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Loyalist band parade – residents expected to be hemmed in by ring of steel

23 August, 2007

Sinn Féin Newry and Mourne Councillor Brendan Curran has said that tomorrow nights (Friday) Loyalist Band Parade which will involve over 40 Bands parading through the greater Belfast/Rathfriland Road area of the City is viewed by the mainly nationalist residents of that area, as a deliberately sectarian romp and coat trailing exercise.

The Newry City Councillor was speaking after residents expressing their concern had contacted him.

"They cannot comprehend the logic behind the Parades Commissions decision to allow this Loyalist Band Parade into the centre of Newry," said the Councillor who continued, "Residents can now expect to be hemmed in by a "Ring of Steel" and subject to the accompanying chaos, drunken and sectarian intimidation, for a period of four to five hours".

The Councillor said that Sinn Féin continued to be committed to engaging with those involved with various Loyal Order and Church Parades in the area, to help address issue of concern. "However we do oppose the sectarian coat trailing exercise which these Loyalist Bands attempt to foist on the people of Newry on an annual basis" said the Councillor who concluded by saying "The resolution of this issue lies in both dialogue and accommodation at local level. The organisers of this Loyalist Band Parade consistently refuse to engage in this process in Newry. Indeed most recently they reneged at the last minute on an agreement to meet.

"My hope is that the residents of the Greater Belfast/Rathfriland Road area will enjoy a peaceful evening this coming Friday without their area besieged by bigots in Bandsmen Uniforms. I would also appeal for calm and for a peaceful evening, there is an undoubted responsibility on the Organisers of this Loyalist Band Parade to ensure the evening passes off peacefully." ENDS

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