Sinn Féin demand business survey in aftermath of loyalist parade
Sinn Féin councillor Cathy Rafferty has called on the council to carry out a business survey as a matter of urgency. This follows reports from some city traders that their takings for St Patrick’s Day dropped by over £1,000 due to early closing because of the contentious loyalist parade.
“St Patrick’s Day was an economic wipe out for our city’s businesses”, councillor Rafferty said, “Those in the hospitality and retail sectors as predicted fared worst of all. Over the course of the bank holiday weekend I have been approached by a number of traders who reported losses to me ranging from £400 to thousands of pounds. The city’s restaurants, cafes, bars and hotel all reported a major drop in trade. Our cinema was forced to close on St Patrick’s night. Our town centre – the seat of St Patrick in Ireland – was a ghost town. This is a total disgrace made worse by the reason behind it – to allow a loyalist band competition, complete with sectarian flags and banners, to march through this town.”
Rafferty continued, “We do not live in a world where businesses can afford to write off one of the busiest trading days in the calendar. I think that Armagh Council, who would not make a submission to the Parades Commission against this parade, has serious questions to answer regarding their facilitation of the loyalist band parade with walkie talkies. Councillors were not asked to approve these decisions and it goes without saying that Sinn Féin are totally opposed to ratepayers being afflicted with these costs. The same ratepayers who have missed out on a day’s business.”
“Unionist political leaders must explain how a loyalist band parade which has had such a dreadful economic impact on the businesses of this city can be justified,” she added.
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