West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Mc Aleer calls for Omagh protests to stop

Published: 18 December, 2012

West Tyrone MLA, Declan Mc Aleer has expressed astonishment at the PSNI's decision to deem last week's controversial flag protest in Omagh as 'non contentious' and for failing to stop Monday nights protest which was not filed for. He was speaking after raising his concern with the Parades Commission.

According to Mc Aleer 'Following the first protest in the town which resulted in public disorder, I was surprised to note that the protest last Thursday evening was deemed 'legal' and given the go ahead by the Parades Commission.

'As a community activist who helps to organise charity walks and other local events I was intrigued how the organisers managed to get the protest approved without giving 28 days notice.

'When I spoke to the Parades Commission, I was very surprised to find out that the protest was only filed for on the day of the event and was not deemed as potentially controversial by the PSNI, therefore did not even have to be considered by the Commission!

'Given the fact that the preceding weeks protest ended in public disorder with people being intimidated, a vehicle damaged and an arrest made and the fact that a delegation from Sinn Féin met the PSNI to highlight these concerns, I am baffled as to how the PSNI could then deem a re-run of the protest as not being potentially controversial.

'I am also extremely disappointed at the PSNI's failure to curb or stop Monday evenings protest which saw masked youths laying siege to the town centre. I spoke to the Parades Commission on Monday evening and again on Tuesday morning and learned that the protest was not brought to their attention, and that information to the contrary provided to local journalists was misleading. I am seeking a meeting with the District Commander to discuss these serious concerns.

Mr Mc Aleer concluded 'The protestors and their leaders in the Unionist community must reflect on the serious damage that these protests are doing to our town and must take steps to stop them immediately. People are getting fed up with our town being disrupted and held to ransom by a handful of protestors.

'The fact that the most recent mobilisation was not filed for makes it a policing matter, so the PSNI have to play their part in curbing these protests and ensuring that our town centre is a place where people can shop and socialise in an atmosphere that is free from fear and intimidation'.