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Concerns Expressed Over Antrim March

18 May, 2004

Antrim Sinn Fein Councillor Martin McManus has said that he is deeply concerned that proposals to hold a massive loyalist parade in the town this Saturday have the potential to cause trouble. Cllr. McManus was also critical of the decision of the local council to hire specialist equipment to decorate the town in red, white and blue bunting for the occasion.

Cllr. McManus said:

" We have been told that this weekend's parade is to commemorate the Battle of Antrim, a battle whose anniversary actually occurs in early June. The parade will take place during this weekend's Scottish Cup final and will enter Catholic areas of the town. The potential for trouble is obvious.

" I am also angered at the decision of Antrim Council to use rate payers money to hire in specialist equipment to decorate the town centre with red, white and blue bunting. I do not believe that this is appropriate use of public funds.

" I recognise the historical significance of the Battle of Antrim and recognise that many people wish to commemorate it. However I feel that the organisation of this weekend's event is little more than a loyalist coat trailing exercise on a date chosen to cause maximum provocation to the local Catholic population. The involvement of the local council in decorating the town for the march only adds to this.

" A much more fitting commemoration of this battle would be for the communities in the town to work out a collective approach to remembering the United Irishmen and their contribution to this area. This is a project which the council would be better putting resources into. It is my belief that this sort of approach would have the potential to enrich this area and avert the sort of situation we are facing into this weekend." ENDS

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