Orange Order plans protests over blocked parade

Friday 11 July 2014 14.56
Orange leaders have called for a Commission of Inquiry into the disputed Orange Order parades
Orange leaders have called for a Commission of Inquiry into the disputed Orange Order parades

The grand secretary of the Orange Order has said his organisation will take tight control of protests due to be held tomorrow.

The demonstrations are being organised against a decision by the Parades Commission not to allow a 12 July parade in north Belfast to take place.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Drew Nelson said the organisation was putting a massive effort into managing the situation to ensure the protests will be peaceful.

He said the order would serve notice to the police of the protests and there would be a set start and finish time, and prompt dispersal afterwards.

"Because protests are being organised in different parts of the province, we think that that is giving people the opportunity to protest in an orderly and regulated manner.

"Whereas if we don't organise protests, they will still happen, but no one will be in charge, and there is a greater likelihood that there will be disorder.

"The orange institution is putting a massive effort into managing this situation to do our best to ensure that peace does prevail."

Orange and unionist leaders have called on Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers to hold a Commission of Inquiry into the disputed Orange Order parades and into the wider issue of parading.

Mr Nelson said the model for managing parades could do with some improvements.

He said parading in Northern Ireland was almost exclusively the cultural expression of the protestant community.

He said the Parades Commission was set up to regulate parades, but there were other things happening in the public space that it does not regulate.

Mr Nelson said it could be used as a political weapon by one community against the other.

Keywords: orange order