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Parades Commission failure causing anger in Portadown

19 September, 2006


Sinn Féin Assembly member John O'Dowd today said that the failure of the Parades Commission to issue a determination regarding this weekends planned loyalist rally in Portadown was causing anger and apprehension within the nationalist community in Portadown.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Given the history of policing in Portadown and in particular the policing of Orange Order parades in Portadown the nationalist community are rightly uneasy at the prospect of this weekends Drumcree rally going ahead without a determination from the Parades Commission. If the Commission fails to issue a determination then issues such as the route on the day will once again falls into the hands of the local PSNI. That nationalist community in Portadown have no confidence in the PSNI handling such a situation impartially.

"It is clear that this weekends rally is part of a DUP and Orange Order agenda to try and place the issue of the Drumcree parade onto the political agenda in advance of planned talks early next month. The residents of Garvaghy Road have become accustomed to this type of pressure over many years. People should not forget that the Orange Order effectively laid siege to the nationalist community in Portadown for years with the active support of all of the main unionist paramilitary gangs. Sectarian violence became a by-word for the Drumcree protest.

"We have submitted a formal application to the Parades Commission to review their failure to issue a determination and we look forward to a speedy response. However up until now all discussions and deliberations regarding this weekends loyalist rally have been done behind closed doors with no transparency or explanation." ENDS

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