Belfast Telegraph

DUP accused of 'scaremongering' over parade

By Claire McNeilly

A contentious parade this weekend could cause “huge public disorder”, DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson has claimed.

His comments came after his party held talks with the PSNI on how Friday's parade in Rasharkin should be policed.

But Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay accused the DUP of “stirring up tension” over the parade.

The Parades Commission has imposed restrictions on the annual parade after minor trouble at the event last year.

Organisers Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute Band wanted to parade through the village and back again, but the commission banned the return parade.

Junior minister Donaldson took part in yesterday’s talks.

“It’s like watching a car wreck in slow motion,” Mr Donaldson said. “We can see this happening. You can just tell by looking at the map of the village, looking at the circumstances in the background to this, that this has the potential for huge public disorder.”

But Mr McKay accused the DUP of “scaremongering”.

“Since the original determination was issued by the Parades Commission on the Ballymaconnelly event, the DUP has done nothing but stir up tension,” he said. “I have spoken to the PSNI and they have said that, at this moment in time, there is not a huge potential for public disorder.”

The SDLP's Declan O'Loan also criticised the DUP.

Police said they would “work tirelessly with protest and parade organisers to reduce the likelihood of any tensions and disorder”.

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