Controversy over weekend’s parades

Lurgan Town Centre.
Lurgan Town Centre.
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The annual Derry Day feeder parade in Lurgan has been rerouted once again - with a local unionist councillor taking issue with the Parades Commission.

The ‘Derry Day’ homecoming parade is one of two planned for the town on Saturday, with an Anti-internment Committee march scheduled from 6pm, while the Apprentice Boys of Derry Lurgan No 1 Branch parade from 7:30pm.

The loyal order application has received a note of determination from the Parades Commission, with several conditions placed on the parade - one of which being that the they must not enter William St or Lough Road. This applies to the 7,30am parade as well as the evening march.

UUP Councillor Colin McCusker said he was disappointed with the Parades Commission, and went so far as to question the validity of the Anti-internment parade.

“I must express, in the strongest possible terms, my disappointment and frustration with the Parades Commission,” said Cllr McCusker. “To add insult to injury, you permit an anti-internment parade on the same evening as the Apprentice Boys in the same area. According to your website, this parade is sensitive and was notified late. I would go further - it should be banned. To the best of my knowledge, there is no internment in Northern Ireland, so why we need a parade opposing it is beyond me.”

Both parades are listed as ‘sensitive’ on the website of the Parades Commission, and a spokesperson explained why such a condition had been placed on the Apprentice Boys’ route.

“The primary contention around the ABOD parade in Lurgan on 8 August is its notification of William St,” the spokesperson said. “This location has a highly controversial parading history which continues to impact upon attitudes to parading in the Lurgan area into the present day. Representation to the Commission is that its notification contributes to increased community tensions and divisions. The Commission has determined that a parade by the ABOD along William St continues to represent a high potential for public disorder, a potentially adverse impact upon community relations and community life, and on this basis has restricted the William St portion of the notified route. The Commission confirms that it has received notification of a public procession on 8 August 2015 by the Anti Internment Committee Armagh. The Commission will consider this notification on 5 August. Details of the parade can be viewed at www.paradescommission.org.