Planned Castlederg protest by nationalist residents called off
Sinn Féin MP for West Tyrone Pat Doherty has announced that a planned protest by nationalist residents in Castlederg at tomorrow’s Apprentice Boys parade is being called off.
The decision came after meetings in Castlederg last night involving local republicans and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
Mr Doherty said:
“Over the past number of weeks there have been many wild and false claims made in the media regarding the nature of the Tyrone Volunteers Commemoration in Castlederg this Sunday.
“There has been a very deliberate bid by some to use the parade to try and undermine community relations in the area and specifically around the good work that has been done to resolve parading issues in the town.
“The fact remains Castlederg is a majority nationalist town and does host numerous loyalist and unionist parades in the town centre throughout the year. Given the restrictions placed on the Republican parade on Sunday there is a justifiable anger in Castlederg amongst nationalists and republicans that it seems the town centre is acceptable for loyalist parades but not for the majority community in the town.
“There had been a protest planned for Saturday’s Apprentice Boys feeder parade in the wake of the decisions taken by the Parades Commission regarding the Republican Commemoration and the hysterical reaction by political unionism in whipping up sectarian tensions in the town.
“Last night after meetings in Castlederg involving local people and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness a decision was taken to cancel Saturday’s protest. This is a genuine attempt to de-escalate tensions in the town and it would be my hope that it contributes to a peaceful weekend in Castlederg.”