Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew has said Unionist politicians should address the issue of contentious parades rather than feigning outrage at nationalist parades, which are welcome in host communities.
The Fermanagh South Tyrone MP was responding to critics of this year’s annual Hunger Strike commemoration being held in Derrylin.
Michelle Gildernew said,
“The annual Hunger Strike Commemoration will be held in the predominately nationalist village of Derrylin, Fermanagh on the 3rd August.
“This commemoration moves around the country with a different county holding the parade and this year it is the turn of Fermanagh.
“Fermanagh has a historic connection to the Hunger Strike as Bobby Sands was elected MP here in April 1981, so it is apt that Fermanagh has an opportunity to hold this commemoration.
“When deciding the venue we took into considerations the sensitivities of the Unionist community. We decided that rather than hold it in the county town of Enniskillen we would hold it in the predominately nationalist village of Derrylin.
“The organisers consulted with the local community and have agreed a formula that minimises any disruption to the local community.
“It seems that Unionist leaders who talked so much over the past few weeks of tolerance and respect can no longer countenance a nationalist parade in a nationalist area while looking to force Loyal Order parades through nationalist areas.
“The parade will be respectful with no on-street drinking, sectarian banners or flag burning and will take place in a village with the full approval of the local residents.
“Unionist leaders would be better served in addressing controversial parades rather than showing their sectarian attitudes to parades in Nationalist area.”