Northern Ireland news

Loyalist flute band appears to breach Parades Commission determination on playing music outside St Patrick's Catholic Church

A women's band from the Shankill appeared to breach the Parades Commission determination on playing music outside St Patrick's Catholic Church in Donegall Street. Picture by Cool FM/Damien Edgar
John Monaghan

A LOYALIST flute band appears to have breached a Parades Commission determination on playing music outside a Catholic Church in Belfast.

Although the vast majority observed the ruling, footage shared online shows a women's band from Shankill Road `striking up' just outside the door of St Patrick's on Donegall Street.

St Patrick's had become a flashpoint after a loyalist band from the Shankill area was filmed playing a sectarian tune while wheeling around the front of the church in 2013.

In recent years, the Parades Commission imposed a 'single drum beat on a single side drum' restriction on bands passing.

A spokesman said it was a matter for the police to investigate any breach of a determination adding the commission "does not comment on alleged breaches".

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said police were aware of a number of alleged breaches of parade determinations.

"Evidence gathering is deployed as part of our core policing operation and we will consider this evidence in the days ahead," he said.

"Where breaches are identified, they will be investigated thoroughly and reported to PPS for consideration of prosecution."

Meanwhile, an Orange Order feeder parade in north Belfast passed off peacefully yesterday.

A few hundred Orangemen and several bands marched past Ardoyne shops without incident at around 9am.

There was a low-key police presence as Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly, SDLP MLA Nichola Mallon and Fr Gary Donegan looked on.

The early morning procession along Crumlin Road once sparked riots following its evening return, amid a dispute with nationalist residents.

A Parades Commission ruling in 2013 led to the banning of an Orange march on July 12 returning past the interface on Crumlin Road.

Violence erupted afterwards and the Twaddell protest camp was formed, with loyalists vowing to maintain the protest until the lodges completed what they considered to be a traditional route.

In 2015, during a return parade, a car was driven into a crowd of pedestrians at the Ardoyne shop fronts by Orangeman John Aughey.

Following an agreement between the Orange Order and the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association in 2016, the Twaddell protest camp - which cost more than £20 million to police - was dismantled and the Ligoniel Orange Lodges were allowed to make their return march along Crumlin Road.

Last year, the march passed off unopposed by nationalists for the first time in almost two decades.

SDLP North Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon said yesterday: "Delighted to see the parade pass off peacefully this morning. Credit to residents and those involved in the parade."

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