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Parades Commission abdicate responsibility over Drumcree rally

20 September, 2006


Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O'Dowd has this afternoon been informed by the Parades Commission that they have rejected his request that they issue a determination in respect of this weekends loyalist rally at Drumcree.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"When this Commission was cobbled together by Peter Hain last year we expressed serious reservations about its make up and balance. Many of these fears were seen to be justified throughout the summer months in Belfast, Castlederg, Maghera and elsewhere.

"In the past week the Parades Commission has reached an entirely new level. Just how the Commission can determine that a loyalist parade and rally at Drumcree is not contentious is simply beyond comprehension. The request Sinn Féin made for a review of the original decision not to issue a determination gave the Parades Commission an opportunity to see sense and diffuse the tension and anger within the nationalist community in Portadown at the way in which this application has been handled.

"The situation as it now stands is that the Orange Order have been given a green light to behave in exactly whatever fashion they decide this Saturday night. The PSNI have been handed the power over parades, exactly the role which the Parades Commission have been tasked to do. They have abdicated their responsibility. Given the history of intimidation and violence which is associated with the Orange Order at Drumcree nationalists in Portadown are rightly apprehensive at this turn of events." ENDS

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