Prince Charles gives €2,700 donation to Catholic church at centre of marching disputes in Belfast
Published 28/12/2015 | 16:40
The Prince of Wales has donated £2,000 (€2,700) to a Catholic Church at the centre of bitter marching disputes involving Protestant loyal orders in Northern Ireland.
Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, toured the historic Belfast place of worship in May in a gesture of reconciliation.
St Patrick's Church has witnessed disorder and discord in recent years, with some parading loyalist bandsmen accused of provocative and sectarian behaviour while passing by. The money is expected to be used for renovation work.
A total of 13 members of one loyalist band have been convicted of playing a sectarian tune while marching in a circle on Donegall Street outside St Patrick's in 2012.
The bandsmen, accompanying parading Orangemen, were found guilty of playing the Famine Song, which is played to the same tune as the Beach Boys' Sloop John B but with anti-Catholic lyrics.
It marked the first of a series of flashpoint incidents at the church. Weeks later, disorder broke out after another parading controversy.
In subsequent summers, restrictions have been placed on loyal order parades passing the church, with residents from nearby nationalist neighbourhoods staging protests against the loyal orders and loyalist bands.
Loyal orders claim their lawful right to parade has been restricted and have insisted they have offered concessions in regard to limiting band music to hymns.
More to follow
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