Irish Republican News · August 16, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Apprentice Boys march ‘an example to others’
Apprentice Boys march ‘an example to others’

The Apprentice Boys parade in Derry at the weekend saw eight nationalist youths arrested as petrol bombs were thrown during clashes with the PSNI, but without major violence.

More than 20,000 members of the unionist marching order and supporters, along with 120 flute and drum bands took part in the annual sectarian parade, which recalls a 17th century battle victory.

Sinn Féin assembly member Raymond McCartney praised the process of communication undertaken ahead of the annual march which had reduced tensions.

The former hunger striker, who met the police as part of a delegation of Sinn Féin members and Bogside residents last week, said the dialogue in Derry must be adopted in relation to all parades across the north.

“We welcome the fact that there was no trouble and applaud all those groups who over the past number of years have worked to reach this situation.

“I would call on the organisers of marches everywhere to follow the lead set here in Derry where we can clearly see the results of dialogue and communication,” he said.

Stephen Kelly, of the City Centre Initiative, said traders should take heart from the result. He said many in the city centre had opened for business as usual.

“Everyone can remember the days when we had 7 million pounds worth of damage done to the city centre. The priority is always to have a peaceful day and thankfully that is what we have had,” he said.

“We hope now this will give confidence to those directly on the parade route to open during further parades.”

Mr Kelly said it was essential the Apprentice Boys continued to engage both with the business and wider community ahead of all parades in the city.

He also praised the organisers of an Ancient Order of Hibernians march scheduled for Derry on Wednesday who have altered their route at the request of the business community.

HARDLINERS SEEK FESTIVAL

Meanwhile, the organisers of a traditionalist republican parade in Ballymena vowed to hold a controversial march again next year unless funding is provided for a festival to commemorate internment.

Watched by a small crowd, a colour party marched along a 100-metre stretch of the Fisherwick estate in silence, despite the opposition of all the major partiers.

The Friends of William Orr band had applied to march along the Broughshane and Cushendall Roads and into Dunclug estate, returning via Fry’s Road, over a three-hour period.

The Parades Commission placed heavy restrictions on the parade, limiting it to Fisherwick Gardens, where it has been held since 2004, ruling that it must last no longer than 30 minutes and could only be accompanied by the sound of a single drumbeat.

Sinn Féin’s Padraig McShane said it had tarnished the image of the Fisherwick estate and residents were “disgusted”.

“It was nothing but a shambles,” he said.

“We are very disappointed with the Parades Commission issuing a determination to restrict this parade to Fisherwick. At no time was Fisherwick applied for.”

Organiser Paddy Murray said it had been a “quiet and dignified parade” supported by the community.

© 2007 Irish Republican News