The arson attack on Drumcree Church is an indication, perhaps of rising tensions around a parade planned for the weekend. The SDLP, Sinn Fein and the Garvaghy Road Residents’ Coalition have criticised the Parades Commission for not ruling it out of order. The Parades Commission however were fairly blunt in their response:
…this parade will not process past St John’s Catholic Church during a mass service and we commend the organiser for rescheduling the parade to avoid such an issue.
Finally, the Commission is satisfied that the parade organiser has no intention of allowing this parade process past Drumcree bridge or anywhere near the vicinity of Garvaghy Road. Claims that suggest otherwise have the effect of heightening local tensions and creating inappropriate fear and anger throughout the local community.
Recognising the legacy of hurt in this area, it is still a source of regret for this Commission that such a significant gulf of mistrust continues to exist among those involved in the parading issue in Portadown.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty