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Doherty to meet PSNI about policing in Castlederg as major loyalist parade looms

11 September, 2007

West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty will lead a delegation to meet with the PSNI in Castlederg this afternoon (Tuesday 11th September), to discuss local nationalist concerns which question the impartiality of policing in the town in general and particularly the actions of the PSNI on nights when loyalist and loyal order parades are taking place.

Mr Doherty said:

"With a major loyalist band parade looming in Castlederg on Saturday night and given that the local nationalist community have concerns which question the impartiality of policing in the town in general and particularly policing actions on nights when loyalist or loyal order parades are taking place, Sinn Féin has requested this meeting to ensure that the PSNI carries out its duties and responsibilities in a fair and impartial way, as a civic police service, which is democratically accountable to the public."

"Not only do people have to undergo the indignity of being hemmed in for hours on end by large numbers of PSNI but local nationalists also point to the many examples of how the PSNI have acted in a partisan manner whenever any trouble has occurred during or after these parades.

"The PSNI has a duty of impartiality towards the entire community and this engagement is part of a process to ensure that the rights of everyone in this area are protected.

"In terms of the major parade looming on Saturday night, there is also genuine concern in Castlederg about the scale and nature of the events being organized by the Castlederg Young Loyalist Flute Band. It has applied to bring 96 bands and some 3385 participants into the town and filed to march throughout the town including through predominantly nationalist areas at the top of the town. The organisers also applied to have a major fire works display beside and the old people's home at the Castle Site off Main Street.

"Last week, I led a delegation to the Parades Commission to object about the proposed size and nature of this band parade but while some restrictions, in terms of the route have been imposed and while the Commission have reduced the number of bands permitted from 96 to 70, - it has completely failed to take on board how similar events like this have been experienced by the local community and not solely by the local nationalist community.

The Parades Commission need also to begin to acknowledge the detrimental impact upon community relations that the frequency and nature of Loyalist and Loyal Order Parades are having in Castlederg." ENDS

Note to Editors: Saturday night's parade will be the 19th such parade in Castlederg since the 1st July

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