Northern Ireland news

Loyalist band revises Belfast parade plans after restrictions imposed

Kilcoole Park in north Belfast, pictured in 2018. Picture by Mal McCann
Brendan Hughes

A loyalist flute band has submitted revised plans for a Twelfth parade after being barred from marching through a mixed area of north Belfast.

Ballysillan Volunteers had initially planned a parade on July 13 through 77 streets lasting five-and-a-half hours.

A Parades Commission ruling warned of a "potential for public disorder" and banned it from various streets.

These included Kilcoole Park and Kilcoole Gardens, a mixed area where in 2018 an Orange Order 'floating the banner' parade prompted concerns from residents.

The proposed route and the Parades Commission's determination were later removed from its website.

Ballysillan Volunteers has since submitted a revised plan which more than halves the number of streets to 32.

The revised route is in line with the Parades Commission's restrictions, removing plans to march through Kilcoole Park, Kilcoole Gardens and Squires Hill Road.

The parades body had imposed a two-and-half-hour limit on the original plan, but the new application proposes a four-hour march, from noon to 4pm.

Read more: Loyalist band parade barred from mixed area of north Belfast

The Parades Commission yesterday decided not to impose any restrictions on the new parade route.

Ballysillan Volunteers' march will involve 30 participants.

The band plans to carry a banner reminding residents "not to follow the parade", amid Covid-19 restrictions limiting outdoor gatherings to 30 people.

Dozens of applications for marches over the Twelfth have been made to the Parades Commission in recent weeks amid an easing of lockdown restrictions.

The Orange Order in April cancelled its usual Twelfth parades, advising members to mark the event at home, but it has offered support to bands planning marches in their own areas.

The Twelfth is this year taking place on July 13, because July 12 falls on a Sunday.

Read more: Controversial Co Antrim Twelfth parade limited to 15 minutes

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