North Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said the Parades Commission’s decision on tomorrow (Thursday’s) Twelfth parade has simply caused to inflame an already tense situation.
He was speaking after the Parades Commission ruled the return leg of the Twelfth parade must be clear of the nationalist stretch of the Crumlin Road by 4pm tomorrow.
The days leading up to the parade have been fraught with tension, leading to fears the evening parade will result in chaos and see a repeat of the violence of previous years. Unionist leaders have already said it would be “impossible” for members of three North Belfast lodges to complete the route by that time.
Gerry Kelly said the Parades Commission should have rerouted the parade rather than changing times.
“The parade on the 12 July is wrong. When you talk about celebrating culture, they have already passed by the area that morning so why should they come back when there is drink taken and bloods are up?” he said.
“This is a major mistake by the Parades commission and they have made a bad situation even worse.”
Gerry Kelly praised Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA) but said the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) parade will make the situation worse by putting an extra parade in the road.
“CARA will hold their peaceful protest,” he said. “GARC will go ahead with their plans that will make the situation worse not better, there doesn’t need to be another parade on the road. CARA have done all they can do and it is now down to the bad decision making of the Parades Commission.”