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STONEYFORD PARADE SHOULD BE BANNED

10 September, 2008


Stoneyford parade should be banned

Sinn Fein MLA Paul Butler has called on the Parades Commission to ban loyalist parades in Stoneyford village. Paul Butler condemned as "blatantly sectarian" the actions of loyalists in Stoneyford who flouted the Parades Commission ruling on a controversial parade in the village on Tuesday night.Paul Butler said:

"Leading loyalist Mark Harbison, who had organised the parade, along with other bandsmen intimidated Catholics living in Stonebridge Meadows. Harbison and other bandsmen marched over fields to get as close as possible to houses in Stonebridge Meadows were they proceeded to try and intimidate Catholics living in Stonebridge Meadows. Residents who I spoke to felt very threatened and intimidated by the behaviour of these bandsmen'

"The Commission had ruled that the parade was not allowed to enter the housing developments of The Beeches and Stonebridge Meadows, both scenes of loyalist intimidation of Catholics in recent years which has led to numerous Catholic families fleeing the village. The loyalist parade route was clearly laid out in the Parades Commission determination, which specified that it was to march from the Orange Hall to the War Memorial and that no music was allowed to be played.

Paul Butler continued,

"Mark Harbison and band members entered a field between the two housing developments (Stonebridge Meadows and The Beeches) and proceeded to march around the Stonebridge Meadows development. This development was the scene for sectarian attacks on Catholic homes over the last number of years when a Catholic family escaped death after an arson attack on their home and car. The actions of this loyalist band are purely sectarian and designed to intimidate the Catholics of Stoneyford. The Parades Commission should now ban future parades by this band in the village."

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