An Orange Order parade has been given the green light to go through a mixed area of North Belfast, specifically Kilcoole Park and Kilcoole Gardens, which has been deemed to be “not necessary or proportionate.”
According to The Irish News, residents in the area are concerned about the upcoming July 6 parade because it may be a case of orchestrated division in the area. Locals said there had never been this type of parade before.
Details of the planned parade indicate that the procession will deliver a banner to the home of the ‘incoming master’ of the Cavehill lodge in the area which were distributed through doors and letterboxes last week.
The Parades Commission stated that it “received substantial representation from residents in the neighborhood that it is a mixed peaceful area.”
Residents in the area, according to the commission, were worried about the parade because they believed it was the first in the area. There were parades there in 2016 and 2013, but this recent application comes from a “recently re-established” Orange lodge.
The lodge has taken steps to address the concerns of the community by shortening the parade route and arranging the distribution of leaflets to describe the purpose of the parade to ‘float the banner’ to the new master’s home in Kilcoole Gardens.
As residents are hesitant about the parade in their neighborhood, the commission has stated that there has been “further engagement and communication which has helped to restore confidence within this mixed residential neighborhood.”
The former Alliance mayor, Nuala McAllister, expressed that the lodge and residents have held discussions and noted they “were able to work together to find a compromise solution, which included an agreement to take down flags in some areas.”
“While it was sad to see tensions in the area raised, by taking a collaborative approach we were able to calm tensions, working constructively to find the best solution that respects shared space and enables expressions of culture.”