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Ó Donnghaile comments following sentencing of bandsman

4 December, 2013

Sinn Féin Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile has today said that the community in the Short Strand will be asking themselves why it has taken so long for those responsible for breaches of Parades Commission determinations to be prosecuted.

 He said:

"The prosecution of a loyalist bandsman has to be looked at in the broader context in of parades in this part of East Belfast.

"The reality is that for the last number of years almost every single Parades Commission determination placed on processions passed St Matthew's Church and the Short Strand area has been ignored, flouted and breached. 

"Again we hear unionist leaders commenting on the fallout from the breaches, but very little is ever said about the countless breaches that take place.

"While I welcome this prosecution being successfully sought and hope that it will have a bearing on the behaviour of participants in future parades, I have no doubt that the parishioners in the Short Strand will be asking themselves why it has taken so long for anyone to act and uphold the rule of law when it comes to breaking the law and indeed their right to live free from sectarianism.

"It must be stated that all residents in this area ask from the respective marching Orders is that they treat this community with respect. It would be a much better outcome and longer lasting, if the same Orders were to sit down with residents and agree a way forward rather than time being wasted on pursuing people through the justice system."

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