Northern Ireland

Ardoyne Apprentice Boys parade ruling criticised

Overnight riots in Ardoyne
Image caption There was three consecutive nights of rioting in north Belfast in July

Nationalist politicians have criticised a decision to allow a limited Apprentice Boys parade past north Belfast's Ardoyne area this weekend.

The Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said residents do not want it.

SDLP Councillor Nichola Mallon said she is bitterly disappointed that it is being allowed without dialogue with the local community.

The Parades Commission ruled that no band should accompany Ligoniel Walker Club on the disputed part of its route.

There were three nights of rioting by republican youths in Ardoyne starting on 12 July, when an Orange Order parade passed the area.

The commission said it had taken this into consideration but it also had to consider parades individually.

It said "this is a traditional parade by a branch of the Apprentice Boys of Derry which has never been involved in misbehaviour let alone violence on this annual parade.

"The commission is fully confident that the Ligoniel Walker Club will parade this part of the Crumlin Road with respect and dignity as has been seen by their past behaviour."

'Not wanted'

However, Sinn Fein's Mr Kelly said: "The proposed parade this weekend should not be taking place, it is not welcome nor wanted by the residents of Ardoyne, Mountainview or the Dales.

"It is a feeder parade and will see those participating passing nationalist areas simply to get on a bus to go to Derry."

Ms Mallon of the SDLP said: "I am bitterly disappointed that the Parades Commission has permitted this parade in light of the refusal on the part of its organisers to engage in genuine dialogue with local residents.

"I would urge anyone who intends protesting to respect the wishes of residents and the wider Ardoyne community and do so peacefully."

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