Parades Commission Restrict Bands Parade In Downpatrick

UKIP’s Down District Spokesman Alan Lewis has expressed disappointment at the annual Parades Commission restrictions on the Downpatrock Red Hand Defenders annual band parade.

[caption id="attachment_51153" align="alignleft" width="390"]The Downpatrick Red Hand Defenders march to the Downpatrick war memorial to lay their wreath. The Downpatrick Red Hand Defenders march to the Downpatrick war memorial to lay their wreath.[/caption]

By coincidence, the date for the bands annual parade fell on Monday 4 August, the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. The band was hoping all visiting bands would be allowed to proceed to the war memorial to lay wreaths and pay their respects. However the Parades Commission had subsequently imposed restrictions indicating that  only the host band could proceed to the war memorial on the Strangford Road.

UKIP Down District representative explained: “The Red Hand Defenders band must be allowed to Parade in their home town. The Parades Commission must stop pandering to pan-nationalism. The annual restriction determination regrettably continues to send the message that there will be no shared future in Downpatrick.

“This year’s determination is particularly sinister as the band was led by local police to believe that an application for all attending bands to parade to the war memorial to pay their respects would be granted this was not the case.

[caption id="attachment_51156" align="alignright" width="390"]The RHD's applaude the Ballykilbeg band. The RHD’s applaude the William Johnston Memorial Band from Ballykilbeg.[/caption]

” I find it absolutely astonishing that elsewhere in Northern Ireland the parades commission can grant permission for parades which glorify terrorism while in Downpatrick deny Unionists the right to take part in a dignified act of remembrance.

“Last year I challenged the parades commission to release the reports of its observers present at the parade and this has not happened. There is no just reason to restrict this parade other than for the gratification of nationalist politicians who glee at the fact protestants are restricted to the perimeters of Downpatrick.

“I will be requesting a meeting with the incoming PSNI Commander for Down area and I will I seek to raise many issues with her on behalf of the  Red Hand Defenders parade and the ongoing discrimination of unionism will be high on the agenda.”]