Parades Commission Criticised For Limiting RHD Parade in Downpatrick
UKIP Down District representative Alan Lewis has challenged the Parades Commission over the restrictions on a march in Downpatrick this evening (Monday 5 August).
He said: “The Red Hand Defenders band must be allowed to Parade in their home town. The Parades Commission must stop pandering to pan nationalism. The annual restriction determination regrettably continually sends the message out that ‘There will be no shared future in Downpatrick.’
“Annually Parade Commission observers turn up and witness a peaceful dignified parade yet the commission annually bows to pan nationalist sectarian belligerence.
“I challenge the Parades Commission to release the previous reports of its parade observers who were present every year at the Downpatrick RHD parade. I “believe these reports will confirm this parade has been peaceful in recent years.
“There is no legitimate ‘lawful’ reason for this parade to be restricted other than for Sinn Fein’s gratification seeing Protestants excluded to the perimeters of Downpatrick and to appease whatever secret SDLP representation was made to the Parades Commission.
“The Parades Commissions continued existence is having a detrimental effect on community relations by passing negative determinations on peaceful unionist parades while allowing militant republican glorification parades go ahead. This simply isn’t good governance and far from promoting a shared future,” aded Mr Lewis.
The Parades Commission had conceded that only one band could march to the War Memorial on the Strangford Road and lay a wreath.