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Decision to allow loyalist parade slammed

The Parades Commission was condemned for ruling that a loyalist parade of 41 bands can go ahead in a Co Antrim village.

Next Friday’s Rasharkin march, organised by Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute Band, will go from Turnpike through to Moneyleck Road and back.

But Sinn Fein Assembly Member Daithi McKay criticised the decision, which was made public last night.

“The scale of this parade is absolutely massive and it doesn’t fit a village of this size,” he said.

“It has caused immense difficulties in the past. There has been violence, tricolours burned in the street and there has been sectarian abuse and violence directed at residents. The Parades Commission has not taken this into account.

“They are allowing loyalists to come in and walk over the residents and that is unacceptable.”

A commission spokesman said it had tried to strike balance between the interests of the competing parties.

He added: “The determination does remind the organisers of their responsibility to finish on time and not have undue stoppages.

“The Parades Commission recognises that the parade organisers have done a good bit of work over the years in improving behaviour at the parade.”

He said a residents’ protest was also being accommodated by the commission.

Belfast Telegraph