Belfast Telegraph

Parades: Sinn Fein move to re-route Republican march dismissed by DUP

By John Mulgrew

A decision by Sinn Fein to voluntarily re-route a Republican parade in Co Tyrone has been dismissed by the DUP which has called for the event to be cancelled.

Members of both parties met the Parades Commission earlier today over the holding of the annual Tyrone Volunteers Commemoration - due to take place next Sunday.

Sinn Fein said the decision came following opposition the event in order to "defuse the contentious scenario created by unionist politicians".

Speaking ahead of today's meeting Sinn Fein councillor Ruairi McHugh said it had proposed the initiative "to take the controversy out of it while reducing tension".

"This parade is organised to show respect for those who gave their lives for this community. It should never have been an issue of controversy - it has been ‘made’ controversial by unionist politicians," he said.

But DUP MLA for West Tyrone, Thomas Buchanan, said while Sinn Fein had "tipped its hat to the sensitivities" of the parade "that's all their gesture is".

Following the meeting he called for the "obnoxious and offensive" event to be cancelled.

"Whilst the Parades Commission does not have the power to ban a parade, we informed them that we utterly reject that such a parade should even take place regardless of the route. It should be cancelled," he said.

A decision is still due on the routing of the event along with another Orange Order parade which is proposed to pass by the Ardoyne shops in north Belfast.

The Order had lodged applications for three weekend parades - including along the contentious route.

It's expected the commission will once again deny the march to pass by the flashpoint.

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