Concerns over Sinn Fein protest at ‘uncontentious’ village parade

Gregory Campbell
Gregory Campbell

Concerns have been raised about why Sinn Fein protested against a small Orange Order parade in Dungiven on Sunday, an event the Order says is peaceful and uncontroversial.

Speaking following the annual Orange service in the village, East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said: “There are no bands, no banners and no flags and [it] numbers around 50 to 80 Orangemen for a church parade that takes place on a Sunday at 9.30am, when there are very few people on the main street.

“The parade lasts approximately 10 minutes to arrive for the service.”

A late protest notification was lodged with the Parades Commission, which approved both parade and protest.

“Among those present at the protest were at least four Sinn Fein councillors,” the MP said.

“Thankfully the protest was peaceful, but a brief attempt was made to block the parade from peacefully processing along the main street as it has done for many years.”

Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey appealed to the Order to “show respect to the residents of Dungiven by entering into dialogue in order to resolve the issue of this local parade”.

In recent years a small parade has been “facilitated through the 99 per cent nationalist village” but this year there has been an attempt to increase the numbers “without entering into dialogue,” he said.

A failed judicial review which attempted to limit the numbers taking part showed that residents “will not allow it to escalate into an annual contentious parade”, he added.