West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Sinn Féin critical of Parades Commission determinations on Castlederg loyalist parades.

Published: 3 December, 2013

Sinn Féin has criticised the Parades Commission for granting an Apprentice Boys parade unrestricted access through the Nationalist Ferguson Crescent area of Castlederg on the morning of Saturday 7 December.

It is the first of two loyalist parades in the majority Nationalist town on that day, as there will be another parade on return from the main Apprentice Boys parade in Derry. Commenting on the determinations Sinn Féin Councillor for the Castlederg area Ruairí Mc Hugh said

'' This determination from the Parades Commission which places no restrictions whatsoever on the morning parade through Ferguson Crescent is more evidence of the double standards at play from the Parades Commission. There has been upwards of twenty unionist parades of one type or another in Castlederg this year alone which is totally disproportionate given the demographics of the town.

'' This determination is all the more galling given the emphasis the Parades Commission places on local dialogue as the best way forward for solving parading disputes. To my knowledge there has been absolutely no attempt from the organisers of these parades to consult or engage with residents and businesses in Ferguson Crescent to gauge their views on these parades

'' Despite the total lack of dialogue and consultation with traders or residents along the route, the Parades Commission have effectively rewarded loyalists for their lack of engagement by giving them the green light to parade unrestricted through Ferguson Crescent, the first time since 2006.

'''This determination stands in stark contrast to the sole Republican commemoration this year in August which the Commission blocked from even entering our own town centre which made a mockery of the town centre being a shared space for all communities in Castlederg. It seems some are more equal than others in Castlederg in the eyes of the Parades Commission.''

'' I would appeal to those within political unionism and indeed the loyalist band groupings to re-enter dialogue with myself and others over the issue of contentious parades in Castlederg. Sinn Féin are up for it, are they?

Also commenting on the determination Sinn Féin MLA for the area Michaela Boyle said

'' The Nationalist people of Castlederg are sick and tired of these sectarian coat trailing parades and I intend to lead a Sinn Fein delegation to meet with the Parades Commission to highlight their total contempt for the views and opinions of residents and traders who do not want these Parades entering Ferguson Crescent''