Parades Commission meets today over Drumcree

 

Northern Ireland’s Parades Commission is meeting today to decide if it will allow this year’s Drumcree parade to pass down the Garvaghy Road.

A spokesman told ireland.comthe Commission may make the decision this afternoon, although the deadline for the decision is next Monday. The parade is due to take place on Sunday, July 7th.

The Commission has barred the Orange Order from marching down the mainly nationalist Garvaghy road for the past four years, leading to violent clashes between loyalist demonstrators and police.

The officer in charge of the security operation, PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen White, has indicated that security may be scaled down this year in a bid to defuse tensions. But he has warned both communities that violence will not be tolerated.

“My desire is to perform this operation with a more sophisticated touch than previous years if possible," he said. Loyalists have protested in the area every year since the parade was first barred from the Garvaghy Road. However, numbers have dwindled from over 20,000 in 1997 to two or three thousand last year.