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Loyalist Parade in Castlederg must not be allowed to coat trail - Sinn Fein

18 July, 2006

Sinn Fein Cllr Charlie Mc Hugh says that his party is pressing the Parades Commission to ensure that a Loyalist Band parade planned for Castlederg this Saturday night (which involves 30 bands and 1,000 participants), is denied in its attempt to coat trail to within a matter of metres of Castlefin Park and the town's largest nationalist housing estates by being allowed to march past Breezemount Park along Lurganbuoy Road.

Cllr Mc Hugh said,

"The Pride of the Derg loyalist flute band had filed for this parade to march through the predominately nationalist Ferguson rescent/Priests Lane area of Castlederg after 9pm on Saturday night. Given the potential for major disorder if this were to happen the Parades Commission has now determined that this should not be allowed to happen.

"However, we believe that by including Breezemount Park in its proposed route, the Pride of the Derg parade organisers are attempting the same con trick that the Apprentice Boys, in collusion with the PSNI, got away with last year.

"Breezemount Park is on the Lurganbuoy Road and last year the Apprentice Boys were allowed to march this road, despite nationalist objections, as far as the Edward's School turn off which is within a matter of metres of the town's main nationalist housing estates.

"Sinn Fein is in ongoing contact with the Parades Commission about various aspects of Saturday night's planned loyalist parade and in particular, we are calling on the body to ensure that it will not facilitate loyalist coat trailing by allowing a repetition of this route.

"The nationalist community in Castlederg view Saturday night's loyalist band parade with a sense of foreboding particularly in light of yet another assault on a young nationalist by loyalists in the town at the weekend.

"A young nationalist was in a Chinese takeaway at Lower Strabane Road on Saturday night when two well known loyalists got out of a car and proceeded to assault him.  He received facial injuries and had to be admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital for treatment.

"It is clear that against this backdrop tensions are high, but I would appeal for calm and restraint on all sides."

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