West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Omagh St Patricks Day parade route changed following emergency council meeting

Published: 18 March, 2013

The Chairman of Omagh District Council's St Patricks organising committee, Cllr Sean Begley has criticised Unionist representatives for a lack of leadership following their failure to have union flags removed from the route of today's St Patrick's parade in the town.

Following an emergency council meeting this morning, Cllr Begley said:

'Sinn Féin has always adopted the principle of inclusivity and respect in our approach approach to the St Patricks events. This approach has been proven to work as evidenced by the thousands of people who come out to support the parade and the other St Patrick's celebration events in the town.

'As a party, we are always keen to maximise and broaden participation and this generosity has extended this year to hosting the parade on the 18th.

'In this spirit of inclusiveness and participation, we have been engaged extensively with unionist representatives regarding the proliferation of union flags along the parade route. We made the case that the huge number of flags makes the environment uncomfortable for many nationalists and completely undermines the council's policy of neutrality.

'However, despite this, unionist representatives refused to try and deal with the issue and in light of this we voted to change the route of today's parade to one that is more inclusive. It is highly frustrating that unionists like to talk about cultural equality but when it comes to actually showing leadership they fail miserably.

'The new assembly point for today's parade is the council offices at 1pm and as chair of the organising committee, I would like to encourage everyone to join the celebrations and apologise for any inconvenience caused'.