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BBC NI's David Morgan reports:
"Decisions anger one side or the other"
 real 28k

Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 19:21 GMT 20:21 UK
Ban on flashpoint Orange march

The peak of the Orange marching season is on 12 July
The Northern Ireland Parades Commission has barred a contentious Orange Order parade in Belfast from a nationalist part of the city.

The Ormaeu Road parade on 12 July, the most important day of the Protestant marching season, was banned for a second year running amid rising tension across Northern Ireland ahead of Sunday's Drumcree parade.

The decision may have implications for what venue the Orange Order will choose for its main Twelfth rally in Belfast.

However, the commission has ruled that a parade which nationalists wanted to be banned from the Springfield Road interface area in west Belfast, can go ahead.

Ballynafeigh District Orange Lodge had planned to march down the Ormeau Road into Belfast city centre to join up with the main Orange parade.

But the Parades Commission has ruled that the Orangemen cannot pass along the mainly nationalist lower Ormeau Road between Havelock Bridge and Ormeau Bridge.

The commission said it was "still not aware of any discussions or efforts to reach a consensus" on Orange Order parades in the area.

It said it was aware of the "very real possibility" of public disorder and damage to property if the parade was to proceed as notified and would have a detrimental impact on community relations.

Belfast demonstration venue

The Orange Deputy County Grand Master of Belfast, Dawson Bailie, said he was "disappointed" with the ruling but he said he could not yet say what the Order's response to it would be.

Dawson Bailie: Twelfth demonstration site still undecided
Dawson Bailie: Twelfth demonstration site still undecided
Recent years have seen violence around parades in the lower Ormeau area with nationalist residents strongly opposed to loyal order's marches near their homes.

When the Twelfth parade was barred from the lower part of the road last year, the Orange Order in Belfast moved its main demonstration from Edenderry to Ormeau Park.

The move brought an estimated 30,000 Orange Order members and followers to the park, just across the River Lagan from the nationalist area.

LOCC spokesman Gerard Rice:
Gerard Rice: "People just want calm"
Mr Bailie said no decision had yet been made about the venue for the demonstration.

"I will have to go back and speak to the other people involved and speak to them prior to making any announcement. We are looking at different ideas," he said.

A 20-hour counter protest planned by the nationalist Lower Ormeau Concerned Community residents group on the Twelfth has been restricted to one hour between 0600 - 0700 BST.

Spokesman for the LOCC, Gerard Rice, said the Parades Commission decision was "the only one possible in the circumstances given the parades commission's own criteria for assessing contentious sectarian parades".

"There is a sense of relief in the community. But they are not overjoyed. They just want to see calm," he added.

'Disbelief at Springfield decision'

Meanwhile, the Springfield Residents Action Group has said it is "disgusted" at the decision to allow the west Belfast parade to go ahead.

When a Belfast Orange lodge marched on the same stretch of the Springfield Road two weeks ago there were scuffles between nationalist and loyalist protesters and the police.

The residents made delegations to the Parades Commission asking for future parades to be re-routed away from the area after a loyalist paramilitary colour party took part in the march.

Frances McCauley of the group said they were "extremely disappointed" by the decision.

"There is a lot of tension and disbelief in our community at the decision. We presented such a strong case to the Parades Commission," she said.

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

The 12 July marches celebrate the victory in 1690 of Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne.

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See also:

05 Jul 99 | UK
Can Drumcree be resolved?
13 Jul 99 | Northern Ireland
Parades Commission takes flak
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