Sinn Fein: parades call ‘beggars belief’

Councillor Paul Duffy
Councillor Paul Duffy

Sinn Fein councillor Paul Duffy has said it “beggars belief that in such challenging times the Orange Order’s top priority is to force an Orange march through a nationalist area”.

Cllr Duffy was responding to a statement by Portadown District LOL No 1 in which it said that it “trusted” that parading issues, especially in Portadown, would be high on the agenda for the new government.

Portadown district has been banned since 1997 from marching down the Garvaghy Road from its annual service at Drumcree Church.

The Garvaghy Road Residents’ Coalition has since declined talks, saying the matter is a “dead duck”.

The district has applied again this year to parade its traditional route on July 9, with the Garvaghy Road included on the return leg.

Councillor Duffy said that as the nation faced Brexit and the task of restoring a local executive based on equality, respect and integrity, the focus should be on dealing with outstanding controversial parades rather than revisiting old disputes from the past.

He added, “It is almost 20 years since the Orange 
Order marched from Drumcree along the Garvaghy Road.”

In its statement published on its official Twitter page, Portadown District also said the DUP now had responsibility to “deliver for the people of Northern Ireland”.

“We trust they are successful in promoting the values of the unionist people and the Orange fraternity.

“We wish them well in the weeks and months that lie ahead,” it added.

The application is due to be considered by the Parades Commission on June 21.

Bands accompanying the lodge are the Star of David Accordion Band, Edgarstown Accordian Band and Mavemacullen Accordion Band.