[Sinn Fein]

29th June 2003

O'Hagan supports Garvaghy Road residents

Sinn Fein's Upper Bann representative, Dr Dara O'Hagan, has reiterated Sinn Fein's support for the residents of the Garvaghy Road in Portadown in their opposition to an Orange march through the area.

Dr O'Hagan said:

``Sinn Fein's position in relation to this issue is clear. I met the Parades Commission this week and put forward the Sinn Fein position that the march should be re-routed away from the Garvaghy Road. The situation has not fundamentally changed since 1998 when the Parades Commission first turned down an application from the Orange Order to march along the Garvaghy Road. Since that time, Portadown District Orange Lodge have consistently refused to meet directly with the representatives of the Garvaghy Road community with a view to working towards a resolution of the marching issue in Portadown. Indeed, the Orange Order has even refused to meet with the Parades Commission itself.

``In the absence of local agreement and given the Orange Order's intransigent stance the only correct decision is to re-route this march. There is an alternative route. The Garvaghy Road community should not be held hostage to wider political fortunes. The right of that community to live free from sectarian harassment and intimidation must be upheld.''

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