5 March 1998 Edition

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Garvaghy protest call

by Laura Friel

A major protest rally is to be held on the Garvaghy Road on Sunday 22 March and the Residents Coalition is calling for mass support.

The rally will provide an opportunity for people across the country to come and show their solidarity with the nationalist community in Portadown. Spokesperson for the Coalition, Breandan MacCionnaith, said, ``We are urging as many people as possible to come to the Garvaghy Road in order to send a very clear message to those in authority that the denial of rights to nationalists in Portadown or elsewhere should never again be looked upon as ``the least worst option''.''

The protest call comes as nationalist residents of the Lower Ormeau Concerned Community together with the Garvaghy Coalition mount a legal challenge against the Parades Commission in Belfast's High Court. The hearing is to take place before the end of the week. Legal representatives are taking action which will challenge all four recent appointments, questioning the independence of the entire Commission.

Gerard Rice of LOCC said the latest developments confirmed nationalists ``worst fears'' that the present Parades Commission has been deliberately set up to guarantee decisions about parades will favour the Orange Order. ``The Parades Commission under Alistair Graham could not be further away from the type of impartial, independent and transparent body recommended by the North Report,'' said Rice, ``we are now convinced that the current Commission can play no constructive role in resolving the issue of contentious parades.''

An Phoblacht
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Dublin 1
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