Calls have been made to boycott Rushmere Shopping Centre following news that Lurgan’s Salvation Army band will not be allowed to play inside the building this Christmas.
The Mail was inundated with support for both the Salvation Army and St Mark’s Silver Band who were told by Rushmere to play outside rather than inside the venue.
Maynard Collins posted on the Lurgan Mail Facebook page: “Customers should vote with their feet on this one.”
Jarlath McGregor said: “The Salavation Army, like St Vincent de Paul, do so much to help the old, the sick, and the homeless over the Christmas period and throughout the year, and take great care of the needy. Rushmere’s heartless actions banning them from inside, seems to have the interests of the greedy more in mind.”
But Kevin Shawn Carter said: “How would Christians feel if an Islamic brass band played in the shopping centre to raise money for what they deemed deserving causes?” Maria Mc Donald said: “So sorry everyone but they can go to many a place and sing outside or inside churches! It’s not my cup of tea and I found them very annoying.”
In a statement, Rushmere manager Martin Walsh he was ‘disappointed’ at the Lurgan Mail’s coverage which he claimed “sought to present us in an uncaring and dismissive light”.
He said Rushmere supports many charities and has assisted in raising thousands of pound.
He said they had supported both bands’ fundraising efforts and looked forward to “welcoming them back to the centre this year”.
“Rushmere currently supports Save the Children and The Buddy Bear Trust, which promotes conductive education for children with cerebral palsy,” he said.
Mr Walsh added, “We cannot unfortunately accommodate every organisation every time due to severe limitations on space – and at a time when customer numbers are at their greatest.
“However, we do try to be fair.”