Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay said today the Parades Commission needs to do more to encourage the organisers of a band parade in Rasharkin to engage with residents. He was speaking after a determination was made on the Ballymaconnelly band parade in the village.
The North Antrim MLA said: “This parade has brought a lot of problems and difficulties to Rasharkin over the years and it is well past time all parties came round the table to resolve these issues once and for all.
“This determination unfortunately does not go far enough in protecting the rights of residents living in the village or addressing the risks that this parade poses.
“We outlined to the Parades Commission the problems at this parade in previous years where bands stopped beside a residents’ protest to play ‘The Sash’ and other tunes. We also explained that many bands carry paramilitary flags at the parade.
“Therefore their decision to restrict bands from playing music at the protest as well as an added restriction on the unfurling of a number of flags is a step in the right direction.
“However, the parade is still too large and the issues of paramilitary involvement and the general impact on this community remain unaddressed. The Parades Commission must make it clear that the position of the parade organisers not directly engaging with residents is no longer acceptable.”