DUP leader wanted Parades Commission to be scrapped
SDLP justice spokesman Alban Maginness will use his party’s annual conference to accuse First Minister Peter Robinson of being ” irresponsible ” for calling for the Parades Commission to be scrapped ahead of a controversial Royal Black Institution march past a North Belfast Catholic church this summer.
In a speech to be delivered to the party faithful at the Armagh City Hotel on Saturday, the North Belfast assembly member will also say some of those taking part in August’s ‘ Last Saturday ‘ march past St Patrick‘s Church on Donegall Street were guilty of ” shameful, sectarian misbehaviour “. The conference coincides with a disputed Apprentice Boys parade past the church this Saturday. Carrick Hill residents say the Parade’s Commission determination issued this week ” overruled ” previous determinations relating to Loyal Order parades in the area. A determination issued by the commission in connection with the Apprentice Boys parade on August 11 stipulated that only a single drumbeat be played by bands on the contentious route. The parade comes after residents and the Apprentice Boys met for the first time last month in a bid to reach a deal ahead of Saturday’s march. Residents say they they now intend to hold a larger protest than originally planned.
During August’s Royal Black Institution parade violence erupted after more than 30 bands defied a Parades Commission ruling ordering that no music should be played while passing the church. Tensions in the area have been high since the Shankill Road – based Young Conway Volunteers were filmed walking in circles while playing the sectarian Famine Song outside St Patrick’s on July 12. In the days leading up to the controversial August parade, Mr Robinson and a number of other Unionist politicians signed a letter urging the then secretary of state Owen Paterson to get rid of the Parades Commission after it ruled no music should be played while it passes the church. Mr Maginness will also accuse Mr Robinson of being ” partisan ” when he speaks to party colleagues. ” This parade was preceded by a public letter to the secretary of state co-signed by the first minister attacking the Parades Commission itself and giving the bandsmen and marchers on ‘ Black Saturday ‘ encouragement to carry out a blanket defiance of the determination of the commission,” he will say. ” What an extraordinarily irresponsible and partisan act by our first minister. No wonder that the Young Conway band felt emboldened to defy it’s ban on participation in the parade.” He will also criticise DUP culture minister Nelson McCausland. ” In the aftermath of this, worse was to happen as minister Nelson McCausland attempted a rear guard action to defend the gross misbehaviour of the bandsmen and their supporters by describing it as ‘ civil disobedience ‘,” he will say. ” His defence of ‘ Black Saturday ‘ brought himself and his office into disrepute and we, as a party, moved a ‘ no confidence ‘ motion against him.”
WITH MANY THANKS TO : CONNIA YOUNG, IRISH NEWS.
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