22/05/2002

Commission restricts Portadown junior orange parade

The Parades Commission has placed restrictions on a junior orange parade in Portadown due to take place this Saturday.

The Commission has ordered that the Parkmount Junior LOL 150 parade in Portadown must not proceed, on its return journey on Saturday May 25, beyond the junction of Park Road and Garvaghy Road later than 5.30pm and should disperse not later than 6.00pm.

The Commission further determined that only the young parade participants and their accompanying family members should be present on its notified route on the lower part of the Garvaghy Road (between its junctions with Park Road and Castle Avenue) on the return parade.

As a result of continuing opposing views of the parades issue in the community a police presence will be installed in the area throughout the day, the Commission said.

Steven Chambers press officer for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said that restrictions were placed were to be regretted but added that the Lodge understood they were sometimes necessary.

He said: “We would call on people from both sides of the community not to hijack the parade and use it as an excuse for violence. Anyone who is not directly involved should stay away if they mean to make trouble. If they are loyalists they are certainly not doing Orangeism a service or unionism or the whole community of Northern Ireland for that matter.”

The Lodge would also encourage nationalists not to protest over what is essentially an expression of cultural identity he added.

The Commission’s ruling said although Nationalist residents remain opposed to the evening parade, in previous years the junior order had always complied with the Commission’s rulings and its Code of Conduct.

The parade traditionally consists of children and young people accompanied by their parents, and a band.

After the parade last year, which was seriously delayed, the police came under attack from crowds gathered on the Garvaghy Road.

In all 55 RUC officers and 18 civilians were injured in the riots which occurred after the parade had finished.

(AMcE)

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