Sinn Féin delegation to meet Parades Commission regarding Armagh parade
A Sinn Féin delegation including Assembly Member Cathal Boylan and Armagh City and District councillors Cathy Rafferty, Roy McCartney and Noel Sheridan will meet the Parades Commission to register their concerns regarding an application from a loyalist band to march through Armagh City on St Patrick’s Day.
Speaking ahead of the meeting Mr Boylan spoke to Newry Times. “The application from Cormeen Rising Sons of William Flute Band is an attempt to bring up to 40 loyalist bands right through Armagh’s central business district from 7-11pm on St Patrick’s Day. For the past seven years the Cormeen Band has marched on 17th March in Killylea without incident and without raising community tension. The excuse given for this attempted relocation is that part of the traditional route is not adequately lit at night.”
“My colleagues have suggested that Armagh Council provide street lighting to enable them to continue their tradition of marching in Killylea. This should be an obvious and acceptable solution. St Patrick’s Day in Armagh has become the city’s flagship event. Since 2009 the attendance has risen from 4,000 people to 16,500 people last year. It is a tourism bonanza which creates a festival feel throughout the district and attracts visitors from all over Ireland. Local businesses reap the rewards too with brisk trade from morning until late at night,” Boylan continued.
He added, “This application throws the celebration into jeopardy. Already community activists have been contacting me and my colleagues to voice their concerns about taking children and families into a potentially dangerous situation.”
Sinn Féin Armagh council group leader Cathy Rafferty added, “St Patrick’s Day in Armagh is a festival for everybody. Armagh Council’s stated position is that any events on this day in Armagh should adhere to principles of inclusivity and be cross community in nature. This loyalist band parade has the opposite ethos and should not take place. The Parades Commission surely must take the sensible approach and prevent this coat-trailing and plainly provocative march from ruining a cultural festival.”
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