Apprentice Boys Parade in Enniskillen ‘a bad move’ - Flanagan
Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has reacted with despair to the news that the Apprentice Boys of Derry plan to hold their annual Easter Monday parade in Enniskillen with around 15,000 people expected to descend on the town on what should be one of the busiest shopping days in Enniskillen.
The parade, with 60 bans, 4,500 participants and 10,000 expected supporters is scheduled to start at 10.30am and conclude at 4.30pm
The Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA said:
"This parade will severely impact on trade in Enniskillen on what should be one of the busiest days of the year for the retail and hospitality sectors. As a result Enniskillen will become a no go area for one section of our community for the whole day.
“This is a bad move for community relations in the area and is bad news for the local economy. It is also disappointing that so soon after Enniskillen hosted a very successful, cross-community celebration of the feast of St Patrick, that we are now into the start of the ‘marching season’ and the usual sectarian coat trailing begins in earnest.
"This parade is completely unwanted by the overwhelming majority of people in Enniskillen. A considerable number of business owners particularly those in the licensed trade sector have expressed their concerns to me about the negative impact it will have on their trade and some have said that they are considering closing for the day.
“This is based on their experience of the last time this event took place in Enniskillen when serious criminal damage was caused to some pubs in the town by those attending this parade.
“I have already had some discussions with the Parades Commission and will also be seeking to engage with the PSNI to discuss their policing plan to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum and anyone causing trouble is dealt with in an appropriate manner.”