Ulster Unionists reject ‘flawed’ Coleraine parade ruling

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Coleraine Ulster Unionist councillor William McCandless has described the Parades Commission ruling which has restricted next week’s Battle of the Somme commemoration parade in the town, as ‘flawed.

Councillor McCandless said; “The Parades Commission decision to restrict the annual Battle of the Somme commemoration parade in Coleraine on the 1st July is flawed and sets a dangerous precedent of rewarding those who practise or threaten violence.

“The parade remembers the sacrifice of the tens of thousands of Ulstermen and Irishmen who fought at the Somme on the 1st July 1916. In particular it remembers the men of the 36th Ulster Division and the 16th Irish Division, but this point is of course lost on those whose naked sectarian bigotry renders them incapable of understanding that protestants and catholics, unionists and nationalists, fought side by side in a common cause almost a century ago.

“The Killowen 930 Orange lodge has within its ranks members whose ancestors fought at the Somme. The Lodge has previously abided by various Parades Commission rulings and its members have been the subject of attacks, yet it is the lodge which is being punished, not the perpetrators, many of who come in from outside the local area in a bid to find something to be offended by.

“This Parades Commission decision rewards the trouble-makers and sets a very bad precedent indeed.”