[Sinn Fein]

5th June 2003

O'Donnell - East Belfast parades decision must be upheld

East Belfast Sinn Fein Councillor Joe O'Donnell speaking after today's meeting with the Parades Commission to discuss the Commission's decision to review their ruling regarding this Saturday's proposed Apprentice Boys marches around the Short Strand.

Cllr. O'Donnell said:

``This proposed parade has no history in the area and the fact that the Apprentice Boys wished to march around the Short Strand three times would indicate that the sole aim of this parade is to raise tensions in an area where people are working hard on the ground to maintain calm.

``The Parades Commission made a determination on this parade.  In this determination both sides had to compromise.  We have tried to sell this decision to nationalists on the ground while there are many within the unionist community who have refused to do so and have instead adopted a threatening pose and are pushing for the Parades Commission to overrule their original decision.

``The Parades Commission have already made a ruling on this march and placed restrictions on it.  Since this decision was taken nothing has changed.  This being the case I believe that the Parades Commission must uphold their original ruling''.

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