TUV leader Jim Allister has accused the Parades Commission as having ‘double standards’.
He said: “This week the Parades Commission imposed a series of restrictions on the annual band parade in Rasharkin – limiting the number of bands taking part and insisting that only a single drum beat be played when passing a Republican protest.
“What a contrast with the situation in Kilkeel today where Republican band Banna Fliuit Naoimh – commonly referred to as the Banana Band – will be permitted to parade past the town’s War Memorial, a memorial to IRA victims, a graveyard in which victims of IRA terrorism are buried and the largest Protestant church in the town.
“While the band is limited to playing a single drum beat outside Mourne Presbyterian Church Hall they are permitted to play hymns while passing the other Protestant churches on their route. In contrast to Rasharkin there is no restriction on playing just a single drum beat when passing the Loyalist protest.
“Additionally, while the parade in Rasharkin is to take place without any undue stoppages the Banana Band is permitted to stage a “10 minute display” at the traffic lights at the junction of Greencastle Street and Newry Street in Kilkeel.
“This band has always been controversial in Kilkeel but yet again the Parades Commission has displayed its double standards. One rule for Loyalists but quite another for Republicans.”