A Coleraine DUP Councillor has criticised a Parades Commission decision to restrict the route of an Apprentice Boys’ of Derry feeder march in Coleraine on Easter Monday.
The Mitchelburne Club Killowen Branch will not be permitted to march around the Heights area as a result of the Commission’s ruling.
Instead the Club, and their accompanying band, will parade directly from the Orange Hall along Killowen Street, with no left turn onto Pates Lane.
Next Monday, Coleraine will host an Apprentice Boys’ parade for only the second time. The last took place in April 1976.
Speaking about the decision, the DUP councillor said: “The decision by the Parades Commission to re-route the Killowen Mitchelburne Club’s Easter Monday morning feeder parade is as outrageous as it is deeply flawed and illogical.
“The Killowen Apprentice Boys of Derry branch is based in the heart of the locality in which it is seeking to walk, and has traditionally used the notified route to mark events of significance to the Club.
“The walk to join brethren gathering for the main parade later that day would take just two or three minutes to pass any given point. In recent years the route has been used by the same Apprentice Boys of Derry Club without incident or negative impact on the area.
“The decision to suddenly re-route an organisation with long-standing links to the local community is, from what I can understand from the Parades Commission’s determination, based on no good reason whatsoever.
“It is little wonder local people are questioning the rationale of the determination, and it is even less surprising the community see the Parades Commission’s decision as a sop to those who are intent on causing division in an otherwise settled part of Coleraine.
“We are seeking a meeting with the Commission at the earliest opportunity and we will urge a reconsideration of this Determination. The Parades Commission is not in place as a vehicle to suppress legitimate cultural expression and when it makes a wrong decision it should have the sense and good grace to accept this is so and act swiftly to remedy the error”, concluded Councillor Clarke.