Condemning the Parades Commission’s decision to yet again impose restrictions on the return parade of the local Apprentice Boys Club in Rasharkin Jim Allister said:
“This determination denies the Rasharkin Apprentice Boys the right to walk their traditional route through Sunnyside Drive on their return parade and is yet another attack on Unionist and Protestant culture.
“The dismay felt within the Unionists and Protestant community in Rasharkin is palpable. Repeated attacks upon the Unionist community in recent years and even a bomb scare at the local Orange Hall on the night of a parade have, it will seem to many, been rewarded while Republicans are given the green light to parade in Castlederg, a town they repeatedly attacked.
“This parade has nothing to do with the celebration of murder and terrorism and yet the Commission has decided to impose restrictions.
“This decision is outrageous but Unionists should not be fooled into thinking that the answer is the DUP/Sinn Fein alternative to the Parades Commission. Yes the Commission should go but it would be folly embrace the Robinson/McGuinness “alternative”. Given that Sinn Fein was the only party to objected to the Rasharkin parade going along its traditional route does anyone seriously believe that a system which would give Sinn Fein/IRA a key role in the process would be an improvement?
“In order for any new system to be an improvement it must recognise that the right to peaceful assembly is a fundamental, there should be a presumption in favour of traditional routes and a presumption in favour of parades on arterial routes.
“None of this featured in the cumbersome and costly proposals put forward by OFMdFM.”