Northern Ireland news

Twaddell residents welcome deal on Ardoyne parade stand-off

Orange Order Deputy County Grand Master for Belfast, Spencer Beattie, has welcomed the deal to end the Ardoyne parade stand-off. Picture by Hugh Russell
John Monaghan

RESIDENTS on the loyalist side of a north Belfast interface have welcomed a deal to end the Ardoyne parade stand-off.

Alfie McCrory, vice-chairman of the Twaddell and Woodvale Residents' Association, said they "strongly welcomed" the agreement between the Orange Order and Crumlin Ardoyne Residents' Association (Cara).

As part of the deal, Ligoniel Orange lodges will complete a return parade along the Crumlin Road, banned in July 2013, at 8.30am this Saturday morning.

Details of the march were published on the Parades Commission website yesterday and members are to consider the application at a meeting today.

Two bands and a total of 250 people have applied to take part in the march, which will proceed from the Woodvale Road, along Crumlin Road and on to Ligoniel Orange Hall.

Its completion will trigger the dismantling of the loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue, which has cost around £20 million in policing costs in the past three years.

Cara has said it will not be protesting against this weekend's march.

The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective, which wants to ban all Orange Order parades in the area, has criticised the deal but has not yet said if it will hold a protest.

Mr McCrory said: "We fully endorse and support this agreement as one that, given the ongoing circumstances, is best for everyone.

"This is a major announcement for the entire community, and is hopefully one that will bring some normality back to the area and enable people to get on with their lives.

"This has remained one of the most difficult and intransigent issues in Northern Ireland, and has at times threatened to destabilise our journey towards peace."

Mr McCrory said on Monday that he hoped the deal would be "used as a positive example" for other areas experiencing difficulties over parades.

"I am glad that the 2013 parade will now be completed... however, we need to remember that issues surrounding parading and protests are only symptoms of a wider problem and that a much needed plan is required to address these underlying causes."

The deal reached between Cara and the lodges leaves the question of future evening parades open.

The text of the agreement states: "Following the completion of this parade (on Saturday) and in a spirit of reconciliation the Ligoniel Orange Lodges undertake to instigate a voluntary moratorium on applying for a return parade."

The dispute arose out of a Parades Commission ruling in 2013 to ban an Orange march on July 12 returning past the Ardoyne shops interface on the 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.

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