Rasharkin parade: Organisers ‘did not engage’ with community

Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute Band
Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute Band

The Parade Commission has said that a band organising a major parade in Rasharkin has refused to engage with the local community.

Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors leads 25 bands through the village on Friday night. The band queried why it was being limited to a single drumbeat when passing protestors, saying it has always abided by commission restrictions but has been subject to verbal and physical attacks annually.

Asked if this was true, a commission spokeswoman said such information was “confidential” and it is for the PSNI to investigate offences.

She said the restriction was set against “continuing local community tension”.

“The commission also notes the parade organiser’s continued lack of direct engagement with the local community, despite concerted, ongoing efforts by the commission to encourage direct dialogue since 2011,” she added,

Last year’s determination advised that “continuing failure to enter dialogue will have a significant bearing on the commission’s view of the parade”.

The commission also cited severe disruption to “this predominantly nationalist village, including freedom of movement restrictions of up to seven hours within the village”.