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Bandsmen in reported breaches at Short Strand

Saint Matthew's church in the Short Strand. Picture Matt Bohill

BANDS may have breached Parades Commission determinations at an east Belfast interface during the Twelfth demonstrations.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said yesterday that officers were investigating reported breaches during the outward and home legs of a parade on the lower Newtownards Road close to St Matthew's Catholic Church at the mainly nationalist Short Strand.

Band members have been previously been prosecuted for playing loyalist music outside St Matthew's, in an area which has seen violence during previous marching seasons.

Sinn Féin councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile said he understood the latest breaches were mainly linked to the music played.

"We had asked for a single drum beat but the Parades Commission said hymn music could be played," he said.

"Bands were heard playing The Sash and other tunes. I believe that they played the Famine Song, certainly in the morning and possibly in the evening too."

Several bands also breached a ruling not to play music outside St Patrick's Church in Belfast city centre on Monday morning.

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