Police to probe Twelfth parade breaches

By Gemma Burns

A file is being prepared by the PSNI detailing the breaches of the Parades Commission’s rulings on this year’s Twelfth parade in Ardoyne.

A spokesman for the PSNI confirmed to the North Belfast News that they are in the process of preparing the file to send to the Public Prosecution Service who will then decide whether or not to prosecute the organisers of the parade.

The Parades Commission had ruled in July that the Orange Order parade could go past nationalist homes in Ardoyne, however no music including a drum beat was to be played, that flags must remain furled and no bannerettes on show at that stage of the march. After an eleventh hour U-turn the commission ruled the day before the contentious parade that the only flag that could remain unfurled was the Union Jack, but all other flags must not be flying freely. However during the morning parade a drumbeat was used and a massive banner saying ‘Republicanism = Cultural Apartheid’ led the parade and on the return parade a bannerette was used and an Ulster flag and Orange Order flag was flying.

Last month a Parades Commission spokesman confirmed they viewed the actions as a breach of their ruling. Now the PSNI is to hand over the file to the PPS.

A PSNI spokesman said they also have prepared a report for the Parades Commission for their consideration.

“A report has been completed and has been forwarded to the Parades Commission relating to all of the issues around parades this summer, including concerns raised with Police regarding potential breaches of Parades Commission determinations,” he said. “A file is being prepared and will be forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service for their direction.”

A spokesman for the Parades Commission confirmed they have received the report from the PSNI and will take its contents into account when making decisions on future parades in the area.

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