Orange marches planned for Portadown
by Ned Kelly
The Parades Commission's green light for a loyalist parade in
support of Portadown Orangeman has been greeted with dismay by
Garvaghy Road residents. The parade has been organised by the
`Portadown women's branch of the Ulster Coalition for Justice'.
The commission has accepted a route from the centre of Portadown
along Corcrain Road, Charles Street and Dungannon Road to
Drumcree Church on Saturday 28 November with a rally addressed by
Rev Hugh Ross, David Jones, Harold Gracey and the DUP's Paul
Berry. The route is the same as when an RUC man was murdered two
Two of the notified bands, the Portadown True Blue and Portadown
Defenders have been involved in the illegal loyalist siege of
Garvaghy Road that has been increasing in intensity over the past
two weeks. In recent days up to 300 loyalists have gathered by
the Drumcree Church.
Independent Nationalist councillor Joe Duffy said, ``since 13
November loyalist protests have been occurring daily, but
especially on Mondays and Fridays the numbers are swelled. You
can't legislate for when or where they will be, it's unceasing.''
Duffy said, ``the Monday night protests are lit up by the lights
of Drumcree Church'', indicating a degree of Church of Ireland
complicity with the illegal loyalist gatherings.
Local councillor Breandan MacCionnaith said, ``the NIO are aware
of the situation, the RUC are aware of the situation and only
last week a delegation from Garvaghy Road met with the Parades
Commission to make them aware of the situation.''
Pointing to the planned Grand Lodge of Ireland demonstration
planned for 19 December MacCionnaith said that clearly Orangeism
was legitimising the loyalist behaviour currently holding the
Garvaghy Road community to ransom.
He said, ``the fact that the illegal loyalist protests and the
intimidation of Nationalists is allowed to continue without being
challenged by the British government, NIO, Parades Commission or
RUC show they have no interest in resolving the issue.
``The British government need to understand their responsibility,
they must intervene to end the disruption caused to the daily
life of Nationalists and to Portadown.''
Defiantly, MacCionnaith also said: ``The increased activity by the
Orange Order and loyalists, many from outside the area, is not
being matched by the RUC response. The RUC response to Garvaghy
Road residents is nothing short of hostile. There is a concerted
attempt to wear the residents down but in reality we are more
determined not to give in to intimidation.''