West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Omagh Band Parade Criticised

Published: 3 July, 2013

Sinn Féin Omagh Town Councillor Sean Begley has criticised an Orange Order band parade held in Omagh on Monday evening after it was revealed the parade made its way along John and James Streets in the town, stopping outside a number of premises to play sectarian music.

According to Sinn Féin councillor Sean Begley, this was an unwelcome departure from previous years when the parade turned at the courthouse. Commenting on the issue councillor Begley also accused those behind the parade of heightening tensions locally, he said:

"It is my understanding the up to 11 Bands with a substantial number of supporters' paraded up John Street and on to John Street. As well as the bands and supporters parading up these streets there was also a number of supporters standing awaiting the parade on John Street. Having been contacted by residents and businesses in this area on Monday evening I was taken aback by this development given that it is an unwelcome departure from previous years. The parade on July 1st usually turned at the Courthouse. Some of these bands actually stopped outside premises in the John Street area and played sectarian music. Not only do theses parades have a detrimental impact on the night-time economy they also do little to improve community relations in the area.

"Sinn Féin had met with the Parades Commission and the PSNI last year after being approached by businesses in the area highlighting their concerns regarding the high number of parades in this area. Therefore for the Parades Commission to facilitate such a Parade doesn't bode well for the future. I will be requesting an urgent meeting with the Parades Commission regarding this parade.

"A parade of this magnitude should not be marching through this area. The Orange Order and the leaders of political unionism should show leadership and respect. There is absolutely no need for these parades to pass through John and James Streets. This, in addition to the erection of an increased number of flags in the town, will do nothing for community relations in the area.