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Sinn Féin urge Parades Commission to stand firm in face of unionist threats

21 June, 2005

West Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Hartley today urged the Parades Commission to stand firm in the face of sabre rattling and threats from the Orange Order over this Saturday's Springfield Road parade.

Cllr. Hartley said:

"I welcome the determination made the Parades Commission in relation to this weekends proposed march by the Orange Order along the Springfield Road. It was the only logical decision which could have been reached given the experience of previous years and the ongoing failure of the Orange Order to engage in direct dialogue with the residents of that area.

"Already in the days since the determination was issued members of the Orange Order and senior unionist political figures have begun to sabre rattle and threaten violence if the decision is not overturned. This mirrors the approach adopted last year when disgracefully the Parades Commission bowed to the threat of unionist paramilitary violence and eventually allowed the parade to pass through the nationalist Springfield Road.

"This situation cannot be allowed to be repeated this year. The Parades Commission must stand firm in the face of the threats from the Orange Order, unionist politicians and unionist paramilitary groups. The people of the Springfield Road have a right to live free from sectarian harassment and violence.

"I would also commend the decision of the Springfield Road residents not to proceed with planned white line pickets this week in a bid to de-escalate tensions in the area in the run up to Saturday‚s march." ENDS

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