Call for British Secretary of State for the north to ban Stoneyford parades
Sinn Féin MLA Paul Butler has called for a ban on loyalist parades in Stoneyford village. Paul Butler condemned as 'blatantly sectarian' the actions of loyalists in Stoneyford who have applied to the Parades Commission for parades in the village every Tuesday night. These parades are designed to heighten sectarian tensions in the village and are totally unacceptable; the Secretary of State should use his powers under the Public Processions Act and ban any future parades in the village.
Paul Butler said:
"Leading loyalist Mark Harbison, who is organising these parades, along with other bandsmen intimidated Catholics living in Stonebridge Meadows last week. Harbison and other bandsmen marched over fields to get as close as possible to houses in Stonebridge Meadows where they proceeded to intimidate Catholics. Residents who I spoke to felt very threatened and intimidated.
"The Commission has ruled that these parades are 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. Shaun Woodward should now ban future parades by this band in the village."