Border village braced for another parades showdown

NTB loyalist Parade


A BORDER village is gearing itself for an annual ‘head-to-head’, with 20 ‘loyalist’ bands and some 500 participants on the one side facing a protest by members of a local residents’ group.

This year’s set-to takes is due to place on Friday of next week, 4th July in Newtownbutler.


A spokesman for Newtownbutler Area Residents Association (NARA)this week complained that the parade organisers, Newtownbutler Border Defenders, had not sought a meeting with them to resolve their differences.

But, a spokesman for the organisers told the Herald there had been face-to-face discussions in the past, but that NARA’s starting point was, ‘no parade’.

“How can there ever be an agreement in terms of looking at annual parades when the starting position of the residents’ association is, ‘no parade’?”

The two parading applications were referred by the PSNI to the Parades Commission for a ‘determination’.

It noted that the parade organisers, the Newtownbutler Border Defenders, wanted to set out from Church Lane, just off High Street, and march from there down to the roundabout and out the Crom Road.

However, the Commission says it has ‘cause to believe’ this portion of the route would have ‘a potential for public disorder’, and an adverse effect on community relations.

It has stipulated that the bands and participants assemble instead at a point 80 metres beyond the roundabout in Newtownbutler, on Crom Road.


Meanwhile, those taking part in the parade-related protest will be confined to a point 40 metres back from High Street on both sides of main street. Their number has been capped at 100.

The bands and the two sets of participants have been advised to avoid using ‘sectarian’ words or behaviour.

The Parades Commission commented: “We are aware of tensions at this band parade in recent years and that issues surrounding local parading remain to be resolved.”

The spokesman for Newtownbutler Residents Association (NARA), Thomas O’Reilly claimed that 15-20 bands, many from other counties, ‘descending on the village’, would once more set back community relations.

“Another year has gone past and there has been no take-up or offer of negotiations has taken place.

“It’s such a shame that, when we’re working on many areas to improve community relations, the (Border Defenders) band does not engage in negotiations at all.”

He claimed that the band parade and the attendant participants would put the village under stress, not to mention the cost of policing on the night.

The spokesman for the Newtownbutler Border Defenders compared the readiness of Martin McGuinness to meet with Queen Elizabeth with the refusal, at local level, of ‘Sinn Fein’ residents groups opposing unionists expressing their culture and heritage in border towns and villages.

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Newtown group claims Friday band parade is unacceptable


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