28/06/2010

Drumcree Paperwork Submitted

Orangemen have finally handed in vital paperwork seeking formal permission for their annual Drumcree Sunday parade, scheduled for next Sunday.

The official form was handed over – three weeks past the deadline - to a police officer to the backdrop of Drumcree Parish Church where the Portadown Orange district has staged a protest every Sunday since 1998, when their return parade via the Garvaghy Road was banned.

The move comes after a meeting on Wednesday night of the town's 28 lodges when they agreed to hold back seeking permission as late as possible. The parades commission now has six days to consider the application, instead of the usual 28 days.

Deputy District Master Nigel Dawson presented the completed form with 40 Orangemen looking on and district master Darryl Hewitt handed out a media statement explaining why they had delayed notification of next week's parade.
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It was made clear that the Portadown district is seeking permission from the Parades Commission for the "traditional" outward route to and from Drumcree, with the parade starting in the town centre.

They still apply for the outward route via Obins Street – banned in the mid-1980s – and the homeward route through the Garvaghy Road, banned in 1998.

Initially, a Sinn Féin MLA, John O'Dowd accused the Orange Order of "deliberately raising tensions" after they failed to file for the outward part of the Drumcree parade, indicating that they would instead organise an illegal march.

Commenting earlier this month, - and before the necessary form was handed in - the Upper Bann representative said: "Instead of trying to build relationships and ease tensions in a very deliberate move the Orange Order have decided to try and reignite the Drumcree dispute."

See: Drumcree Parade May Be Ruled Illegal

(BMcC/GK)

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