Conditions imposed on bands and protesters ahead of Rasharkin parade

Last year's parade  passing along Rasharkin Main Street. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker.
Last year's parade passing along Rasharkin Main Street. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker.

The Parades Commission has imposed a number of conditions around next week’s loyalist band parade in Rasharkin.

The 25 bands taking part in the Ballymaconnelly Flute Band-hosted demonstration on Friday, August 18 must disperse by 9.00pm - 30 minutes earlier than requested.

Conduct conditions have been stipulated for protest groups, Rasharkin Residents Association and Rasharkin Residents Collective, in a determination issued today by the Parades Commission.

The full statement reads: “In the absence of an accommodation the Commission has, in line with its statutory duties, determined on the disputed parade and protests. It considered the adverse impacts on community relations and community life, the potential for public disorder and the competing human rights of all parties.

“The Commission has concluded that, whilst tensions have eased somewhat in recent years regarding this evening band parade, the impacts remain adverse. There are high risks of public disorder, community tensions are heightened and there is a restriction on the freedom of movement of residents for a number of hours.

“The Commission has sought to mitigate the risks of public disorder and adverse impacts on community life by the imposition of a timing condition; the parade’s 25 bands must disperse by 9.00pm.

“The Commission has sought to reduce community tensions by stipulating the flags and banners which may be carried by parade participants. Under no circumstances, should any paramilitary trappings or symbols be displayed during the parade.

“The Commission has also imposed conduct conditions on the protest groups, and has stipulated their locations.

“These conditions are necessary, proportionate and fair in all the circumstances for this parade and related protests at this time.

“The Commission continues to urge all parties to the parading dispute to resolve through local dialogue the issues which contribute to the heightened risks surrounding this parade.”