The Dunloy Debacle
Rev Brian Kennaway: The fault lies not with the Parades Commission but with Dunloy Lodge.
May I take issue with the comments of the John Finlay, Worshipful Master of LOL 496 (‘Our dismay at the denial of our liberties in Dunloy’).
Mr Finlay states: “I wish to place on record our disgust, anger and dismay that, yet again, we are being denied our democratic right to peacefully exercise our civil and religious liberties.”
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 Finlay, 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 headquarters in 1997 stating, “We will sort Dunloy”.
It has not been sorted yet!
The fault lies not with the Parades Commission which did not come into existence until 1997, but with the inability of the Dunloy Lodge members to keep their word.
Rev Brian Kennaway,
Author: ‘The Orange Order:A Tradition Betrayed,’
Former member of the Parades Commission
This letter appeared as the lead Letter in the Belfast News Letter on Friday 21 July 2017