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Sinn Fein questions Parades Commission handling of Castlederg Parade Controversy

19 July, 2006

Sinn Fein Cllr Charlie Mc Hugh says that he is now satisfied that a loyalist band parade planned for Castlederg on Saturday night will be kept away from the vicinity of Castlefin park and the town's largest nationalist housing estates after a joint Sinn Fein/local residents delegation meeting with the Parades Commission this morning.

Cllr Mc Hugh said,

"The parade, organised by Pride of the Derg loyalist flute band will comprise of 30 loyalist bands and 1,000 participants.  The inclusion of Breezemount Park on the proposed route by the organisers led to local nationalist fears that the parade would be coming to within a matter of metres of Castlefin Park and the town's largest nationalist housing estates and would represent a reply of a controversial Apprentice Boys Parade last December when this route was facilitated by the PSNI.

"Up until today, the message we have been getting from case workers on the Parades Commission is this parade would be allowed to proceed this same route past Breezemount Park on the Lurganbuoy Road up as far as Edward's School beside Castlefin Park.

"At the same time we have been getting representations from within the unionist community stating that this would not be the case so this meeting with the Parades Commission today was essential to clear up the confusion surrounding this contentious route.

"Today, the joint delegation has now been told by the Parades Commission that the parade will not be following this contentious route.

"While I am now satisfied that this is the case, it's begs questions of the Parades Commission handling of this issue.  Tensions have been unnecessarily raised in the Castlederg area as a result.  However, I now hope that as a result of today's clarification the tensions will ease and hopefully that this parade can pass off without incident and that all residents in the area can go about their business free from fear or obstruction. ENDS

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