Irish Republican News · August 16, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Apprentice Boys parade passes quietly
Apprentice Boys parade passes quietly

Saturday’s parade by the Protestant Apprentice Boys organisation through the city centre of Derry passed off without major incident.

More than 12,000 Apprentice Boys, accompanied by 117 bands, paraded triumphantly through Derry for two hours to mark a 17th century Protestant battle victory.

Most of the shops along the city centre route were closed for the day.

Eight people were arrested, mostly when rival nationalist and loyalist youths clashed at the end of the parade.

In a separate incident, a gang of masked youths boarded the bus and forced the woman driver and passengers off before attempting to set it on fire.

The police said they had also reported seven of the parade bands for what a spokesman described as “confrontational and provocative behaviour”. The Apprentice Boys have pledged to deal “firmly” with the bands.

Derry’s Bogside Residents Group spokesman Donncha MacNiallais said the parade had been successful considering the potential for violence.

The nationalist group had not opposed the parade after the Parades Commission decided to restrict a number of contentious feeder parades which were due to pass through nationalist areas of the north en route to Derry on Saturday, including the combustible Ardoyne area of north Belfast.

“We were very pleased that the day passed off relatively peacefully. We would like to commend all those who made that happen.

“I think it was even less confrontational than last year. I think the atmosphere itself, although not exactly a Mardi Gras, was much less tense.

“It’s a tribute to the people of Derry,” he said.

However, clashes continued throughout the weekend at Derry’s loyalist Fountain estate, in the predominately nationalist west bank.

Dozens of petrol bombs were thrown in the area on Saturday and Sunday night. The Fountain/Bishop Street interface is the scene of almost daily clashed during the summer months.

Protestant homes in the Fountain and Catholic homes along Bennett Street just outside the estate have erected screens on windows.

The attacks on the Fountain were described as “despicable” by Sinn Féin councillor Gerry MacLochlainn. Mr MacLochlainn said a small number of people were making the lives of residents a misery on a daily basis.

AOH PARADE

Thousands of people lined the streets of Newry in County Down yesterday for the annual Ancient Order of Hibernians parade for the Feast of the Assumption.

Huge support for the order and a large local membership made sure the day was a success. Organisers estimated that as many as 10,000 people had turned out in the strongly nationalist town.

Participants said there was a carnival atmosphere as families and young people turned out for the annual parade.

The 120-strong membership of the Newry order was joined by around 4,000 members of the order from all over Ireland and as far away as Scotland and the United States.

About 40 bands took part in the Newry parade, one of the biggest in Ireland.

Ciaran Lennon, secretary of Newry Ancient Order of Hibernians, said the day had been a success for everyone involved.

“It’s been hectic but it is all worth it. We had a lot of support and it was good to see so many bands from Ireland and America,” he said.

© 2005 Irish Republican News