Republican News · Thursday 19 November 1998

[An Phoblacht]

Concern over Patten venues

Sinn Fein Assembly member for Upper Bann, Dara O'Hagan, has written to the Patten Commission on Policing expressing the concern of North Armagh nationalists about two of the venues they selected for public meetings on 4 December.

The venues, Lurgan Town Hall (1-3pm) and Craigavon Civic Centre (7.30-9.30pm) are situated in Loyalist heartlands and are no-go areas for nationalists.

Following this request the Patten Commission has agreed to a one hour private meeting and a two hour public meeting at a venue on the Garvaghy Road. But residents have expressed concern that this will leave them with insufficient time.

In the last number of weeks, Lurgan taxi-drivers have been threatened by Loyalists and Loyalists mobs have continued to put Garvaghy Road residents under siege with nightly orchestrated violence. Craigavon Civic Centre has been at the centre of a controversy because of its use as a political platform for Portadown Orangeism.

Dara O'Hagan said that ``in order to have a frank and open consultation where all who wish to contribute to the policing debate feel safe'', the Commission would have to find extra venues on alternative dates.

Armagh SF councillor Sean McGirr has also queried the venue to be used for the 7 December hearing in Armagh. He said: ``The hall being proposed, St Patricks, only holds 150. In order for the debate on policing to be fully inclusive the Commission need either additional meetings or to move the venue to the Parochial Hall, which holds 1000.''

Contents Page for this Issue
Reply to: Republican News