Parade deemed ‘successful’ but residents still want talks

Published: 10 Jul 2014 19:000 comments

The Newtownbutler Border Defenders’ Flute Band Parade in Newtownbutler, which passed off peacefully on Friday evening, was deemed a success by a band spokesperson but protesting Nationalist residents have again issued a call for talks on the issue.

The contested parade in Newtownbutler on Friday night gets underway with the PSNI presence visible in the cordoned off area behind the band as supporters of the parade on the near kerbside look on.

The spokesperson for the Band, speaking afterwards, commented: “We had a very successful event last Friday evening with 12 bands in attendance. This included 10 local bands from Fermanagh including Inver and Florencecourt Flute as well as two visiting bands, Kilcluney Volunteers Markethill and South Down Defenders Newry. The importance of the parade as a fundraising initiative is demonstrated by the fact that over £2,000 was collected on the evening.”

The spokesperson expressed the view: “It is time for the Sinn Fein led residents’ group to demonstrate they are committed to the principles of equality and respect by calling off their protests and opposition to our parade just like they did last Sunday evening for the Orange District Church Service.”

The spokesperson feels “the parade presents a tremendous opportunity for the business community to capitalise on the financial benefits generated by the large number of visitors to the village” and further added that their band “provides a focal point for the youth of Newtownbutler to develop their musical talents.

“We currently have 12 learner members from the ages of eight through to 14 which is a great encouragement and demonstrates our commitment to develop the musical skills of our young people”.

Speaking this week, Mr. Thomas O’Reilly, spokesperson on behalf of Newtownbutler Area Residents’ Association, N.A.R.A., felt that the band parade in Newtownbutler on Friday night had passed off peacefully and there was no incident.

However, with regard to the overall situation, he believes “it’s still a pity that we have to stand on the street instead of sitting down and negotiating”.

Mr. O’Reilly continued that they “have called for negotiations and that has been the situation for years”.

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