Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

'Sinister' move at Harryville

SEVERAL hundred loyalist protesters, including two bands, were expected to return to Harryville Church this evening in what is described by the SDLP's Sean Farren as a 'sinister development'.

SEVERAL hundred loyalist protesters, including two bands, were expected to return to Harryville Church this evening in what is described by the SDLP's Sean Farren as a 'sinister development'.

A source close to the organisers said he anticipated the protest would resume, with possibly a band from Portadown taking part.

Concerns that a similar picket will begin at St John the Baptist Church on Garvaghy Road has prompted First Minister David Trimble to issue an appeal for a resolution of the Drumcree dispute.

Said Mr Trimble: 'All concerned and involved in the stand-off ought to be focusing their energies in trying to resolve the problem.'Should the Harryville protest resume, it will pose serious challenges for the fledgling Human Rights Commission, which will be expected to examine the laws relating to protests and also hate speeches.

The commission will be looking to balance the rights of free speech and assembly with the right to live free from sectarian harassment.

Mr Farren said he feared the latest threats were a 'dangerously sinister development' that would target churchgoers in an intimidatory manner.

He said those with concerns about the marching issue and the need to uphold fundamental rights and freedoms had ample opportunity to make their voices heard without targeting people exercising their right to attend church.

'Renewing the Harryville protests will not serve in any way to resolve the problem of controversial marches. These can only be resolved by dialogue at local level.'DUP North Antrim Assembly member Ian Paisley Jr declined to comment on the speculative reports, saying he preferred to give a reaction if and when there was a protest.

Meanwhile, Ballynafeigh Orangemen are expected to next week meet Ulster Unionist Councillor for South Belfast Michael McGimpsey to discuss how to take forward their offer of proximity talks with the Lower Ormeau Concerned Community.

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