Sinn Féin MLA Mickey Brady has met the Parades Commission to raise concerns about a proposed Band Parade taking place in Newry later this month.
And the Newry and Armagh Sinn Féin MLA has appealed to the organisers to end their refusal to engage in dialogue with local residents.
Mickey Brady said:
“The South Down Defenders Band Parade takes place on August 29th.
“Band parades like this have always been hugely contentious in Newry, closing down two main roads in the city causing maximum inconvenience, traffic chaos and delays.
“Several bands fly UVF bannerettes and flags which is clearly designed to insult nationalist residents in the area. This is also a direct violation of previous determinations made by the Parades Commission.
“I have received complaints from people living along this route who once again fear that they will be forced to stay in their houses for much of that night.
“I have also spoken to business people who are concerned that trade will be badly affected due to road closures and customers avoiding the area.”
Mickey Brady called on parade organisers and unionist political representatives to begin meaningful talks with residents living along the route.
“Local people are frustrated about how their genuine concerns are being dismissed by the parade organisers and unionist politicians.
“This is not about denying people’s right to march. Those who wish to celebrate their culture should be free to do so, but this right must be exercised with full respect for the rights of others, and in particular, the rights of host communities.
“The people of this area are entitled to have their voices heard and the organisers should begin a genuine process of negotiation with the residents.
“Organisers should acknowledge the serious disruption caused for residents, the wider community and businesses.
“These issues can be resolved through dialogue and agreement.
“I am willing to meet the organisers of this parade and Unionist representatives at any time to facilitate any meaningful process of dialogue.
“The refusal of the parade organisers to talk to residents in Newry points up once again the need for a comprehensive solution to the issues of parades, flags and the past as set out in the Haass proposals.”