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Sinn Féin to meet the Parades Commission on Ballymena Parades issue

22 August, 2006


Speaking ahead of a party meeting with the Parades Commission tomorrow regarding a continuous Loyalist parade in Ballymena, Sinn Féin North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan has said, 'I welcome the fact that the Parades Commission are finally beginning to realise the seriousness of the issues that surround loyalist band parades in the town.

Mr McGuigan said:

"Obviously I welcome the fact that the Parades Commission are finally realising the seriousness of the issues that surround loyalist band parades that pass the north end of Ballymena.

"We in Sinn Féin have always said that people have the right to march and participate in parades but the issue in Ballymena is that there are those in the unionist community who wish to use this as an excuse to coat-trail past Nationalist homes and intimidate the locals.

"Ballymena is a predominantly unionist town and there is ample geography within it for the bandsmen to parade peacefully and with the full support of the host community. This can be done without venturing into the Nationalist North end of the town and seeking confrontation from that community.

"The Parades Commission and the Governments clearly need to understand the issues, so I would ask them to make a determination that not only entitles people the right to march, but entitles the Nationalist people to live in their homes without the fear of unnecessary intimidation and Unionist coat-trailing exercises." ENDS

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