Councillor John Finlay has hit out at ‘yet another disgraceful, and totally unacceptable, determination by the PSNI and Parades Commission’ following last Sunday’s Dunloy parade.
In a statement to the Times, he said: “On behalf of the members of Dunloy LOL 496 I wish to place on record our disgust at yet another disgraceful, and totally unacceptable, determination by the PSNI and Parades Commission.
“For many years now, through the actions of both the police and the Parades Commission, we have been prevented from walking to Dunloy Presbyterian church to conduct Divine worship.
“And, once again, as we gather in Dunloy our civil and religious liberties are being denied to us by a police force and Parades Commission who seems intent on pandering to threats from militant Republicans. The police and Commission has lost any credibility in the eyes of law-abiding people, and there decision in relation to our parade here today it is a studied insult to the Protestant and Unionist people of this village. It is time for this situation to end.
“As law-abiding citizens, we have no desire to confront the forces of law and order, but this should not be regarded as a sign of weakness on our part. We are angered and hurt by the decision to restrict us here today, and justice demands that this situation must not be allowed to continue.”
In response the PSNI stated: Chief Inspector Brenda Cairns: “I would like to clarify the role of police with regards to parades. It is the job of police to uphold the determination of the Parades Commission, whatever that determination may be. The Parades Commission makes determinations on all types of parades right across Northern Ireland, not the police.
“This is an important point for all communities to understand. Police officers work hard each and every day to keep people safe and the statutory role of the Parades Commission is totally separate to that.
“I met with Mr Finlay recently and we discussed this very matter. I made it very clear that the Parades Commission, not police, are responsible for making all determinations. To critique the police in this way is not helpful. Following a relatively peaceful parading season, I would hope that the focus is on the positive contribution made by police in keeping people safe during that season.”