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Praise for Maghera Residents initiative as Parades Commission re-routes Royal Black parade

24 August, 2004

Sinn Féin are calling on the Parades Commission to uphold their weekend decision to re-route a Royal Black Perceptory parade in Maghera on Saturday 28th August away from the nationalist 'Top of the Town' area. Party representatives have said that their must be no repeat of events in July when the Parades Commission came under pressure from the PSNI to overturn their decision to re-route a controversial loyalist band parade in the town.

Mid-Ulster MLA, Geraldine Dougan and party colleague Cllr. Sean Kerr praised nationalist residents in Maghera after they took an initiative aimed at resolving the contentious RBP parade.

The Sinn Féin representatives said:

"Over the summer a number of contentious loyal order parades have taken place through the nationalist town of Maghera. A loyalist band parade with the direct involvement of unionist paramilitary organisations was also forced through the town centre in late July. This came against the backdrop of an ongoing orchestrated campaign of violence and intimidation against the catholic population in South Derry.

"Nationalists in the town are justifiably angry at these recent events. Despite this anger Maghera Residents last week met with the Parades Commission and offered a compromise plan which if embraced would see the issues around the RBP parade resolved. The offer of an alternative route and the commencement of immediate dialogue with the parade organisers is a genuine attempt to resolve this potentially serious situation.

"We wish to praise local residents for taking this initiative in what is a difficult climate and we would urge both the Parades Commission and the RBP to grasp this opportunity to find a local resolution to this particular parading problem." ENDS

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