Anger over Crumlin parade ruling
THE Parades Commission has announced its decision on the contentious Twelfth parade in Crumlin, imposing a number of restrictions.
The Commission made its ruling late on Thursday evening which allows the South Antrim Combine parade, which involves 50 bands, and the seven districts of Lisburn, Hillsborough, Aghalee, Magheragall, Ballinderry, Derriaghy and Glenavy to go ahead that morning without any restrictions.
However when the parade leaves the field at 4pm part of the route will be restricted to just local bands.
The Commission ruled: “On its return route, the parade, other than those Lodges and notified accompanying bands making up the host Glenavy District, shall not process beyond the 30 mph speed limit signs located on the Ballytromery Road on the approach to Crumlin.
“The Glenavy District Lodges and accompanying notified bands of the Glenavy District may complete the return route as notified.”
Local Councillor Adrian Watson contacted the Antrim Times to vent his anger at the Commission’s ruling.
“I have spoken to a lot of people who are very, very angry about this decision and they feel let down by the Parades Commission,” Cllr. Watson said.
He added: “This is a disgraceful pathetic decison by the group known as the Parades Commission.
“It is a real slap in the face to the Orange Order, the decision is now going to be a logistical nightmare for brethran travelling to the parade.
“The Order has made it a family friendly parade and even made changes to the route to move it away from the chapel.
“This small group who opposed the parade is formed no doubt by blow-ins, who have moved into the village barely five years ago and are trying to turn it into a Republican village.
“They knew Crumlin had an Orange history - there is an Orange Hall - but they just want everybody to change to suit them.”
However, Sinn Fein’s Mitchel McLaughlin’s views were in stark contrast to Cllr. Watson and expressed his disappointment and concerns at the Parades Commission determination, claiming concerns were not take on board.
“This is the wrong determination by the Parades Commission and it is extremely disappointing that our concerns were not taken on board,” Mr McLaughlin said.
He added: “Essentially the Commission have given the go ahead for the Orange Order to march with 4,000 participants through Crumlin village on the 12th of July and an expected 5,000 supporters to attend despite the Orange Order carrying out no consultation whatsoever with the local community.
“This community, which is over 80 per cent nationalist have opposed this happening due to concerns in regards to the potential for serious damage to the excellent community relations in the town, levels of confidence in the new policing dispensation, the freedom of movement for the residents and fears of violence as a result of a number of attacks in the village following previous sizable Orange marches.
“To their credit the residents of the town sought meetings with the Orange Order but to no avail. They also proposed several viable alternative routes in order to facilitate this march.
“The Parades Commission have, in their determination, only payed lip service to these concerns and suggestions.
“The only restriction placed will see the Glenavy District, which number 700 people, march back through the village on an unaltered route. Given the sheer number of expected supporters it is the belief that this restriction will have little impact on the very real concerns of those who live in the village.”
But Mr Watson countered Mr McLaughlin’s concerns over the impact on community relations, claiming that instead, the opposition to thr parade has damaged community relations in the area.
“This has set community relations in the area back, there is some very good work taking place in Crumlin but it is all being undermined by this small group led by Sinn Fein who kick up a fuss,” Mr Watson said.
He added: “They complain about the loss of business, this is a public holiday so that’s a totally irrelevant point.
“We are supposed to be working together towards a tolerant society and they can’t even tolerate the Orange Order for six hours every 14 years. They simply just don’t want any prods about the place.”
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Weather for Antrim
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: South