Unionist politicians call for ‘tolerance and respect’ for Newry Orange parade
Unionist politicians have called for tolerance and respect for the Orange parade due to be celebrated in Newry on 12th July 2012.
The calls came from Ulster Unionist representative, Councillor David Taylor and DUP South Down MLA Jim Wells who were reacting after Newry Times exclusively revealed that local nationalist politicians were concerned about the parade.
Councillor Taylor said it was extremely disappointing that despite continual references made by Sinn Fein regarding a shared future and reconciliation that some of their elected representatives continue to show ‘a lack of tolerance and respect’ to the minority Protestant community in Newry.
Taylor also strongly refuted claims made by Sinn Fein MLA Mickey Brady that Newry District LOL No 9 had failed to engage with the local community with regard to the forthcoming parade. The Ulster Unionist representative confirmed that members of the Orange Order had engaged with Newry & Mourne District Council, Business Leaders and the PSNI to ensure that any impact would be minimal for the local community.
He also advised that all residents along the parade route would be provided with substantive information in the coming days with respect to the parade being hosted by Newry District LOL No 9. Taylor said it was ‘very regrettable’ that Sinn Fein representatives were attempting to raise tensions in the lead up to the 12th July Demonstration and stated that the Orange Institution has the same entitlement as any other organisation to celebrate their culture and play their part in any shared future.
He called on all elected representatives to show responsible leadership in the period leading up to the event and to avoid perpetrating actions or making comments which could serve to heighten tensions in respect of this issue.
DUP South Down MLA Jim Wells stated, “Where else in the World would there be anything but a warm welcome for thousands of visitors coming to a city to peacefully celebrate a major cultural event?”
“I took part in the previous 12th July parade through Newry and the only people who took exception to this event were those like Catriona Ruane who travelled a considerable distance in order to be offended by the march. The previous parade was entirely peaceful and I have no doubt that this will be the case this year.”
Wells added, “The marchers and many thousands of their supporters will bring a much needed boost to the local economy. The parade will cause next to no disruption to traffic as alternative routes will be signposted and I am looking forward to a very enjoyable day.”