Irish Republican News · August 29, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Parade problems continue
Parade problems continue

Violence erupted at a parade by the Protestant Royal Black Institution in the nationalist town of Castlederg in County Tyrone at the weekend.

Gaelic football supporters gathered to watch Tyrone’s victory in the All-Ireland semi-final clashed with PSNI police marshalling the parade, resulting in a number of injuries.

Sinn FŽin councillor Charlie McHugh said trouble could have been avoided if restrictions had been placed on the march, which had been given the go-ahead by the Parades Commision.

“I’m led to believe that the person who does the report on parades on the ground for the Parades Commission had recommended that the evening parade should not be in Ferguson Crescent, but the Parades Commission allowed it and we now see what has happened,” he said.

RASHARKIN BREACHES

Meanwhile, Sinn FŽin has compiled a booklet in which it details 30 breaches of a Parades Commission ruling made by loyalist bandsmen at a controversial march in County Antrim.

More than 40 bands, some with unionist paramilitary connections, took part in the parade in the mainly nationalist village of Rasharkin on August 19.

The publication contains 50 photographs which prove that the Parades Commission’s determination had been broken.

“This document identifies 11 bands who carried UDA, UVF, UYM and YCV flags through the village on Friday night,” said Ballymoney Sinn FŽin councillor Daithi McKay. “It also details the behaviour of parade supporters and band members who engaged in much verbal sectarian abuse towards residents as well as intimidation,” Mr McKay said.

Band members and supporters routinely breached the determination which prohibits the display of flags or other paraphernalia belonging to proscribed groups.

Unionist paramilitary banners and flags were carried by 11 bands and that one bandsman wore a T-shirt with a UVF symbol. The document also details “provocative, sectarian and aggressive behaviour” by bandsmen and supporters, all of which breach the determinations of the Parades Commission.

One supporter took pictures of nationalist protestors on his mobile phone while a number of the bands played “sectarian provocative music”, the booklet adds.

“Supporters of the parade were seen by observers taking out a wooden ladder and climbing a lamp post to remove an Irish tricolour. They then stopped a motorcyclist and asked him for some fuel to burn the flag with.

“The motorcyclist turned down this request and drove on. The supporters then proceeded to burn the flag to the cheers of the loyalist crowd,” according to the booklet.

Mr McKay said the booklet would be sent to the Parades Commission.

O’DOHERTY RESIGNS

A County Derry businessman who chaired the talks process which led to parades agreement in the city between the three main loyal orders and the Bogside residents’ group is to step down.

Garvan O’Doherty who led Derry’s parades initiative for almost 10 years is to give up his chairmanship following this year’s Apprentice Boys Lundy’s Day march in December.

Mr O’Doherty said that with the progress made in securing deals with the Orange Order, the Royal Black and the Apprentice Boys, he intended retiring for personal, business and family reasons.

While the Protestant order’s parades have been virtually trouble free in recent years, no accommodation has ever been reached over contentious feeder parades.

© 2005 Irish Republican News