Sinn Fein MLA calls for ‘local accomodation’ ahead of Rasharkin parade

Last year's parade hosted by  Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors passing through Rasharkin Main Street. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Last year's parade hosted by Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors passing through Rasharkin Main Street. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Only local accommodation between organisers and residents will resolve issues around a loyalist band parade in Rasharkin next week, it has been claimed.

North Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Phillip McGuigan was commenting after meeting with the Parades Commission over the Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors Flute Band demonstration on Friday, August 18.

Last year's parade hosted by  Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors passing through Rasharkin. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Last year's parade hosted by Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors passing through Rasharkin. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Mr McGuigan said the parade, which is expected to feature 25 bands, has been beset by tensions in previous years.

Planned protests by Rasharkin Residents Association and Rasharkin Residents Collective have been submitted to the commission.

Mr McGuigan said: “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.

Philip McGuigan MLA. Photo by John McIlwaine / Press Eye

Philip McGuigan MLA. Photo by John McIlwaine / Press Eye

“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.”

The parade is due to start at 7.30pm and make its way along Church Road, Main Street, Moneyleck Road, Bann Road, Glebe Road and Church Road.

Last September, the Protestants Against Injustice Committee organised a demonstration in Ballymoney in response to “undemocratic” Parades Commission rulings and came after Dervock Young Defenders Flute Band was not permitted to take part in the Rasharkin parade.