DUP threat secures coat-trailing parade
DUP threat secures coat-trailing parade

Residents of an overwhelmingly nationalist County Antrim village are furious that the Parades Commission has accepted a route for a sectarian loyalist parade without consultation.

The band submitted an route for tonight’s provocative march through Rasharkin and the commission has given it the go-ahead without restrictions.

The Parades Commission had initially only allow the parade march through the village once, but a return route was given late permission following unionist demands.

The DUP had threatened violence if the parade was not allowed to make the return parade. DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said: “We’re looking at serious public disorder this weekend. It’s like watching a car wreck in slow motion.”

After the sudden u-turn, Sinn Fein Assembly Daithi McKay said the 42 bands would now march through parts of the village where they have never passed before.

“The residents’ association wasn’t aware that the band had put in a fresh application and didn’t get a chance to go to the commission and give their views,” he said.

The parade has become increasingly volatile in recent years and another major security operation is expected at tomorrow night’s march.

Meanwhile, sectarian graffiti was painted on Rosnashane Ancient Order of Hibernians’ Hall near Rasharkin.

Mr McKay said the attack showed that loyalists were trying to ratchet up tensions ahead of the parade.

In a separate development, the SDLP has met the commission to voice its objections to a loyalist Royal Black Preceptory Parade in Ardoyne.

The party said the August 28 event could cause “serious disturbance in the north Belfast district where rioting followed a Twelfth of July march this year.

North Belfast Assembly member A1ban Maginness said the delegation told the commission it was “totally opposed to any band accompanying the parade as this will only lead to increased tensions in the area”.

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