Published Wednesday, 15 August 2012
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Despite attempts by Rasharkin community groups to come to an agreement over the annual Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute Band, the watchdog stepped in - and fewer bands will be allowed through the area.
Twenty-five out of the invited 44 bands have been allowed to take part, and the parade must be finished by 9.30pm on Friday.
A limited number of flags can also be displayed, a move welcomed by Sinn Féin MLA for the area Daithí McKay.
"Whilst I would have preferred it that UVF and UDA flags would have been banned from the parade altogether there is an onus on the organisers to ensure that these are not unfurled as the Parade Commission have specified and there is also an onus on the PSNI to ensure that this is the case.
"The Residents Association have made it clear that they are willing to accommodate unionist parades that are of an acceptable size and which are not intimidating or sectarian in nature. That is a reasonable position. Rather than cause further division the band needs to now sit down and talk."
Two protests against the parade will take place on Friday, and TUV MLA Jim Allister said the restrictions are a "deliberate attempt by the perverse Commission to humiliate the Protestant community in Rasharkin".
"There is no possible justification for this gratuitous act. Last year 40 bands successfully processed within the allotted time. The same can be done this year, but out of vindictive venom the Commission has imposed this diktat, as year on year it tightens the screw to advance the ultimate republican ambition of no Orange feet in Rasharkin," he added.
DUP MLA Mervyn Storey has also hit out at the decision to place restrictions on the march.
"It ought to be abundantly clear to everyone by now that the Parades Commission is not interested in listening to any logical or rational points put forward by people when it comes to dealing with the Ballymaconnelly Parade," he said.
"Instead it seems determined to reward a small group of unrepresentative republicans in the village who have done nothing for Rasharkin other than create sectarian strife and tarnish the name of the village."
Meanwhile, SDLP Councillor Declan O'Loan has said that the watchdog made the right decision.
"The Parades Commission decision to limit the size of the parade and the reason for doing so are both correct.
"The Ballymaconnelly band has repeatedly refused to get into dialogue with residents. That is an indefensible position. It shows no respect for residents."
He continued: "Once again I ask that after this parade, the band agree to talk. The SDLP will argue for fair play for everyone.
"We all have a duty to a shared community but that cannot be based on domination without dialogue."
He accused the TUV politician of stoking up tensions before the parade.