District Master slams parades watchdog

District Master slams parades watchdog

A senior Orangeman in Portadown has called for the members of the Parades Commission to be sacked after it reversed a determination on a parade in the Co Armagh town.

Portadown District Master Darryl Hewitt was speaking after the Parkmount Arch Committee decided not to go ahead with its parade on Saturday evening.Organisers of the event said that, as their intention was to dedicate an arch on Victoria Terrace, going ahead with the procession was pointless.Earlier this week, the Parades Commission moved to reverse its decision to allow the loyalist parade to proceed past Victoria Terrace.It reviewed its original determination after nationalist residents said that they consider the street to be part of the Garvaghy Road - which the Orange Order has been banned from marching along since 1998.Mr Hewitt said that people had been angered by the Parades watchdog's move."The whole purpose of the arch was to dedicate the arch, so if they're allowed to dedicate the arch as the Parades Commission won't allow the parade to go to the arch, there isn't much point in parading up Portadown town centre," he said."People are very unhappy with what the Parades Commission have done, I would call once again for the Secretary of State to call the chair and the commissioners in to tell them they are not fit for purpose and sack them forthwith."However, Breandán Mac Cionnaith, from the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition said the community there welcomed the decision not to go ahead with the parade."This parade should never have been applied for in the first place. Those behind it and those who support it, knew the reaction it would cause in this community," he said.He added that there was little chance of talks being held in the run up to the annual contentious Drumcree march as he claimed the Orange Order would only discuss conditions of the parade, which he said was "totally unacceptable".Meanwhile local Sinn Féin MLA John O'Dowd has praised those who ensured that Saturday night passed off without incident."There could very easily have been the wrong decisions made in the heat of the moment. However, the opposite proved to be the case," he said."All sides deserve credit for ensuring the night passed off peacefully. It is a credit to all involved that trouble was averted."


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