Fault lies with Dunloy Lodge

Dear Sir,

May I take issue with the comments of Cllr John Finley (Ballymoney Times 2/9/15), when he states that:

“And, once again, as we gather in Dunloy our civil and religious liberties are being denied to us by a police force and Parades Commission. . .”

May I remind Mr Finley that, Rev. Dr. Warren Porter and I joined with county Antrim Officers, on their invitation, on the evening of 13 December 1996, and met with members of Dunloy Lodge to offer guidance and help.

The result of that meeting, which was attended by Mr Finley, was a unanimous decision to negotiate through Mediation Network, who had indicated the willingness of local residents to accommodate three parades a year.

While this agreement was betrayed by local politics and pressure from the “Spirit of Drumcree”, had the Dunloy Lodge stood by their decision of 13 December 1996, there would have been no opposition to three parades a year.

I can well recall Mr Finlay accompanied by Ian Paisley standing outside Police H.Q. in 1997 stating, “We will sort Dunloy”. It has not been sorted yet!

The fault lies not with the RUC/PSNI or the Parades Commission which did not come into existence until 1997, but with the inability of the Dunloy Lodge members to keep their word.

Yours etc,

Rev. Brian Kennaway

Author: The Orange Order:A Tradition Betrayed.

Former member of the Parades Commission

This letter appeared in the Balymoney & Moyle Times on 9 September 2015