5,000th day of Drumcree ban marked
Orangemen have vowed to continue their protest against the ban placed on their parade at Drumcree following the 5,000th day of opposition to the determination at the weekend.
The protest began in July 1998 when the Orange march was prevented from returning to Portadown from the church at Drumcree via the mainly nationalist Garvaghy Road.
The district applies every Sunday for the return march, but there is no sign of a resolution, with the Garvaghy Road Residents’ Coalition refusing to enter talks. The protests and demonstrations now proceed largely without incident.
The violence only ended after several years which saw several people die, including three young brothers who were killed in an arson attack.
Portadown Orange District No1 invited leaders of the Order to yesterday’s march, including the officers of the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
Portadown District Master Darryl Hewitt said the protest will continue until the issue is resolved. He said: “I am sure that when the Late Worshipful Brother H Gracey stated on Drumcree Sunday 1998 that Portadown District would remain on protest until we got our civil and religious liberties restored, no-one could have imagined that it would fall on us to commemorate 5,000 days of protest.
“Whilst we are sincerely annoyed there has been no resolution to the impasse, we are extremely proud to be still carrying the torch of protest that was lit back in 1998.”