Coleraine DUP councillor Trevor Clarke has hit out at a Parades Commission determination banning a Battle of the Somme Commemoration parade from part of its’ traditional route.
Councillor Trevor Clarke said: “Killowen LOL 930’s annual Battle of the Somme commemoration parade is a long-established and traditional event highly regarded by many in the Coleraine community. It pays respect to the men of the local area who volunteered to fight in the Great War against tyranny and oppression. It has a record of being conducted with the dignity that befits such an occasion.
“In its’ re-routing directive, the parading quango makes the claim that trouble arose at last year’s Somme parade as a result of the behaviour of a number of bands people. I was on that parade and whilst I can’t claim to have seen every part of it, what I did witness was parade participants ignoring a barrage of foul-mouthed, drunken taunts from small groups of people participating in un-notified and therefore illegal parade-related protests. The PSNI’s post-event report and associated arrests corroborates the argument that any trouble originated from the protestors, not those on parade.
“Yet again, in a feat of logic-defying irrationality, the parades quango has acquiesced to and rewarded orchestrated trouble-makers, by punishing those who seek to celebrate their culture and commemorate their country’s war dead in a dignified manner. This is a shame and a disgrace.
“It is a sad irony that 99 years after Ulstermen fought in Flanders’ fields against those intent on suppressing freedom, an unelected quango is at liberty to issue a diktat banning the commemoration of those who gave their lives in pursuit of democracy for all.”