Belfast Telegraph

Orangeman vows to continue protests over Drumcree dispute

The Order has been banned from walking along the Garvaghy Road since 1998.

A senior Portadown Orangeman has vowed not to walk away from the long-running Drumcree dispute.

Marking the 20th anniversary of the protest, Darryl Hewitt, Portadown District Master, told Orange Order members that they will continue to “work hard” to achieve their “desire”.

The Parades Commission has banned Orangemen from parading along the predominantly nationalist Garvaghy Road since 1998.

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Every Sunday, members from the district hold a protest against the decision.

Let the world see these attacks on our culture for what they are, unadulterated sectarian behaviour Darryl Hewitt

Mr Hewitt said on Sunday: “Yet again the Parades Commission have issued a determination for this parade.

“Once again it is an emphatic no, hardly surprising from the non-Parades Commission.

“Indeed, we discovered this week that we are not registered with the Commission as interested parties to this dispute, so we were not invited to make representations regarding this parade, how incredible is that?

“Week after week and in particular around this time of year they issue determinations which impact on the PUL (Protestant, unionist, loyalist) community.

“It is time for our politicians to stand up and be counted and remind Government that this issue will not be going away.”

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Sashes of Portadown District Loyal Orange Lodge (LOL) No 1’s officers (Julien Behal/PA)

Mr Hewitt urged Secretary of State Karen Bradley to reconvene “meaningful discussions” in a bid to resolve the long-standing dispute.

He added: “Meanwhile, we have also seen an increase on attacks on other aspects of our culture.

“We must remain calm during this time, these actions are only being done to raise tensions and to get us to retaliate, something we must not do.

“Let the world see these attacks on our culture for what they are, unadulterated sectarian behaviour.”

He said the Portadown District will continue with their Drumcree protest for the “long haul”.

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