Belfast Covenant parade begins peacefully

 

A contentious Unionist parade passed a Catholic church in Belfast went
off without incident, but residents have accused the marchers of
breaking rules.

More than 2,000 Orangemen from north Belfast lodges were surrounded by a heavy police presence as they marched towards City Hall to take part in a massive loyal order parade to mark the centenary of the signing of the pro-Union Ulster Covenant.

An estimated 30,000 marchers are taking part in the Orange Order march - from the City Hall to the grounds of the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont in east Belfast.

Unionists agreed with the Parades Commission to play only hymns along Donegall Street - from the Carrick Hill junction to Royal Avenue - as they passed St Patrick's Church near the city centre.

Locals had requested that no music be played outside the church.

The place of worship has been the scene of disorder at points during the summer after a band was accused of playing sectarian music outside it on July 12.

Protesters and residents claimed the bands breached the rules set by the Parades Commission by playing the most famous Unionist anthem - The Sash - before reaching the end of the stretch.

Carrick Hill Residents Association chairman Frank Dempsey said they had flouted the rules.

"That determination has been smashed," said Mr Dempsey.

"Some of the bands, yes, they did stick by it, there's no problem there. But a number of them bands broke that."

The local man insisted he was not nitpicking over the rules set by the commission.

"You saw the way they danced there with the drum and that's supposed to be a hymn," he said.

But, Father Michael Sheehan, administrator of St Patrick's, said while some of the bands beat their drums exuberantly, he believed they showed respect during the 20-minute march outside the church.

He insisted the talks with the Parades Commission had been fruitful, saying continued dialogue was needed to avoid future trouble.

"They marched with dignity down the road," added Fr Sheehan.

"I think a degree of respect was shown that hasn't been shown before."

Lodges including the Pride of Ardoyne and Pride of the Shore played Abide With Me and Onward Christian Soldiers, as spectators looked on.

Police were on high alert, with up to 50 Land Rovers stationed along the flashpoint at St Patrick's.

The massive parade will finish at Stormont with a cultural festival held to commemorate the 1912 proclamation against plans for Home Rule in Ireland.

Other contentious sections of the participants' journeys to and from the main meeting point at Stormont will also be monitored by police.

The commission has also placed the sacred music restriction on those bands that will pass St Matthew's Catholic Church in Newtownards Road close to Stormont.

Politicians from across the political divide have appealed for calm at the event which is set to be one of the biggest loyal order parades seen in Belfast.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?