SDLP North Antrim MLA Declan OLoan met with the Parades Commission on Wednesday of last week to discuss concerns over last months parade by Ballymaconnelly Band through the village, and the events leading up to the parade.

Mr OLoan was accompanied by SDLP North Antrim chair Connor Duncan.

Speaking following the meeting, Mr OLoan said: “Progress has been made this year through re-routing the parade, however, the entire episode was messy and ultimately, unnecessary.
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I put recommendations to the Parades Commission that could have resulted in a better atmosphere leading up to the march and on the night itself and will hopefully be taken on board for the future.

“The atmosphere in the village on the night of the parade, with large crowds of band supporters drinking and urinating in public, approaching the barrier during the bomb hoax and playing loudly and shouting, causing a very intimidating atmosphere for local residents was unsavoury and was encouraged by poor political leadership from the DUP. Unfortunately, at a time when cool heads and calming public voices were needed, the opposite was evident.

“Thankfully, antagonistic behaviour towards the residents protest was not reciprocated and I praise the residents association for their behaviour.

“For the future, the Parades Commission, the DUP and the parade organisers must take a look at their part in a potentially volatile situation. There is now less and less tolerance for such a parade whilst no engagement with the residents association persists.

“There is an absolute need for the parade organisers to enter discussion with the local residents. That is imperative.”

Published on the 8th of September 2010
Article taken from the Ballymoney & Moyle Times

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