Determination expected on Rasharkin parade

Last years Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors parade in Rasharkin
Last years Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors parade in Rasharkin

The Parades Commission’s ruling on a controversial band parade in Co Antrim is expected to be made on Friday.

The commission is also set to issue a determination on two planned protests by residents in Rasharkin opposed to Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute Band demonstration on Friday, August 18.

The parade passed off peacefully last year, however there were reports of stones being thrown at cars belonging to parade supporters after it dispersed.

TUV leader Jim Allister, a regular attendee at the parade, said he hoped no further restrictions would be applied to the parade.

He said: “If they restrict this parade any more there’ll be nothing left.

“It has already suffered the most punitive and unnecessary restrictions to placate the unplacatable.

“There has been nothing but the best of behaviour from particpants. I can’t say the same for protestors.

“If any restraints are applied it should be on the protestors. It would be travesty if any further restrictions were applied to the parade.”

North Antrim Sinn Fein MLA, Phillip McGuigan, said only local accommodation between organisers and residents will resolve issues.

He said: “Only local accommodation between organisers and residents will truly resolve issues and allow the people of Rasharkin to feel safe and confident in their own village.

“It is important the Parades Commission upholds the rights of local residents through making a rights-based decision with regard to the size of the parade, the route of the parade and the timing of the parade.

“It is also vital that the conduct of participants and supporters is addressed in any determination with particular focus on music, flags and emblems.”