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Parades Commission rendered defunct by PSNI

12 July, 2004

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly has said that the actions of the PSNI this evening in Ardoyne have effectively rendered the Parades Commission defunct. Mr Kelly‚s comments come after the PSNI took the decision to breach a Parades Commission determination and force Orange Order supporters including prominent UDA members past Ardoyne shops this evening.

Mr Kelly said:

"Tonight the PSNI with the support of the British government forced both the Orange Order and senior UDA members through nationalist North Belfast. This was in direct breach of the Parades Commission determination. It has put the parading issue back years as it has effectively handed control of contentious parades back into the hands of the PSNI. A fact that senior PSNI members were taunting the nationalist crowd about this evening.

"Having forced the parade through Ardoyne the PSNI along with the paratroop regiment then attacked local people. A number of people including myself who were trying to maintain calm were attacked and assaulted by baton wielding PSNI thugs. No action was taken to move on the loyalist crowd or respond to attacks on the Ardoyne community from Twadell Avenue.

"I have spoken this evening to Ian Pearson by telephone and I informed him that he along with the PSNI ultimately has to bear the responsibility for what happened in Ardoyne this evening. Those of us still on the ground will continue to do our best to maintain calm but I have to say that the anger within the nationalist community in North Belfast this evening is palpable."ENDS

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