Decision to ‘ban’ banner unfurling at Water Street lambasted

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News

The Parades Commission has been lambasted for a decision to ‘ban’ a junior orange banner unfurling at Water Street in Portadown.

The Progressive Unionist Party’s Sophie Long said: “The Parades Commission have set back community relations in Portadown by 20 years with a biased and discriminatory decision to ban a junior lodge from unfurling a banner at Water Street in Portadown.

“Water Street is derelict, with no residents and leads out on to Castle Street. The banner unfurling was to take place in Water Street with a short parade to take place directly into the town centre.

“Millions of pounds of EU ‘peace’ money has been spent on developing the area as a ‘shared space’ regards the nearby People’s Park. The parade would follow the only safe route for members of the unionist community to access this ‘shared space’.

“It appears that the commission have determined otherwise in the face of all local moves to create good relations.

“This is an unbelievable decision even by the standards of the commission.

“The ruling will undoubtedly be challenged.

“There is palpable anger at this determination and conciliatory movement within Portadown towards good community relations will be destroyed.

“The commission, and those in elected office who for years have allowed them to hold sway will bear the blame.

“In the interest of good relations, two words often used by the commission to cover their bias, we urge that this decision be overturned.”

In its ruling the Parades Commission prohibited the parade from assembling at Water Street and barred the parade from any part of its notified route until the junction of Castle Street and Wilson Street from where it can proceed as planned.

The parade is due to take place on May 7.