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Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 21:22 GMT 22:22 UK
Decision due over march challenge
Apprentice Boys'  Ormeau march re-routed again
Apprentice Boys' Ormeau march was re-routed last year
A decision on a planned Apprentice Boys parade in Belfast on Easter Monday will not be known until Friday.

Nationalist residents on the lower Ormeau Road in the city are trying to stop the Protestant Apprentice Boys organisation from walking past their homes.

Three judges, who sat in the Court of Appeal until 2100 BST on Thursday, have reserved their judgement in an appeal against a decision to allow the march.

A ruling is not now expected until Friday.

On 6 April, the Northern Ireland Parades Commission ruled that the march could go ahead and upheld its decision on appeal.

Earlier on Thursday, an application for a judicial review of the parades commission's decision to allow the parade was dismissed.

Mr Justice Kerr dismissed an application for a legal challenge brought by local resident Mrs Patricia Pelan, who was supported by the residents' group, the Lower Ormeau Concerned Community (LOCC).

The judge held that the commission was entitled to conclude that the failure of Apprentice Boys to enter the mediation process with a pre-conceived stance, did not outweigh all the other factors it considered in coming to its decision.

In those circumstances, he said, he was satisfied that no case had been made out for a judicial review and he dismissed the application.

The Apprentice Boys route was barred last year
The Apprentice Boys route was barred last year

The original decision by the commission means the Belfast Walkers Club of the Apprentice Boys will be allowed to march along the lower Ormeau Road in Belfast, for the first time in nearly two years.

It will be the first parade of the loyalist marching season this year.

Residents intend to oppose the parade and their spokesman Gerard Rice has said a "determined and effective protest" will take place.

Meanwhile, in Londonderry the Bogside Residents' Group has warned that if the Ormeau parade goes ahead it will create difficulties for the resolution of another marching issue there.

Fifty Apprentice Boys and one band will take part in the Ormeau parade but the commission has forbidden any music to be played between the two bridges on the Ormeau Road.

The Parades Commission was established in 1997 to determine whether conditions should be placed on contentious parades in Northern Ireland.

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See also:

11 Apr 01 | Northern Ireland
Court challenge over Belfast march
17 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Parade restrictions follow tension
06 Aug 99 | Northern Ireland
Parades dispute flares up in Belfast
09 Aug 00 | Northern Ireland
Apprentice Boys' march restricted
24 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Marchers praised by Commission
06 Apr 01 | Northern Ireland
Green light for contentious parade
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