Dunloy church service held in Orange Hall

MEMBERS of Dunloy Orange Order are now into the teens of years of being unable to walk the traditional parade route from hall to Church because of intervention from the Parades Commission.

The route has been restricted to a few metres outside the Orange Hall and on Sunday past, members of the Institution were again prevented from parading by the PSNI who were implementing the restrictions imposed by the Commission.

Just 16 Orangemen, some of whom were visiting brethren, assembled in front of the band in poor weather conditions for the short march to the point where a PSNI officer signalled the parade to halt.

At this point, the WM of Dunloy, John Finlay, addressed the officer hitting out at the Parades Commission for their ruling.

In a statement, Mr. Finlay said: “Once again the Commission had rewarded those who threaten violence and discriminated against those Orangemen who have behaved in a mature and responsible fashion in abiding by the Parades Commission ruling year after year.

“Once again we have the Parades Commission reward those who threaten violence and discriminate against those who have abided by the law and the Commission’s ruling year after year.

“This represents a sad state of affairs where Orangemen are refused their right to parade on a public road to their Church an road that is for the use of both communities rather than one.

“I am disappointed that the Commission once again confined Dunloy Orangemen to the length of the front of the Orange Hall grounds which is enforced by the PSNI.

“This is further evidence that this unelected quango needs to go. It would have gone this year if it hadn’t been for a minority of Unionists opposing its dissolution and replacing it with something that would have been better.

“I hope that we can come to a solution and that we see the Parades Commission go in order to rule on the right of loyal and law abiding citizens of this country to walk the length of a publicly owned road to their Church.

“Shame on the Parades Commission for enforcing this ruling and shame on the PSNI who are acting as the Commissions patsy’s.”

The band played a number of songs, before the parade dispersed with a service being held in the Orange Hall - another development in the ongoing saga which now holds little interest from villagers. Aside from a couple walking up the road into the village, no one else bothered to come out to view the proceedings.

Only a handful of police officers were present at the event.