Belfast Orange lodge to oppose Ardoyne shops parade deal
AN Orange lodge has said it will not accept a proposed deal which would see a parade past the Ardoyne shops and the dismantling of its protest camp.
The Ballysillan-based lodge has said it will reject an agreement brokered by Methodist minister Rev Harold Good and a Derry businessman in recent months.
In a statement carried on social media the lodge said “Ballysillan LOL 1891 has accepted no deal and will not be parading up the road on the first of July”.
However, sources told the Irish News that even if the Ballysillan lodge refuses to take part, the other two lodges will march with the support of the Orange Order leadership.
A press conference arranged to announce details of the plan was cancelled at short notice yesterday afternoon.
Representatives of the nationalist Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents Association (Cara) were due to meet in Ardoyne last night to brief supporters on the plan.
Under the deal three lodges and bands will be allowed to walk past nationalist homes in Ardoyne early on Friday morning - the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
In return the loyalist protest camp at Twaddell will be dismantled and the order will not apply to march past the area on their return from the main Belfast parade on the Twelfth.
The west Belfast UPRG, which gives advice to the UDA, has said it was not aware of the secret talks to broker the deal.
Violence erupted in 2013 when the Parades Commission banned Orangemen from passing the Ardoyne interface on their return from the Twelfth parade.
A loyalist protest camp was set up and almost daily protest parades have been held in the area since then.
Neither the Orange Order nor Cara has commented publicly.
It is understood that if the parade deal is to go ahead organisers will have to lodge a fresh notification with the Parades Commission.
A spokesman for Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective, which opposes the parade plan, said it will not announce any protest plans until details of the deal are revealed.
"What we will say is it has already been proven that residents can gather to observe loyal orders parades without fear of prosecution," he said.
The spokesman also denied any threat to political opponents.
"There has been speculation locally that those involved in this deal on behalf of Sinn Féin or Cara could come under physical attack,” he said.
“Garc want to make it absolutely clear we would be opposed to any action such as this.
"No resident should be under threat of attack due to how they believe the parading issue needs to be resolved."
The spokesman claimed members of Garc have also been threatened.