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Castlederg band protests at police line

Trevor Clarke hands over a letter of protest to the PSNI on behalf of Castlederg Young Loyalists after the band was re-routed from the Lurganboy Road on Saturday night.
A CASTLEDERG loyalist flute band re-routed from walking along a road in the town has ruled out any future dialogue with Sinn Féin on parading.

On Saturday, Castlederg Young Loyalists were re-routed from walking along the Lurganboy Road for their ‘Eleventh Night’ parade following a Parades Commission determination.

In a statement on the band’s Facebook page, Castlederg Young Loyalists said they were “bewildered and disgusted” by the determination, describing the Lurganboy Road as “an overwhelmingly Unionist area”.
It added, “Talking to Sinn Féin is not a price we are prepared to pay for a parade.”

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On Saturday evening the band appeared to take an even harder line in a statement read on their behalf by Trevor Clarke of Derg Valley Victims’ Voice.

The letter of protest was read after both Castlederg Young Loyalists and the band’s ‘Old Boys’ marched with a colour party to a small police line outside the PSNI station on the Lurganboy Road.

Referring to four band members who he said were “murdered by republican terrorists”, Mr Clarke read, “It would be an affront to their memory, for anyone associated with Castlederg Young Loyalists to engage with those who were involved in masterminding the IRA’s sectarian murder campaign or who today continue to justify that squalid campaign of hatred.”

DETERMINATION

Nine loyalist parades have taken place in the Castlederg area to date this year. Just one has been re-routed. The Parades Commission is currently considering two further parades by Castlederg Young Loyalists through the town on August 8.

The first determination, which relates to a route including the Lurganboy Road, is due on Wednesday (July 22).

The determination for Saturday’s parade was welcomed by local Sinn Féin councillor Ruairi McHugh, who said that in the light of “failure” by parade organisers to engage with the wider community, the Parades Commission had made the correct decision.

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But on Saturday, Castlederg Young Loyalists described the Parades Commission as an “anti-democratic, anti-loyalist quango”, accusing it of “bending over backwards to facilitate those who engage in manufactured, mischievous objections, intent in perpetuating division and disharmony in this town”.

The statement continued, “This unelected, unaccountable body has made clear the cost of walking the road up ahead of us, is that we meet and seek the approval of republicans, that is not a price these bands are prepared to pay.
“The very suggestion is insulting and indeed offensive as four of the members of the band were murdered by republican terrorists.”

It’s understood that one of the reasons for the Parades Commission re-routing the parade surrounded objections to the band playing ‘The Sash’ close to the nationalist Castlefin Park last year.

On Saturday the protest at the police line concluded with a thumping renditon of ‘The Sash’, before both bands departed.

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