Northern Ireland

Orange Order offers to move planned north Belfast parade by a day

Trouble has flared at the notorious flashpoint in previous years

Colm Lenahghan portfolio
Trouble has erupted during Orange Order parades through north Belfast in previous years

The Orange Order has offered to delay a contentious Twelfth parade past a nationalist area in north Belfast by a day.

Concerns were raised earlier this month after it emerged that Ligoniel Loyal Order notified the Parades Commission of its intention to parade past the Ardoyne, Mountainview and Dales area on July 12.

The planned parade is expected to include one band and up to 90 participants.

Violence has erupted in the past after Twelfth of July parades were blocked from passing through the area resulting in a loyalist protest camp being set up in Twaddell Avenue in 2013.

In 2016 an agreement saw a voluntary moratorium placed on future return parades, and as a result, the 2017 march took place without protest from Ardoyne residents for the first time in almost two decades.

Greater Ardoyne Residents’ Collective (GARC) and Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA) are opposed to the return parade.

In a statement the Orange Order said the Parades Commission has been notified about a proposed return parade on the morning of July 13 - a day after the outward journey.

They say the decision was taken “after careful consideration, and a period of intensive consultation involving the Orange Institution, the local community and political representatives, we are announcing an initiative aimed at resolving the outstanding differences around parading on the Crumlin Road”.

The statement added that this “magnanimous and serious effort underscores our commitment to finding a fair, peaceful and lasting solution”.

“It addresses the concerns raised by all parties involved in the dispute and ensures that the rights of the three local lodges and the Protestant community to return home are upheld,” it said.

“With the same spirit of cooperation and understanding demonstrated in this initiative, we believe the foundation for a just and long-term resolution to the parading dispute is within our grasp.”