Sinn Fein Colr. challenges unionist politicans '˜to step up to the mark'

Sinn Fein councillor Brenda Chivers.Sinn Fein councillor Brenda Chivers.
Sinn Fein councillor Brenda Chivers.
Residents who complain Limavady town centre is a 'no-go area' at weekends during the marching season are urged by Sinn Fein to register their concerns with the Parades Commission.

Sinn Fein Colr. Brenda Chivers said every year, when parades are held in the town centre, her party is contacted by residents who feel the town centre is a “no-go area”, and they’re “not able to shop or socialise, and feel they will be held to ransom like this over the summer.”

“We have no problem with people celebrating their culture, but Limavady has a large nationalist community, which must be respected, and the town centre cannot be brought to a standstill so often. It is time for unionist politicans to step up to the mark, and take action before this problem escalates just like the flag problem has in the town. People have to make their voices heard, so I would encourage anyone with issues, or concerns, to direct them to the Parades Commission in order for them to be taken into consideration when parades are being applied for.”

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A Limavady resident, who doesn’t want to be named, said on Friday night he’d taken his normal route to the supermarket, but had to turn back because of a parade “and I could hear the battering of drums until at least 11pm.”

“It’s complete uncivilised behaviour; a display of domination. If it was nationalist or republicans bands in Limavady, or Derry, or anywhere else, it wouldn’t be tolerated, and I wouldn’t want to see it either,” said the man, who added other residents he’d spoken to agree. “I wouldn’t want any republican band beating its way through Limavady, or anywhere when it causes offence to other people. For two or three hours, you have no freedom of access into the town centre. I’m not against freedom of expression, but just do it somewhere without interfering with people’s business.”

The Parades Commission said regarding notices they received for band parades in 2016, and one to date in 2017, they “did not receive any representations or complaints about these band parades.” The spokesperson said when considering parades, the Commission is required to have regard for their impact “on community life, community relationships and the potential for public disorder.”