Northern Ireland

Ardoyne march: Twaddell Avenue resident loses parade ruling challenge

The annual march passes a stretch of the Crumlin Road in north Belfast that separates unionist and nationalist communities Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The annual march passes a stretch of the Crumlin Road in north Belfast that separates unionist and nationalist communities

A legal challenge to the Parades Commission's ruling barring the return leg of an Orange Order parade in north Belfast has been dismissed.

A High Court judge turned down the application for a judicial review by a Twaddell Avenue resident.

The contested route passes a stretch of the Crumlin Road that separates unionist and nationalist communities.

A separate court challenge by a member of a nationalist residents' group over the morning parade did not go ahead.

The Parades Commission placed restrictions on the return leg of the march on the afternoon on 12 July, but unionists strongly objected to that ruling.

In court on Friday, Mr Justice Weir refused the bid by the Twaddell Avenue resident for a judicial review over the barring of the return route on Saturday afternoon.

The judge said only political leadership would end the parading impasse.

He rejected claims that the Parades Commission had acted unreasonably, holding that the distinction between the morning march and the evening march that was followed by trouble over the last three years was entirely justified.

He said that neither the commission nor the courts could solve the ongoing problems around parading.

"These issues will require a degree of political leadership and courage; that's the way they are going to be sorted out, by people sitting down and agreeing with each other," he said.

"If a fraction of the energy that is put into litigating these matters or going on the television or radio to talk about them was put into sitting down with clean sheets of paper and nice sharp pencils I think we would get to the terminus much quicker."

In the separate challenge which did not go ahead, a nationalist resident sought to the outward parade on 12 July morning, however, legal aid was refused.

The nationalist resident objecting to the outward parade is a member of the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (Garc). The individual was seeking a judicial review of the Parades Commission decision to allow the march to pass along the disputed section of road on Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, unionist party leaders and the Orange Order have jointly called for unionist protests against the ruling to be peaceful.

On Friday, the Deputy Grand Master of the Belfast Orange Order, Spencer Beattie, said: "We will not allow the ways of the past to pollute the progress we seek for a stable peaceful Northern Ireland.

"The Orange Institution and our partners in the unionist family have pledged themselves to peaceful, lawful protest and political action."

The Orange Order told the BBC it has arranged for a line of marshalls to stand between protestors and the police on the Woodvale Road.

The marshalls will be members of the Orange Order in collarettes.

Mr Beattie said: "We will have enough people there to get a line across the road.

"Face to face contact between police and protestors will be taken out of the equation," he added.

It is understood loyalist community representatives will also be present to perform a mediation role.

These representatives are separate from the Order's members.

The police have revealed that they have already spent more than £2m on Saturday's security operation

The Parades Commission, last week, ruled that the Ligoniel Orange Lodge should not make a return parade along the stretch of the Crumlin Road on 12 July.

It is the second year in a row that such a ruling has been made.

Several nights of rioting took place after the same parade was stopped from returning along the road last year, with scores of officers injured.

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