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20 July 2000 Edition

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RUC ignore Parades Commission

A Parades Commission determination barring a loyalist band from marching in a nationalist area of Castlederg, County Tyrone was ignored by the RUC last Tuesday night, 11 July.

According to Sinn Féin's Charlie McHugh, the recently appointed chair of Strabane District Council, the loyalist band marched to RUC lines and were stopped.

However, added McHugh, after a few minutes discussion between the RUC and members of the Castlederg Young Defenders the loyalists walked along the pavement, past RUC lines, where they formed up again and paraded through the Ferguson Crescent area.

The RUC told residents who objected that they (the RUC) and not the Parades Commission, ``would make decisions on the ground''.

In the past number of years, trouble has flared in the area during and after the loyalist parade. Loyalist bandsmen and their followers have stayed on in the town drinking and have attacked nationalist homes and shops in the Ferguson Crescent area, and have abused residents by shouting sectarian abuse and urinating in their gardens.

This year, given the Parades Commission's first ever determination to restrict the loyalist route, residents thought they would not have to endure the usual disruption brought by this parade.

The RUC denied that that the Parades Commissions determination was not upheld while the commission itself said it is awaiting a report on the parade.
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