Watton lodges judicial review on Somme parade decision

Russell Watton, of the PUP.
Russell Watton, of the PUP.

The Parades Commission has made history by banning a World War One commemorative parade organised by the Orange Order from passing through a predominantly Protestant housing estate, according to a local PUP councillor.

Councillor Watton revealed that he had moved to lodge a judicial review of the decision on Monday.

He said: “They have betrayed the decent law abiding Protestant and Catholic residents who have enjoyed this annual commemoration for over 50 years by rewarding those who maliciously set out to cause havoc and destruction during last years event.

“This and other scandalous decisions and how they came about is a lesson that will not be lost on the loyalist community. The Parades Commission have an agenda to break the back of loyalism. All shades of the PUL community must come together and defeat this treacherous conspiracy.”

In a strongly worded attack Councillor Watton added: “The disgraceful and scandalous decision by the Parades Commission to ban the Battle of the Somme commemoration from the Heights area of Coleraine cannot go unchallenged.

“This parade has been held for over 50 years without major incident. Last year 19 arrests were made from the Nationalist/Republican/drug dealing element.

“Not a single Loyalist was arrested, giving the lie to so-called hostile exchanges. Video evidence clearly shows arrests were made prior to the parade even reaching Somerset Drive. There was no confrontation with the Freeman Memorial Flute Band, a fact I can state as Worshipful Master of LOL 316 who were directly behind the band.

“Indeed at the end of the parade the police even congratulated me on their discipline and composure when faced with such provocation. As such this determination is based on lies and has no basis in fact.”

Councillor Watton added: “It’s a sad day for our country when law abiding people are not permitted to pay homage to those who fell facing the enemy in defence of our freedom in order to appease those who wish to diminish it.”