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Commission decision to allow 40 loyalist bands march through Rasharkin is crazy

13 August, 2009

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has said that the Parades Commission decision to allow over 40 loyalist bands to march through Rasharkin next week is “crazy and irresponsible”.

Mr McKay said:

“Every year the Parades Commission allows this parade to take place through a village which is over 90% Catholic and the decision to do so again this year is absolute madness.

“There is no justification for allowing UDA and UVF bands to march through this village. Many of these bands have undisputable links to loyalist paramilitaries such as the Freeman Memorial band in Coleraine which is named after a UVF man who was killed in the 1970s when a bomb he was transporting blew up. Given that members of this community have been targeted by these groups in the past the Parades Commission decision to allow them to come in to this village and intimidate residents is disgusting.

“The organisers of this parade have refused to engage with residents and why should they given that the Parades Commission will continue to accommodate them and support the status quo. The Commission are not serious about the process of dialogue, if they were they would put pressure on the parade organisers to speak to residents.

“People here are extremely angry that the Commission are refusing to tackle the issue of this parade and the intimidation and violence that has come with it in recent years. There is nowhere else in the north where such a large loyalist parade is accommodated in an overwhelmingly nationalist village and the taking place of this parade will set back community relations in this area further than ever before.”

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