Serious concerns raised over UDA parade in South Belfast - Cllr Hargey
Sinn Féin Councillor Deirdre Hargey has expressed her concern that a loyalist band parade commemorating notorious UDA members Joe Bratty and Raymond Elder was given the go ahead without any consultation with the local community.
"Last night a loyalist band parade involving up to 20 bands was held in the Ballynafeigh area to commemorate two notorious loyalists.
“It beggars belief that given the high public attention recently given to the flags issue in the area and dramatically changed demographics that this parade was not deemed as sensitive by either the Parades Commission or the PSNI.
“As I understand it this parade was applied for by a "Cultural and Historical Society". I must ask of the Parades Commission what consultation was carried out as to the rationale for this parade.
“I have been contacted by local residents who are shocked that this parade was given the go ahead without restriction.
“The fact that the Ormeau Road was closed for an hour to facilitate this parade and reports that public money may have been used to fund a memorial to sectarian killers sends out a deeply insulting message to victims of loyalist murder gangs.
“I am also concerned to hear reports that the Orange Hall may have been used to facilitate this parade. I call on the Orange Order to clarify this.
“Ballynafeigh / upper Ormeau is a vibrant community which has changed dramatically in demographics over recent years. This fact has been acknowledged by the PSNI. This needs to be acknowledged and accepted by other agencies including the Parades Commission and other stakeholders.
“Sinn Féin will be raising these issues with the PSNI, Parades Commission and the Housing Executive.”