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10 August 2000 Edition

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Ormeau parade rerouted

The Parades Commission's decision on Wednesday to reroute the Apprentice Boys parade away from the Lower Ormeau Road followed rulings restricting a number of marches scheduled to take place this Saturday.

Last year, film footage of nationalist residents being attacked and beaten by the RUC to facilitate the forcing of the Apprentice Boys down the nationalist Lower Ormeau Road shocked international observers and led to widespread condemnation of the Parades Commission's decision.

Last week, a poll of residents of the Lower Ormeau Road revealed that over 90% of local people wanted all loyal order parades to be rerouted away from their area.96% called for the rerouting of Orange Order parades and 95% for the rerouting of parades by the Apprentice Boys and Black Preceptory.

The Parades Commission had delayed its decision for several days to facilitate further negotiations. The Bogside Residents' group said that agreement could be reached in relation to the Apprentice Boys' march in Derry city if other controversial parades in nationalist areas were called off.

Restrictions announced by the Parades Commission include Royal Black Institution parades and Apprentice Boys feeder parades scheduled to take place before and after their main demonstration in Derry.

The list includes parades planned for Bellaghy, Co. Derry and Dunloy, Co. Antrim. In barring access to Dunloy, the Commission said it had urged all loyal orders to help establish mutual respect in the village. ``We have, however, no evidence of any attempt to establish such mutual respect on the part of the organisers of this parade,'' the Commission found.

Apprentice Boys parades planned for Armagh City and the village of Keady were also rerouted. A march in Lurgan was restricted from passing the railway station on William Street.

The commission cited a ``negative impact on relationships within the community'' in rerouting Apprentice Boys parades in Castlederg, Co. Tyrone. In Co. Fermanagh, Royal Black marchers in Roslea cannot pass beyond the preceptory hall on the main street.

Meanwhile, nationalist have accused Portadown Orangemen of heightening tensions in the town by proposing to hold a march every day for the next 12 months. District spokesperson David Jones confirmed that 365 parade applications, including a number through the nationalist Garvaghy Road, were planned as part of a new tactic.

Anger at Clegg's blood money

The decision to award British paratrooper Lee Clegg £25,000 in back pay for the time he spent in prison has further enraged northern nationalists. The campaign to secure the soldier's release and the quashing of his conviction is seen as evidence that there can be no justice for Irish nationalists under British jurisdiction.

Clegg was convicted of the murder of Karen Reilly (18) in 1993 but was released on licence in 1995 after a massive media campaign orchestrated by the British military establishment in England. In 1999, Clegg was acquitted of the murder was found guilty of attempting to wound a second teenager, Martin Peake. That outstanding conviction was quashed in January this year.

On his release, the paratrooper not only returned to the British army but has been promoted twice since the killings. The decision to award Clegg £25,000, announced this week, was described as ``deeply insensitive to the families concerned and as another example of British bad faith'' by Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey.


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