Restrictions have been placed on this Friday night’s LOL 930 Battle of the Somme parade.
A determination by the Parades Commission has ruled that the host lodge, Killowen LOL 930 and their accompanying band, Coleraine Fife and Drum, may only process the full route along Pates Lane and into the Heights.
The ruling means that the rest of the parade will not parade through Pates Lane or the Heights.
District Master George Duddy said he was ‘disappointed’ by the ruling given the ‘significance’ of the parade.
“The Parades Commission has taken into consideration the views of a very small minority, people who do not wish to engage with the community,” he said.
In a statement Killowen LOL 930 said that ‘members were again disappointed, but not surprised’ by the decision.
“Conditions were imposed last year and the parade passed off peacefully.
“It was hoped that the Commission would give due weight to the submissions of local elected representatives, as opposed to those of people who represent no-one other than themselves.
“The Commission will know the recent history of parading and illegal parade-related protests in this area, and will be well aware of the ability of Killowen LOL to run well marshalled and disciplined processions. Parade participants should be commended and not punished for their discipline.
“In a meeting last year with the Commission in respect of loyal order parades in the area, Commissioners referenced the presence of republican flags on lamp-posts in Pates Lane and Somerset Drive, as rationale to be considered as part of the decision-making process relating to parades. This is flawed logic.
“Moreover, a survey carried out by West Bann Development ranked concerns by the residents of the Heights area as drugs, speeding, vandalism, underage drinking - no mention of parades.
“Whilst there is deep disappointment, the Lodge will remember with pride and dignity all those from the area who gave the supreme sacrifice, and would appeal to all brethren, bandsmen, supporters and the general public to remember that this a commemoration not a celebration.
“Killowen LOL appeals to all in attendance to remain dignified, and not carry out any action to bring discredit or disgrace to the Commemoration no matter what provocation may materialise.
“Parade marshals will be in attendance and it should be stressed that they are acting under the authority of Killowen LOL 930.
“Their instructions must be strictly adhered to and Killowen LOL would appeal to everyone to obey the directions of the marshals when instructed to do so.
“The lodge would further appeal to everyone to come and take part in the Religious Service and Act of Remembrance at the Diamond at approximately 8pm.”
PUP councillor Russell Watton, who met with the Commission about the Somme parade, says that there is ‘widespread dismay’ at the decision.
He has asked if a full parade will ever be permitted in the Heights area again.
The PUP man said: “The sooner the Commission is confined to the dustbin of hostiry the better for all concerned.”