Northern Ireland

Apprentice Boys want alternate band for Ardoyne parade

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

The Apprentice Boys have applied to the Parades Commission to allow an alternative flute band to march along the Ardoyne on Saturday.

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

This banned the Shankill Star Flute Band from taking part. Nationalists have accused the band of glorifying the UVF killer Brian Robinson.

The SDLP has accused the Apprentice Boys of "tactical game playing".

Councillor Nichola Mallon said: "This 11th hour application, in the absence of any genuine dialogue with the local community, could be construed as a further act of provocation which could heighten tensions in an already very difficult situation.

"It begs the question whether these parade organisers are really serious about trying to resolve the issue of contentious parades."

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein representatives are due to meet members of the Parades commission on Wednesday to discuss loyal order parades in Ardoyne and Rasharkin at the weekend.

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

On Tuesday, the commission said it had taken this into consideration when banning the Shankill Star Flute Band but added it had to consider parades individually.

A spokesperson 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."

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