July March cost £255k

Taxpayers’ huge bill for PSNI operation at Ardoyne march that saw UDA men escorted up Crumlin Road...

The cost of the PSNI operation at Ardoyne that escorted UDA men up the Crumlin Road on July 12 cost the taxpayer a whopping quarter of a million pounds.
And that doesn’t include the cost of the British army operation.
The North Belfast News has learned that the bill for the massive operation that hemmed in nationalists behind barriers of steel to allow an Orange Order march was £255,000.
The PSNI claims it doesn’t cost individual parades, but the department of foreign affairs in Dublin confirmed the cost in a letter to community groups in December.
Cops were criticised by nationalists after they allowed UDA supporters to proceed up the Crumlin Road despite a Parades Commission ruling that banned hangers on.
The decision led to a rift between the PSNI and the Parades Commission and sparked some of the worst civil unrest seen in Belfast for years.
Gerard McGuigan of the Ardoyne Parades Dialogue Group said the damage to the area was not limited to the huge cost of the march.
“It would cost that much to bring in another viable route that would take these marches away from Ardoyne. The damage caused is also to community relations. How many millions have been spent to try and improve community relations to then facilitate a sectarian rabble who have refused to engage in dialogue,” he said.
“Taxpayers are paying for a sectarian march to go past an area where those representing these groups won’t even sit down and talk with the residents.”
The NIO said the cost of policing operations was a matter for the chief constable.
A spokeswoman for the PSNI said the cost of the marching season of 2004 for the whole of the North of Ireland was £5.5 million.
“The PSNI does not break down costings for individual parades,” she said.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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