30 June 2005 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Tensions high on Springfield

Residents of the nationalist Springfield Road in West Belfast are worried that a concerted campaign by Orangemen to march on the road will raise tensions during the summer months.

Following a Parades Commission determination, banning the annual Whiterock Orange march from going on to Springfield Road via Workman Avenue on Saturday 25 June, the contentious march was postponed on Friday night after a meeting between representatives of the Orange Order, loyalist paramilitary groups and unionist politicians.

The North and West Belfast Parades Commission, established so that the Orange Order did not have to speak to nationalist residents directly, called off all talks with nationalist representatives.

The organisers refused to accept the Parades Commission's decision to re-route the march away from Workman Avenue and through the former Mackies site, less than 100 yards away.

Nationalist residents are concerned that a new submission by the Orange Order in September could see the Parades Commission's original decision overturned.

Speaking to An Phoblacht, a number of residents said they were worried that the Orange Order will start a coordinated campaign to have the decision overturned, increasing tensions in the area. "We are fearful that the Parades Commission will once again bow down to pressure from not only the Orange Order but also from the DUP who seem to be calling the shots in an attempt to bring the Parades Commission down", said one resident.

Fears of sectarian attacks were heightened after thousands of loyalists gathered in protest on the Shankill Road at the time the march was due to take place. Senior unionist politicians including the DUP's Nelson McCausland, the PUP's Hugh Smyth and the UUP's Bob Stoker were in attendance as were leading members of the UVF and UDA.

Springfield Residents spokesperson Seán Paul O'Hare said residents welcomed thethe Orange Order in September could see the Parades Commission's original decision overturned.

Speaking to An Phoblacht, a number of residents said they were worried that the Orange Order will start a coordinated campaign to have the decision overturned, increasing tensions in the area. "We are fearful that the Parades Commission will once again bow down to pressure from not only the Orange Order but also from the DUP who seem to be calling the shots in an attempt to bring the Parades Commission down", said one resident.

Fears of sectarian attacks were heightened after thousands of loyalists gathered in protest on the Shankill Road at the time the march was due to take place. Senior unionist politicians including the DUP's Nelson McCausland, the PUP's Hugh Smyth and the UUP's Bob Stoker were in attendance as were leading members of the UVF and UDA.

Springfield Residents spokesperson Seán Paul O'Hare said residents welcomed the postponement of the parade which eased tensions along the interface but added that local people are concerned of the threat of a summer long campaign to have the parade reinstated. "Those concerns are certainly enhanced with the lack of dialogue between parade organisers and ourselves. We certainly are appealing for the organisers to resume dialogue to come to some sort of resolution to this problem".

Last year's Whiterock march was originally banned by the Parades Commission from preceding along Workman Avenue however that decision was overturned by the Commission at the eleventh hour however despite the heightened tension nationalists remained calm and the event passed off peacefully.

postponement of the parade which eased tensions along the interface but added that local people are concerned of the threat of a summer long campaign to have the parade reinstated. "Those concerns are certainly enhanced with the lack of dialogue between parade organisers and ourselves. We certainly are appealing for the organisers to resume dialogue to come to some sort of resolution to this problem".

Last year's Whiterock march was originally banned by the Parades Commission from preceding along Workman Avenue however that decision was overturned by the Commission at the eleventh hour however despite the heightened tension nationalists remained calm and the event passed off peacefully.


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

Powered by Phoenix Media Group