[Sinn Fein]

13th August 1999

Marches - Wilful disregard of Good Friday Agreement

Statement from Mid Ulster UP, Martin McGuinness, accusing the British government and the Parades Commission of ``wilfully ignoring the commitments in the Good Friday Agreement allowing people to live free from sectarian intimidation.''

Mr. McGuinness said:

``The people of the Lower Ormeau and other areas affected by sectarian marches had hoped that the Good Friday Agreement would end this type of intimidation. They are entitled to expect that because the agreement clearly states that people are entitled to live free from sectarian harassment.

``The reality that we are facing is that whole communities, here on the Ormeau road, on the Garvaghy Road, in Lurgan, in Newtownbutler and in Crumlin are being held to ransom by these marches whose only apparent purpose is to cause offence.

``If there is another purpose, if there is some genuine cultural reason for these marches then it is difficult to understand why those involved, the Apprentice Boys and the Orange Order, can't engage in a real and meaningful dialogue to explain this to the communities affected and convince them of the purpose of the marches.

``What is the purpose of marching through a community where the march is not wanted other than to cause offence ? Why don't the Apprentice Boys have buses pick them up outside their lodges and travel to Derry ? Why do they have to march through nationalist areas to get to a march in Derry ?

``Nationalists in Derry showed a willingness to accommodate the Apprentice Boys march tomorrow despite the history of provocation. It is regrettable that the Apprentice Boys are not prepared to show the same consideration for small nationalist communities.''

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