Focus on Orange Order's north Belfast parade following failure of 'graduated response'

Nightly marches to police lines at Twaddell have backfired spectacularly on loyalists

There was no real surprise at the Parades Commission's determination on the controversial Ardoyne parade, which for the third year running has been banned from marching the return leg of the route past the north Belfast interface.

There has been no progress politically in the last 12 months and the foolish move to retain a protest camp at the Twaddell interface - at great cost to an already stretched policing budget - has backfired spectacularly.

In 2013 I stood with along other journalists in the middle of a mass riot as Orangemen, bandsmen and supporters attacked police lines, violent outrage that the parade was stopped at Woodvale. The violence lasted well into the early hours of the morning, DUP MP for the area Nigel Dodds was rushed to hospital with a head injury after being hit with a piece of masonry.

Those ugly scenes were far removed from the peaceful protest of 2014 when the unionist promise of a 'graduated response' helped ease tensions.

One year on and the graduated response has achieved nothing of any substance, other than to make north Belfast loyalists feel they were hoodwinked by their own political representatives.

Exactly how the parades commission determination will play out this year remains to be seen. The 'hawks' within loyalism will no doubt exploit the ruling to pursue the growing anti agreement agenda currently gaining traction within sections of hard line unionism.

The question is what now for the Orange Order?

While the ruling was predictable the loyalist response - as we have seen over the last two years - is not.

All eyes will be on north Belfast in the lead up to Monday's parade.


Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope:  

301 Moved Permanently

Moved Permanently

The document has moved here.