Proposed parade ‘an infringement of rights’ – PC

By Evan Short

Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association have welcomed a hard hitting Parades Commission determination on Sunday’s Orange Order ‘Covenant Parade’ that has been banned from passing Catholic homes on the Crumlin Road at Ardoyne.

The Orange Order had applied for the parade to mark the signing of the Ulster Covenant in 1912 – a parade that had never taken place before -drawing criticism from nationalist politicians and local residents.

But they have since withdrawn their application, and blasted the Commission for ignoring their rights.

In the determination – a more detailed dispatch than previous publications – the Parades Commission address a number of arguments put forward by the Orange Order regarding the Ardoyne parade.

They said while the Orange Order put no representation forward, they decided to look at representation offered ahead of this year’s July 12 parade along the same route.

The Parades Commission say that a central part of the representation was that the parade only took “six minutes” to pass the homes – an argument the Orange Order “reinforced” though six minutes stoppages at the main 12th of July parades.

But the Commission said this argument reduced the parading issue to “a simplistic matter which ignores the interface nature of the route and the hinterland of divided communities which live behind it.”

It continues; “It also ignores the historic challenges of parading in the area, and the traumatic past events occurring along this stretch of road.”

In relation to Sunday’s parade, the Commission said that the aim of the parade “could readily be satisfied by choosing an alternative route or location which is not controversial.”

‘The Commission finds too that the stated purpose of the parade does not justify the chosen route. On the balance of competing rights, the Commission finds that this parade represents an infringement of another community’s rights.”

The lack of engagement by the Orange Order with residents groups is also referenced.

CARA spokesman Joe Marley said they agreed with the arguments.

“CARA welcomes the Parades Commission’s determination with regards to the 28th, it was the only logical decision that could have been made.

“We concur with some of the issues highlighted in the determination and again we are calling on the Orange to reengage with local residents. Local dialogue is always the preferred option.”

An Orange Order statement criticised the Parades Commission.

“In light of another inexplicable determination from the discredited Parades Commission, the rationale for which goes way beyond its brief and role, No1 District LOL has decided to cancel its service of thanksgiving for the Ulster Covenant on Sunday 28 September 2014.”

It said the determination made “No mention of the rights of those on parade; no mention of the rights of the local Unionist population (and) no mention of the impact of the parade not taking place will have on community relations.”

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