Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Parades Commission ruling on Portadown Orange Order march welcomed

30 June, 2003


Sinn Féin Upper Bann representative Dr Dara O'Hagan has welcomed the determination of the Parades Commissions on the Orange Order march in Portadown.

Dr O'Hagan said:

"This is the right decision. The nationalist community living on Garvaghy Road have the right to live free from sectarian harassment. They have made it abundantly clear that they do not want Orange Parades through their area and past their homes.

"The Orange Order either fail to understand or refuse to understand how objectionable nationalists find their insistence that they march through nationalist areas.

"It is unacceptable that this issue raises its head year after year. The Orange Order should abandon their attempts to seek a march through Garvaghy Road. If they persist with a demand for these marches then they must engage with the residents and seek to persuade them of their case.

"Ultimately a resolution to disputes of this kind can only be achieved through agreement between the parades organisers and the host communities. This requires direct dialogue between the residents and the Loyal Orders. This is the very minimum requirement of a process premised on mutual respect."

Commenting on weekend media speculation about this specific issue, Dr O'Hagan

said:

"Sinn Féin has been involved in a range of meetings with a range of people and I am not going to get involved in the detail of this.

"But, lets be absolutely clear, there has been no effort by the Orange Order in Portadown to talk directly to nationalist residents to date, so it is fairly clear that the media suggestion that agreement on a march was close was not just totally wrong but most likely an exercise of mischief making,

"Our position on Orange Order marches is well known. We support their right to march. But where there are contentious parades, and there are only a small number, there is an onus on them to get the agreement from the host communities." ENDS

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