22 April 2005

Irelandclick.com

3,000 for Glengormley marches

Nationalist politicians have reacted angrily to two band parades that will bring over 3,000 bandsmen to Glengormley next Saturday night including one for a dead UDA man.
Unionists have hit out accusing nationalists of electioneering and say that the larger of the two marches is a community event to celebrate Ulster Scots heritage.
But this morning the Whitewell Defenders flute band’s spokesman John Montgomery admitted his band would be joining the “competition” after it had marched in memory of murdered UDA man Gerry Evans.
At 6.30pm the Pride of Carnmoney Hill flute band will gather together with 50 other bands and an expected 2,500 people.
They will meet at Glengormley Park, march down the Carnmoney Road and through the commercial street of Portland Avenue before turning up the Ballyclare Road. The march will proceed along the Antrim Road, Glencairn Park, Glencairn Drive, Ballyclare Road and back to Glengormley Park, dispersing time is 10pm.
At the same time the Whitewell Defenders flute band will also march in Glengormley.
Eight bands and 400 participants will gather at 6.30pm at Glengormley High school and march along the Burnhill Road into Queen’s Drive, Queen’s Avenue, Queen’s Park, and along Queen’s Avenue and Queen’s Drive again, dispersing at 8.30pm.
The march is to commemorate Queenspark UDA man Gerry Evans The top loyalist was shot dead at his fishing tackle shop at Northcott shopping centre in 1994 by the INLA.
Sinn Féin’s Breige Meehan condemned the decision to allow the parade and said she would be leading a delegation to the Irish Secretariat and the Parades Commission.
“This parade is madness. It is none other than a sectarian march through a community that is mixed in many areas. The presence of the UDA band shows it’s not a heritage parade.”
SDLP general election candidate for South Antrim Noreen McClelland appealed for calm ahead of the parades
“These two parades, by the Whitewell Defenders and Pride of Carnmoney flute bands are being held late on a Saturday evening. Given the lateness of the hour and the large numbers involved, I imagine that some people will have been drinking beforehand and that the atmosphere will be particularly volatile,” she said.
But Nigel Hamilton of the DUP, who said he would be taking part in the march, said nationalists were objecting to a band competition, adding that it would follow a “children’s fun day”.
“It is to celebrate Ulster Scots heritage and has nothing to do with sectarianism,” he said.
“It is a band competition and it will be well supported by bands throughout the province. Last year it was very successful. If republicans and nationalist representatives are trying to curry favour with their electorate and play on this it is a cheap shot,” said Cllr Hamilton.
John Montgomery said he did not expect any trouble at the march.
“It was the Whitewell Defenders who helped a Catholic man in White City home late last weekend. The parade is to commemorate Gerry Evans, which we have been doing for the past 15 years and afterwards we will be joining the competition,” he said.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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