Sinn Fein: “Kingsmills march must be rerouted”
Newry & Armagh MP Conor Murphy has in the last week attended a packed out special meeting of the Parades Commission held in Whitecross Community Centre to enable concerned residents to put their views on an upcoming march being arranged by Willie Frazer’s group ‘FAIR’ to the commissioners.
Mr Murphy said, “Tonight’s public meeting in Whitecross was arranged during a Parades Commission meeting held on 7th February in Newry which was attended by Sinn Féin representatives and concerned residents from the Whitecross area. It became clear during this meeting that further community consultation was required and so the Commissioners agreed to attend this meeting in Whitecross.”
“I am here this evening in support of the hundreds of residents of Whitecross and the surrounding areas who have come here tonight in such numbers that many are standing halfway down the stairs. These people are adamant that this march should not go through this area.”
He continued, “The organiser of this rally has applied for a march with up to 11 bands on a route which passes through Whitecross, an overwhelmingly nationalist area and past the homes of 7 members of the Reavey family. The community here are opposed to this and I support them. This march is intended to intimidate the nationalist community and stoke up sectarian tensions in a mixed area where people of different traditions live peacefully side by side.”
Commending the residents of Whitecross, Murphy continued, “The community here believe that this march is intended to ignite sectarian tensions by using the families who lost loved ones at Kingsmills. As members of Whitecross Community Association pointed out Kingsmills has been commemorated for many years at the site and there has never been an issue with this. There is also a monument at the site which has never been vandalised in the slightest.”
“Whitecross and the surrounding areas is home to people of mixed traditions and backgrounds who live peacefully as friends and neighbours. There were people at this meeting tonight who spoke of friends from the Unionist tradition who did not want to see a march through Whitecross village,” Murphy stated.
He concluded, “I have arranged a special meeting with the Parades Commission ahead of their determination on Tuesday 14th and I invite any residents of Whitecross who wish to attend. An alternative route has been proposed by local residents and I see no reason why the Parades Commission would not accept this route when they make their determination on February 14th”
Local Sinn Féin councillor Jimmy McCreesh, who also attended the meeting, added, “I have represented this community for the past 15 years and in that time I can say that I have worked for as many families from the unionist tradition as I have those of a nationalist persuasion. There are never any problems or issues here and that’s the way this community wants things to stay. I am sure that the Parades Commission are in no doubt of the views of the people here and they must now take the sensible approach and reroute this march.”
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