Top

Three days of loyalist parades ‘absolute madness’: Murphy

August 10, 2015

Three separate loyalist parades scheduled to be held in Newry over the bank holiday weekend later this month has been described as “an absolutely ridiculous scenario” by Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy.

Mr Murphy says there is a lot of anger among the community over the disruption the parades are likely to cause, particularly considering they are being held on a holiday weekend.

“There are no less than three parades planned for Newry over the course of the August bank holiday weekend.  An absolutely ridiculous scenario when you consider the disruption this will cause to people trying to take advantage of the break to shop, travel or visit Newry,” he said.

“On Friday the 28th of August at least 50 bands intend to parade from the Hockey Club along the Belfast Road, Downshire Road, Church Avenue, Rathfriland Road, Sandys Street, Trevor Hill, Kildare Street then onto the Town Hall and Sugar Island before going back through Trevor Hill, the Downshire Road and Belfast Road.  This parade begins at 7.15pm and isn’t scheduled to finish until 10.30 at night, so as well as causing serious disruption to a main road on a Friday evening and affecting the night time economy of the city, there is genuine concern that it could lead to trouble.

“Furthermore there has been no consultation on this parade whatsoever and the organisers have refused to speak to residents,” he pointed out.

“Then on Saturday the 29th another parade with at least nine bands will set of at 8.30am going through the Downshire Road, Sandy Street roundabout, Trevor Hill, Kildare Street, Hill Street, Margaret Square, Margaret Street, The Mall and then Needham Bridge.  It will return again at 7pm and follow the same route from Needham Bridge back to the Downshire Road.

“On Sunday the 30th yet another parade will leave from the Downshire Road at 3pm travelling along Trevor Hill, Kildare Street, Bank Parade, Sugar Island and then back through Trevor Hill and the Downshire Road before marching the same route again at 4.30pm.

“If anyone was thinking of coming into Newry over the bank holiday weekend to shop or visit and they saw that this was what was going on it would seriously cause them to reconsider,” Mr Murphy claimed.

Stating that he supports “the right to peaceful assembly”, he says there must be a balance struck with the rights of residents to live in peace, the rights of businesses to attract people to the city and the rights of people to go about their daily business “without an entire weekend of disruption”.

“There are at least 140 parades planned all over the north over the bank holiday weekend. This is absolute madness,” he said.

“I would encourage any residents of the affected areas with concerns about the parades to voice them to the Parades Commission.  It is the only way to hopefully limit the disruption or loss these events will cause to the city.”

Submissions can be made to the Parades Commission at: The Parades Commission, 2nd Floor, Andras House, 60 Great Victoria Street, Belfast BT2 7BB.  Call 028 9089 5900 or email info@paradescommissionni.org.

Bottom