Colourful parade in Ballymoney

Councillor Darryl Wilson and members pictured at last night's parade in Ballymoney.
Councillor Darryl Wilson and members pictured at last night's parade in Ballymoney.

Councillor Darryl Wilson has thanked all the bands and spectators who turned out for last night’s Ballymoney parade.

Posted on his Facebook site last night, he said: “A big thank you to all the Bands, loyal orders and spectators that turned out for tonight’s parade. We were astounded by the numbers that turned up to support the protest.

“Can I apologise to the members of the Loyal orders at the middle and rear of the procession that could not hear the band, we had planned to add a few other bands within the procession but due to unforseen circumstances this did not work out.

“A considerable amount of time and effort went into organising this event, it may not have been perfect, but we tried our best! Thanks to the marshals, street collectors, PSNI and everyone else that helped out.”

Over 60 loyal order lodges paraded in unity through Ballymoney last night (Saturday) in a mass protest calling for the scrapping of the Parades Commission.

More than 40 bands have also confirmed their attendance at the Protestants Against Injustice Committee (PAIC) event but, unlike traditional parades, the various loyal orders walked as one body not separated by the bands.

The recently formed PAIC group is a coalition of north Antrim band members, Orange Order, Royal Black Preceptory, Independent Orange Order, Apprentice Boys of Derry and Independent Woman’s Orange Order.

A spokesman said recently that it had “no political agenda” and its main aim was to have the Parades Commission disbanded. “The Northern Ireland Executive refuses to recognise and deal with the consequences caused by Parades Commission decisions, instead opting for a ‘head in the sand’ approach while ignoring the injustices served out to the PUL (Protestant/unionist/loyalist) community on a regular basis,” he said.

Another statement issued by PAIC stated: “Our goal through peaceful protest is to send out a very clear message to our NI executive – we will not be ignored any longer. We want the unionist politicians within our government to bring about positive change.”

The organisers were not disappointed having appealed to those supporting last night’s protest to make it as colourful as possible by bringing flags and bunting.