MEMBERS of the Royal Black Preceptory in east Belfast are angry after a return parade following a church service on Sunday was re-routed.

Around 40 members along with one band, which will be playing hymns, wanted to parade to Emanuel Evangelical Church in Roslane Street from Templemore Avenue off the Newtownards Road.

The route would have taken them through Willowfield, before returning via the Ravenhill Road to the Albertbridge Road which will take them past the Catholic enclave of the Short Strand.

But the Royal Black have now postponed the return parade, after a Parades Commission adjudication.

An East Belfast district parade was allowed to walk along the same
route on Wednesday night, while the Apprentice Boys will be allowed to walk along it tomorrow.

In its determination on the matter, the Parades Commission ruled: �The commission understands that this parade is not traditionally one which processes along the section of the return route on the Albertbridge Road.

�The commission further believes that additional parades in this area, in the absence of an agreed accommodation, will place an unnecessary strain in relations in this area, thereby increasing the potential for public disorder.�

But a spokesman for the Royal Black Preceptory in the east of the city said they could not understand why their parade, at which there had never been trouble in the past, could not return.

He said each year the parade went to a different church which is why there was not one traditional route along which it walks each year and said members were �shocked and angry� that the Parades Commission could be so �petty� in preventing the return leg.

�There is a lot of anger among members, this is an annual church service,� he said.

�We just see this ruling as vindictive. Who would object to a church parade which will pass the Short Strand in seconds with the band only playing hymns?�

DUP Belfast councillor Gavin Robinson slammed the decision as �provocative, unhelpful and unnecessary�.

�Through their decision, the Parades Commission have created controversy and ill feeling around a parade that has never raised inter-community tensions in the past,� he said.

�The District Chapter held their annual parade on Wednesday evening without any associated protest or cause for concern from residents within Short Strand.

�It passed exactly the same route the Parades Commission believe to be contentious and that they have banned for this Sundays Church parade.�

A spokesman for the Parades Commission said last night that it felt that as the parade had not gone down that route in the past, there was �no scope� to add to the number of parades that pass the interface.

Published date on the 13th of August 2010
Article taken from the The News Letter