Northern Ireland

Loyalists voice opposition to proposed Ardoyne parade deal

The protest camp at Twaddell Avenue
The protest camp at Twaddell Avenue The protest camp at Twaddell Avenue

A PROPOSED deal that would allow an Orange Order parade to pass a north Belfast interface has been rejected by some loyalists linked to the dispute.

The deal that would allow Orangemen to pass the flashpoint Ardoyne shopfronts is believed to have been brokered by Methodist Church president Reverend Harold Good and a Derry businessman.

Reverend Good and Catholic priest Fr Alec Reid witnessed the decommissioning of IRA weapons in 2005.

It is understood agreement was reached between representatives of the Orange Order and members of Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents Association (Cara) in recent weeks.

It is believed the proposed deal involves three lodges and bands walking the Crumlin Road past Ardoyne on Friday morning - the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

Dozens of parades will be held across the north on Friday, including an Orange Order parade in east Belfast involving up to 2,750 people and 36 bands.

The planned Ardoyne parade would take place in the early morning if given the go-ahead by the Parades Commission.

It is understood that in return the Twaddell protest camp would be dismantled and the order would not apply to march past the area on their return from the main Belfast parade on the Twelfth.

The Irish News understands that members of one of the lodges involved in the three-year stand off, which is based in Ballysillan, are unhappy with the deal.

Last night the west Belfast branch of the Ulster Political Research Group, which gives political advice to the UDA, claimed on social media that it was “disgusted” by the proposed deal.

High profile members of the UPRG have been involved with the loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue since it was set up on waste ground in 2013.

It is understood the UPRG was not aware of the recent talks.

“WBUPRG aren't involved in the talks, at all,” it said on its Twitter account.

“We want no part of a deal shinners (Sinn Féin) refused years ago.”

Neither the Orange Order or representatives of Cara have made any comment.

Another nationalist residents group, Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (Garc), said it would mobilise local people to “oppose this decision” in the event of a parade.

A spokesman last night said: “Harold Good, the Orange Order and Cara have absolutely no power to announce a deal.

“Harold Good has not spoken to Garc once or made any attempt to.

“We have said the only solution is the Harmony Lane alternative route."

It is understood that Cara is hosting a public meeting tonight to the issue.

Serious violence erupted in 2013 when the Parades Commission banned the Orange Order from passing the Ardoyne interface as members made their way back from the Twelfth parade.

Loyalists have held almost daily protest parades in the area since then.

Meanwhile, a controversial Orange Order parade in west Belfast passed off without incident at the weekend.

Orangemen reacted angrily after the Parades Commission banned members from marching through a peaceline gate into a nationalist area of Workman Avenue during their annual Whiterock parade.

The commission later rejected a request by the order to review their original decision.

Nationalist residents later called off a planned protesting involving up to 100 people.