Unionists furious after illegal parade

UNIONISTS have reacted furiously to the staging of an illegal parade in the town on Sunday.

The republican parade protesting the imprisonment of Martin Corey was not approved by the Parades Commission and there have been calls for arrests to be made.

A DUP delegation is set to meet the Chief Constable Matt Bagott today (Thursday).

The DUP will also be meeting with local police chief Jason Murphy on Friday and the Parades Commission shortly.

Assembly member Stephen Moutray said: “What happened in Lurgan on Sunday was nothing more than a hate march.

“It was quite evidently an illegal parade and people are furious that further action was not taken to prevent it from taking place in the first instance. This hate march has been captured on tape. The community will expect convictions to flow from such footage.

“It is nothing short of scandalous that the loyal orders are made to jump through hoops by the Parades Commission and the police when it comes to completing the Commission’s 11-1 form, but illegal hate marches like this are allowed to process along the highway without any permission.

“People will rightly conclude that the Parades Commission is happy to bully and cajole law-abiding citizens in the loyal orders but runs scared of a dissident Republican mob.

“We have learned that there has been no recorded convictions for participation in illegal parades since 2006. Given that the loyal orders obey the law, it is not them who are participating in illegal parades.

“In the coming days I will be meeting with the Parades Commission and the police to see just what action they propose to take to deal with those responsible for the hate march witnessed on the streets of Lurgan on Sunday. The era of Parades Commission double-standards and police inaction must be brought to an end.”

Colin McCusker, Secretary of the Orange Order’s Lurgan District LOL No 6 and Ulster Unionist Assembly Candidate for Upper Bann expressed disgust:

“It is scandalous that this illegal parade was permitted to walk from Kilwilke to Taghnevan, a route of some two miles.

“The disruption this must have caused to the people and businesses in Lurgan was immense. Given the manner in which the Loyal Orders are treated by the authorities when they take part in legal, properly notified parades, is it any wonder tensions rise in loyalist communities.

“The PSNI are duty bound to ensure those taking part in this very public exercise of law breaking, are brought to book - we must see prosecutions.”