Sinn Féin appeal for calm in Armagh ahead of Loyalist Parade

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Saturday, March 17th, 2012
Community, News

Conor Murphy is one of three local Sinn Fein representatives being sued

Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy has appealed to those living in or visiting Armagh tomorrow to keep calm and try to enjoy the St Patrick’s Day events. “The decision to allow a loyalist band parade through Armagh on St Patrick’s Day is flawed at the most fundamental level. The PSNI and Parades Commission have said that they are satisfied that this parade is non controversial and while I do not believe this to be the case I would appeal to all those in Armagh tomorrow to remain cool headed.” Murphy continued, “This decision, which Sinn Féin tried to stop from the outset, has already had a negative affect on the annual St Patrick’s Day parade with a third of those who had signed up to participate no longer taking part. In addition, many businesses along the route of the sectarian, loyalist march have decided to close their doors early and will therefore be unable to do business on the busiest day in Armagh. This will have a major economic impact on Armagh which cannot be justified.” Murphy’s Sinn Féin colleague councillor Roy McCartney added; “I will be speaking to the manager of Armagh Cinema who I have heard was informed by the PSNI that he would be as well closing early tomorrow. This is strange advice given the PSNI belief that this march is not controversial” Sinn Féin Armagh council group leader Cathy Rafferty said, “Armagh Council officials have major questions to answer regarding this parade.  They have gone ahead, without any consultation with councillors, to arrange additional street cleansing to be undertaken by 12 workers, all receiving double time. Ratepayers will of course, most unfairly, be bearing this cost.” Local MLA Cathal Boylan also appealed for calm from both sides of the community saying, “The people of Armagh should not respond to the obvious provocation intended by the organisers of this march and those who have facilitated its easy passage. St Patrick’s Day should be celebrated in its traditional atmosphere as an inclusive celebration of culture. Those who have alternative motivations for marching through Armagh should be ignored.”
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