Parade decision welcomed
Sinn Féin councillor Sean Hayes has described the decision of the Parades commission to reroute the proposed Easter Monday Apprentice Boys parade away from the Lower Ormeau Road area as ``the only appropriate decision that could have been made''.
Last August, when the previous Parades Commission forced an Apprentice Boys march through the Lower Ormeau Road area, countless residents and their elected representatives were brutally assaulted by the RUC. There are currently 17 nationalists facing obstruction charges arising out of RUC action against protesters.
Since last August, Gerard Rice of the Lower Ormeau Concerned Community has met twice with representatives of the Apprentice Boys in a genuine effort to resolve the marching issue. A compromise offered by the residents was immediately rejected ``out of hand''.
A further suggestion in which nationalists offered the Apprentice Boys the opportunity to stage exhibitions and provide speakers about their order's history and traditions in exchange for access to explain nationalist residents' views to their community was also rejected by the Apprentice Boys.
``We feel we have tried to engage in talks in good faith,'' said Rice, ``but all we've received in return is the runabout. It's a meaningless exercise.''