’s no point. We’re just going to turn up in places where it will be controversial.
- Willie Frazer seeks legal advice over ‘bed push’ plans (newsletter.co.uk)
- Commission Puts Brakes on Frazer Bed Push in Belfast (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- Loyalist campaigner Frazer arrested (bbc.co.uk)
- Flag protester Willie Frazer will dress as Abu Hamza for court date (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Video: Willie Frazer and Ruth Patterson at loyalist march (newsletter.co.uk)
A FLUTE band played music outside a Catholic church in “a concerted act of defiance” at parading restrictions, a court heard on Monday. Fists were pumped in the air as Pride of Ardoyne passed St Patrick’s Church in Donegall Street, North Belfast, prosecutors claimed.
A judge was told of the alleged demeanor and behaviour of some as two drummers denied a charge of knowingly flouting a condition imposed by the Parades Commission. Co Down man Thomas Beresford, was sentenced to three months for the offence during last year’s Ulster Covenant centenary parade. On Mr Michael Cosby and Richard Dunn insisted they were unaware that only a single drum beat was to be played on the contentious stretch of their route along Donegal Street. Eyesight and reading limitations formed part of the defence case. Their case, in which the verdict was reserved, comes less than a week after a bandsman was jailed for flouting a Parades Commission determination by playing sectarian tunes while passing St Matthew’s Catholic Church in East Belfast. Mr Cosby (51) of Wheatfield Drive, and Mr Dunn (26) from Alliance Road – both in Belfast – are jointly accused of failing to comply with the determination in August last year. The alleged breach occured as their band made its way into the city centre during the Royal Black Institution parade. Belfast Magistrates Court heard police had put signs along the route and on Land Rovers warning of the restriction.
The band appeared to be playing The Dambusters tune as it passed the Catholic church. CCTV footage of the incident also showed protesters holding a banner stating: “Respect St Patrick’s Church”. John O’Neill QC, prosecuting, argued that band members should have realised from the signs and conter-demonstration that it was not an ordinary situation. Dealing with the demeanour of some of those in and following Pride of Ardoyne, he said: “There are fists being pumped in the air and there are shouts at the crowd. “The prosecution suggest this isn’t a band innocently and accidentally playing music they shouldn’t. “Rather, it’s a concerted act of defiance.” He acknowledged, however, that neither defendant was seen pumping their fists. Both men insisted they were never told of the single drumbeat condition and spotted no notifications. Mr Cosby, a bass drummer who has been in the band for 35 years, told the court he only had vision in one eye. “I just didn’t see the signs,” he said. “I wasn’t told on the day about the determination.” Mr Dunn, a side drummer who joined Pride of Ardoyne 21 years ago, was just as adamant. As part of his defence he said his focus was on his two children parading directly in front of him. His limited reading abilities were also cited. “I can read but not great. The wife helps the kids with homeworks,” he said. Keith Gamble, defending, argued that neither of his clients had a case to answer. “It should be for the prosecution to prove that the defendant knowingly failed to comply,” he said. “It’s not enough to say we put signs up and they should have seen the signs.” However, District Judge Amanda Henderson refused the defence attempt to have the case thrown out. She will study the CCTV footage again before giving her verdict later this month.
With thanks to: The Irish News.
‘If I am prosecuted I intend to defend any charge against me – John Lanigan.
One of the organisers of a mass loyalist protest through Belfast City Centre has accused the Parades Commission and the PSNI/RUC of attempting to “influence” the prosecution service to bring a case against him. Ex-British armed forces soldier, John Lanigan was identified as the organiser of the December 2 Loyal Peoples Protest parade where an application was made for 10,000 supporters and 40 bands, to march along Royal Avenue on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
In the end just over 1,000 people attended the march. Two police officers were injured in scuffles in North Belfast as protesters were trying to force an illegel march past the Ardoyne shops on their return journey home from the city centre parade. Protesters also flouted a commission determination by remaining at the city hall for over an hour after the area should have been cleared while there were other further breaches of the ruling. Despite repeated calls for the parade’s applicant to be named and identified, the Parades Commission and the police had refused to reveal who had signed the parade application. Lanigan’s identity was subsequently revealed by The Irish News. However, on Monday he hit out claiming that elements of the media, the PSNI/RUC and Parades Commission were putting out “incorrect and misleading” information about him, although he did not say what this was. He further claimed his computer has been “hecked” and accused police and the Parades Commission of making statements that were a “transparent attempt to influence and put pressure on the PPS to prosecute” him.
In a statement released through his solicitor Mr Lanigan, who is orginally from Belfast but lives in Antrim, said he would make complaints to both the Police Ombudsman and the Press Complaints Commission about his alleged treatment. Mr Lanigan also said his picture has appeared on republican websites and claimed he had received threats. “As a result of this parade I have been vilified in the local media,” he said. “I cooperated with police at all times. I was very anxious that there would be no trouble at the parade and thankfully, the parade passed off peacefully”. He added: “If I am prosecuted I intend to defend any charge against me. I have since had my photograph published, both in newspapers and social media websites, as well as republican websites. “I have received threats against me and I consider these threats to be against both my life and my family’s lives. “I beleive that my personal computer was has been hecked into, as well as my private page on social media. “I have instructed my solicitor to issue complaints to both the police ombudsman and the Press Complaints Commission and take any other action to defend both my privacy and incorrect reports about me, as well as hoping to ensure there is no further unwelome instruction (sic) into my private life”.
‘My problem was never with the traders. We never set out to target trade – Jamie Bryson.
Sandy Row Orange Lodge announced last night that it had taken a decision to postpone a parade through Belfast city centre this Saturday. In a statement, it said the decision was taken “after listening to city centre traders and the local community; and in light of the heightened level of security due to Republican terrorism”. It said it beleived a further parade “at this time through the city centre would not be in the interests of our fellow citizens and therefore as an act of goodwill in this Christmas season we have decided to postpone the parade until early in the New Year”. “The Parades Commission again sought to criminalise Unionists by their determinaton; however, we will not fall into their trap. When we next notify to parade the current Commission will thankfully be gone,” it said. “The support for our Ligoniel brethren remains resolute and indeed we would continue to encourage our members and friends to support the ongoing protest and parades at Camp Twaddell and the Woodvale Road.”
Meanwhile, a loyalist parade planned for Bangor on December 21 has also been postponed until the new year after traders met with organisers. Last month prominent flag prostester Jamie Bryson, revealed plans to bring 2,500 people and 14 bands through the seaside town on the last Saturday before Christmas and one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Oganised by the North Down Ards branch of the Ulster People’s Forum (UPF), the parade was intended to highlight complaints against the PSNI by loyalists and protest at the decision by Belfast City Council to restrict the flying of the Union Flag at City Hall a year ago. The Bangor parade was called off after talks beween local traders and organisers last week during which local business people voiced their fears that trade would be hit “during such a sensitive and fragile trading period”. President of Bangor Chamber of Commerce, Ken Sharp, said had the parade gone ahead the impact would have been “immeasurable”. “The chamber beleives in engaging with as many parts of the wider Bangor community as possible to work togeather for the improvement of Bangor through investment, trade and jobs.” Flag protester Jamie Bryson said the disputed parade will take place early in the new year. “My problem was never with the traders. We never set out to target trade,” he said.
With many thanks to: Connla Young and Marie Louise McCrory, The Irish News.
Parades body criticised over lack of restrictions!
NATIONALISTS have accused a loyalist band of playing “sectarian” music during an Apprentice Boys parade past a North Belfast flashpoint. Carrick Hill residents said The Sash and Derry’s Walls were played as bandmen passed the nationalist district on Saturday evening.
They also said that minutes earlier the band played music while passing nearby St Patrick‘s Church on Donegall Street as Apprentice Boys made their way home from the annual Lundy parade in Derry. Nationalist residents were critical of the Parades Commission after it failed to restrict the playing of music in the area. In the past loyalst bands have played sectarian music as they passed both the church and Carrick Hill. Locals last night said that up to 50 Apprentice Boys and one band passed St Patrick’s as parishioners were making their way into church for Mass. Carrick Hill Concerned Residents’ Group spokesman Frank Dempsey critiicised the Parades Commission for not placing restrictions. “The Parades Commission sent a band down here knowing well Mass was on and they put no restrictions on the music,” he said. Police last night confirmed that an 18-year-old man was arrested for disorderly behaviour and resisting police at Cliftion Street during the parade and later charged. He is expected to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on January 3.
In North Belfast two nationalist residents groups called off protests during an Apprentice Boys feeder parade past Ardoyne on Saturday. One band and up to 115 people took part in the march past the flashpoint. Tensions in the area have been high since the Parades Commission banned Orangemen from passing the nationalist district as they made their way home from their annual Twelfth celebrations in July. A loyalist protest camp has been set up on nearby wasteground while nightly parades are held in the area. Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) spokesman Dee Fennell said they suspended plans for a protest “to reduce tension, give traders respite and reduce disruption” in the area. Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents’ Association (CARA) spokesman Joe Marley said their protest was called off as a “gesture of goodwill”. Meanwhile, up to 3,000 poeple and 31 bands took part in the main Apprentice Boys parade in Derry on Saturday commemorating the 17th century siege of the city. It passed off without incident and was described as a success. An Apprentice Boys feeder parade in Castlederg, Co Tyrone, also passed off peacefully. Meanwhile, Parades Commission chairman Peter Osborne has accused some politicians in the north of providing bad leadership. He was speaking after an illegal loyalist parade was held through Belfast city centre on November 30. Police confirmed last week that the organiser of the parade had been interveiwed and would be prosecuted, while The Irish News also revealed that a bandsman involved in a march past St Matthew’s Church in East Belfast last year has become the first person to be given a jail term for breaching a Parades Commission ruling. “I am not happy that anybody is being posecuted for parades-related offences and other offences that will have a hugely detrimental impact on their life,” he told the BBC. “I think there’s some bad leadership in the North of Ireland at the minute, the result of which there are a lot of young people being arrested and prosecuted and have criminal records when they really don’t need to have.”
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.
‘It seems some are more equal than others in Castlederg in the eyes of the Parades Commission – Ruairi McHugh.
SINN Fein has hit out at the Parades Commission after it ruled an Apprentice Boys parade could march through a nationalist area of Castlederg this weekend.
The Apprentice Boys will march through the Co Tyrone town on Saturday morning and evening. The commission placed restrictions on the evening parade, preventing it from marching through Priest’s Lane, Ferguson Crescent, Killeter Road and Alexander Park. But the commission has allowed the morning parade to move through the predominantly nationalist Ferguson Crescent area. The feeder parades are part of the annual Lundy’s Day parade in Derry on Saturday. Around 2,500 Apprentice Boys are expected to take part in the Derry parade. There have been heightened community tensions in Castlederg following several loyalist parades and a controversial republican commemoration over the summer. Sinn Fein Castlederg councillor Ruairi Mc Hugh said it is the first time a loyalist march has been allowed to pass through Ferguson Crescent,without restrictions, since 2006. He accused the commission of “double standards”. “There has been upwards of 20 unionist parades of one type or another in Castlederg this year alone, which is totally disproportionate given the demographics of the town,” he said. Mr McHugh said as far as he was aware, the parade’s organisers had not attempted to consult with people in Ferguson Cerscent about the march. This determination stands in stark contrast to the sole Republician commemoration this year in August which the commission blocked from even entering our own town centre, which made a mockery of the town centre being a shared space for all the communities in Castlederg,” he said. “It seems some are more equal in Castlederg in the eyes of the Parades Commission.”
- Parade organiser named (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Uup: Dup and Sinn Fein in Reverse Over Parades Dispute (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- Sinn Fein Haass paper calls for truth commission (newsletter.co.uk)
- Sinn Fein must rethink demands for Richard Haass deal to work, says DUP (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Sinn Fein accused of ‘bad faith’ over publishing paper on its submissions to envoy Richard Haass (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)