Commission caving in to groups - Storey claims

NORTH Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey has called for an end to the sectarian war that, he claims, has been waged against Ballymaconnelly band by unrepresentative republican groups in Rasharkin. His comments follow the annual parade.

Mr. Storey said in a statement: “The Parades Commission has continued to demonstrate a core, fundamental weddedness to caving in to residents groups and feeding their demands.

“In Portadown, there are no talks because the Garvaghy Road Residents Group refuses to engage in them, what is the outcome? The Parades Commission rewards republicans and gives them what they want. In Dunloy we have the same situation, republicans get what they wish - no parade. In Rasharkin, if there are talks, what is the result? The Parades Commission announces that there hasn’t been enough progress and rewards republicans. In Ardoyne if republicans engage in violence one year, what is the result the next year? The Parades Commission rewards them.

“The clear pattern in this, from different parts of Northern Ireland and with different circumstances is that the Parades Commission has one constant, one bottom line, one lowest common denominator. That is to say that its default setting, its basic core position is to reward republicans, regardless of their behaviour or the unreasonableness of their demands and to punish Loyal Orders or bands, regardless of their behaviour or the reasonableness of their position.”

“The effect on the ground of this craven stance on the part of the Parades Commission, is to simply feed the demands of resident groups. In the case of Rasharkin the Parades Commission has simply ensured that the local minority Protestant community will now be subjected to even greater pressure and intimidation.”

“It is also clear from the actions of some republicans in Rasharkin that they are quite happy to be seen associating with some very nasty republican elements from outside the village and indeed have encouraged them to come to Rasharkin to add to the sectarian tension and intimidation that was so evident form republicans on Friday night.