MOYLE District Council chairman, Paudie McShane, has issued a hard-hitting statement following the Twelfth of July demonstration in Ballycastle in which he has called for a meeting to highlight what he claims are serious concerns arising from these “needless marches.”
Councillor McShane revealed that he has been in contact with the Parades Commission and that representatives will be attending a meeting in the town to discuss a number of issues in the next week or so.
He said he has been spoken to by fifteen people wanting to give their views on a parade which he described as an “unsavoury event.”
And the Independent representative also plans to hold a meeting with the PSNI Commander of H District to address policing matters he says have arisen.
This, he said, would be something that would done on behalf of Moyle Council.
Cllr. McShane stressed his comments on the Twelfth were designed to provoke debate, but he makes no apology for calling for an end to Loyal Order parades in the town and claims that many within the unionist community would like to see the Twelfth re-located to what he says is a more suitable venue.
Cllr. McShane criticsed band members for wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan ‘Our Orange Feet Marched Your Streets’ and said this was wholly unacceptable.
He went on: “The good and the great, through the Police, the Parades Commission, Council and indeed the media, will qualify the lamentable proceedings as having been a success given there were no major disturbances.
“This oversimplification does not give an insight to the truth, nor does it portray a holistic picture.
“Apprehension, fear and anxiety are some of the words that described the local community’s thoughts leading up to and during the demonstration. Members of the local community were assaulted; police themselves were assaulted; many in the business community had to put up with a barrage of insults.
“A substantial number of the complaints I received on the day concerned the free movement of the local community.
“I have no doubt that many from with in the Unionist Community will have been nauseated by what they witnessed. It is no secret that there are those within the Unionist family who would like to see the Parades moved to a suitable location. It is for them now to apply the pressure to ensure the events of last week are eradicated.
“The Orange Order, as the organisers, bears the responsibility for the events. They must now engage with representatives of this community to bring to a swift conclusion the nonsense that is Orange Order marches in Ballycastle.
“Already many who were the subject of assaults or abuse within the local community are insisting on having their views represented to the Parades Commission. I will be facilitating a meeting to highlight the serious concerns that arise from these needless marches in Ballycastle. Community leaders, the business community and local residents deserve enormous credit for the professional manner they handled themselves.”