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Ardoyne, July 12 — a tale of two reports


Eight months after a Policing Board report completely ignored the presence of the UDA's William John Borland at the July 12 parade in Ardoyne, a new report has bitterly criticised the police handling of the march that was marred by some of the worst violence seen in years.

Convicted loyalist extortionist William Borland was escorted passed Ardoyne shops with other UDA members last July after the PSNI forced supporters of the Orange Order past Ardoyne despite a Parades Commission ruling forbidding supporters.

After the controversy then SDLP councillor Martin Morgan threatened to resign his seat at the Policing Board, a threat that prompted the board to order a report.

But this week international observers did recognise the presence of the UDA and pointed to "systematic violations" of the Commission's ruling.

The US based Brehon Law Society and the Irish Parades Emergency Committee criticised the PSNI and Parades Commission for failing to "prevent the promotion of loyalist paramilitaries in parades through communities that have borne the brunt of sectarian attacks".

The report, Law and Lawlessness: Orange Parades in Northern Ireland, was produced by international observers from nations including the US, France and Italy and it pointed to the "hypocrisy" of mainstream unionists to take part in the North and West Belfast Parades Forum with loyalist paramilitaries, while refusing to engage in government with Sinn Féin.

Nationalist politicians have welcomed this week's report, but the Orange Order accused the authors of being one sided.

Alban Maginness of the SDLP said it was time for the Orange Order to comply with the rulings of the Parades Commission.

"We look forward to this matter being addressed seriously by the police and the Parades Commission," he said.

But the DUP's Nelson McCausland said previous reports by the US groups had been inaccurate.

"Obviously I haven't seen the report, but going on previous reports, they are so ill informed and inaccurate that they beggar belief," he said.

Sinn Féin MLA Kathy Stanton said the parades issue could only be resolved when the Orange Order agreed to "meaningful" discussion.

"We need genuine discussions and we need decisions from the Parades Commission to be obeyed by the PSNI not like last year when against a decision by the Commission the PSNI drove these supporters through a nationalist area," she said.

June 4, 2005

This article appeared first on the Irelandclick.com web site on June 3, 2005.